When you experience a serious personal injury, recovery can be challenging and difficult. It is common for a devastating personal injury to also impact family members. You may suffer disabilities, lost wages, and other issues that impact your ability to carry on with your normal daily life.
At first, accident victims may not know who to turn to for legal advice. They are wise to consider hiring an attorney to assist them with protecting their interests while they recover from personal injuries.
The legal professionals at Geoff McDonald & Associates have been defending the rights of personal injury victims for more than 25 years in the state of Virginia. Geoff McDonald & Associates has recovered more than $400 million for clients who suffered personal injury losses.
No upfront fees will be assessed if the Geoff McDonald & Associates legal team agrees to take your case. It’s free to speak with one of our experienced attorneys for a consultation, and then fees will not be charged at all unless the case results in compensation.
The experienced Virginia attorney CEO and President Attorney Geoff McDonald belongs to the elite National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100 list – culled from trial lawyers from each state in the USA, and he is also a member of the American Association for Justice.
If you need to speak with an attorney and discuss your legal options, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates today to discover what might be possible for your case. You may fill out the free online contact form or call and speak to an attorney one-on-one.
Free Consultation (757) 500-8000
Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Attorneys with experience fighting for personal injury victims generally tend to recover more compensation than people who do it alone. This can be true for myriad reasons, including experience from attorneys with a deeper understanding of what it takes to build a strong case and what works in court.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will know the right steps to take, including:
- How to negotiate for compensation that is fair
- How to place a monetary value on damages incurred
- If needed, how to prepare and bring a case to trial effectively
When you choose our firm to represent you, the attorneys and our staff of paralegals and assistants will investigate your accident. This may include pulling together evidence and possibly, if it will help the case, consulting with experts in the industry so the case is strong and has arguments that are well-defended by top experts.
… “injury victims that hire a personal injury attorney are often able to recover more compensation than those who do not have legal representation.”
Our legal team in Virginia Beach has in-depth knowledge of the methods that are utilized by insurance companies to avoid liability. We see a frequency of blaming pre-existing conditions on injuries, and we work with the client to document the validity of the case so the compensation is fair.
The legal professionals at Geoff McDonald & Associates can provide assistance by fielding any inquiries from insurance companies, plus we can help by responding on your behalf to businesses or other defense law firms that may be working on the 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: (757) 500-8000.
How Do I Determine if I Have a Case?
Personal injuries occur as the result of many different situations. These include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
- Nursing home abuse
The attorneys at Geoff McDonald & Associates work with you and help you determine the potential success of the litigation. If the injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, we may be able to build you a case for compensation.
Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
Negligence has four different parts that comprise a complex legal concept. For a case to be proven, it needs to meet the requirements of four components that have the capacity to be proven by evidence. The attorneys at Geoff McDonald & Associates have years of experience in the complex law area of proving negligence. We are skilled in the steps that need to be taken to prove each legal theory element.
First Steps: Prove Duty of Care Owed to the Victim
To prove the element of Duty of Care, the at-fault party needs to owe a legal duty to take cautions deemed reasonable to prevent injury. The definition of “reasonable precautions” varies from case to case. For example, drivers are expected to reasonably obey traffic laws. Doctors should provide care that is representative of regular medical standards. Owners of property need to keep their property safe for people who visit.
Next Step: Prove Breach of Duty of Care
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 Virginia Beach 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? (757) 500-8000
Recovering Compensation From a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Virginia Beach
The value of each case depends on a number of variables, for instance, the extent of the injury, how the accident occurred, and the results of the accident on your quality of life. The potential value goes up when your personal injuries impact your ability to work or enjoy a normal life.
Of all the damages, these are the most clear cut. These reflect out-of-pocket costs directly related to the personal injury you sustain. The economic damages quite commonly result from medical bills you may incur after an injury. A strong personal injury attorney will help you document past, current, and future projected treatment costs.
Here are a few examples of injury-related medical expenses:
- Doctor appointments
- Medications prescribed by a doctor
- Related Equipment such as a wheelchair, walker, or crutches
Economic damages can also cover replacement or repair of any property damage that was a direct result of the accident plus lost wages when you may have needed to leave early from work or miss a day of work to get treatment, as well as losing earning capacity should you need to get a different job or reduce how much time each day you work.
When a personal injury attorney or the court refers to non-economic damages, they often are describing emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or other non-physical results including loss of a spouse that sometimes occurs after a person sustains a devastating physical injury.
When an attorney uses the phrase pain and suffering, he or she is talking about both the physical pain of an injury, and the other related possible non-physical pain such as depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, loss of a relationship, or even loss of sleep.
Punitive damages can be awarded to victims in rare situations. Punitive damages are meant as punishment and are not necessarily related to a loss suffered by the victim. Punitive damages are in place to discourage the negligent party from acting the same way in the future.
In the state of Virginia, punitive damages are capped in a personal injury claim. There is a maximum allowed punitive damage amount of $350,000 set by the state (§ 8.01-38.1). The GMA attorneys are dedicated to seeking the maximum compensation for your case, as we understand how important compensation can be after a serious injury.
What Happens if I am Partially at Fault for My Injury?
Only a small number of states have a contributory negligence law in place, and Virginia is one of them. When a victim is partially to blame, it changes the entire outcome of the claim. The way this works in Virginia is that if you bear fault for even a small part of the accident, you cannot recover compensation. Many other states provide compensation if you are in a small way responsible for an accident below certain thresholds, and in those cases, compensation is reduced in relation to the percentage.
Virginia has a strong rule for people who are injured on buses and trains, and other common carriers designed to deter lawsuits. However, there is an exception. If you can prove a safety code was violated that caused the accident, you may be able to be compensated for personal injuries including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are times when you may think you shouldn’t even contact a personal injury attorney after an accident, because you may not be sure if you are partially at fault. It’s always a good idea to contact an attorney and go over the case with them. If it doesn’t look like compensation is possible, the attorney will let you know. But if it is possible, then you receive representation at no cost until you receive compensation.
Geoff McDonald and Associates: (757) 500-8000
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim in Virginia Beach?
It is vital to become aware of the statute of limitations if you are considering filing a lawsuit for a personal injury in Virginia Beach. If you miss the window and don’t file within the statute of limitations, you can lose the right to even file suit at all.
Statutes of limitations vary in relationship to the claim that will be filed. These include:
- General personal injury claims – Personal injury claims cover accidents like truck, car, or motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, and slip and fall accidents. The statute of limitations is generally two years from the date the accident occurred. For property damage claims the term is five years.
- Medical malpractice claims – For medical malpractice claims, the deadline is two years. The clock may possibly be paused during treatment for the injury incurred by the accident.
- Wrongful death claims – The family of the person who passed away or his or her personal representative is allowed two years from the death date to file suit.
Possible exceptions to the deadlines occur for various reasons. As one example, when a claim is filed against the government, the notice of the claim must be delivered in writing within a year. Then, the notice, to be valid, should state when and where the injury happened, the nature of the claim, and the liable parties.
It is quite common for victims not to be sure about the amount of time that is left to file a claim. The clock begins to run on the date of the accident, so you may be best served to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. If you have a case that has merit, we will need time to investigate ourselves and build a strong case to ensure the maximum amount of compensation.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
The good news is that you don’t actually have to talk to insurance after an accident. You can let your personal injury attorney handle the communications. However, you may desire to speak with them directly. In that case, here are some suggestions for protecting your interests. They may suggest that they will handle your claim more quickly without an attorney. Don’t let them fool you.
If you talk to the insurance company, have caution and use words wisely. A single comment can be used to avoid taking care of fair compensation. You may inadvertently describe your injuries as “not that bad” or other language that could trigger the company to deny the claim.
When you contact insurance, stick to basic facts. You can opt not to answer a question if you aren’t certain of the response. Make sure your answers are short. Seek to share only very brief accounts of the accident, and don’t offer any additional information that is not required. Insurers definitely seek ways to avoid paying compensation. It is their job to narrow the scope as much as possible. So be brief. You can also have your attorney handle the communications with an insurance company.
Steps to Take After an Injury
The personal injury you hire will manage the legal process, but you can take specific steps to help the case become as strong as possible. Here are some of the steps that will prove beneficial to your case. Initially, get medical attention, and report the accident to the police.
Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents should be reported to the Virginia Beach police. If you get hurt in a slip-and-fall accident, take time to have the property owner fill out an accident report. You can also take a moment to write down, yourself, anything you notice about the accident and summarize it in your own personal notes that include the date, time, location, weather, and other parties who may have witnessed or been involved. Another option is to write down a summary of what happened, along with the date, time, and location.
Additional steps to take include:
Treating Your Injuries
When you experience injuries in an accident, get to the doctor or hospital immediately. In the event that there is a negligence claim possible, it is helpful to document this. Have injuries checked out by a doctor, and then document the treatment you begin after the injury accident happens. This will provide a record of the situation, and assist in the process of proving the injury was linked to the accident.
Do What the Doctor Says
When you are in the process of filing a personal injury claim, it is important to go to all of your follow-up doctor appointments and do what the doctor says. Claims are frequently rejected if a victim stops getting the medical help they need or goes against what the doctor has ordered.
Collecting Evidence at the Scene
.When you are in an accident, get medical help first. But if you or someone else in your vehicle is able, victims should always seek evidence. Take pictures on your phone right away. Collect witness statements. If you can see anything else at the scene that will assist in documenting your accident, take pictures of that also. Collect as much information as you can, as long as you remember to put your own safety first.
Be sure that you stop and take the time to ask witnesses of the accident for contact information. Our Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys will contact them to confirm their accounts of the accident and possibly ask them other questions that may help your case investigation.
Call a Virginia Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Unsure if you might have a case over your injury?
Please call us for a complimentary consultation. This is free. If we recommend that your case has a likelihood of success, you will then have the option of taking legal action with our firm representing you. Those who choose our firm to move forward will not be charged legal fees unless the case results in compensation. If the case does not result in compensation, you will not be charged.
We have a proven track record of obtaining compensation for our clients – more than $400 million recovered serving injury victims throughout the entire state of Virginia for over 25 years.
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 Virginia Beach is on Parks Avenue, between 21st and 22nd streets.