Recovering from a serious personal injury can be a life-changing experience. In many instances, family members are also effected when lost wages, physical disabilities and other obstacles begin to impact the daily routines of those associated with the victim. While knowing who to contact for legal advice can be a challenging task, it's important that victims consider having legal representation to ensure that their interests are being protected while they are recovering from their injuries.
For more than 20 years, the team of legal professionals at Geoff McDonald & Associates have been helping to protect the rights of personal injury victims throughout Virginia and have recovered more than $400 million in compensation on behalf of our clients. We charge no upfront fees if we agree to handle your personal injury lawsuit and it's free to talk to a lawyer at our firm to help determine if you have a case.
Our CEO and President Attorney Geoff McDonald is a member of the prestigious National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100 list - a group of premier trial lawyers from each state in the nation - and also the American Association for Justice.
To learn more about the legal options that may be available to you, contact us today via our free, online contact form or call and speak to a lawyer directly.
Advantages of Hiring an Experienced Injury Attorney
In most cases, injury victims that hire a personal injury attorney are often able to recover more compensation than those who do not have legal representation.
There can be many possible reasons for this. For example, an experienced lawer will know how to build a strong argument for a damages claim, including:
- how to value the damages that may have been sustained,
- how to negotiate for fair compensation and;
- how to take cases to trial when necessary
Should you decide to hire our firm to represent you, our attorneys and support staff are prepared to thoroughly investigate your accident, which may include gathering evidence related to the incident and if necessary, consulting with industry experts to help us build a robust argument for your case.
... "injury victims that hire a personal injury attorney are often able to recover more compensation than those who do not have legal representation."
We also have extensive knowledge of how insurance companies may attempt to escape liability and blame pre-existing conditions for injuries that a victim may have sustained.
Our legal professionals can also help to field the inquiries from any insurance companies, businesses or defence law firms that may be involved with your claim.
To learn more about how we may be able to assist you, schedule your free consultation. We are here to help and answer your questions.
No upfront fees. Ph: (866) 369-9051.
How do I Know if I Have a Case?
Personal injuries can result from many situations, including:
Our attorneys need to determine if we would be able to prove your injury resulted from another’s negligence. If so, you may have a case for compensation.
Negligence is a complex legal theory that has four separate parts, each of which must be proven with evidence. Our attorneys have many years of combined experience proving negligence and have detailed knowledge of each element of this legal theory.
Duty of Care Owed to the Victim
The at-fault party must have owed you a legal duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent you from getting injured. The definition of “reasonable precautions” depends on the situation. For instance, it is reasonable for drivers to obey traffic laws. Doctors should provide care that meets accepted medical standards. Property owners should take reasonable steps to keep the property safe for visitors.
Duty of Care was Breached
Simply put, the at-fault party did not uphold the duty of care, either through careless actions or through a failure to act, such as a property owner not cleaning up spilled liquid on the floor.
Causal Link Between Injury and Breached Duty
Your Richmond personal injury lawyer must prove your injury was the direct result of the breach of the duty of care. The other side may state that something else caused your injuries, and you may need to provide evidence to disprove these arguments.
You need documentation of damages from your injuries. For example, you need documentation of medical bills and wages lost from your injuries. There are many other types of damages you may be able to claim.
Have some questions? (866) 369-9051
Recovering Compensation From a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Virginia
The potential value of a valid case is dependent on the circumstances of the accident, including the extent of your injury, how it affects you now, and how it may physically, financially and emotionally affect you in the future.
These are the tangible out-of-pocket costs that result from an injury. A large portion of economic damages is often the medical bills for treating your injury. This includes costs of past, current and future treatments.
Examples of medical expenses could include bills for things like:
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medications
- Appointments with doctors
- Medical equipment (crutches, canes, wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)
Other economic damages could include the cost to repair or replace property that was damaged in the accident, lost wages from times you missed work or left early to receive treatment, and loss of earning capacity if you need to change careers or work fewer hours because of a permanent injury.
These are the emotional effects of a personal injury, such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship, which refers to damage to your relationship with your spouse because of your injuries.
Pain and suffering refer to the physical pain you experience, along with emotional issues, such as depression, post-traumatic stress, lost sleep and anxiety.
In some rare cases, punitive damages are awarded to victims. These are meant as punishment and are not connected to a specific loss suffered by the victim. The goal of punitive damages to help discourage the same kind of negligence in the future.
Punitive damages are the only types of damages that are capped in the state of Virginia in a personal injury claim. You can receive a maximum of $350,000 in punitive damages in Virginia injury claims (§ 8.01-38.1).
Our attorneys are committed to seeking maximum compensation for your damages, as we know how important compensation is after a serious injury.
What Happens if I am Partially at Fault for My Injury?
Virginia is one of only a handful of states that uses a contributory negligence law when victims are partially to blame for an injury. Under this system, you cannot recover compensation if you bear any fault for an accident. Many other states allow you to recover compensation if your percentage of fault is below a certain threshold, and they reduce your compensation award based on that percentage.
There is an exception to Virginia’s harsh rule for those injured as passengers on common carriers, such as buses. The exception applies if you can prove a safety code was violated in the accident. You can still be at fault and pursue compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Sometimes accident victims assume they are partially at fault and do not bother contacting a lawyer. However, this may be a bad idea because an experienced attorney will have a much better idea of whether you may bear any fault.
Geoff McDonald and Associates: (866) 369-9051
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim in Virginia?
The statute of limitations is a very important consideration after a personal injury. If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, you may lose the right to do so.
There are various statutes of limitations, depending the type of claim you are filing:
- General personal injury claims – This includes claims for things like car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and construction accidents. The deadline is generally two years from the date of the accident and five years for property damage claims.
- Medical malpractice claims – The deadline is also two years from the date of the injury. However, the two-year clock is paused when the victim is receiving treatment for the injury that is the subject of the claim.
- Wrongful death claims – Family members or personal representatives have two years from the date of death to file a claim.
There are a variety of possible exceptions to these deadlines. For instance, in a claim against the government, you must provide written notice of the claim within one year. The notice must state the nature of the claim, when and where the injury occurred, and who is allegedly liable.
Victims are often unsure of how much time is left to file claims. However, the clock may already be running so it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If you have a valid case, we need time to investigate and build a strong case so we can pursue maximum compensation.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
You do not have to deal with the insurance company after an accident. You can refer insurance company representatives to your attorney – do not let them fool you into thinking you must answer their questions to process your claim more quickly.
However, if you do talk to the insurance company, even if only briefly, you must watch what you say. One comment could be used against you, and the insurance company may not even need to misconstrue what you said to damage your claim. If you say you are feeling OK or your injuries are not that bad, or something similar, the insurance company could deny your claim or offer you much less compensation than may be available.
Stick to facts when talking to the insurance company, and if you are unsure, you can decline to answer a question. Keep your answers short and to the point and do not offer any more information than is needed. Insurers are not trying to find ways to pay fair compensation. They are looking to avoid paying out fair compensation and will use any trick in the book to try to do just that.
Steps to Take After an Injury
While you can rely on your attorney to handle the legal process, there are things you can do that might help us begin building a case over your injury.
For example, reporting the accident is always important. Motor vehicle accidents should be reported to the police. If you are injured in a slip and fall claim, ask the property owner to fill out an accident report. Another option is to write down a summary of what happened, along with the date, time and location.
Other steps you should take include:
Treating Your Injuries
Get to the hospital or a doctor immediately following the accident. You need to have your injuries evaluated and begin appropriate treatment. Explain that you were injured in an accident so the doctor will note this in your medical records. Similar to reporting the accident, this helps to create a record of the situation and link the injury to the accident.
Following Doctor’s Orders
Make sure to attend follow-up appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions. Many injury claims fall apart because victims stop treatment or disobey their doctor’s orders.
Collecting Evidence at the Scene
Whenever possible, victims should try to collect evidence at the scene. This includes things like pictures and witness statements. Photograph your injuries, property damage and anything else at the scene that helps to show what happened. However, you should only do this if it is safe and you will not be putting yourself in danger.
Make sure to ask witnesses for contact information so our Richmond personal injury lawyers can contact them later to confirm what they said and ask any other questions.
Call a Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Unsure if you might have a case over your injury?
A consultation with one of our experienced attorneys is free of charge and you do not have to take legal action if you have a case. Those who move forward with our firm are not charged legal fees unless they receive compensation at the end of the legal process.
We have a proven track record of obtaining compensation for our clients – more than $400 million recovered over more than 20 years serving Virginia injury victims.
We are prepared to fully manage your case and protect your best interests throughout the legal process, so you can focus on your medical treatment and recovery. Our office in Richmond is just 20 minutes from the Richmond-Civil General District Court on 9th Street.
Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.