reckless drivingIf you have suffered severe injuries in an auto accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident in the Virginia Beach area, Attorney Hardt has the experience and dedication you can trust to zealously represent you and your family in a claim for damages. Attorney Hardt takes a personal approach to her clients’ cases. While other law firms hand off their cases to subordinate attorneys or paralegals and administrative assistants, Attorney Hardt is handling every aspect of your case. It is the personalized touch that can make the difference for you.

Virginia Car Crash Statistics

The number of traffic crashes has gone down 16% in the past ten years according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. However, the statistics show that in the last two years, Virginia has experienced a slight increase in the total number of crashes. In 2016, there were approximately 130,000 vehicle crashes in Virginia. The number of serious injuries caused by crashes has declined 63% over the last ten years. The number of total fatalities dropped as well. In 2016, there were about 800 deaths caused by car crashes.

The Virginia Department of Transportation in its most recent quarterly report did not address the reasons why driving in Virginia is safer than ten years ago. Increased seatbelt use and vehicles equipped with enhanced safety features reduce fatalities and severe injuries. Crash avoidance systems on newer cars also provide an added layer of safety.

Accident Causes

Despite the successes claimed by the Virginia Department of Transportation, numerous people are injured or killed annually in car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents in Virginia. Accident victims and their families can claim damages based on the theory of negligence. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances, and that person’s failure caused the accident, resulting in injuries.

Drivers on Virginia roads can be negligent in any number of ways. Distracted driving is on the rise nationwide because of motorists using cellphones and other devices instead of paying attention to the road. Inattentive drivers are a danger to every person on the road, especially motorcyclists. Speeding also contributes to car crashes. So too does the consumption of alcohol or consumption of narcotics before getting behind the wheel. Another major contributing factor to car crashes is driver inexperience. On the opposite end of the spectrum, aging drivers can easily become confused and cause accidents.

Damages

In Virginia, an injured person can recover economic damages that he or she suffered in the accident. Economic damages are lost wages, loss of future income opportunity, past, present, and future medical bills. An accident victim can also recover for pain and suffering, and emotional loss. A person may also include property damage in their claim. Punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant’s actions were reckless conduct amounting to the conscious disregard for others. Punitive damages are limited, however, to $350,000.

Why you should avoid negotiating with an insurance company.

Insurance companies exist for one reason: to make money. They are not interested in paying out claims fairly and efficiently. Car insurance companies are for-profit businesses who make money by receiving more money in premiums than paying out in settlements. As a result, insurance adjusters have an incentive to keep their settlement offers low and hope that a claimant will not want to drag out negotiations and settle for less than their case is worth.

Some insurance companies will try to offer a quick settlement before the injured person has an opportunity to file a claim. On its face, it sounds like a good idea. The insurance company will call and offer a quick settlement that puts money in your pocket and perhaps takes care of the damage to your car and some of your medical bills. You avoid protracted negotiation and litigation if you try to do it yourself. This is a pitfall that must be avoided. You cannot seek additional damages after you agree to settle quickly. The insurance company will ask you to sign a release before they pay you. A release is a contract that prevents you from seeking additional money. Therefore, if that sore back which you have had since the accident that just will not go away becomes something more serious, you are prevented by the release from claiming additional damages to which you might otherwise be eligible to claim.

Time Is Of The Essence

Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. Therefore, you have very little time to act. Call Virginia Beach personal injury attorney Patricia Hardt today at 757-962-5588 to start your claims process today and take the first step toward rebuilding your life.