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FAQ: Am I Required to Hire a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident or you suffered a personal injury in the state of Virginia, you are not required to hire an attorney.  You can represent yourself in the court of law, but whether or not you should do this is debatable.

If you are very familiar with Virginia accident injury laws and understand court procedures, then perhaps you do not need an attorney.  You may also want to consider the severity of the injury, the amount of investigation involved, and how much money is at stake when deciding whether or not to go at it alone.

It never hurts to speak with an attorney to find out if your problem is something that you can work out yourself or if it will help to have the support of an experienced attorney.  Most attorneys do offer a free consultation.  A knowledgeable Virginia personal injury attorney may know laws or have resources that you may not be aware of.

Still unsure whether or not to hire a lawyer?  Read our previous article,  “5 Reasons Why You May Want to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer.  You may also want to be aware of the mistakes people make when hiring a lawyer.

We also recommend ordering our free accident injury book before you speak with any lawyer or insurance adjuster.

FAQ: Should I Contact My Car Insurance Company After an Accident? | Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, some car insurance companies ask that you do report the accident to them regardless if you are at fault or not. Check your policy to see if you are required to contact your car insurance company because if you do not let them know about the accident, it could be grounds for them to drop your coverage.

One of the reasons why you may want to contact your insurance company is if the other driver’s insurance carrier is slow to take action and your car has to be fixed or you require medical care right away. If you have what is called collision insurance, you are covered for any damage to the vehicle caused by another driver hitting your car or if you hit an object such as a tree, pole, or road sign. It doesn’t matter who is at fault, collision insurance will take care of any damages.

If you do suspect that your insurance company may not provide coverage for whatever reason, it may be in your best interest to contact a Virginia personal injury lawyer. There are some companies who will try to blame you for the accident just to avoid paying out your claim even though you know for a fact that the other driver was clearly at fault.

Find out more about what car insurance companies don’t want you to know about your injury claim by requesting our free accident injury book.

Teen Deaths From Car Crashes Increase in Virginia | Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer

According to an article published over at the WSLS10 website, there has been a surge in the number of teenage deaths in Virginia due to car crashes. During the first three weeks of 2012, there were 11 teens who were killed, whereas only 3 died during the same period in 2011.

Reports from the incidents say that the majority of the crashes were caused by speeding, distractions, and going off the road. Because cell phone use is so high among teens, it would be interesting to find out if any of the teen drivers involved in these crashes were talking on the phone or texting while driving.

Safety organizations in Virginia have taken notice and are now on a mission to spread the word about safe driving among teens.

If you’re looking for helpful safety driving tips, read our article about keeping your teen safe on Virginia roadways. Another tip we would add is for parents to write up a teen driving contract that outlines safe driving practices and other car-related issues. This contract should be signed by the teen and the consequences of not abiding by the contract should be stated clearly. This lets your teen know how serious you are about their safety.

At O’Bryan Law we specialize in auto accidents in Virginia. Before talking with any insurance adjuster, it’s recommended to consult with an attorney to find out what rights you have as a victim of a car crash.

Police Shoots Pit Bull | Richmond Dog Bite Attorney

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

In Williamsburg, Virginia the owner of a pit bull is upset that a police officer shot his dog, but the officer claims that the dog attacked him.

Robert Asbury said that the dog was not on a leash, but it was not acting aggressively towards the officer. Asbury allegedly called out to the 1-year-old dog to “Stop”, but claims that the dog could not hear him because the officer was yelling and being aggressive. That’s when the officer shot and wounded the pit bull in the jaw and is now recovering at a veterinary in Richmond.

Asbury says that the officer could have used a taser or mace to ward off the dog. There is an escalation-of-force policy that deals with aggressive people in which pepper spray or tasers can be used, but for animals there is no policy other than a “general use of force”.

Pit bulls are widely known to be an aggressive breed of dog with a “hold and shake” bite style. It’s been said that a pit bull’s aggression is unpredictable and that it may not growl, bare its teeth or offer a direct stare before it strikes. DogsBite.org, a group dedicated to reducing dog attacks, analyzed data from 88 dog bite fatalities between 2006-2008. They reported that 19 dog breeds were involved in these dog bite deaths and pit bulls accounted for 59% of the incidents.

If you have been attacked by a pit bull or an aggressive dog, don’t hesitate to consult with a Richmond dog bite attorney to help you with your case.

Practice Safe Driving During Bad Storms | Richmond Virginia Accident Lawyer

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Hurricane Irene left its mark in many parts of the East Coast, including Virginia. We here at O’Bryan Law hope that you and your family were well and safe during the storm. There have been a few deaths because of the hurricane, most of them occurred due to fallen trees.

As you can imagine, Virginia state troopers were called to duty during this time, responding to a myriad of car crashes. A news release from Virginia police says that troopers fielded more than 1,677 calls the Saturday Irene hit between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. They also responded to 237 traffic crashes with the majority of them involving property damage.

We encourage you to avoid driving as much as possible while the streets and highways are being cleared of debris and fallen trees. Light poles have been damaged, so visibility is poor at night.

If you do have to drive, here are a few tips to keep yourself safe:

  • Check weather and news reports about current road conditions before heading out.
  • Avoid driving through flooded streets and standing water. Standing water can make your car stall and cause damage.
  • Don’t drive over fallen power lines.
  • Avoid driving behind or beside large semi-trucks and tractor trailers. Gusty winds can cause big vehicles to sway from side to side.

The most important things to remember when driving during bad weather is to always be alert and don’t be in a rush to get anywhere. It’s better to get to your destination late than to not get there at all!

FAQ: Car Accident With Uninsured Drivers in Virginia

October 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Q: I was involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver in Virginia. What can I do? 

Being involved with an uninsured driver can be frustrating, but there are a couple things you can do: 1) File a claim with your insurance company or 2) Personally take the uninsured driver to court.

If you have coverage through your own insurance company for uninsured drivers, all you have to do is file a claim. However, make sure that your insurance company doesn’t try to low ball you and offer a small amount to cover damages. If that’s the case, you may want to consider consulting with a Virginia car accident lawyer.

If you don’t have coverage for uninsured drivers, your next option is to file a small claims suit against the other driver. Keep in mind that the most that you can sue for is $5,000 in the state of Virginia. If your injuries and damages fall in the range of $4,500 to $25,000, you can file a claim with the Virginia Circuit Court.

While most states have made it mandatory to carry auto insurance, Virginia is one of the few states that allows some drivers to simply pay a $500 fee and go without insurance. If a person decides to pay this fee but is involved in a car accident, he/she is still personally liable.

Have you been involved with an uninsured driver in Virginia? Contact an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer to help you with your case. 

5 Reasons Why You May Want to Hire a Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer

October 5, 2011 1 comment

A car accident can leave you overwhelmed, especially if this is the first time you’ve experienced this type of situation.  Are you unsure whether or not to hire a Richmond personal injury lawyer?  Here are a few instances in which you may consider consulting with a lawyer:

1.  If someone was seriously injured in the wreck. A devastating injury can have long-lasting effects which may require extensive medical attention. Managing these types of claims can be laborious.

2.  There is disagreement between who is at fault. An experienced personal injury lawyer can protect your rights.

3.  You believe the insurance company is not offering a fair amount of compensation for damages.  Remember that insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests. They want to get away with paying out the least amount possible.

4.  You are unhappy with the way your claim is being handled. Are you getting the run-around from the insurance company or taking too long to process your claim? Maybe it’s time to hire an attorney.

5.  You’re unsure what the value of your pain and suffering is worth. You are entitled to be compensated for emotional distress damages, but since it is such a subjective matter, it can be hard to figure out what dollar amount you should ask for.

There are many benefits to hiring a Richmond personal injury attorney immediately after a car accident. You can focus on your recovery while your lawyer can deal with all the paperwork and negotiating with the insurance company.

Request our free accident injury book to get more information about injury claims.

FAQ: How Long Will My Accident Injury Case Take? | Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer

Each accident injury case is different and how long it takes to settle a case is different for each person. Mostly it will depend on how severe your injuries are and how long it takes for you to recuperate.

While you are being treated by your physician and/or chiropractor for your injuries, we begin building your case by collecting your medical records and other records related to the accident, such as eye-witness testimony.

We highly recommend keeping all appointments with your doctor and to get treatment as often as necessary so that your body can heal and recover properly. If cost is an issue, talk to your physician or chiropractor as sometimes they will allow you to pay their fees after you receive your settlement.

Once your medical treatment is finished, we begin the process of submitting your paperwork to the insurance company. Typically it takes 6-8 weeks for an insurance adjuster to go over your claim and respond with a settlement offer. This is when the back and forth negotiations begin.

Of course the insurance company will start with a very low offer, but we will work to ensure that the compensation your receive covers your medical treatments, lost wages, and any emotional pain and suffering endured.

The negotiation process can take another week or so, depending on how fast or slow the insurance company is, but once a settlement is agreed upon, it can take another week to receive a check. The whole process all together can take anywhere from 3-4 months after treatment is finished.

If you are working with a Virginia accident injury lawyer, make sure he/she communicates with on a regular basis to keep you updated on your claim.

FAQ: Car Accident in Virginia: Not at Fault, But I Have No Insurance

I was in a car accident in Virginia, but I do not have car insurance. I am not at fault, though. Can I still get money for my injury and damages to my car?  

Although you do not carry insurance, it is not considered a “fault” in the state of Virginia.  You can still file an injury or damage claim with the other party’s insurance company. At the time of the accident you should have collected the other driver’s personal information including their insurance information. You can contact the insurance company on your own or hire an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer.

If you go ahead and file the claim yourself, but the other driver’s car insurance company refuses to pay, do not give up. Car insurance companies will often do this. Dealing with them can be a hassle and very time-consuming. We recommend reading our free accident injury book to help you with your case, “Hidden Inside Secrets Big Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know About Your Injury Claim“.

We understand that due to financial reasons you may not be able to purchase liability insurance, but you are putting yourself at an even greater financial risk by not carrying insurance. If you are in an auto accident in Virginia and you were at fault, you would have to pay out of pocket for any injury or damages to other parties.   

FYI:  The state of Virginia requires the following minimum car insurance coverage:

  • Bodily injury/death of one person $25,000
  • Bodily injury/death of two or more persons $50,000
  • Property damage $20,000

You can change lawyers now! | Richmond accident injury lawyer

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

I was just talking to someone today who did not realize that he could switch lawyers on his personal injury car accident case. So I just thought I would type a quick blog post to help people become aware of the fact that in Virginia you can switch lawyers at any time if you are not happy with your attorney.

It does not affect how much money you get for your accident case. The lawyers communicate with each other and work out their fees among themselves.

So remember, if you are tired of dealing with a big law firm that won’t return your calls and you never see a lawyer, then you have a choice to bring your case to O’Bryan Law and get the kind of personal service you deserve.

Call us at 643-4343 today for your FREE BOOK, written by Wayne O’Bryan called Hidden Inside Secrets Big Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know About Your Injury Claim.

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