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Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn't My Fault?

You Need a Lawyer for a Virginia Car Accident that Wasn't Your Fault

Accidents are an unfortunate reality on the road, often leaving victims overwhelmed and uncertain about their next steps. One prevailing question many encounter is: “If the accident wasn’t my fault, do I need a lawyer?” The answer can be complicated. Car accidents don’t merely involve two vehicles colliding; they intertwine with complex insurance processes, potential liabilities, and sometimes hidden damages that may not be apparent initially.

If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident that you were not at fault for, but want to know your legal options, contact the Virginia car accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long can help.

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Who’s Responsible in Virginia Car Accidents?

Figuring out who’s responsible for car accidents in Virginia can get complicated. Virginia follows a contributory negligence rule. This means if an injured driver is even 1% at fault, they might not get any compensation from the other party at fault. This strict rule can make it hard for accident victims to get the compensation they should.

Liability is decided based on common law principles and the details of each case. Things like speed, following distance, and obeying traffic laws are taken into account when deciding who’s at fault.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn't My Fault?

Determining Liability

Liability isn’t always clear-cut. Sometimes, both parties share some degree of fault, known as comparative or contributory negligence, depending on the state. Determining who is liable often involves:

  • Evidence Gathering: This includes photographs of the scene, witness statements, police reports, and more.
  • Expert Testimony: Accident reconstruction experts can play a role in piecing together how the accident occurred.
  • Insurance Company Investigations: Adjusters review the evidence and decide on the percentage of fault each party holds.

In complex scenarios, where liability might be disputed or multiple parties are involved, the process can become even more convoluted. Having a legal expert can be invaluable in ensuring that your interests are represented accurately and fairly

Who Can I Sue for My Virginia Car Accident?

In at-fault jurisdictions, the driver deemed responsible for the accident (at fault) and their insurance company are liable for the damages sustained by the other parties involved. Victims can sue the at-fault driver for economic and non-economic damages, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Virginia, is an “at-fault” insurance state. This means that if you’re injured in a car accident, you don’t claim compensation from your own insurance company like in “no-fault” states. Instead, you seek compensation from the driver responsible for the accident or their insurance.

Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer Even if the Accident Wasn’t Your Fault

When involved in a car accident, especially one where you believe you weren’t at fault, it might seem counterintuitive to consider hiring a lawyer. However, the legal landscape of car accidents is riddled with intricacies that can significantly affect the outcome for the parties involved. There are many compelling reasons why having an attorney by your side can be advantageous including:

  • Avoiding Inadvertent Mistakes: Many accident victims, in their state of shock or politeness, might say things that can later be construed as an admission of partial or full fault. A lawyer can guide you on what to say and what to avoid.
  • Understanding Your Entitlements: A legal expert can help you understand the full range of your rights, including claims you might not have been aware of.
  • Navigating Insurance Companies: Insurance companies, despite their friendly advertisements, are businesses first. They might employ strategies to minimize their payout, from disputing the extent of your injuries to questioning the need for certain medical treatments.
  • Securing a Fair Settlement: Lawyers have experience in negotiating with insurance adjusters. They know the true value of claims and can ensure that you receive a fair settlement that truly covers your damages.
  •  Comprehensive Damage Assessment: Not all damages from an accident are immediately apparent. While medical bills and car repair costs are obvious, other impacts, like future medical treatments, loss of earning capacity, and emotional distress, might be overlooked. An attorney can help quantify these for a comprehensive claim.
  • Legal Expertise in Complicated Situations: Situations involving multiple parties, severe injuries, or when the at-fault party lacks adequate insurance, can get legally intricate. Having a lawyer ensures that you navigate these complexities efficiently and effectively.
  • Litigation Preparedness: If negotiations fail and your case needs to be taken to court, having a lawyer ensures you are prepared and adequately represented.

In essence, while you might initially perceive the accident as a clear-cut case, unforeseen complications can arise. These can range from disputes over the extent of injuries to unexpected legal challenges from the other party or their insurer. By securing legal representation, you not only shield yourself from potential pitfalls but also position yourself to receive the most comprehensive compensation package possible.

When You Might Not Need a Lawyer

While the benefits of hiring a lawyer after a car accident are undeniable, there are specific scenarios where seeking legal counsel might not be necessary or cost-effective. These include:

  • Minor Accidents with No Injuries: If all parties involved escape without injuries and the damages to the vehicles are minimal, the process is often straightforward and the insurance companies can quickly determine costs and handle repairs without much contention.
  • Immediate Acceptance of Liability: If the other party’s insurance company promptly acknowledges their client’s fault and offers a settlement that you believe fairly compensates for your damages, you might not need to engage in prolonged negotiations.
  • Clear-cut Cases with Comprehensive Documentation: Situations where there’s abundant evidence pointing to the fault of the other party, and there are no serious injuries involved, often don’t require legal intervention.
  • Legal Costs Might Outweigh the Benefits: In cases where potential compensation is relatively low, the cost of hiring a lawyer might eat into the majority of the settlement, leaving you with a marginal net gain.

However, it’s essential to approach these situations with caution. Insurance companies, even in seemingly straightforward cases, might still attempt to undervalue your claim. It’s always a good idea to have any settlement offer reviewed by a legal professional, even if you decide not to retain them for the entirety of the process. Furthermore, if at any point you feel overwhelmed or believe the insurance company isn’t acting in good faith, seeking legal counsel is a prudent decision.

Steps to Take After an Accident

The moments following a car accident can be a blur of emotions, stress, and confusion. Yet, these crucial minutes and hours can significantly influence the trajectory of any potential claims or legal actions that might arise. Regardless of whether you need an attorney, be sure to do the following after a car accident:

  • Ensure Safety First: Move vehicles out of the traffic flow to a safe location. Turn on hazard lights. Check for injuries and, if needed, call for medical assistance immediately.
  • Report the Accident: Call the police, even for minor accidents. 
  • Gather Evidence: Take pictures of the accident scene, including vehicle damages, road conditions, traffic signs, and any injuries sustained. Obtain names, contact information, and statements from any witnesses. Secure the other driver’s name, contact details, insurance information, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license details.
  • Avoid Admitting Fault or Discussing Details: It’s natural to want to apologize or discuss the accident. However, any statements can later be used against you. Stick to the facts and avoid making speculative or apologetic remarks.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, some injuries might not be immediately apparent. A medical evaluation can both ensure your well-being and serve as crucial evidence if injuries surface later.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Once you’ve notified your insurance company, you may also want to begin the process of procuring a consultation with a car accident lawyer which may help you determine if representation is needed for your particular claim.

Choose Regan Zambri Long for Your Virginia Car Accident

In the tumultuous aftermath of a car accident, having an ally like Regan Zambri Long can make a significant difference. Their reputation speaks volumes about their capability, making them a top choice for those seeking expert legal assistance in car accident cases.

Regan Zambri Long has years of experience and are trusted by those seeking justice after car accidents. They have a strong record of winning cases and making sure victims get fair compensation. With their experience, they can handle complicated car accident claims well.  Whether dealing with insurance companies or going to court, they make sure victims have a good chance of getting justice.

If you or a loved one are in need of legal counsel following a car accident, contact the Virginia car accident lawyers of Regan Zambri Long for a no-obligation, free consultation. 

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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