Salem, VA Personal Injury Lawyer for Auto Accidents
At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we fight for justice on behalf of individuals who are injured in automobile accidents, and for the families who have lost a loved one in a vehicle collision caused by the negligence of others. For decades, we have served the residents of Salem and the surrounding areas of Virginia and have helped collect millions of dollars for innocent accident victims.
Each automobile accident is unique, and can involve many different factors. At our firm, we represent clients involved in all types of auto accidents, including those resulting from being hit by:
- Another car or passenger truck
- Private buses, municipal buses, and other public transportation vehicles
- Motorcycles and moped
- A drunk or drugged driver
- A commercial interstate truck driver, including those driving tractor-trailers, 18 wheelers, and other “big rigs”
- Commercial vans and other vehicles, including delivery vehicles such as FedEx and UPS, and USPS
- Rideshare drivers, including Uber and Lyft
How Many Car Accidents are there in Virginia Each Year?
In 2018, 131,848 accidents were reported in Virginia, 1,434 of which occurred in Roanoke County. Nearly 800 Virginians die each year in tragic automobile accidents.
Under Virginia Law, if you or a loved one were injured in one of these collisions and another party was responsible, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. As an experienced Salem auto accident injury lawyer, Mark Hurt can help you seek justice by fighting tenaciously in seeking to hold negligent parties responsible for all damages they cause.
What are the Major Causes of Auto Accidents?
Auto accidents can be caused by many types of negligent behavior, but some are more prevalent than others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the following are some of the most common causes for crashes:
- Driving Drunk or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
- Speeding or Driving Too Slowly
- Failing to Yield to Oncoming Traffic
- Recklessly Disregarding Other Drivers
- Sleepy or Drowsy Driving
- Weather and Visual Obstructions
- Failure to Follow Traffic Warnings and Signs
- Seatbelt Violations
- Distracted Driving (which can include Texting While Driving or other cell phone use).
No matter the cause, if you were injured in an automobile accident or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent conduct, call our offices to schedule a free consultation with Mark Hurt to discuss your legal options.
How Do I Prove the Other Driver Was Responsible?
Virginia is a “fault” state, meaning that the at-fault driver is responsible for the injuries caused in an accident. Drivers have a duty to obey traffic rules and to avoid injuring other individuals. If a person fails to exercise care while driving and a crash occurs as a result, the driver can be held liable.
What Can Be Done if I’m Injured in an Auto Accident?
First, make sure that you are seen as soon as possible by a doctor, even if you don’t think that your injuries are serious. Often, seemingly minor injuries – especially soft tissue injuries like back or shoulder pain – can be much worse than may at first seem to be the case.
In seeking justice and fair compensation for property damage, you can:
- File a claim with your insurance company, and/or
- File a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance company
We help clients in each of these matters. Moreover, in filing these claims on behalf of a client, we can protect the rights of the client by ensuring that the insurance company adjusters speak with us (as insurance company adjusters for the at-fault driver often try to trick an injury victim into admitting fault or making statements to minimize their injuries).
Seeking Full Compensation for an Auto Accident
We represent clients in seeking full compensation for auto accidents. In some cases, we are able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver (or their attorneys) without having to file a lawsuit. In other cases, litigation will be necessary (this is especially the case if severe injuries or a death resulted).
Can I Sue for an Injury if I’m Partly at Fault for the Auto Accident?
In Virginia, you can prevail against a negligent driver and collect compensation in court if you prove the following:
- The other driver had a duty of care;
- The defendant disregarded this duty of care; and
- Their wrongdoing or negligent actions caused your injury.
While these requirements may seem straightforward, Virginia has a strict contributory negligence rule that may bar you from collecting damages if you were partly responsible for the accident. Under Virginia’s pure contributory negligence rule, a person must be 100% without fault in order to recover, making it vitally important to build a strong case that demonstrates the other party was fully responsible for the crash.
It’s important for accident victims to understand there is no fault determination unless and until a case goes to court and a jury makes such determination. Therefore, if you believe that you are not at fault, you are free to bring a claim and seek damages for an auto accident. A defendant (like the alleged at-fault driver) and their insurance company (if one is involved) can then decide to either pay fair compensation for your injuries, or to take the case to court and try to make a case to the jury that you had some degree of fault for the accident.
Once we learn about your case, Mark Hurt can explain your rights in seeking compensation, the types of damages to which you may be entitled, and whether the at-fault driver will likely have any solid claims that you may be at fault for the auto accident.
How Do I Get My Car Repaired or Replaced After a Car Accident?
If you are involved in an auto accident – regardless of any physical injuries – replacing your car can be a difficult process. Collision coverage in automobile insurance policies is designed to help pay for repairs or to replace a vehicle. If the other driver is responsible, his or her collision insurance should pay for your property damage.
According to Virginia law, if your car is totaled, insurance carriers are responsible for paying the cash value of your vehicle at the time of the wreck. Despite this requirement, insurance companies may try to get way with paying less than the full value of the vehicle, such as the trade-in or wholesale amount. If your vehicle was a total loss, you can check the NADA or Edmunds value of your car to determine the retail value of your vehicle at the time of the incident.
Virginia law also requires insurance companies to pay for a comparable rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or the insurance company is compiling an offer for the total loss of a car. Further, you are entitled to receive a rental that is equivalent to the vehicle you lost. For instance, if your fully-loaded pickup truck is totaled, the insurance company cannot merely provide you with a small, basic compact car; rather, they must provide something comparable to your truck.
Why Is It Important to Hire an Experienced Salem, VA Auto Accident Lawyer?
Typically, insurance companies are looking out for their bottom line and are unconcerned with providing a fair and just settlement. Many times, insurance adjusters will look for any reason to deny a claim or offer a miniscule settlement, even if it involves taking advantage of an unknowing victim. When insurance companies neglect your needs or attempt to take advantage of you, it is important to take strong and aggressive action to uphold your rights.
Importantly, when a claim is made by a person who is not represented by a lawyer, the insurance company will be trying to determine what happens if the case doesn’t settle. Will the case be taken to court?
Insurance companies know that most people who don’t retain a lawyer and who are not lawyers themselves will not take their case to court. Or if they do so, they likely will not be able to effectively represent themselves. As a result, without a lawyer, insurance companies know that they will likely be able to get away with a “lowball” settlement, as the injured person will likely take that settlement rather than going to trial.
How We Help Clients Get Justice and Fair Compensation
Mark and our firm stand up to greedy insurance companies who try to avoid liability for their insureds, and we fight tenaciously to help our clients get the maximum compensation for their injuries.
We represent automobile accident clients on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that you will not pay a fee unless we secure a settlement or recover damages at trial. Additionally, we advance all litigation fees and costs (these are normally paid back from a settlement or verdict). As a result, you won’t need to worry about paying for court costs and other litigation expense while you are recovering from an injury.
We Invite You to Call Us Today for a Free Consultation and to Get Started With Your Case
 Virginia Driving Trends, Commonwealth of Virginia, www.dmv.virginia.gov/safety/crash_data/crash_facts/crash_facts_18.pdf.
 VA Code § 8.01-243.
 VA Code § 8.01-66.
 Prior to commencing representation, we will provide a detailed fee agreement that will explain our contingent fees and govern our representation.