What to Avoid When Filing a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Virginia
Drunk driving is a serious issue in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 6,910 alcohol-related crashes in Virginia in 2022. This is a 2.4% increase from 2021. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver in Virginia, you may be entitled to significant compensation. However, failing to avoid key mistakes when filing your drunk driving accident claim can jeopardize your chance at maximum recovery. A personal injury attorney in Virginia with experience handling drunk driving cases can help guide you, but it’s also crucial to educate yourself.
This article will overview the top 7 mistakes to avoid when filing a drunk driving accident claim in Virginia. Taking the proper steps after your crash can make all the difference during the claims process and in court.
Each member of the Altizer Law team has years of experience advocating for clients with determination and success. We are committed to you and your case, and enjoy calling our offices today, free of charge at 540-345-2000.
Not Calling the Police to the Accident Scene
The first mistake many drunk driving accident victims make is failing to call the police to the crash scene. Having an official police report documenting that the other motorist was intoxicated provides invaluable evidence for your claim.
If the at-fault driver refuses sobriety testing or tries to leave the scene, the police report notes this. It also includes eyewitness statements about the driver’s intoxication level and details on who caused the wreck.
Failing to Seek Medical Treatment Right Away
Another common but costly error is not getting prompt medical attention after a drunk driving collision. Seeing a doctor quickly even if you don’t feel hurt documents the severity of your injuries for your claim.
Delaying treatment gives insurance adjusters reason to allege your injuries aren’t accident-related or serious. Judges and juries also want to see you immediately sought care.
Not Reporting Your Claim Quickly
You should notify the drunk driver’s insurer about your injury claim as soon as possible after your accident. Insurance companies look for gaps between the crash date and when you reported it as a reason to deny or minimize claims.
Reporting promptly also gets the claims process moving so you can access compensation faster. Give brief accident details and request a claim number.
Accepting an Early Settlement Offer
Drunk driving wrecks often result in severe, lifelong injuries like spinal cord damage and brain trauma. But victims risk settling too early for too little by accepting an insurer’s first settlement offer.
Insurers make lowball opening offers hoping injured victims take them out of financial desperation. An experienced personal injury attorney negotiates full and fair compensation.
Failing to Document Evidence Properly
Any relevant evidence supporting your injury claim should be thoroughly documented. This includes photographing property damage, saving medical records, getting witness contact details, and more.
Sloppy evidence collection can undermine your ability to prove the drunk driver’s liability. An attorney ensures no stone goes unturned gathering evidence.
Not Understanding Damages Available
Beyond immediate medical bills, damages like future care costs, lost income, and pain and suffering can be claimed. But many drunk driving victims don’t realize their full compensation options.
An attorney maximizes your recovery by identifying every damage category warranted and valuing them accurately. Don’t leave money on the table.
Hiring an Inexperienced Lawyer
Retaining a personal injury attorney experienced specifically in drunk driving cases is critical. Less competent lawyers often undervalue claims and conduct lackluster negotiations.
Ask prospective lawyers about their drunk driving case success, settlement results, trial experience, and client reviews. Vet them thoroughly.
Choosing the Right Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Avoiding these common mistakes improves your chances of a successful injury claim against a drunk driver. But having an experienced personal injury attorney by your side through the process is equally key. They handle claim complexities while you focus on healing.
When choosing a lawyer, opt for one that meets requirements like:
Extensive drunk driving case experience
History of securing large verdicts and settlements
Resources to thoroughly investigate your claim
Wins over 90% of cases taken to trial
No upfront fees, pays case costs
Stellar client testimonials
Frequently Asked Questions About Drunk Driving Accident Claims
1. How much is my drunk driving accident claim worth in Virginia?
The value depends on severity of injuries, damages proven, and insurance coverage limits. Experienced lawyers determine exact worth.
2. Should I give a statement to the drunk driver’s insurance company?
No. Insurers try to record statements downplaying injuries to lower claim value. Decline to provide any recorded statement.
3. What if the drunk driver has no insurance?
Your uninsured motorist coverage can pay damages. If minimal/no UM, you may claim against your assets.
4. How long do I have to file a Virginia drunk driving accident claim?
Under Virginia law, you have two years from the crash date to file a drunk driving accident claim under the statute of limitations. Move promptly.
5. How much does hiring a drunk driving accident lawyer cost?
Most work on contingency fees, meaning no upfront fees and they take their fee from claim proceeds.
Choosing the Best Attorney to File Your Drunk Driving Insurance Claim
Altizer Law has helped hundreds secure justice after Virginia drunk driving wrecks. For a free case review from our top-rated attorneys, contact us today. Don’t jeopardize your right to maximum compensation—let us handle every aspect of your injury claim. Call us now at 540-345-2000.