If you sustain an injury that’s the result of someone else’s negligence, you’re entitled to receive compensation by filing a personal injury claim. However, the process isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Even in the best of circumstances recovering compensation can be a difficult undertaking. That’s why you need the best lawyers in Virginia and DC in your corner. This article takes an in-depth look at what they can do for you.
How Top Lawyers in Northern VA Prove Liability
For accident lawyers in VA to recover compensation on your behalf, they have to prove that the other party’s behavior was negligent. This is the cornerstone of every personal injury claim. It means that a Virginia personal injury lawyer would have to follow the quintessential four-step approach to prove liability.
Step 1: Duty of Care
You would have to establish that the wrongdoer had a duty of care towards you. For instance, if you were stuck in traffic, the drivers around you have a duty of care to stay alert at all times. That way, they avoid doing anything that might cause you harm or injury.
Step 2: Breach of Duty
The next step involves proving that someone was in breach of the said duty. In keeping with the example, suppose that the driver behind you rear-ended you because they were distracted.
You then find out that they were texting while driving and so didn’t notice that you had stopped when the traffic lights turned red. They were in breach of duty of care.
Step 3: Causation
This third step involves showing that the injuries you sustained were as a result of the breach. It poses the question: Were it not for the wrongdoer’s negligent actions, would the injury have occurred?
Suppose that the force of the impact caused you to fracture your kneecap when it hit the dashboard. Had the driver been paying attention, you wouldn’t have been injured.
Step 4: Damages
The final step involves showing that you suffered damages as a result of the breach. Imagine that you have to undergo emergency surgery to fix your fractured knee and take six months off work to recuperate.
Your employer can’t afford to pay you a full salary for the entire 6-month period that you are away from work. So, as per the terms of your contract, you would be entitled to receive only 50% of your monthly wages for the duration of your recovery.
A Virginia car accident lawyer would be able to prove that you suffered damages owing to the medical expenses you incurred for the surgery and the half-salary you received for the six-months you were away from work.
How the Top Lawyers in Northern Virginia File a Personal Injury Claim
It’s important to realize that your goals and that of your insurer are at direct odds. They work hard to see that they pay out as little as they can on a policy. So, they’ll be looking to poke holes at your proof of liability every step of the way.
For this reason, you’ll need to retain a personal injury lawyer in Northern Virginia to fight just as hard to see that you are compensated fairly. So, make use of a credible Virginia lawyer referral service to find one with the right mix of skills and experience to play hardball with insurance companies. Depending on where you live, you’ll be able to find highly competent:
- Truck accident lawyers in Stafford, VA
- Car accident lawyers in Alexandria, VA
- Bicycle accident lawyers in Manassas, VA
- Motorcycle accident lawyers in Leesburg, VA
- Dog bite injury lawyers in Fairfax VA
- Brain injury lawyers in Fredericksburg VA
- Medical malpractice lawyers in Arlington VA
- Mesothelioma lawyer in Virginia
A couple of things they’ll do before they file a suit include:
1. Gather Evidence
This is crucial to any personal injury claim. Your lawyer will need solid facts on how you sustained the injuries. Some of the common items they’ll seek out include police reports, video footage, eye-witness statements, cell phone records, and anything else they deem important to the case.
2. Negotiate with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies tend to make lowball offers to injury victims. They hardly ever pay out the full value of insurance policies even with an airtight claim.
The best personal injury lawyer in Fairfax, VA, will see to it that you get a settlement that takes into account all your losses. If they can’t agree on a fair amount, these attorneys are not afraid to take the matter to court.
Filing a Lawsuit
Virginia state laws give you a maximum of two years within which a lawsuit has to be filed. Claims also have to be settled within this period as well. It’s important to work with a personal injury lawyer in Fairfax, VA who can get you the compensation you deserve within the stipulated state deadlines.
How to Make a Good Impression in Court: Advice from Top Attorneys
Going to court is a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, more so if it’s your first time. Standing in front of a packed courtroom and having to give a testimony could leave you tongue-tied in front of a judge and jury.
Retaining a personal injury lawyer in Richmond, VA, Fairfax, Arlington or anywhere in the US to do the heavy lifting for you will go a long way in helping your case.
However, it’s still up to you to make a great first impression. Here’s some advice from top attorneys that can help you make a great impression in court.
1. Show Up
At the risk of stating the obvious, you need to show up to your court hearing on the appointed date. If you don’t make an appearance, the judge will make a summary judgment ruling against you.
If that happens, there’s no bag of tricks, even the best lawyers in the country have to turn it around. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the proceedings begin so that you can find your way to the correct courtroom.
2. The Internet Is a Great Resource
If you don’t have a legal background, it’s easy to get lost in all the jargon that will be tossed around during your court hearing. Use the internet for research to become familiar with common legal terms.
It also helps to watch a couple of trials beforehand. That way, you understand some of the intricacies of the process and prepare adequately.
3. Prepare to Face the Jury
If either party (plaintiff or defendant) requests for a jury to be present during the hearing, there’s no going around it. You will have to stand before them and testify.
This could work for or against you since juries tend to be swayed by emotions rather than by physical evidence. You also need to be aware of jury rules that you need to follow during the trial. Therefore, if you’re representing yourself, be prepared to:
- Make a confident and moving opening statement
- Be present during the jury selection process
- Submit jury instructions
4. Observe the Rules
Every courtroom has a specific set of rules that must be followed. It helps to talk to the court clerk beforehand to get guidance on how you should conduct yourself. Find out what the presiding judge is like and what they require in terms of courtroom decorum and behavior.
For instance, do they prefer that you address the court while standing, or do they allow you to remain seated during the entire process? There’s nothing more effective in throwing you off your game than being reprimanded in open court for failing to abide by the judge’s rules.
5. Keep Your Cool
If you’re prone to emotional outbursts or temper tantrums, you’ll need to leave them at the door before you get into the courtroom. Losing your cool in the heat of proceedings won’t get you very far.
So be polite to both the defendant and the judge and quietly listen to your opponent’s version of events even if they’re giving a skewed account of what happened. You’ll have your chance to address the court in due time.
If all this sounds tedious and involving, you’re better off leaving it to the professionals to represent you. Top personal injury lawyers are well-versed in courtroom dynamics, so you won’t have to worry about all the fine details of the trial process.
Besides, if you get a good attorney to represent you, that’s already half the battle won. The judge and jury are likely to take them more seriously than if you represented yourself.
What Types of Cases Do Top Personal Injury Lawyers in DC Handle?
If you’re in Washington DC and have suffered an injury, a personal injury lawyer DC will see to it that you receive the compensation you deserve. Some of the claims top attorneys handle include:
Car Accident Injury
If you were involved in a car accident, following up compensation with your insurance can be a nightmare. This is because insurance companies make money by holding on to it for as long as they can.
Sometimes, they used underhanded tricks to get you to forfeit what they owe. A car accident lawyer in DC will make sure insurance companies don’t take advantage of you. They’ll also help you recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress you incurred.
If you suffered brain injuries as a result of someone else’s negligent behavior, lawyers in DC could help you hold the parties accountable for their actions. Traumatic brain injuries can be the result of:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
Attorneys will pursue damages on your behalf that include lost wages, medical bills, and reduced lifetime earning capacity. They’ll also for compensation due to emotional anguish, scarring, and disfigurement.
Did you lose someone close to you due to the negligent actions of another party? Wrongful death lawyers in Washington DC can help recover damages including emotional distress, loss of future income, medical and funeral expenses incurred, as well as, punitive damages.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Washington State is three years. If you feel like time is running out, a top DC lawyer will be able to file a suit immediately and beat any impending deadlines.
Dog Bite Injury
Surviving a dog attack is a traumatic experience that leaves victims with physical and emotional scars. The injuries sustained require extensive recovery, and that can take a toll on you financially.
Fortunately, a good DC injury lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for compensation and go after damages from the party at fault. If an insurance agent gets in touch with you, only speak to them only after you have consulted with a lawyer.
While it might seem like the adjuster is trying to help you, the reality is that they are trying to garner as much information from you as they can to reconstruct the facts of the claim in a way that will save the insurance company money.
Some of the damages a top DC lawyer can help you get include cost of:
- Different kinds of therapy
- Surgical treatment
- Psychological care
- Pain management
- Outpatient care
- Future treatment
It is not uncommon for dog owners to deny ownership or use trespassing as a way to evade liability. Without a highly skilled dog bite lawyer on your side, things can go south for you pretty quickly. So, don’t attempt to handle these suits yourself.
You Deserve a Fair Settlement
Getting a fair settlement in personal injury claims is an uphill battle. Without the top personal injury lawyers in DC and Northern VA, you’ll find yourself on the losing side of that battle.
You only have one opportunity to pursue damages, so make it count. Get an experienced lawyer to represent you.
If you have more legal questions, you can also chat online with a Laws101.com attorney where you’ll be instantly connected to a lawyer who can give you legal guidance on your specific case or question.