One of these tragedies may have just hit too close to home. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident that you believe was caused by someone else, contact a Roanoke personal injury lawyer from Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico right away. We are highly experienced in handling various personal injury and wrongful death claims in and around southwest Virginia and are here to help you through it.
While we are aggressive in our pursuit of compensation, we never lose sight of what is most important. That is you and your family. We will put your needs first, and guide you through the insurance claim and legal processes with compassion. We understand how challenging this time is. Our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers in Roanoke are here to lift the burden and fight for you to receive justice.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if you were injured due to another person’s negligence. To be negligent is to fail to act as a reasonable person would. However, personal injury claims do not require willful and knowing conduct. Instead, it could be that the at-fault party was careless in how they behaved. A strong example is a driver who became distracted by texts on their cell phone, failed to see you slow down, and rear-ended your car. In certain situations, the at-fault party could also be found grossly negligent. To meet this standard, the other person needs to act recklessly and in a way, that demonstrates a total disregard for others safety. A driver may be considered grossly negligent if they were speeding at 90 mph on the highway and weaving between other vehicles.
You may file a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia if you were injured by another person’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. If you are unsure if the other person’s actions rose to this level and whether they were negligent, contact a Roanoke personal injury attorney at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico to investigate the accident.
We Handle All Types of Roanoke Personal Injury Accidents
Many of the personal injury claims that we handle result from car accidents. If you were injured in any type of car crash, you should contact a Roanoke car accident lawyer at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico right away. We are highly experienced in investigating car accidents and determining fault and liability. We will determine all relevant insurance policies available and seek to obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
We also handle a large number of motorcycle accidents across Virginia. You, friends, or family members may enjoy taking your bikes out for a ride, but you face risks on the road. Many vehicle drivers are not in the habit of looking for anything other than vehicles. This puts motorcycle riders, cyclists, and pedestrians at risk of being hit. Also, motorcycles fit squarely into many vehicle’s blind spots. Vehicles may be changing lanes into you, pushing you off the road. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash caused by someone else, call a Roanoke motorcycle accident lawyer today.
In addition to car and motorcycle accidents, we also take on claims resulting from other motor vehicle crashes. If you were injured in a truck accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident, call us right away.
However, not all personal injury claims arise from vehicle accidents. Contact our Roanoke injury lawyers if you or a loved one were injured due to:
- Dangerous Property/Premises Liability
- Defective Products
- Animal Attacks/Dog Bites
- Birth Injuries
- Work-Related Accidents
Important Virginia Personal Injury Laws
There are numerous Virginia statutes that may impact your personal injury claim. The most prominent is Virginia’s personal injury statute of limitations. The Code of Virginia §8.01-243 details how long you have to file suit. Generally, you have two years from when the cause of action occurs to file a personal injury lawsuit. The cause of action typically refers to the date of the accident that resulted in your injuries. However, certain exceptions exist, such as the date that you became aware of your injuries.
Other laws and time limitations may apply if a government entity is at fault for your injuries. If you believe a state or local agency is to blame, speak with an injury lawyer immediately. If the claim is against a municipality, then §15.2-209 states you only have six months after the accident to provide written notice of your claim.
If you file a personal injury claim and win, there is no cap on your damages, which means there is no maximum limit on the amount of compensation you can receive. This rule has two exceptions. Virginia Code §8.01-581.15 outlines damages caps for medical malpractice claims, which are set to increase each year until 2031. For example:
- July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018: $2.30 million
- July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019: $2.35 million
- July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020: $2.40 million
- July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021: $2.45 million
The other exception to the rule is a cap on punitive damages. In most personal injury cases based on negligence, you may only receive compensatory damages. However, if you can prove the other party was grossly negligent, which usually occurs in shocking or egregious circumstances, then you may receive punitive damages. These are intended to punish the wrongdoer, and Virginia Code §8.01-38.1 caps them at $350,000.
Common Injuries Resulting in Personal Injury Claims
Dangerous accidents can lead to all types of injuries, from mild sprains and lacerations to catastrophic internal organ damage. Our Virginia injury attorneys have worked on cases involving a myriad of injuries that ranged from mild to moderate, to severe. We are highly experienced in reviewing medical documentation and working with healthcare professionals. We are also connected with expert medical witnesses who we may call upon to support your claim for compensation in court.
Contact us right away if you suffered any type of injury in an accident, including:
- Severe Lacerations and Disfigurements
- Bone Fractures
- Sprains and Strains
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
- Nerve Damage
- Internal Organ Damage
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Respiratory Injuries
- Vision and Hearing Loss
Can I Receive Compensation for My Injuries?
If you and an accident lawyer can establish that your injuries resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may recover compensation. When another party is at fault for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries, you may seek compensation for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Physical Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Reduced Earning Capacity
- Loss of Normal Life
These are known as compensatory damages, and their value depends on a number of factors. Certain compensatory damages are economic losses. A Roanoke injury lawyer can establish the value of your medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity by reviewing your documentation and working with expert witnesses. Your non-economic damages, like your pain and suffering, are harder to place a value on. However, we are well-aware of the methods that insurers and courts use to calculate non-economic damages. From start to finish, we will keep you informed about how your damages are assessed and provide realistic guidance about what you can expect.
What Is the Value of my Personal Injury Claim?
Your claim’s value is influenced by several elements, including:
- The type of injury you suffered.
- The degree of the injury you suffered.
- The length of time it will take you to recover to the maximum extent possible.
- The amount of pain you endured due to your injuries.
- Whether you must live with the permanent effects of the injury, such as a physical limitation or visible disfigurement.
- The difficulty of conducting common daily activities with a new limitation.
- The mental health effects of the accident, such as depression, sleep disorders, or anxiety.
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we will thoroughly review your damages with you, ensuring all of your injuries are well documented. We will discuss the value of your economic and non-economic damages as well as the factors that may increase or decrease the final settlement or verdict amount. We will be honest about our expectations for your case and fight for the greatest amount possible for your injuries.
Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Law
Many states follow a comparative negligence law, which means you can still recover compensation after an accident if you are found to be less than half at fault. In these states, your compensation is simply decreased by your percentage of fault. However, Virginia follows a strict contributory negligence rule. Under this standard, if a court finds that you are at fault at all (even 1 percent responsible) for the accident that caused your injuries, then you may not receive any compensation.
Our Roanoke injury lawyers understand how devastating this rule can be. That is why we conduct in-depth investigations after accidents, searching for all possible evidence. We carefully examine every detail to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your case. We do this to build a strong case against the liable party. In addition to gathering evidence, we also hire expert witnesses to further explain relevant information to the judge and jury.
We know that many insurers and their legal representatives may try to claim that you were also negligent to escape liability. We are not intimidated by this tactic, and will not let anyone off easy. We will fight hard for your right to compensation after being hurt in an accident.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
One of many questions we are often asked is whether a particular case will go to trial. We cannot predict the future, however, most personal injury cases are settled prior to trial. In most circumstances, we will pursue an insurance claim settlement on your behalf. We may still file the personal injury suit in order to take full advantage of the discovery process and gather more evidence. However, following discovery, we may enter into settlement negotiations with the defendant, or more likely, their insurance company. Your case is most likely to go to trial if the defendant is not covered by an insurance company or the insurer refuses to agree to an appropriate settlement amount.
Contact a Roanoke Personal Injury Lawyer from Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico After an Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, call a Virginia injury lawyer from Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico as soon as you can. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to find out if you have a legal claim, and if so, assert your rights through the personal injury claim process.
We understand that hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit can be intimidating. It can seem like too much when you already have so much on your plate. However, by working with a skilled and compassionate injury attorney, you gain considerable insight into pursuing what you deserve under the law and a greater likelihood of obtaining justice. We have helped many people just like you and have an impressive track record of securing positive results for those in our care.