Skip to main content
Recent Blog Post

Virginia Personal Injury & Accident FAQ

Have you suffered injuries in an accident in Virginia because of someone else’s negligence? The aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming, leaving you with physical pain, emotional distress, and a mountain of questions. Understanding your legal rights and options can feel like trying to find your way out of a maze, especially if you’ve never faced this situation before.

The Virginia personal injury lawyers at Montagna Law have helped countless people like you move forward after an accident. This article addresses some of the more frequently asked questions received by the attorneys at Montagna Law. You might be wondering whether you have a case, what compensation you might be entitled to receive, or how long the process could take. An attorney likely can shed light on the legal process for you and empower you to make informed decisions about your case.

We are here to equip you with the knowledge you need to approach your situation with confidence. Delve into the world of Virginia personal injury law and explore the questions that matter most to you.

What Counts as Personal Injury in Virginia?

A personal injury occurs when someone, through intentional or negligent actions, causes you to suffer physical injuries or mental or emotional harm. Personal injury cases typically fall into one of two categories:

  • Intentional tort: A person does something with the intent to cause you harm. Examples include assault and defamation.
  • Negligence: A person breaches a duty of care that they owe to you or the general public, causing injury to you.

Most Virginia personal injury claims involve negligence law. Examples of personal injury cases in which you must prove that a defendant was negligent include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including car and motorcycle accidents;
  • Truck accidents;
  • Premises liability, including slip-and-fall claims;
  • Medical malpractice;
  • Dog bites; and
  • Wrongful death claims.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Virginia Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A gavel next to a stethoscope

To prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you must establish the following four elements:

  1. The defendant owed a duty of care to you or the public. For example, people who drive on Virginia roads have a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws.
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care, such as failing to pay attention to the road, falling asleep behind the wheel, speeding, running a red light, texting while driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol.
  3. Their breach was the direct cause of your injuries.
  4. You suffered damages, such as medical bills or lost income.

What is Contributory Negligence and What Does It Mean For My Case?

In some personal injury cases, both the plaintiff and the defendant acted negligently before the accident. As a result, they share the blame to some extent. For example, a defendant might have run a red light while the plaintiff’s eyes were briefly off the road. A court might say that the defendant was 80% at fault in that accident while the plaintiff was 20% at fault.

In most states, a plaintiff who was partly at fault in their accident could still recover a reduced amount of damages. This is known as comparative negligence. The plaintiff in the above scenario could recover 80% of their total damages.

Virginia follows the much harsher contributory negligence rule. A plaintiff who shares fault in any amount cannot recover any damages. The plaintiff who was 20% at fault would not be entitled to any recovery in Virginia, even if their share of the fault was only 1%. Virginia personal injury lawyers must work carefully to avoid a contributory negligence defense.

How Much is My Case Worth?

The amount of damages that you can recover depends on numerous factors, including the severity of your injuries and the extent to which they affect your quality of life. A Virginia personal injury attorney can help you make a more accurate calculation of what you are owed. This could include types of damages you did not realize you could receive, like emotional distress and lost work opportunities or future earnings.

What Makes a Strong Personal Injury Claim?

The following factors can help make a strong personal injury claim with the maximum compensation possible:

Clear-Cut Liability

The strongest personal injury cases have a defendant who was clearly at fault for the accident and your injuries. The less work you have to do to prove fault, the more time you can spend establishing how much you have suffered in damages. Thanks to Virginia’s contributory negligence rule, the best scenario is when no evidence points to you sharing any of the fault.

Prompt Medical Care

Medical treatment can uncover injuries that might not manifest immediately after an accident. It can also help you document how the accident has affected you and how it is likely to continue affecting you in the future.

Compelling Witnesses and Other Evidence

Documenting the scene of the accident and the circumstances in which it happened is critically important to your case. The more photos and videos you can present, the better. Witnesses who were there when it happened can support your account. Medical records can show the extent of your injuries and the amount of treatment you will need. You might even keep a journal that documents how you are feeling and any symptoms you experience.

A Consistent Story

Keep in mind that the opposing party, which could be an insurance company or a defense lawyer, will be gathering evidence about you, too. If you are describing horrific injuries in court while telling a different story on social media, you could doom your own case.

A Thorough Demand for Damages

A lawyer can help you understand all of the damages that could be possible in your case. You want to make sure you don’t miss anything that you could be claiming.

A Dedicated Legal Team

An experienced personal injury attorney and law firm can provide indispensable guidance and legal advice. It is never too early to contact a lawyer.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Virginia?

Most personal injury claims in Virginia have a two-year statute of limitations, meaning that you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Some claims may have a longer time limit, such as medical malpractice claims in which you could not have discovered the injury until later.

What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Virginia Personal Injury Case?

A man stopping dominos from falling

Several types of damages may be available, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate you for losses that come directly out of your pocket, either now or in the future, such as:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost earnings;
  • Rehabilitation costs;
  • Loss of earning capacity;
  • Property damage; and
  • Funeral expenses in wrongful death cases.

Non-Economic Damages

Some damages are not as easy to quantify. Non-economic damages compensate you for the effect that your injuries have had on your quality of life, such as:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Disfigurement; and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages may be available in cases where the defendant acted in a particularly horrific manner. As the name suggests, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant rather than compensate the injured party. The Supreme Court of Virginia has held that punitive damages require evidence of “misconduct or malice, or such recklessness or negligence as evinces a conscious disregard of the rights of others.”

How Long Will It Take to Get My Settlement Money?

There is no definitive timeline for receiving compensation in personal injury cases. The following factors can impact the amount of time it takes:

  • The complexity of the case;
  • The complexity of your injuries;
  • Whether the defendant could raise a contributory negligence claim;
  • The other party’s willingness to negotiate; and
  • The number of plaintiffs.

What Can a Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm Do For Me?

An experienced personal injury attorney can perform the following services and more:

  • Evaluating your case and calculating the damages owed to you;
  • Investigating the accident;
  • Gathering evidence;
  • Identifying and interviewing witnesses;
  • Preparing a claim for the insurance company;
  • Negotiating with the insurance adjuster;
  • Preparing a lawsuit, if necessary; and
  • Advocating for you in court.

Why Work With Montagna Law

Montagna Law’s attorneys have decades of experience representing people who have suffered serious injuries. The firm works tirelessly to obtain the maximum compensation available in a variety of claims. They are highly rated by their clients and respected by their peers. Their success includes:

  • Settling a truck accident case for $995,000;
  • Settling a car accident case for $750,000; and
  • Settling an industrial accident case for $1.9 million.

Hear From Our Clients

“I was referred by a family friend after a car accident. John Montagna called personally and offered his help. He and his team are kind, efficient, and thorough!” — Cheryl W.

“I have been a client of Montagna [Law] since 2014. Because the customer service is exceptional, I have established a rapport with everyone in the office. As a customer for 8 years, it is noted that this firm goes above and beyond for the clients.” — Eric E.

Recovery is Possible

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Montagna Law represent people who have suffered injuries throughout the Hampton Roads area. We can advocate for your rights and help you recover the damages you deserve in claims involving car accidents, dog bites, premises liability, and other matters. To schedule a free consultation, contact our law firm today at 877-622-8100 or through their online contact form.

Frequent Answered Questions

Do I Need to Pay My Own Medical Bills From the Accident?

You will need to pay your own medical bills while your personal injury claim is pending. Even if another person or their insurance company is ultimately responsible for paying your medical bills, it will take time to recover those amounts. You cannot wait until then to receive medical care. You might also need records of your medical treatment to establish that the other party is liable. You can be reimbursed if you receive a settlement or award.

Is There a Cap on Personal Injury Damages in Virginia?

Virginia law does not set damage caps on most types of personal injury claims, with a few notable exceptions:

  • A limit on overall damages applies to medical malpractice claims. State law increases the limit on the first of July of each year until 2031. For example, as of July 1, 2023, the cap is $2.6 million.
  • Punitive damages may not exceed $350,000.
Can I File My Own Personal Injury Lawsuit?

You can represent yourself, but this has some significant downsides:

  • Personal injury law can be complex, with numerous rules and procedures to follow. These rules may vary from one courtroom to another.
  • You have a strict time limit for filing suit.
  • As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proving that the defendant is liable for your injuries.
  • You might not have the time to devote to pursuing your case.
  • Lawyers have access to expert witnesses and other specialists who can help build your case.
How Much Does a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

You should not have to pay any attorney fees upfront. Personal injury attorneys typically charge a contingency fee, meaning their fee comes out of whatever settlement or award they get for you. If they do not recover any money for you, they do not get paid. The average contingency fee is 33% of the amount they recover.

Statistics suggest that hiring a lawyer greatly increases both the chances of recovering money and the amount:

  • Even after fees, claimants with lawyers received more than four times as much as claimants who represent themselves, according to surveys by the legal publishing company Nolo.
  • People who hire an attorney are 40% more likely to receive a settlement or award than those who do not.
Our Blog

Latest Blog Posts

    Customer Reviews

    What Our Clients Say

    • Quote Mark
      If you’re looking for someone who’s professional, attentive, serious, caring, and negotiable than Mr. Anthony Montagna is who you need. He understood his assignment and delivered well especially being with what I was looking at in my case. I want …
      – Tiara S.
    • Quote Mark
      I don’t know how he does it, but this man is a monster in the courtroom. I’ll admit I had fears of the outcome of my case, but when I was with Mr. Montagna in front of a judge. My confidence started to raise. Extremely professional and how he hand…
      – BD P.
    • Quote Mark
      Honestly , Mr. Montagna treats like you are his family the way he cares, he takes care of his people , I was doing triple digit speed on a 60 and lord I thought it was over for me in that courtroom , he’s a genius because I literally got away with…
      – Justin
    • Quote Mark
      I have been a client of Montagna Law since 2014. Because the customer service is exceptional, I have established a rapport with everyone in the office. As a customer for 8 years, it is noted that this firm goes above and beyond for the clients.
      – Eric E.
    • Quote Mark
      Montagna Law are wonderful attorneys. I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and they assisted me from day one when I contacted them. I highly recommend their services! Thanks guy’s and gal’s for your services!
      – Kevin B