Have you recently suffered injuries in a car accident? You have enough to worry about as you recover from your injuries. Dealing with the insurance company in order to get the fair settlement you deserve only adds more pain and aggravation. After you have been injured in an accident, insurance companies will use clever tactics to try and pay you the lowest possible amount no matter how severe your injuries or significant your expenses.
Montagna Law is a leading Virginia auto accident law firm. We have over 50 years of experience helping clients recover compensation in car accident cases. We will move to hold the at-fault driver financially responsible for your lost quality of life, pain and suffering, physical impairment, lost wages, and medical expenses. You can focus on your recovery while the car accident attorneys at Montagna Law advocate on your behalf to the insurance company and work to get the best outcome for you after a car crash.
The personal injury attorneys at Montagna Law have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and judgments for clients throughout Virginia. We will fight for your right to fair compensation and will not stop until we have obtained everything you deserve.
Some of our victories for our clients include:
After a motor vehicle accident, you can start building a claim for damages right away, but your first priority should be safety.
Start with yourself. You might need immediate medical treatment. Check on any passengers in your vehicle. If you can exit the vehicle safely, check on the other driver or drivers involved in the crash. Do not try to move anyone unless they are in immediate danger.
The dispatcher will send paramedics if anyone needs immediate medical attention. The police will also respond to investigate the accident. You will need the police report later for your insurance claim.
Answer the police officer’s questions as best you can. Be truthful, but do not volunteer more information than they ask you to provide.
You should exchange insurance and contact information with other drivers at the scene.
Get the names and contact information of any witnesses who are still at the scene. The police may also be interviewing witnesses, so take care not to get in their way.
Take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, and your injuries if possible. Get license plate numbers for all of the vehicles. If a semi-trailer or other commercial truck was involved, get the Department of Transportation number and the name of the company. The more evidence you can gather, the more you can provide to a personal injury lawyer later on.
Your recollection of the accident will also be important to your claim. Try to write down as much as you can about what you remember. Describe the circumstances of the accident, such as where you were, where the other driver or drivers were, whether you think anybody was speeding or violating any other traffic laws, and how the accident happened.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, the paramedics may have already taken you to the hospital. If not, seek medical attention as soon as you can. Car accidents can cause serious injuries. Some injuries may not seem serious at first. Whiplash, for example, can take some time to show its symptoms.
You will need to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Let them know that a police report has been or will be filed.
Provide basic factual information about the accident if asked, but do not go into detail or provide any information they did not specifically request. An insurance adjuster may try to use any information you provide to minimize the amount of compensation they may have to pay you.
As soon as you are able to do so, contact an experienced attorney who can help you make a car accident claim. They can take over the process of gathering evidence and communicating with insurance companies so that you can focus on medical care and recovery.
Montagna Law handles all types of car accidents that occur on Virginia roads. We have represented thousands of clients in claims involving personal injuries caused by car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other motor vehicle crashes.
Head-on collision accidents involve two vehicles whose front parts collide with one another. They often result in fatalities. When not fatal, they can cause traumatic brain injuries and injuries to the neck or spine, which can result in paralysis or other permanent disabilities.
Rear-end accidents occur when one vehicle rams into another from behind. The driver in front may have braked a little too suddenly, or the driver at the back may have had a problem braking and bringing their car to a halt. Car accidents like this can cause injuries like whiplash and sciatica. According to current statistics, there are about 1.7 million such accident cases reported annually in the United States.
T-bone collisions may occur at intersections when an oncoming vehicle rams into the side of another. This type of accident may sometimes be due to speeding, wanting to beat the traffic light, or failure to yield the right-of-way to another motorist. Fatal injuries can result in many circumstances.
This kind of accident occurs when one vehicle brushes another sideways. It may occur when a driver passes too close to a vehicle parked on the side of the road, or when drivers fail to maintain their lanes on the road. Injuries can range from mild to severe, especially if the contact between the vehicles causes one or both to veer off of the road or into oncoming traffic.
Also known as multiple crashes, these occur when a vehicle collides with another vehicle and causes it to collide with more vehicles. A chain-reaction crash could involve three vehicles or, in a few extreme cases, as many as a hundred vehicles. Accident victims may suffer injuries like whiplash, concussion, broken bones, and neck pain.
A vehicle could be involved in an accident by sliding off the road or hitting a standing object. This could result from loss of vehicle control, poor road conditions, problems with the braking system, or bad weather, to name but a few possible causes.
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a vehicle hits another vehicle or a pedestrian, and the driver does not remain at the accident scene to wait for the police to arrive. Injuries can range from minor to severe, depending on the circumstances of the crash.
The main challenge in a hit-and-run accident is identifying and locating the at-fault driver. If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it may be necessary to make a claim on your own insurance if you have uninsured driver coverage.
Safe driving requires attention to road conditions, other vehicles on the road, pedestrians, and other potential hazards. Alcohol and various drugs can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Driving under the influence is illegal everywhere in the U.S., and can have serious penalties. It is also a significant cause of car crashes.
Virginia law prohibits drivers from using handheld electronic devices like cellphones while driving. Texting and other actions while driving can have a drastic effect on a driver’s ability to react to road hazards. It is a cause of thousands of car accidents across the country every year.
Traffic accidents may occur in situations where one driver is supposed to yield to another driver but fails to do so. Vehicles making a left turn, for example, are often supposed to yield to oncoming traffic. A car that makes a left turn without yielding could strike or be struck by an oncoming vehicle. Other examples of failure-to-yield accidents could involve lane changes and merging into traffic when entering or exiting a highway.
Trucks with high centers of gravity are at particular risk for rollovers. They may occur in truck accidents when a large truck tries to turn too quickly or has improperly-loaded cargo. Rollover accidents can cause immense damage. The truck driver could face serious injuries or death, and other vehicles on the road are at risk of colliding with the truck, its cargo, or other vehicles.
Left-turn accidents are a type of failure-to-yield accident. They occur when vehicles making left turns do not yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic as required by Virginia law. Depending on the circumstances, the turning vehicle could hit the side of an oncoming vehicle, or an oncoming vehicle could hit its side. The two vehicles could have a head-on collision instead, potentially causing even worse injuries.
Crowded parking lots are often the scene of fender benders that cause property damage. Car crashes in parking lots can also cause serious injuries in some situations. Head-on and T-bone collisions are possible at various speeds.
Accidents on highways can be among the deadliest and most destructive on Virginia’s roads. This is largely due to the higher speed limits on state and Interstate highways. Vehicles traveling faster hit one another with more force, causing more damage and worse injuries. Higher speeds can also make weather conditions and road hazards more dangerous.
Winter weather in Virginia can bring snowstorms and icy conditions. Drivers must be extra careful when driving on ice because of the difficulty of controlling their vehicles. Accidents may result from the loss of vehicle control due to driver error or a wide range of other factors.
Many people in Virginia rely on rideshare app services for transportation. Unfortunately, rideshare drivers can get into accidents too, whether from their own negligence or the negligence of others on the road. Passengers who have been injured in a rideshare accident may have a claim against the driver or the rideshare company, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Buses are similar to large commercial trucks in many ways. They are more cumbersome to operate and require special training. They can also cause serious damage and injuries in accidents. School buses and their drivers are subject to numerous legal requirements because of the importance of their passengers. Recovering damages for injuries sustained in a crash involving a school bus requires knowledge of these legal requirements.
Some states have adopted a “no-fault” system for personal injury claims involving car accidents. Drivers in these states must carry auto insurance that pays compensation for certain losses, such as medical bills and lost wages, no matter who was at fault in the accident. Virginia is not among these states.
Virginia is a “fault” state for car accidents. In order to recover damages in an auto accident case, you must make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance or file a lawsuit against them in court. Proving fault usually involves the legal theory of negligence.
To establish that a person was legally negligent, and therefore financially responsible for your injuries, you must prove four elements:
Virginia law sets a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. For motor vehicle accidents, the statute of limitations in Virginia is two years from the date of the accident. If you file a lawsuit two years and one day after the accident, the court will dismiss the suit and you will have few, if any, options for recovering compensation.
Note that filing a lawsuit is usually the last resort after failing to obtain an acceptable settlement offer from the driver’s insurance company. You should start the insurance claim process as soon as possible after the accident so you do not run out of time to file suit.
The length of time your auto accident case will take could be anywhere from a month or two to several years. It depends on many factors, including:
Your case will take a minimum of several weeks, which is the amount of time you and your attorney will most likely need to gather all of the evidence you will require for your claim. If you are able to reach a settlement agreement with an insurance company, the case might not take much longer than that. It could also take much longer.
The majority of personal injury cases settle before a lawsuit is filed. Among the cases that result in a lawsuit, the majority of those settle before trial. You have two years to file suit. Whether you need all of that time to try to negotiate with the insurance company depends on the factors described above.
Once you file a lawsuit, the case goes through several stages that could take several months to a year or longer. If you want to go to trial, you will have to wait for an opening in the court’s docket, which could take several more months. At this point, several years may have passed since the accident.
Settlements for car accidents can range wildly in value. It is nearly impossible to estimate an average with so many factors at play.
The amount you will receive for your car accident depends on a number of variables, including:
At Montagna Law, we have settled auto accident claims up to millions of dollars. While we cannot tell you with certainty how much of a settlement to expect, we can promise that we will fight to help you recover the largest settlement possible. We are so confident in our ability to get you money that we collect an attorney’s fee only after our clients get paid.
Virginia uses a legal concept known as “contributory negligence” in personal injury cases. It sets very harsh limits on the ability to recover damages in court.
If a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit can show that a plaintiff contributed to the accident in any way, the plaintiff may not be able to recover any damages for their injuries. Suppose the defendant in a case was overwhelmingly responsible for the accident, to the point that the jury found that they were 99% at fault. The 1% of fault for the accident attributed to the plaintiff would mean they receive nothing.
Many states have abandoned contributory negligence and use a system known as comparative fault instead. This system allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they were partly responsible for the accident, as long as they were less than 50% at fault. It reduces their damages by the percentage of fault attributed to them. If a plaintiff had $50,000 in damages and was found by a jury to be 25% at fault, their damage award would be reduced by one-fourth to $37,500.
Insurance companies and their attorneys may try to take advantage of the contributory negligence system. If they can pin any responsibility onto you, they can avoid having to make any payout to you at all. Legal representation by an experienced auto accident attorney can be critically important in preventing this from happening.
Having a Virginia car accident lawyer on your side in your case offers many benefits for you:
It is imperative to determine the precise causes of your car accident. Identifying the parties who had a role in your auto accident will help to maximize your financial recovery.
When you have been injured in a car accident, you will probably be dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your health and wellbeing are not at the top of the insurance company’s mind. Their goal is to minimize the amount of money you get.
An auto accident attorney can protect you from insurance companies’ unfair tactics. Our attorneys level the playing field and ensure that they make a settlement offer that covers your accident-related costs.
When victims of car accidents attempt to handle their case on their own, they may rely on an insurance company’s assessment of their case’s value. They want to keep your payout as low as possible, so they will almost certainly undervalue your injuries and ignore factors like reduced earning capacity or emotional distress.
Call us today at (877) 622-8100 to schedule a free consultation where you can learn more about auto accident laws and the benefits of hiring one of our car accident lawyers in Virginia. You do not have to fight this battle alone.
Our auto accident attorneys in Virginia apply our same compassionate approach and extensive legal knowledge to each and every case we handle. This approach guarantees that our client gets the maximum chances of obtaining a settlement or verdict to recover financially and physically after their major auto accident. We proudly serve Virginia to include Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Norfolk.
The value of a car accident claim in Virginia is typically based on factors like:
Each case is unique, and the compensation amount can vary significantly.
If the at-fault driver in your accident is uninsured, you can file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage, if available. Alternatively, you can explore legal options to pursue compensation directly from the at-fault party, although this can be challenging if they lack sufficient assets.
Yes, accidents involving commercial vehicles or trucks can be more complex due to additional regulations and higher insurance coverage. These cases may involve multiple parties, including the trucking company, and require thorough investigation to determine liability and compliance with industry standards.
For long-term or permanent injuries, it’s important to consider future medical needs, potential ongoing care costs, and the impact on earning capacity. Claims should account for both immediate and future consequences of the injury to ensure adequate compensation for the victim’s altered life circumstances.
Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident can be challenging. It’s important to remember that insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts. Be cautious in your communications and consider seeking legal advice before accepting any settlement offers. A lawyer can help negotiate a fair settlement that covers your damages and losses.
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.