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Fairfax Personal Injury Lawyer

Injuries are a common cause of hospitalizations and a common cause of death in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health reports that more than 35,000 people were hospitalized due to injury and violence in 2012. These patients received 165,000 days of inpatient care and incurred more than $1.4 billion in medical expenses. A total of 4,170 Virginians also lost their lives in 2012 due to injuries and violence.  In many cases, those responsible for causing harm could be held legally liable for the consequences. A Fairfax personal injury lawyer can help injured victims and their family members to pursue damage claims.

Who is Responsible for Injuries in Virginia?

Individuals and business organizations have certain obligations to fellow citizens. For example:

  • Individuals who operate vehicles have an obligation to follow speed limit laws and other driving rules.
  • Owners and renters of private and public property have obligations to maintain that property in a safe manner and to warn visitors of hazardous conditions.
    Dog owners have an obligation to keep their animals under control and prevent bites and attacks, as well as to follow local leash laws, if applicable.
  • Doctors, clinics, hospitals, and other care providers have an obligation to provide reasonably competent and professional care to patients.
  • Manufacturers of all types of products, from toys to medical devices, have an obligation to warn product users of dangers and to ensure products released into the marketplace are safe.

If a person or business does not live up to its obligations, legal liability can result. Victims may pursue a damage claim to seek compensation for their losses.

When government workers make mistakes and fail to live up to obligations, individuals may also be able to pursue a claim against government agencies. However, sovereign immunity rules restrict the ability to sue government employees and agencies. A Fairfax personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether you can pursue a claim for compensation and how to take legal action.

Contributory Negligence in Virginia

To recover compensation for injuries in Fairfax, victims typically must show the other party is 100 percent responsible for the victim’s injuries. Virginia is one of a small minority of states that still apply contributory negligence rules. If a victim was even one percent responsible for the incident resulting in his injuries, the defendant may assert contributory negligence as a defense, which operates to bar any recovery. The Virginia legislature considered altering this rule in a 1984 bill, House Bill 107, but the legislation was defeated. In some unique circumstances a plaintiff may be able to defeat a contributory negligence defense. Contact a Fairfax personal injury lawyer if you have a question about contributory negligence in your case.

Compensation for Injuries in Fairfax

Virginia laws allow victims to obtain compensation for injury if they can prove that a failure to fulfill a legal duty resulted in harm. Compensation can include payment of:

  • Medical bills
  • Wage losses and loss of future income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

In many cases, compensation is paid for by an insurance provider. Medical malpractice insurers, property insurers, and motor vehicle insurers offer liability insurance that provides compensation to victims of injury. Insurance companies have almost endless resources and will fight every claim tooth and nail if they believe that they can protect their insured from exposure. Even in cases where the liability is clear, insurance companies will spend money to reduce their exposure by litigating the extent or causation of injuries, the reasonableness of medical care, or the plaintiff’s ability to return to work. An experienced Fairfax personal injury attorney will be familiar with how insurance companies handle claims and will have the knowledge and skill to fight to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Fatal Injuries in Fairfax

When injuries result in fatalities, a wrongful death claim may be brought in the name of the personal representative of the deceased. Wrongful death beneficiaries can include close surviving family members of the deceased including spouses, children, parents, siblings, and other relatives who were dependent on the decedent, depending on the circumstances. Virginia law defines the class of wrongful death beneficiaries. See VA Code 8.01-53. Wrongful death damages provide compensation if the deceased would have had an injury claim had the injuries not proved fatal.

Damages can include payment of funeral expenses; any medical expenses for treatment before death; loss of wages the untimely death prevented the family from receiving; and compensation for sorrow or mental anguish including loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice.

Compensation is available for wrongful death only if there is sufficient proof the defendant’s negligence was the direct cause of death. A Fairfax personal injury lawyer can help victims to make a claim.

Making a Personal Injury Claim in Fairfax

Claims for personal injuries in most cases must be filed within timelines established by VA Code Section 8.01-243. Injury claims generally must be filed within two years from the time that the injury occurred.  There are exceptions, such as  if a medical provider left a surgical instrument inside of a patient’s body, in which case the patient may file a malpractice claim one year from the time the object is discovered or should reasonably have been discovered. Wrongful death claims generally must be filed within two years of the date of death. VA Code 8.01-244.

A personal injury attorney in Fairfax can help to ensure you meet court deadlines for filing your claim. Your attorney can also assist with all pre-trial motions, with investigations to put together an injury claim, and with presenting evidence in court.

In many cases, personal injury and wrongful death claims settle without going to trial. You should not agree to settle until having your case reviewed by an attorney, as insurers sometimes try to pressure injured victims to settle for less than the value of their case.

Contact a Fairfax Personal Injury Lawyer

Injuries can be very costly, and it is important to know your rights so you can take steps to maximize the chances of full compensation for your losses. Contact a Fairfax personal injury lawyer today to schedule a free consultation and get help with your damages claim.