Interstate 81 FAQ’s
Interstate 81 is an interstate highway that runs north to south through the eastern part of the United States. Its southern-most end is at the Interstate 40 junction in Dandridge, Tennessee. Its northern-most end is where the Thousand Islands Bridge joins it to Highway 401, the main freeway in Ontario that connects Montreal to Detroit via Toronto, on Wellesley Island.
The major urban areas connected by I-81 include Syracuse, NY., Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley, Roanoke in Harrisburg, VA., and the tri-cities of Tennessee.
Interstate 81 primarily traces the passages created through the Great Appalachian Valley, down the length of the Appalachian Mountains, by early settlers, American Indians, and migrating animals, as well as troop movements during the Civil War. These roadways and trails slowly grew into US 11, which I-81 now largely parallels.
A mainly rural interstate, it is heavily relied on as a trucking corridor and is frequently used to circumvent busier thoroughfares like Interstate 95.
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding traffic accidents that take place on Interstate 81:
What should I do after being in an accident on Interstate 81?
If you are involved in an accident on I81 or even witness an accident as you are driving on I81, there are steps that you should take to ensure the safety of all involved parties and all drivers sharing the interstate.
- If anyone has suffered an injury in the accident, call 911 right away.
- Call law enforcement, especially if there is a hit and run involved.
- Gather the names, contact information, and driver’s licenses of all drivers who were involved in the accident.
- Take down the license plate numbers and request to see the vehicle(s) registration to ensure that all information is correct.
- Gather the names and contact information of all witnesses.
- Take pictures if you have a phone or camera available while still at the scene, if at all possible.
- Contact your insurance company right away.
What should I do if I was seriously injured or my loved one was seriously injured in an accident on I81?
The very first thing you should do is seek medical attention for your injuries right away. Then, it’s essential to speak with a knowledgeable I81 personal injury lawyer as soon as possible about your injury accident. You should do this to ensure that your rights are protected from the start of your accident and help you determine whether you have the right to pursue actions against the responsible party or parties that caused your injuries.
Do I need a lawyer after my Interstate 81 accident?
No, you are certainly not obligated to hire an attorney. It is technically possible, although not recommended, for you to represent yourself after an accident. As with any other profession, experience and training place a personal injury lawyer in a much better position to secure the compensation you need after an accident.
While you will need to pay your lawyer if you are awarded recovery, in most cases, injured victims who retain an attorney still get significantly more money than victims who choose to represent themselves.
One of the good things about hiring a personal injury attorney is that you can do it without risk. You never pay your attorney directly and always come out ahead. Almost all car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you are awarded compensation. Once you win, your lawyer receives a predetermined percentage of your settlement.
What should I expect from a car accident lawyer?
Auto accidents often result in serious injuries that can take months or even years to mend, and, in many instances, victims never completely recover. A car accident attorney is someone who specializes in tort law surrounding car accidents. They help clients build strong personal injury claims and pursue total financial compensation for their damages.
If you were injured in a car accident and were not to blame, a car accident attorney can help you build a compelling case and file for financial compensation in a timely fashion.
A motor vehicle injury attorney has numerous responsibilities to their clients, including:
- Collecting evidence from various sources such as eyewitness statements, documentation, and expert testimony to build the most convincing case possible
- Identifying every single person or entity responsible
- Calculating a fair economic value for your losses
- Handling all communications with the at-fault party as well as their representatives, such as their insurance carrier
- Filing any paperwork associated with your case, including settlement agreements, legal briefs, and notifications
- Giving you reliable advice regarding your options, such as whether you should accept a settlement or go to trial
- Meeting with the insurance adjuster as often as necessary to reach a fair settlement agreement.
- Trying your case in a court of law by arguing your side, examining eyewitnesses, presenting evidence, etc.
These are just some reasons why it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer after a car accident, even if it was someone else’s fault. Lawsuits require extensive time, knowledge, skill, and effort, which most recovering victims do not have.
When is the best time to contact an attorney after an injury accident on I-81?
The best time to call a personal injury lawyer is immediately after your accident on I81. The faster you reach out to an experienced attorney, the better your odds of a straightforward and efficient case with a successful outcome. Speaking with a lawyer about your accident comes with no risk to you.
Since most auto accident lawyers offer free consultations, there is no harm in contacting a legal professional for a review of your potential claim. If you are unsure whether your circumstances even warrant an attorney’s intervention, give yourself the benefit of scheduling a meeting to find out. The contingency fee structure offered by most lawyers means you pay nothing out of pocket unless you win your case.
How long do I have to file a claim after an injury accident on I-81?
If you sustained an injury that was caused by the recklessness, negligence, or dereliction of another driver, you are entitled to bring a compensation claim. The time you have to file this claim, however, is limited.
Each state has a fixed window of time during which a person with cause may file a personal injury claim. This time limit is referred to as the statute of limitations. For the states through which Interstate 81 runs, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claims are as follows:
Tennessee: In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for a personal injury action is outlined in the Tennessee Code. The code states that you have one year from the day of your accident to file a suit against the person liable for your injuries and related damages in a civil court. This statute applies to all cases filed under the negligence doctrine, like personal injuries from an auto accident, trip and fall, or intentional tort.
Virginia: The statute of limitations for Virginia personal injury cases is two years, meaning that the claimant must either settle their claim against the respondent’s insurance carrier or file a lawsuit within two years from the day of their accident.
West Virginia: In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death is two years. So, unless a legal exception is involved, the claimant cannot file a suit for damages once the two-year time limit has lapsed.
The statute of limitations in West Virginia applies in nearly all personal injury cases, from wrongful death to medical malpractice. By and large, the statute of limitations starts when the injury occurs. Due to the discovery rule, the clock does not begin until the victim becomes aware, or should reasonably have been aware, of their injury.
Maryland: Maryland gives its residents a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury suits. The three-year window runs from the date of discovery, the earliest date the claimant knew or should have known they had a viable personal injury claim.
Pennsylvania: In the state of Pennsylvania, a two-year statute of limitations are imposed on any civil action in which one person is seeking to recover damages for their injuries or for the death of a family member resulting from the negligence or wrongful act of another. This two-year restriction is applied to claims involving motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, product liability, medical malpractice, and numerous other forms of personal injury.
New York: The statute of limitations for personal injuries in New York is detailed in the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules. These statutes indicate that any action you intend to take to pursue compensation for a personal injury must be initiated within three years from the day.
In other words, after someone’s negligent or deliberate act has caused you injury, and you decide to pursue a civil remedy for your damages, you have three years to file the complaint and other necessary paperwork in court. In New York, the clock begins ticking on the day of the incident or accident that caused your injuries.
The state’s three-year deadline applies to just about any personal injury suit, regardless of whether the case is compelled by the principle of negligence, as is the case with most accidents or intentional torts, such as assault and battery and other purposeful conduct.
What should I do if I cannot afford to hire an attorney?
One of the very first questions that almost every prospective client asks is how much does a personal injury lawyer cost. Almost all personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee agreement. This allows personal injury law to be the one area of law where everyone has equal access to justice.
What is a contingency agreement, and how does it work?
A contingency fee is a way of paying an attorney for their legal services. As opposed to attorneys who work on an hourly rate, a lawyer who operates on a contingency fee receives a predetermined percentage of the financial compensation that their client receives when they settle or win their case. When a contingency fee agreement is in place, the attorney only collects payment for their services if they have successfully represented their client.
In other words, the percentage the attorney collects is contingent on the results they obtain and during which phase of litigation the case was settled. Contingency fees are almost ubiquitous in personal injury cases. On average, a successful attorney will take home anywhere from 20% to 50% of the total recovery.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
A personal injury claim’s worth is driven by the total value of the damages involved. Generally, the individual found legally liable pays damages to the claimant to atone for the losses they sustained due to their injury.
From an economic perspective, damages place a dollar amount on the victim’s hardships caused by the injury. The total amount of damages in any given civil suit may be determined by either a jury during a trial or a mutually agreed-upon figure.
What damages am I entitled to recover after an I-81 accident?
In the majority of personal injury cases, the victim’s losses fall under one of two kinds of damages that, together, build the foundation of their claim: economic or special damages and non-economic or general damages.
Economic damages are payments for objectively verifiable monetary losses, including current and anticipated monetary losses. These damages have exact dollar amounts assigned to them, such as hospital bills and lost earnings. The precise and provable nature of economic damages makes them simpler to calculate when constructing your claim. Economic damages include things such as:
- Hospital bills/Doctor bills
- Loss of or damage to personal property
- Lost earnings due to time away from work
- Numerous other verifiable losses
Non-economic damages act as payment for subjective, non-monetary losses. These are much more difficult to calculate because they delineate the physical and emotional trauma that comes with a significant injury. They often include the victim’s physical discomfort and distress, commonly referred to as pain and suffering.
Non-economic damages also take into consideration:
- Mental anguish/Emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of companionship
How are pain and suffering calculated in states that run through I-81?
The equation most often used by insurance carriers to calculate damages related to pain and suffering is the “Multiplier Method.” This equation, the “multiplier method,” is used to calculate all of a client’s actual damages after they are totaled. That sum is then multiplied by a number from one and a half to five. The multiplier, the number by which you multiply, signifies the extent of the severity of your pain, suffering, and any other related non-economic damages.
It is important to bear in mind that the total produced using the multiplier method is only a rough estimate. There is absolutely no guarantee that you will be awarded that exact amount. If a higher multiplier is applied with no discernable justification, the insurance carrier could deny your claim in full. This is why it is essential to support your calculations with legal documentation and accurate facts with the help of a skilled car accident lawyer.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Another popular question often injured accident victims is how long is their case going to take to settle. The answer hinges on several factors, the main one being the state in which your case is being litigated. For instance, any civil case is going to move through the court system much faster in rural Virginia than it is in a major metropolitan area such as Philadelphia or New York City.
A generic response to how long a personal injury claim takes to settle is anywhere from a few months to a few years. A factor that commonly dictates the longevity of a claim is a victim’s financial situation. Those seeking immediate economic relief are much more likely to agree to a deal before negotiations have even ended.
If you received a serious personal injury due to an accident or act of negligence, reach out to an experienced auto accident lawyer for a free evaluation of your potential case. After a thorough review, they will be able to estimate how long your case should take to conclude.
Should I provide the insurance company with a recorded statement?
Although insurers typically require their policyholders to cooperate with the claims process, you are not required to submit a recorded statement; in fact, you should not give a recorded statement without speaking with an attorney to ensure your rights are protected. The reason insurance carriers like taking recorded statements are that they are quicker than waiting for the policyholder to provide them with a written statement. Plus, they can twist and turn your words to use them against you later in your claim.
After an accident, a victim may be able to describe the incident in just a few minutes verbally. Collecting that same information in written form, however, could take several days. In addition to this, insurance companies are well aware that recorded statements collected immediately after a crash have a much higher margin of error. This gives them something to take advantage of so they can avoid paying out the full amount of compensation.
What Are My Rights if a Family Member Was Killed in an Accident on I-81?
In Tennessee, the perpetrator of the death, whomever it may be, is barred from filing a wrongful death claim or partaking in the proceeds thereof.
Virginia: According to the Virginia Wrongful Death Statute, a claim of wrongful death may only be filed by the personal representative of the estate. This person will be appointed either in the deceased’s will or by the state. The deceased’s surviving children and spouse may collect in the suit. Stepchildren and adopted children are also eligible.
In the event that other members of the family, like siblings, parents, and more distant relatives, were financially reliant on the decedent, they can also collect damages. This is also true if the victim had no children or spouse.
In instances where no survivors meet these characterizations, parties covered in the deceased’s will or who would otherwise be able to inherit under Virginia’s estate laws may file a claim.
West Virginia: Dissimilar to states that permit surviving family members to bring a wrongful death suit, the law in West Virginia permits only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, also known as the executor, to file a wrongful death claim with the court.
Even though the representative is tasked with filing the suit, it is the surviving family members who will benefit from any damages awarded.
Maryland: Under Maryland law, only specific family members of the victim are given the legal standing to file a wrongful death claim. Those with primary standing to do so are limited to a child, parent, or spouse of the decedent. If they have no surviving child, parent, or spouse, the claim may be brought by any person related by marriage or blood, provided they were financially dependent on the victim.
Pennsylvania: Similar to Virginia, in Pennsylvania, a wrongful death suit must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate named in the will. If the victim died in the state, then a surviving spouse will be permitted to do so. In the absence of a surviving spouse, another beneficiary such as an adult child or parent may act as the victim’s personal representative.
New York: Again, only specific surviving family members may bring a claim of wrongful death in New York. As stated in New York Consolidated Law, a wrongful death suit may be filed by the victim’s spouse, parents, child, or a personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
Usually, other family members, such as cousins and siblings, are not entitled to file a wrongful death suit in New York unless they were named as personal representatives or guardians.
We understand how confusing and frightening being injured in a car accident can be, especially when you were not at fault for the incident. We know first-hand the anxiety and stress caused by trying to deal with insurance carriers, medical expenses, lost earnings, and physical rehabilitation during your convalescence. Our purpose is to alleviate your worries and aggressively and actively pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries.