Your Own Health Insurance
These are several main sources of money in personal injury cases. The first source of money is your own health insurance. This comes in many forms, and they type of insurance you may play a role in determining what the net amount of your recovery may be.
Your Own Auto Liability Insurance Policy
The second source of money is your own liability insurance policy.
Under Virginia’s limited no-fault statue, the traditional liability system remains intact but each car owner’s is offered an optional provision in his own auto insurance policy.
That provision will include benefits for medical, hospital, expenses incurred.
Other Party’s Liability Policy
The third source of money is the liability insurance for the person who caused the accident. It must be remembered that this liability insurance only pays when the other person is deemed to be at fault (negligent) in the accident. His insurance company will represent him and defend him against all claims, and if a jury finds that the other person was not at fault or is not liable to you because of your contributory negligence, then the insurance company will not have any liability to you.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What happens if the other person does not have liability insurance and is uninsured? In this case, you should have uninsured motorist coverage under your own auto liability policy. Under the provision, your own automobile insurance company will act as if they were the insurance company for the other side. They will evaluate the claims with that attitude and defend if it necessary and pay the claim or the judgment up to but not more than the limits of the uninsured motorist coverage that you have paid for in your policy.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
What if the other person’s liability policy is inadequate to pay for your injuries but meets the state minimum required so that you cannot claim under your uninsured motorist coverage? In this situation, you have what is called “underinsurance coverage”. In Virginia this is mandatory. Under this type of provision, if your insurance is $100,000 and the other person’s is only $25,000 after you have obtained a judgment for more than the amount of the other person’s insurance, you may then look to your own insurance company for the difference between your policy and his policy. In certain types of cases this can be a critical difference between a successful recovery and a disaster.
The next source of money is the other party himself and his personal assets. In the event the other person does not have insurance and your insurance is not adequate, you would then look to the assets of the defendant to perhaps attach his wages or force the sale of his house or seize his bank accounts. This becomes more complicated if his assets are all jointly owned with his wife and are not attachable. In some cases, a large verdict against an individual may force him to file bankruptcy
Product Liability Cases
This deals with cases where the maker of a product negligently designed it, used defective materials, assembled the parts improperly, mislabeled the product or failed to warn you of a danger when they should have.
Some states impose liability upon the manufacturer of a product if the product is simply defective and the product hurts you. These states are called “strict liability” states.
Other states impose liability if you show a defect in the product which renders it unfit for its intended use and the defect damaged you.
The duty warn product users of potential harm is a fertile area for liability of manufactures if you were injured and the harm could have been avoided if you had been warned of the danger.
This is the medical, legal or other professional malpractice area of the law. Liability is only imposed upon the professional when it can be shown that he did not act as a “reasonable professional” would have acted under the circumstances. A doctor, or other professional, is permitted to make a mistake in his judgment so long as his judgment was reasonable under the circumstances. He does not have to be right, and if he is wrong, he is not always liable for the harm or death that may result.
To impose liability, other experts in the field must establish that what the defendant did was unreasonable.
-That he failed to act up to the standard if care in his fields of practice.
Slip and Fall Cases
In these cases, the key requirements for liability is to establish that the people who run the place where the slip and fall occurred knew, or reasonable should have known, of the hazardous or dangerous condition and failed to correct it or warn others of the danger.
If someone drops a banana in the food store and the person, standing right behind him fails to see it and slips and falls, the store is not liable because they did not know of the problem and did not have the opportunity to correct it.
Ice and snow cases present the same problem as do cases involving tripping over poorly lit stairs, protrusions, or objects in restaurants and other stores.
States adopted the workmen compensation laws due to hardships on employees when they were hurt on the job and unsuccessfully tried to prove their employer negligent. The laws require the employer to pay certain parts of your loss whenever you have been hurt on the job, regardless of whether the employer is liable to you.
Workmen compensation laws require the employee to go only through the workmen compensation system. The employee id not permitted to sue the employer in court-even if the employer is guilty if negligence in causing the injury to or death of the employee.
These laws require the employer to carry insurance which is the source if money to pay for these injuries. They usually pay all the medical bills related to the accident and 67% of your average weekly wage for a specified period of time as defined in the particular law. You may also be entitled to compensation for loss of or a permanently injury to your hand, fingers, feet, arm, leg, vision, hearing and scaring or disfigurement to your body.