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Understanding Virginia No-Fault Car Insurance Laws

Research

Virginia is one of a dozen or more states that utilize a “no-fault” system when it comes to financial responsibility for injuries and damages caused by a car accident. In a no-fault car insurance state, a driver receives compensation for injuries from his or her own insurance policy up to the personal injury protection (PIP) limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Here is a closer look at Virginia’s no-fault car insurance laws, and how these laws affect your ability to sue for additional damages.

“Add-On” No-Fault State

Although Virginia is not a “true” no-fault state, it does have a variation of no-fault insurance in which insurers pay first-party claims. The insurance industry refers to Virginia and similar states as “add-on” no-fault states. A driver can pay extra to add PIP protection to his or her policy. In case of injury, a driver with PIP protection will get paid no matter who was at fault for the accident.

Auto Insurance Requirements

Vehicle owners in Virginia are not required to purchase car insurance, so long as they pay the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. For all other vehicles, Virginia requires $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury if more than one person is hurt, and $20,000 per accident for property damage. If you decide to purchase PIP coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help “fill the gap” to cover the costs of your injuries.

Suing for Additional Damages

Because Virginia is not a “true” no-fault state, drivers can sue to get money for injuries, damages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in a car accident and are struggling to pay medical bills, contact the Auto Accident Law Firm of Kevin Paul Childers. Our auto accident attorneys can help you sue for additional damages, especially if you have been dealing with pain and suffering as a result of the accident. Call our law firm at (703) 659-1536 to schedule your initial consultation. 

A Look at Skull Fractures Following a Car Accident

Ambulance and Gurney

Auto accidents, even low-speed collisions, are incredibly violent and can result in a wide range of physical injuries. While soft tissue injuries are the most common, bone fractures can and often do occur. Skull fractures are among the most serious auto accident injuries, especially when the trauma is accompanied by concussion or other injury to the brain. Your auto accident attorney will make sure you get every penny you deserve from the individual(s) responsible for your skull fracture. In the meantime, here is what you should know about skull fractures following a car accident.

Types of Skull Fractures

Although a skull fracture is defined as a fracture or break in the cranial bones, there are varying degrees of skull fractures. A simple fracture is a break in the bone without damage to the skin. A compound fracture involves a loss of skin and splintering of bone. A linear skull fracture is a break in the skull resembling a thin line, without splintering, depression, or distortion of the cranial bone. A depressed skull fracture is a break in the skull with depression of the bone in toward the brain.

Treating Skull Fractures

Treatment for skull fractures depends on the type of fracture and where the break occurred. Adults with simple linear fractures who are neurologically intact may be discharged home safely from the hospital and asked to return if problematic symptoms develop. Infants and children with linear fractures will be admitted overnight for observation. Depressed skull fractures are typically treated using surgery to prevent brain damage.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, the Auto Accident Law Firm of Kevin Paul Childers in Woodbridge, VA can help you receive financial compensation. The damages awarded through the court or from a settlement can be used to cover medical bills, treatment costs, and any other expenses incurred as the result of the accident. Contact us online or call us at (703) 659-1536 to speak with one of our experienced auto accident lawyers today. 

Is a Motorcyclist At-Fault for Not Wearing a Helmet?

If you’ve been in an auto accident with a motorcyclist who wasn’t wearing a helmet, you may be worried about the damages you are facing in court. However, whether a helmetless motorcycle rider can recover for head and neck injuries depends on whether the state where the accident occurred required motorcyclists to wear helmets. In Virginia, safety helmets are required by law, according to the Code of Virginia 46.2-910. This means it will be extremely difficult for a helmetless motorcycle ride to be awarded damaged for head and neck injuries sustained in an auto accident.

Front of motorcycle passing by

Although the motorcyclist might not be able to recover damages, you may have a better chance. If you were injured or if your vehicle sustained damage as the result of the accident, contact the Auto Accident Law Firm of Kevin Paul Childers. Our auto accident attorneys serve motorists in Woodbridge, Dale City, and the rest of Prince William County, VA. Contact us online or call us at (703) 330-6300 to schedule your initial consultation with one of our auto accident attorneys. 

Understanding Auto Insurance Deductibles

Automotive insurance deductibles work similar to the way health insurance deductibles do. The amount of your deductible is the amount that you take on yourself in the event of an accident. For example, if your vehicle is considered a total loss, the insurance company will determine the actual cash value of your car and pay you that amount minus your deductible. So if the actual cash value of your vehicle is estimated at $10,000 and you have a $500 deductible, your insurer would pay you $9,500.  

This video explains auto insurance deductibles in greater detail. If you have been involved in an auto accident, contact the Auto Accident Law Firm of Kevin Paul Childers. Auto accident attorney Kevin Paul Childers is proud to be one of the leading legal advocates for injured drivers in Woodbridge, VA and throughout Prince William County. Call (703) 330-6300 to schedule your initial consultation today.  

Understanding the Duty to Settle

Law office entrance

After your auto accident attorney files an insurance claim on your behalf, you may receive a settlement offer from the insurer. After filing a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff may also make a settlement offer to the insurer. Accepting a settlement offer is often an attractive option to all involved parties because it avoids the need for a trial. However, there are a number of issues to consider, which your auto accident attorney can help you understand.

Defining the Duty to Settle

Insurance carriers have a responsibility to accept reasonable settlement offers in order to resolve claims filed against their insureds. For example, if an insured individual strikes a victim’s car and that insured person has two million dollars in coverage, a reasonable settlement offer would be considered within that coverage amount. If the victim of an auto accident demands compensatory damages that exceed the policy coverage amount of the insured, that settlement offer may not necessarily be considered reasonable. Under those circumstances, an insurance carrier may decline to accept the settlement offer and may instead prefer to take its chances in court.

Understanding a Bad-Faith Failure to Settle

Insurers may sometimes be charged with a bad-faith failure to settle. For example, the insurer may decline a settlement offer that is for a valid claim and for an amount of money that is within the policy coverage limits. Other indicators of a bad-faith failure to settle include the failure to settle claims promptly in cases in which coverage and liability are clear, and the delay or denial of payment without providing a reasonable basis for the delay or denial.

If you would like to learn more about obtaining the maximum amount possible for your injuries and property damage, contact the Auto Accident Law Firm of Kevin Paul Childers. Mr. Childers is an auto accident attorney who has dedicated his practice solely to the representation of those involved in auto accidents. Those in Woodbridge, Dale City, and Prince William, VA are welcome to call our auto accident team at (703) 330-6300 to schedule a consultation.

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