How often should I replace my motorcycle helmet?


The Snell Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to improving the effectiveness of auto racing helmets, recommends that, in the absence of any crashes, you change your helmet every five years. This is because the materials inside the helmet, like glues and resins, tend to degrade over time in a way that affects the liner material. Also, oil from your hair, sweat, and cosmetics all are known to cause wear and tear to the inside of the helmet, making it a less effective protector of your brain in a motorcycle crash.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and your helmet is impacted, you want to purchase a new one before your next ride. The protective material inside your helmet does not “bounce back” and provide protection a second time around.

How long do I have after a motorcycle accident in Maryland to file a personal injury claim?


In Maryland, you have three years from the date of your injury to either settle your motorcycle accident case or file a lawsuit. If you do not do one of these two things within the three year statute of limitations, your claim will expire. A lawsuit filed even a day after the statute of limitations is “dead on arrival” and you will not recover a dime.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Maryland, it is important to get in touch with an attorney within a reasonable period of time after the crash. This lets the attorney investigate the case and interview potential witnesses while the accident is still fresh in their mind.

You may also have sources such as PIP or MedPay on your own auto insurance policy that can serve as sources of payment for your medical bills.

Are there any time limits for filing an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident in Virginia?


Yes. In Virginia there is a two year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. This means that your case must either be settled by two years from the date of your injury or you must have filed a lawsuit. If you were injured in a Virginia motorcycle accident, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney within a reasonable period of time. With limited exception, the Law Offices of David L. Marks does not accept motorcycle crash injury cases within 60 days of the statute of limitations running out.

Is the insurance company low-balling me?


Is the insurance company low-balling me? I was in an auto accident in Arlington, Virginia. I was stopped at a red light. I was hit from behind. The lady who hit me had reached down to answer her cell phone. She was driving a company car. She got a ticket for failure to stop and my car was totaled. I was thrown forward in my seat and the seat belt caught me around the throat. I was stunned, and didn’t think I needed to go to the hospital. I missed several days of work and am just now beginning to feel normal again. I went to my primary care doctor and she took some x-rays and suggested keep seeing my chiropractor. I am ready to settle with the Company. They paid for my car, agreed to pay my co-pay and pay me for lost income. My question is there any other compensation that I should ask for?


Yes, the insurance company is low-balling you.

First, if you are only “just now” beginning to feel normal again, it is probably too soon to settle your claim. Remember that, in Virginia, once you have settled your claim and signed a release, you can never collect another dime for your claim. For that reason, it is very important to know that you have made a full recovery or that your doctor tells you that you are “as good as you’re going to get” before you settle your claim. The insurance company is probably pressing you to settle because they know that the quicker they can get you to settle, the more money they’ll save. Unless you’re running up against the statute of limitations (two years in Virginia), there really is no rush.

Second, the insurance company is legally obligated to pay the entirety of your medical bills which were caused in the accident – not just your co-pays. They are also obligated to compensate you with a reasonable amount of money for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience that you’ve been put through.

I was hit by a teenaged driver – do I have a claim or a lawsuit against her parents?


Probably not.

In Virginia, have a claim against the negligent teenaged driver after an auto accident, but not her parents. This is true even if the teenaged driver was unlicensed or still driving with a learner’s permit.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule: if a drunk teenager asks her parents for the family car and they toss her the keys and tell her to have a good time and she goes out and crashes the car, you might have a claim against the parents under a negligent entrustment theory of law. But it’s hard to imagine that set of facts ever occurring in Virginia.

This does not mean that you cannot bring a claim against the parent’s insurance company, however. In most cases, the child is either a named insured on the policy or was driving a car covered by the parent’s insurance policy and so would benefit from their coverage.

If you have been in an auto accident with a teenage driver and are interested in talking to us more about the potential issues that might arise during the claims process or after a lawsuit is filed, please give us a call at (703) 385-1100.

Will my auto insurance company drop me for filing a claim against them under my uninsured motorist policy?

No. Under Virginia law, an auto insurance company may not “drop” you for filing a cliam under the uninsured motorist provision of your car insurance policy. This is codified in Virginia code 38.2-2212(C)(1)(n):

  • No insurer shall refuse to renew a motor vehicle insurance policy solely because of any one or more of the following factors:
  • (n) One or more claims submitted under the uninsured motorists coverage of the policy where the uninsured motorist is known or there is physical evidence of contact

Many people involved in accidents where the other driver either had let his insurance lapse or had minimal coverage are afraid to make a claim under their own underinsured motorist coverage because they think the insurance company will drop them.

Our question to them is: What is the point of paying premiums on insurance coverage for all these years when you’re not going to use it when you finally need it?

Why aren’t we suing Allstate, GEICO, State Farm or USAA?

One of the more frequent questions that we get from clients who have been involved in car crashes in Fairfax and who have received poor settlement offers from an insurance company is why we’re not suing the company. When you file a lawsuit in Virginia for a car accident, you have to name the other driver.

Your lawsuit, then, is styled “John Plaintiff v. Barbara Defendant” instead of “John Smith v. Allstate.” This confuses a lot of people. Allstate provides insurance coverage for the claim (they hire the defense attorney, pay all of their client’s litigation costs, and pay any settlement or verdict within the policy limits), but Allstate is never named in the suit.

In fact, the judge or jury that hears your case will never know that Allstate was involved in the case at all. This is because of a rule in Virginia that prohibits the mentioning of insurance (auto, health or disability) in personal injury cases. The rule is designed to keep the jury from becoming prejudiced and rendering a lower verdict than they otherwise would (in an effort to keep their own insurance rates down) or a higher verdict than they might (knowing that the verdict would be paid by an insurance company and not by the Defendant himself).

What is MedPay?

Medical Expense Payments Benefits, also known as “MedPay,” is an optional insurance coverage that is offered in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  MedPay is essentially a supplemental health insurance policy that pays for your medical bills when you have been in a car crash or motorcycle accident.

MedPay is a no-fault provision.  It pays out if you are either hit by another driver or are the one who caused the accident.

MedPay is a good purchase even if you have regular health insurance because it can help you maintain a steady cashflow while you are waiting for your case to settle.  You will not recieve any money from the insurance company of the driver who hit you until you have actually settled your case.  Therefore, MedPay can be used to pay your co-pays as they come in or to offset some outstanding healthcare balances.

Additionally, the MedPay carrier does not have a right to be repaid at the end of the case if you ultimately get a recovery from the liability carrier.

We typically advise that our clients carry at least $5,000 in MedPay coverage.  Remember that, under most auto policies, the amount of MedPay that you carry is multiplied by the number of vehicles on the policy.  So, if you have a $5,000 policy and three vehicles, you have $15,000 in coverage.

Is Virginia a compulsory car insurance state? Can you drive in Virginia without auto insurance?

Most people are surprised to learn that Virginia is not a compulsory insurance state. This means that it is perfectly legal to drive a car in Virginia without any liability insurance at all – either for bodily injury or for property damage.

Most people believe that Virginia has a minimum auto policy requirement of $25,000. This is only partially true. A $25,000 liability for bodily injury (per person) is the lowest amount that you can purchase a Virginia car insurance policy for. However, if you pay $500 a year to the state’s Uninsured Motorist Fund, you do not have to purchase any insurance at all from GEICO, Allstate or Nationwide.

What does this mean for you?

It means you better protect yourself from the people out there trying to save money by not carrying liability insurance. You can do this by purchasing a decent amount of Uninsured or Underinsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy. Read our article on how to buy auto insurance in Virginia for more information.

How much auto insurance should I purchase in Virginia?

When you’re making the decision about how much car insurance to purchase, it’s best to over-purchase. The vast majority of auto accident cases are settled for under $100,000. But you do not want to have the case with $200,000 in medical bills and only $100,000 of coverage.

In Virginia, the minimum amount of insurance coverage you can purchase is $25,000 (and many drivers have these cheap policies). Therefore, it is your responsibility to protect yourself by having adequate uninsured/underinsured coverage.

We typically recommend that you purchase at least $300,000 in coverage (per person, not per accident). In addition, even if you have health insurance, we recommend that you purchase at least $5,000 in medical expense payments benefits coverage to help you out with co-pays and deductibles.

If you have any questions about how to read your auto insurance policy or how much insurance coverage is right for you, we are happy to answer those for you.


We only take on cases we believe in and think we can win. Let us win for you.

No matter what you are going through, we are here to help. Timing is critical, so contact us as soon as possible to tell us what happened.


Law Offices of David L. Marks
10513 Judicial Drive, Suite 204
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-385-1983 fax

Injured? Find out if you have a case.
Arrested? Learn how you can protect yourself.