Personal Injury FAQs

General

Workers compensation

Auto accidents

Wrongful death


General

Should I provide a statement to an insurance company without a lawyer's help?

It is in your best interests to only provide your contact information to an insurance company until you consult a lawyer. The more significant your injuries, the more imperative it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement.

Will I have to go to trial to recover damages?

About 95 percent of personal injury cases filed settle prior to trial.

What is considered "pain and suffering"?

Pain and suffering includes harm caused by physical injury and mental anguish experienced through avoiding activities you engaged in prior to your accident and the potential of surgery.

What determines the amount I might recover?

Every case addresses three issues:

  • Liability — establishing someone's negligence
  • Damages — the amount that will fairly and adequately compensate you for your injuries
  • Source of collection — insurance or other assets from which damages can be recovered

Is there a minimum or maximum amount that can be recovered in a personal injury settlement?

Generally there is no limit except in medical malpractice cases and in cases for punitive damages.

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What is a typical settlement amount?

An experienced personal injury lawyer reviews and interprets your case information to determine the appropriate value for your claim, including:

  • Incurred medical bill amount
  • Future medical bills
  • Loss of past income
  • Your age
  • Any permanent limitations caused by the injury
  • Impact on future earning capacity
  • Activities you can no longer do
  • Activities you can do but do not enjoy as much
  • Prognosis for further problems
  • Strength of lay witness testimony

The goal is fair and adequate compensation for your injury and an experienced attorney will know what a reasonable jury would award. The strength of lay and expert witness testimony will likely influence the amount.

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Workers compensation

What should I do if I am injured on the job?

You must notify your employer of the injury. You should also tell your employer if you need medical attention. You must also file a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission. Under Virginia's workers compensation law, your employer and/or its insurance carrier offer you a panel of three physicians from which you must choose. An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you understand the process and your rights in Virginia and file your claim for you.

How can I jeopardize my benefits?

Your claim may be denied if you fail to report injuries promptly or fail to cooperate with your employer and authorized treating physician regarding medical evaluations, treatment and rehabilitation services. Your claim can also be denied if you refuse to return to suitable employment. Some other reasons for denial of claims include submittal of fraudulent information and refusal to submit to a medical examination by the authorized treating physician, at reasonable times. You must also file a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission within two years of the injury or two years of the diagnosis of an occupational disease.

Under what circumstances could I be denied workers compensation benefits as a result of an on-the-job injury?

Benefits are not payable if you are injured while engaged in willful misconduct or if your injury is due to the use of alcohol, drugs, or the misuse of controlled substances.

Am I barred from recovery if I was at fault?

No.

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Can I sue anyone else for a work-related injury?

This is called a third party suit. If your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party other than another person who is also an employee of the company for which you work, you may have a right to sue that party.

Can I receive Social Security Disability and workers compensation?

Yes; however, Social Security Disability will be offset by your workers compensation benefits.

Is there more than one definition of "disabled"?

Yes, and that is why it is possible to receive both Social Security Disability and workers compensation. And, workers compensation could determine you are not disabled and Social Security could determine that you are. Further, insurance companies could define disability in other ways. Attorneys knowledgeable in this complex area of personal injury law, such as Forbes & Broadwell can work with you to explain the differences in easy-to-understand language and help you file all appropriate claims to receive the compensation you deserve.

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Auto accidents

Can the insurance company refuse to pay my medical bills if my car was not damaged?

No. While the insurance company might try to draw a direct correlation between damage to your car and the severity of your personal injury, it is possible that the body sustains damage even if the car did not. The reverse may also be true — a car might experience major impact but people might only suffer minor cuts and bruises.

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Wrongful death

What is wrongful death?

The idea behind a wrongful death lawsuit is the wrongful death, in addition to injuring the person who died, the accident also brought harm to the people who depended on that individual for financial and emotional support. The wrongful act might be:

  • A negligent or careless act (e.g., careless driving)
  • A reckless act
  • An intentional act such as deliberate murder

Virginia has a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the decedent's relatives in the event of a wrongful act.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim?

Virginia law sets the timeframe for filing. Time begins with the date of the incident or when the party became aware of the injury. The state will not honor a wrongful death claim filed after the legislated timeframe and the opportunity to recover damages for the family will be forever lost.

What is the difference between wrongful death and medical malpractice?

Wrongful death is a type of damage and malpractice is a type of negligence. Not every wrongful death case involves medical malpractice and not every medical malpractice case involves wrongful death.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

Virginia defines the person(s) allowed to bring a wrongful death suit. In Virginia, a spouse and children may file and grandparents or other relatives may also be allowed to sue. Virginia restricts a filing in which one family member sues another for the wrongful death of a third family member.

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