Suffolk Car Accident Lawyers
Suffolk, the largest city by land area in Virginia, features busy county roadways, as well as miles of rural roads along the Nansemond and James rivers. Traffic is difficult to avoid throughout Suffolk, which makes Suffolk drivers more vulnerable to car accidents. It is important that Suffolk drivers be cautious on the road. Additionally, it is advisable to hire a Suffolk car accident lawyer who has experience protecting the rights of accident victims and their families. Major and even minor car accidents often lead to issues that are difficult to manage without legal counsel.
What are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
- Distracted driving: Distracted drivers kill thousands of people in Virginia each year. They continue to do increasing harm to others on the road, as our level of comfort with modern technology accelerates. It is common for drivers to be distracted by their smartphones and navigation systems. Other distractions include conversations with passengers, grooming in the mirror, and eating while driving. Drivers get behind the wheel assuming that they can multi-task when they should be focusing on the road, which is extremely dangerous.
- Speeding: Speeding is the leading cause for car accidents nationwide, and factors into approximately one-third of all fatal crashes. Speeding drivers reduce their reaction and braking time, resulting in high impact car crashes. Speeding is an even more dangerous issue with drivers of large commercial trucks and tractor-trailers.
- Aggressive drivers: Aggressive driving is when a person drives in a manner with disregard for the safety or well-being of others sharing the road. This can include weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights, failing to yield, and tailgating. Aggressive or reckless driving can lead to serious car accidents and injuries. It is a good idea to report a driver displaying aggressive behavior on the road to the authorities.
- Impaired driving: Anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving a vehicle is more likely to cause a serious or fatal car accident. Intoxicated drivers experience impaired judgment, blurred vision, difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle, and other impediments to safety. Signs that a driver might be under the influence include weaving, sudden acceleration or braking, traveling at night without headlights on, tailgating other vehicles, and driving in the wrong direction. It is important to stay away from a driver showing any of these behaviors. It is even more imperative to stay off of the road if you have been drinking or improperly using drugs.
- Defective vehicles: Cars or trucks that are not properly maintained can cause serious car accidents and injuries. Vehicles with defective or faulty parts, or parts that were not installed correctly, can cause serious car accidents. These accidents can result in numerous types of injuries, including fatal wounds. In cases when a vehicle’s air bag malfunctions or was improperly installed, a third-party liability claim may be filed.
- Poorly-maintained roads: Hazardous road conditions include cracked or crumbling pavement, potholes, uneven heights between lanes, road debris, and slick oil spills that can cause a serious car accident. Car accidents can be also caused by winter roads that not properly plowed or sanded. Improper or unclear road signage can lead to car accidents as well. These are additional examples of when a third-party liability claim may be necessary.
What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?
There are many types of injuries that can result from a car accident. Car accident injuries can range in type and severity, depending on the kind of car accident that occurred.
- Broken bones/fractures: Broken ribs, legs, ankles, arms and wrists are all painful injuries caused by car accidents. In some situations, a motorist may suffer a broken pelvis, which is even more serious. The severity of these injuries ranges from simple breaks that need casting, to more serious compound fractures that may require surgery and a longer recovery period.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is the widely-used term for muscle, ligament, tendon, and soft tissue injuries to the neck that are common in car accidents. Whiplash injuries can be very painful and occur even when cars are travelling slowly.
- Neck and back injuries: Serious neck injuries, such as cervical dislocation and disc location, are common in car accidents. Back injuries occur frequently as well, due to the fact that the body’s core and spine are not built to sustain the heavy impact of a car crash. The pain and disability from neck and back injuries can be chronic and life-altering.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Open head injuries can be suffered if a car occupant’s head hits a hard surface or objects, such as the windshield or dashboard. Closed head injuries are more difficult to detect at first, as they involve swelling to the brain and damage to brain tissue. TBIs often lead to long-term disability and major life changes for car accident victims and their families. Car accidents are a top cause of TBIs.
- Spinal cord injuries/paralysis: Spinal cord injuries can result from serious car accidents, particularly in crashes where vehicle occupants are ejected. Damage to the spinal cord is traumatic and can be either life-ending or life-altering. They typically involve a form of paralysis as well.
- Organ damage/internal bleeding: Car accidents involving high force impacts can result in organ damage and internal bleeding. These injuries can be hard to detect right away, which makes them even more serious. This is just one reason it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately after being involved in a car accident.
- Cuts, lacerations, and burns: Cuts and lacerations can result when car occupants are struck with broken glass and other foreign debris. When occupants are forced into hard surfaces like windows, dashboards, and steering wheels they can suffer from serious injuries of this nature. If a car accident victim lands on the road or is dragged, there is a risk for burn injuries as well. In some devasting cases, a person can suffer severe burns and even death if trapped inside a vehicle that catches fire.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Car Accident?
It is common for everyone to point fingers after a car accident occurs. It is important to know who or what caused your accident, and who is ultimately responsible for the losses you suffered as a result. The following are potentially liable parties after a car accident.
- At-fault driver: The majority of car accidents are caused by human error. If another driver was clearly at-fault, then you will likely be able to file a successful lawsuit against them. Common causes of accidents that would indicate the driver was at-fault include, violating traffic laws, speeding, driving while intoxicated, failure to yield to traffic, distracted driving, and aggressive driving.
- Vehicle owner: There are situations when an unsafe driver or a person without a license is the at-fault driver. In these cases, the vehicle’s actual owner may be held liable after a car accident even when if were not in the vehicle. When vehicle owners are negligent in entrusting their cars with dangerous drivers, they can be responsible for car accidents and damages that result from their poor decisions. This type of lawsuit is most common when the driver was intoxicated, did not have a driver’s license, or has a history of other car accidents in the past.
- Vehicle manufacturer: Sometimes a defective vehicle error or malfunctioning part contributes to a car accident. In these cases, the manufacturer of the vehicle can be held liable for injuries and losses accrued as a result of the crash. An experienced car accident lawyer can assist you with the appropriate claims.
- Driver’s Employer: If the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident, you may be able to seek compensation if the driver’s employer was negligent in some way. A common example is when trucking companies force their employees to break federal law and drive more hours than permitted by regulations. When car crashes happen as a result of truck drivers’ fatigue, their employers can be held liable for injuries and damages incurred. Employers can also be held liable if they were negligent during the hiring process.
- Government entities: Car accidents and subsequent damage can be caused by poorly maintained public roads. If this happens, you may be able to seek compensation from the government entity responsible for maintaining the roadways. This kind of lawsuit is less common since state governments often claim immunity; however, the lawsuit can be successful if the government knew, or should have reasonably known, about the dangerous road condition and failed to fix the issue for an extended period of time.
What Are Different Types of Car Accidents?
Car accidents can range in severity from fender benders to multiple-car pileups. All kinds of car accidents can lead to a variety of issues, from minor to permanent injuries and even death. The different types of car accidents include the following:
- Hit and run accidents: In these situations, the driver at fault flees the scene either immediately following the accident or during the commission of it. This can result in criminal charges against the person. If possible, the victim to a hit and run accident should write down the fleeing driver’s license plate so that the police can track the person down for insurance purposes.
- Rear-end accidents: Rear-end accidents are typically the result of the driver not paying attention to the road. Although they are common, rear-end accidents are easily preventable if drivers avoid distractions. These accidents often cause whiplash, neck, and back injuries. The damage done from a rear-end accidents can be serious, even if the vehicle is traveling at a slow rate of speed at the time of impact. Injuries resulting from a rear-end accident involving a large truck or tractor-trailer can be particularly severe or fatal.
- Multi-vehicle accidents: Accidents involving multiple vehicles are not only dangerous, but problematic for many reasons. Not only can a multi-vehicle accident cause devasting injuries and damage, they can also be a legal and liability challenge. These types of accidents usually occur when there is greater congestion on the roads. The liability complexity results from multiple accidents occurring at the same time.
- Sideswipe accidents: A sideswipe accident happens when a driver changing lanes causes an impact another vehicle. These accidents usually occur when drivers cannot see other vehicles due to blind spots. Sideswipe accidents are dangerous, because the driver changing lanes may force another motorist off the road or into other traffic.
- T-bone accidents: These intersection accidents often occur when drivers fail to paying attention to traffic signals. A driver may run a red light or a stop sign, and crash into oncoming traffic or another a vehicle entering the intersection. All drivers must pay close attention to traffic signals and their fellow motorists to avoid these types of collisions.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident?
Car accident victims may file claims for a variety of damages, as they often incur numerous expenses that they did not cause. It is advisable to work with an experienced car accident lawyer to fully evaluate all of your legal options. Types of damages that can be received following a car accident can include:
- Medical expenses related to the accident and future care.
- Rehabilitation costs, especially if the person injured is out of work and needs to relearn certain skills.
- Current and future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering, including loss of companionship or quality of life.
- Punitive damages as per state law.
- Burial and final expenses, in cases when a wrongful death claim stems from a car accident.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Being involved in a car accident can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. An experienced car accident lawyer can assist with the legal process so you can focus more on recovering from your physical and emotional injuries.
There are several reasons to hire a car accident lawyer, including:
- An experienced car accident lawyer will help to move the case along. Car accident cases can go on for months or years before relief for damages or compensation is obtained. With a skilled car accident lawyer by your side, you will be assured an efficient legal process.
- An experienced car accident lawyer will ensure that the accident site is investigated, eyewitnesses to the accident are interviewed, police and medical records are requested, and experts in relevant areas are consulted.
- All necessary phone contact and correspondence with insurance companies, other parties, or other representatives will be handled by your car accident lawyer so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
- Multiple insurance policy claims often need to be filed after a car accident. A skilled car accident lawyer knows the proper procedures, including discovery requests, filing all possible claims, and statutes of limitations. An experienced car accident lawyer will also understand insurance policies can review your coverage and options carefully.
- A car accident lawyer will calculate the amount of compensation that should be able to be recovered. This is crucial and can be complex, as it involves all current and future medical bills, physical therapy and counseling, present and future lost wages, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and property damage
Thousands of car accidents occur across the Commonwealth of Virginia every year. Over the last two years, the rate of fatal car crashes has increased. This reflects that the nature and types of car accidents in Virginia have become more dangerous than ever. A skilled and knowledgeable Suffolk car accident lawyer will protect your rights and fight hard to obtain the fair compensation you need and deserve.