No matter your driving experience, you are never really prepared to deal with an on-road mishap. Auto collisions and accidents are not rare in Wytheville, and following an accident, it is common for people to feel disoriented and shocked. As a driver, you have certain responsibilities and must take steps to protect your rights. Here’s what you must know about Virginia laws, along with top reasons to hire a Wytheville auto accident lawyer.
Understanding contributory negligence
Unlike most states that follow the comparative negligence rule, Virginia follows the contributory negligence rule. As a driver, if you had a minor share in the blame for the car accident, you cannot sue the other party. This may seem rather harsh, but any share in fault prevents you from recovering a settlement from the other at-fault driver.
The statute of limitations
Virginia’s statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing injury lawsuits, including car accident lawsuits. If you have a valid claim, you have to file a lawsuit within two years. The statute of limitations is for civil lawsuits only. The deadline starts from the accident date, and therefore, you have to act early.
Steps to take after an accident
- Pullover and check if someone is injured
- Call 911 for immediate medical help, if needed
- Inform the local law-enforcement agency
- Wait for the police & exchange insurance & contact info with other drivers
- Note down the events on a piece of paper
- Take photos of the accident scene
- Inform your insurer
- Call a car accident lawyer
When do you need an attorney?
When it comes to auto accidents, you should hire an attorney for your own benefit. Reasons to lawyer up would include –
- You have sustained severe or life-altering injuries
- You have no experience with insurance companies
- The insurance company has offered a low settlement
- There were many parties/vehicles involved
- You have sustained heavy losses
The good part is most auto accident lawyers in Virginia will take a contingency fee. Their fee is a part of the settlement, not exceeding 40%. However, if the lawyer fails, they don’t get paid. There is no upfront fee, making it much easier to seek legal support and services after an auto accident. Most law firms have websites these days, and you can also check websites like Nolo. It is best to hire a lawyer without delay because the deadline to file auto accident lawsuits is short.