Personal Injury

Not all car accidents are criminal

On behalf of Nicole Diaz of Patel & Dalrymple, PLLC posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2018.

After a deadly accident, many people try to look for a criminal explanation. Was the driver intoxicated or distracted by a smart phone? Driving well over the posted speed limit? Unfortunately, there are not always such reasons for fatal car accidents. Sometimes, a negligent driver simply not focusing well enough is all there is to blame. 

A Virginia woman died after she was involved in a recent tragic collision on U.S. 29. She was driving around 8:30 p.m., when an oncoming pickup truck veered across the median and into her lane. Although the driver of the pickup initially hit a road sign, the pickup then moved into the woman's path and struck the car head-on. 

According to emergency responders, the car driver died at the scene of the accident. It is not clear if the driver of the pickup suffered any injuries in the wreck, or required any medical treatment. Police are currently investigating the events that led to the collision, but so far do not believe that the driver was intoxicated or otherwise distracted. 

Many Virginia families rely on evidence gathered by police when pursuing wrongful death claims with regard to their loved ones. When police determine that a driver was not criminally negligent, some people worry that they will not be able to bring a claim for monetary damages against the driver. However, criminal charges are not a prerequisite for these types of civil suits, and families can still take action to achieve compensation after these types of deadly car accidents.

Families can seek compensation after deadly car accidents

On behalf of Nicole Diaz of Patel & Dalrymple, PLLC posted on Thursday, August 2, 2018. 

There were no survivors of a recent two-vehicle crash in Virginia. Police indicated that it had been at raining the time of the wreck, but this is no excuse for negligent behavior. Drivers must adjust their behavior behind the wheel during inclement weather to avoid causing car accidents. 

The accident occurred shortly before 10 in the morning, when the driver of an eastbound vehicle apparently lost control of his vehicle. He drove across the center median of the road and directly into the path of a second car, which was heading west. Unable to break in time to avoid a collision, the second car hit the other vehicle on the passenger side. A witness reported seeing one of the vehicles smashed up and resting in the median, while the other appeared to be missing its roof. 

The 20-year-old driver who caused the wreck initially survived the wreck and was transported to an area hospital, where he later died. His passenger—another 20-year-old—and the 52-year-old driver of the westbound vehicle both died at the scene of the accident. Police temporarily blocked the surrounding road for clean-up efforts. 

Unexpectedly losing a loved one because of another driver's negligence can be devastating. Virginia families often feel lost after these types of car accidents, unsure of which steps to take when seeking justice. In such instances, a family can file a wrongful death suit even if the person responsible for the wreck was also killed. Any resulting compensation from a successful suit will come from the driver's estate, which will then be applied to the victim's estate. 

Could a vacation hurt your personal injury case?

On behalf of Nicole Diaz of Patel & Dalrymple, PLLC on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. 

Say that you suffered a serious injury in a car crash—perhaps your back, neck and shoulders keep throbbing. The last thing you feel like doing is going on a vacation two weeks later. It has been planned for nearly a year, is prepaid and your family is looking forward to it. It will put your body through a lot of extra pain but hopefully will be worth it in the end. Your doctor has cleared you but cautioned you to take it easy.

In fact, you do have a lot of fun. You are not able to do much, but you enjoy taking pictures of your spouse and kids as they frolic about. You even push through the pain to experience a few unforgettable moments and post them on Facebook.

All this happened about six months ago, and you have worked since then to seek compensation for your injuries. All of a sudden, the other party's insurer is saying something that seems ridiculous.

"You are exaggerating or faking your injuries"

The other insurer's theory goes like this: If your injuries were THAT serious, there is no way you would have been able to up and leave on a vacation so soon after getting hurt. The fact that it was prepaid and that you were under a doctor's care do not matter. The big blow, though, is the pictures of you on Facebook grinning as you ride in on ocean waves or stand on top of a mountain ridge.

Thus, the other insurer alleges that you are exaggerating or faking your injuries.

Take care about what you do and how you present yourself

If there is even the slightest chance you could pursue a personal injury case, be careful about what you post on social media. In fact, be careful about what you do in general. An insurer might end up talking with your cousin who happens to mention, "Oh yeah, my cousin went to Florida after the accident and had a great time."

You should still go on vacation if that is what you want. Just be sensible, and do follow your doctor's orders not to overextend yourself. Otherwise, the insurer could also claim that you reinjured yourself on vacation.