Harrisonburg Personal Injury Lawyer
Being injured in an accident can be a traumatizing, life-changing experience. In addition to the physical pain, you may be facing medical procedures, courses of medication, time off from work, physical therapy, and mounting expenses. This is not something that you should ever have to go through on your own – and you don’t. The Harrisonburg, VA law office of Tucker Griffin Barnes represents the individuals who have suffered a personal injury or wrongful death at the hands of another. Contact us immediately for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
Virginia Personal Injury Law
As personal injury attorneys in Harrisonburg, VA, we are well versed in many areas of Virginia accident law. If you’re an accident victim, this section will provide you with an overview of the basic concepts of the law that affects the way that the insurance companies and other responsible parties pay out claims.
Elements of a Personal Injury Suit in Virginia
All personal injury cases must have the following four elements:
There must be a duty of care
There must be a breach of that duty
The breach of duty must have caused an accident
That accident must have caused damages to the plaintiff
For example, a driver runs a red light on the South Main Street Corridor in downtown Harrisonburg and strikes the side of another car, injuring the driver. All drivers have a duty of care to other drivers. Running a red light violates that duty of care. The action led to an accident and that accident caused injuries. All four elements are met and this would be a case that a personal injury law firm could bring before the responsible insurance company.
Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Law
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Unlike many states, Virginia follows a pure contributory negligence law. Under this theory of law, a “plaintiff’s contributory negligence generally will bar recovery on part of the plaintiff. However, if the plaintiff’s action only contributes slightly or trivially to the injury, the contributory negligence will not act as a complete bar.” This does not mean that you should refrain from speaking to a Virginia personal injury lawyer about your accident case. Most personal injury law firms will provide a free legal consultation free of charge. In Harrisonburg, you can contact Tucker Griffin Barnes with no obligation.
Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases
For most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations for filing a case is two years from the date of the accident unless the injury involves a minor. With some medical malpractice cases, the clock starts at the time the medical mistake was discovered. And in a wrongful death suit, the two-year statute of limitations begins upon the date of death. After this time has elapsed, you will not be able to bring a personal injury legal action against the defendant, so contact an injury lawyer at your earliest convenience.
Contingency Fees in Virginia Personal Injury Suits
Many accident victims are concerned about having to pay lawyer retainers. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. What that means is that they forgo payment up front and the law firm collects their fees when the case settles or they win an award in a trial. The Virginia State Bar Association establishes the guidelines for contingency fees. You should ask any personal injury lawyer what their firm will receive in contingency fees before you commit.
Types of Damages in a Virginia Personal Injury Suit
Insurance companies will often approach accident victims with a settlement that covers damages to physical property and their anticipated medical expenses. That might sound reasonable to the uninitiated, but a personal injury lawyer will often consider damages that an accident victim is unaware of and an insurance company is reluctant to disclose.
Personal injury lawyers are able to seek compensation for any expense that you incur as the direct result of your accident. Among these economic damages are hospital bills, doctor bills, the costs of scans and bloodwork, physical therapy, etc. Additionally, the at-fault party should reimburse you for any lost wages you had from work or for personal time you may have had to use during your recovery. Of course, you should be made whole for any property damage that you experienced as a result of the accident (i.e. vehicle repairs, the replacement cost of a motorcycle, etc.)
The non-economic impact of an accident can range from minor aches and pains to loss of capacity. Simply reimbursing you for your economic losses is not sufficient. “Pain and suffering” is a catchall term that refers to the intangible loss of time, convenience, comfort, physical faculties, earnings, and even human life. An experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer can review your damages and approximate the amount of non-economic damages that you’re entitled to.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000, but they also aren’t always awarded in the courts. Punitive damages are usually awarded for egregious, willful, or wanton negligence. They are designed to punish the defendant. Here are a few examples of where punitive damages might be awarded by a court.
A carshare driver is intoxicated when they are transporting passengers around the Shenandoah Valley. They engage in a reckless driving pattern that leads to an accident, injuring their passengers and another driver.
An armed robber is chased by the police from a Home Depot in Harrisonburg and strikes another car during the pursuit.
In both of these cases, the defendant's behavior was so egregious that the courts might decide to award punitive damages on top of the economic and non-economic damages.
Types of Personal Injury Law in Virginia
We are a full-service Harrisonburg, VA personal injury law firm servicing the Shenandoah Valley. The following is an overview of the types of legal cases that our firm handles.
Car Accidents – Even low-speed car accidents can lead to injuries. In fact, one of the most common types of injuries that our firm handles is whiplash, which is a soft-tissue injury that frequently occurs when a driver is stopped at a light or stop sign and is struck from behind. Of course, car accidents can occur in a number of different ways.
Motorcycle Accidents – With their limited protection and higher speeds, most accidents involving motorcycles result in injuries.
Truck Accidents – Commercial trucks can be up to twenty times as heavy as a typical car. Even at low speeds, this makes truck accidents extremely dangerous. Additionally, the requirements for commercial trucks and their drivers make these cases much more involved, which is why not all Harrisonburg law firms offer legal advice for these types of accidents.
Slip and Fall Cases – This is a blanket term that applies to all types of cases where injuries occur on a premise due to the negligence of the custodian or owner.
Animal Bites – Pet owners have a legal responsibility to keep their pets from harming others. Dog bites are the most common types of cases that fall into this category. Typically, the owner's homeowner’s insurance company is liable for damages.
Wrongful Death – If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, civil litigation may be the only legal justice available under Virginia law. Our law firm can help you recover damages and bring you the peace of mind knowing that your loved one’s wrongful death didn’t go unanswered.
Medical Malpractice – Doctors, medical professionals, and the facilities that they work for owe a duty of care to the patients that they treat. This does not mean that they have to guarantee outcomes, but the treatments and medical recommendations should conform to the practices of other professionals in their industry. Medical malpractice cases tend to be involved, technical, and require the legal and medical opinion of experts. While many Harrisonburg law firms decline medical malpractice cases, Tucker Griffin Barnes has the experience to successfully negotiate settlements and litigate these cases.
Construction Accidents – The construction industry is booming in and around Harrisonburg, VA, but that also means that there are a high number of construction accidents. If you’re injured on a construction site, you may be entitled to damages.
Workers’ Compensation – Workers’ comp insurance covers injuries on the job. If your work employs more than three full-time or part-time employees, they’re required to carry coverage in most cases. If you’re injured on the job, workers’ comp is supposed to cover your lost wages and medical expenses. However, many companies will shirk their legal requirements, which is where a personal injury law firm can help.
There are many different types of accidents that don’t fit neatly into a single category. If you have any questions about your accident, call our firm to speak with a personal injury lawyer today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Personal Injury Law
Having handled hundreds of legal cases in Harrisonburg VA and throughout the Shenandoah Valley, our personal injury attorneys have established a list of questions that we’ve heard from clients along with our answers.
How can I afford a personal injury lawyer?
Personal injury attorneys in Virginia represent clients on a contingency basis. What this means is that they collect their legal fees at the end of the case once it’s settled. You do not have to pay attorney fees out of pocket.
What kind of questions should I ask my personal injury lawyer when I’m vetting them?
No matter which personal injury lawyer you’re speaking with, they should be readily able to answer the following questions:
“How many legal cases have you handled that were similar to mine?” (i.e. car accidents, medical malpractice, etc.)
“What is your contingency fee structure?”
“How many years have you been practicing law?”
“Does your law firm have testimonials from clients?”
“How accessible is will my lawyer be to me? What’s the turnaround time to receive a phone call?”
If the lawyer you’re speaking with doesn’t provide satisfactory answers, keep searching. In Harrisonburg, make sure you call Tucker Griffin Barnes.
How long can I expect my legal case to last?
This largely depends on how reasonable the opposing party is. Typically, you can expect a personal injury case to last anywhere from one to three years, which is why it’s important not to delay.
Why do I need to hire a lawyer?
Personal injury cases involve both medical and legal information that most laypeople have never been exposed to. Trying to negotiate with an insurance company lawyer is not something that most people have sufficient experience dealing with. A personal injury attorney can help you get fair and full compensation even after their fees are deducted.
Accident Lawyers in Harrisonburg, VA
The attorneys of Harrisonburg’s Tucker Griffin Barnes have an established record of success, garnering millions in settlements and awards for our clients. We recognize the impact that an accident injury can have on you and our goal is to restore your life as much as possible. Call us today for a free consultation at our Harrisonburg office.