Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek

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  • How can I be a good client for my attorney in my divorce?

    How You Can Help Your Divorce AttorneyEven an uncontested divorce can be complicated when deciding how to split up property and decide on the parenting of your children. You need an experienced family law attorney who is on your side and looking out for your interests. While it is important to have a good attorney, you need to realize that he is not the only one who needs to work on your case. You are team player with him, and you can help achieve a better outcome in your case by being a good client.

    Ways to Be a Good Client in Your Divorce Action

    Divorces are a stressful and emotional time, and some clients let their anger at their spouses spill out into how they treat their attorneys. This can damage their relationship with their lawyer. If the situation gets bad enough, the attorney could ask the court to allow him to withdraw from the case.

    You never want to be in this situation with your attorney, and you should want to do what you can to help him in your case. Here are ways that you can be a good client during your divorce:

    • Be reasonable. You need to be realistic about what you expect to achieve in your divorce settlement. In most cases, both spouses must compromise in what they are willing to accept.
    • Follow the court’s rules. In some cases, the judge will issue an order requiring you to take a certain action. If this occurs, it is important that you follow the judge’s order. This makes your case stronger and your lawyer’s job easier.
    • Provide information promptly. If your attorney is requesting information from you, it is because he needs it to move your divorce along. In divorces, the parties are required to exchange many financial documents that will be used in dividing your property and determining child support. Provide any requested information to your attorney as soon as possible.
    • Keep your attorney informed. You want to communicate regularly—but not excessively—so that you know the progress in your divorce proceeding. In addition, you need to inform your lawyer if there are problems between you and your spouse. You do not want him to learn of these situations from your spouse’s attorney at court when he will be at a disadvantage with the judge.
    • Follow your attorney’s advice. Hopefully, you hired your attorney because of his experience in family law matters. While you do not have to agree with everything he says, you should follow his advice—even if it is not what you want to hear. He knows the laws governing divorces in Virginia and how to resolve your case with your best interests in mind.

    Are you considering filing for divorce? Call our office to schedule your free consultation to learn about our experience in family law matters and how we can assist you.

     

  • Who could be liable for compensating me for my injuries in a rollover truck crash?

    Liable Parties to Semi-Truck Rollover AccidentsWhile it is true that truck driver negligence causes the majority of truck rollover accidents, this does not mean that there were not multiple reasons—and liable parties—for a rollover wreck. If you or a family member were injured in a rollover wreck, you could suffer catastrophic injuries that may prevent you from working for the rest of your life. To ensure that you are fully compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, it is crucial that you identify all potentially liable parties and file claims with their insurance companies.

    Who Are the Potential Liable Parties in a Rollover Truck Accident?

    An experienced truck accident attorney can help determine all the reasons for your rollover accident and identify the liable parties. These can include the following:

    • Truck driver. If the truck driver engaged in negligent driving practices—such as speeding or talking on his cell phone—and this caused your injuries, he would be a liable party.
    • Trucking company. In Virginia, the trucking company may be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its trucker if he was within the course of his employment when he caused your accident. You may also have a negligent hiring claim against the company.
    • Shipper. If the load was improperly loaded or unsecured and this caused the truck to roll over, you will need to file a claim with the insurance company for the shipper who loaded the goods.
    • Maintenance company. Some trucking companies contract with a maintenance facility to perform routine inspections and repairs. If the brakes, tires, or other components were not maintained or repaired, you may have a claim against the maintenance facility.
    • Manufacturer. If defects in the design or manufacture of the truck’s brakes, tires, or other parts caused your rollover, you may have a products liability claim against the manufacturer.

    Determining the liable parties after a rollover truck accident is complex. Let our experienced truck accident attorneys take over the burden of determining the liable parties and negotiating your settlement so that you receive what you deserve. Get started by calling our office to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • What is an independent medical exam in an auto accident case?

    Independent Medical Exams and What You Need to KnowWhen you file a claim for compensation following a car crash, you have to prove the negligent driver’s fault in causing the accident and the severity of your injuries. The insurance company will investigate your claim and look for information that it can use to deny or reduce your claim. One of the ways that it may try to do this is to request that you submit to an independent medical examination.

    What You Should Know About Independent Medical Exams

    An independent medical exam is a medical examination performed by a doctor at the request of the insurance company. It is also known as a compulsory medical exam because it is not independent nor is it voluntary. There is a good likelihood that the negligent driver’s insurance company will request that you submit to one if your claim is disputed. Here are some important points to keep in mind about these exams:

    • The insurance company requesting a compulsory medical exam gets to pick the doctor performing the exam and is responsible for paying for it.
    • You may not be required to submit to an independent medical exam unless you file a civil lawsuit. As part of the litigation process, the insurance company can most likely require you to submit to this exam.
    • If you file a claim under your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may require you to submit to this type of medical exam. You may be obligated to agree to this under the terms of your insurance policy.
    • You need to remember that the doctor for the insurance company is not your friend. He is paid by the insurance company and is looking for ways to minimize your injuries.
    • You should come to the compulsory medical exam prepared to answer questions about treatments that you have received and how your injury has limited your ability to work and do other activities.

    You should never agree to an independent medical examination or other request of the insurance company without first consulting with an experienced car accident attorney. Start learning about your legal options and pitfalls to avoid when filing your claim. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What should I do if I am behind in my child support payments?

    If you get behind in your child support obligations in Virginia, you do not want to make the situation worse by doing nothing. You do have options, and it is important to exercise them so that you do not face harsh penalties, such as garnishment of your wages or suspension of your driver’s license. One of your first steps should be to retain an experienced family law attorney who can assist you in resolving your problem.

    Filing a Motion to Amend Your Child Support Order

    If you have a good relationship with the other parent of your children, you may want to first try talking about your financial situation with that person and trying to agree on a new child support amount that you can afford. You will need an attorney to file the appropriate paperwork to modify your child support obligations if you reach an agreement. If not, you will needWhat to Do When You Are Behind on Child Support Payments to file a motion to amend or review your child support order as soon as possible.

    In order to be successful, you will need to show a material change of circumstances that make it difficult for you to pay your child support payment or that you made a good faith effort to pay what was ordered. Your inability to pay must not be due to a voluntary act. Examples of changes in circumstances that may justify a reduction in your child support include:

    • Medical emergencies
    • Loss of a job
    • Increased income of the other parent
    • Changes in the child support guidelines

    Your motion will only affect future child support obligations after you file the motion. You still will owe the back payments, which is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible once you know that you are unable to pay. You will need to provide proof of your current income, and your attorney can file a subpoena ordering the other parent to provide proof of his or her income and expenses for the children. A hearing would be scheduled where the judge would decide how much child support you will have to pay.

    Are you behind in your child support payments? Fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our family law legal team to learn how we can help.

     

  • Who could be liable for compensating me in a crash caused by truck brake failure?

    Truck Crashes Caused by Brake FailureIf a truck’s brakes fail, the injuries that can result are often catastrophic. Brake failure can cause the driver to lose the control necessary to maneuver the truck to safety. Unfortunately, brake failure truck wrecks are often caused by the negligence of the truck driver or another party. If this was the cause of your injuries, an experienced truck accident attorney can help hold the responsible parties liable for compensating you.

    Possible Parties at Fault in Truck Crashes Caused by Brake Failure

    Your lawyer will need to conduct a thorough investigation of your accident to determine its cause. This can include hiring an expert to inspect the truck, reviewing the trucker’s maintenance and inspection records, and interviewing witnesses. If truck brake failure led to your accident, these parties could be liable:

    • Truck driver. The truck driver has a duty to conduct a pre-trip and post-trip inspection of the truck and vital parts—including the brakes—as well as during the trip. The driver is not allowed to drive the truck when he knows that the brakes are in need of maintenance or repair. If he violated the rules regarding required inspections or drove the truck when he knew there was a problem with the brakes, he is most likely a liable party.
    • Trucking company. The trucking company could face responsibility for your wreck on a number of grounds. First, the company could be responsible for the negligent actions of the truck driver. You could also have a separate legal claim against the company for violating its own inspection and maintenance requirements. Through his investigation, your attorney may find that the trucking company deliberately depowered the front brakes to save on brake maintenance and replacement costs—another way to prove negligence caused your wreck.
    • Maintenance company. If the trucking company had a contract with a maintenance facility to conduct routine inspections and to perform maintenance and repairs, this company may face liability if maintenance and repair issues with the brakes were the cause of your accident.
    • Shipping company. If the truck’s load was not loaded properly, this could cause the brakes to wear down and malfunction, making the shipping company at least partially responsible for your losses.
    • Manufacturer. If the brake parts were designed or manufactured defectively, you could have a products liability claim against the parts manufacturer. The trucking company could also face liability if it knew about the defective part or that the truck was subject to a recall but continued to keep the truck in operation.

    Do you need assistance filing a claim for compensation following your truck accident? Let our experienced and compassionate legal team guide you through the process and negotiate your settlement so that you receive what you deserve. To get your questions answered and learn about the next steps you need to take, call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • How do I keep track of my medical bills for my injuries in an auto accident?

    Medical Bills After Auto Accident InjuriesIf you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another driver, it can be overwhelming to deal with both your injuries and the pain that they cause you on a daily basis. Your stress can increase when you are forced to take time off work with no pay while you recover, and a barrage of medical bills starts pouring in that you cannot pay. However, it is important that you keep track of your medical bills so that you can obtain compensation for all of your medical expenses in your settlement.

    Types of Medical Expenses to Document

    You will not know if you are receiving what you are owed for your medical bills unless you keep accurate records for your attorney. The first step in staying organized is to know all the medical expenses that you should be compensated for. These include the following:

    • Surgery
    • Emergency room visits
    • Doctor and specialist appointments
    • Physical and other types of therapy
    • Diagnostic tests
    • Mental health treatments
    • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
    • Medical devices and equipment, such as braces, crutches, and wound dressings
    • Ambulance rides
    • Transportation and lodging expenses if you must travel to receive your treatment
    • Home health care
    • Household replacement services if you need someone to clean your house, take care of your children, or otherwise take care of your personal needs

    How to Keep Track of Your Medical Bills

    Keeping your medical bills in an organized fashion not only documents the amount of money that you are owed for medical expenses, but it also helps you keep a record of what medical treatment you received. When you are seeing doctors, specialists, and physical therapists on a regular basis, it may be hard to remember what treatment you received and when you received it. Your medical bills are one way that you can refresh your memory if you must testify at a deposition or trial. Here are ways to stay organized:

    • Keep a journal. Keeping a medical journal is an important way to keep track of your medical care. You can jot down a note about every doctor appointment, physical therapy session, and other expenses that you incur with the date of the event. You can also keep notes about your pain and limitations of movement due to your injuries on a regular basis here.
    • Take pictures. Some people like to take pictures of their medical records and bills to store on their computers and retrieve later.
    • File medical bills. File your medical bills in a designated place as you receive them to ensure that you keep track of them. You should talk to your attorney about ways that you can organize your bills that will make it easiest for him to review them and calculate your expenses when determining the value of your claim.

    Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to guide you through the process and to fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call our office to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn more about your legal options.

     

  • What is Virginia’s open container law?

    What Do You Know About Virginia's Open Container LawVirginia is one of a few states that does not prohibit passengers from having open containers of alcohol in a vehicle. However, if you are the driver, this does not mean that you will not be charged with DUI if the police pull you over and there is an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. It is important to understand Virginia’s open container law and how it can relate to more serious charges.

    Understanding Virginia’s Open Container Law

    The open container law has two sections. The first section makes it unlawful to consume alcohol on a public highway—a broad definition that includes most roads. The second provision creates a rebuttable presumption that the driver was the one who consumed the alcohol under these conditions:

    • An open container is found in the passenger area of the vehicle.
    • Part of the alcohol is not in the container.
    • The driver is displaying reasonable characteristics, such as slurred speech, conduct, or odor, which suggests alcohol had been consumed.

    The passenger area basically covers the entire interiority of the vehicle because it includes the driver’s seat, unlocked glove compartment, and the areas where passengers sit. It does not include the trunk.

    Violation of the Open Container Law in Virginia

    Violation of the open container law is a separate offense that you could be charged with in addition to driving under the influence (DUI). Only drivers can violate this law, not passengers. It is a Class 4 misdemeanor, and the penalty is generally a fine. In addition, you will have a permanent criminal record if you are convicted of this. Passengers may be charged with another offense, such as drinking alcoholic beverages in a public place—also a Class 4 misdemeanor.

    If you were charged with having an open container in your vehicle, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help raise all of your possible defenses. This could result in the charges being reduced or dismissed. To learn about our experience representing clients facing this and other criminal charges, and how we can help you, call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

     

  • What are grandparent visitation rights in Virginia?

    Visitation Rights of Grandparents in VirginiaIn many families, grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. When the parents of the grandchildren divorce, the rights of grandparents playing a role in their grandchildren’s lives can change. While ideally the parents would work out visitation rights cooperatively, in some cases this does not happen. The negative feelings and anger the parents feel against each other can lead to custody disputes and denying grandparents the right to visit their grandchildren.

    Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Virginia?

    Grandparents do potentially have the right to visitation time with their grandchildren. While there is no statute that grants visitation rights specifically to grandparents, Virginia law allows the court to grant visitation to parents and “persons of legitimate interest.” Parties who fall into this category include:

    • Grandparents
    • Stepparents
    • Former stepparents
    • Blood relatives
    • Family members

    In deciding a request for visitation, the judge will examine the child’s emotional and physical needs and the best interests of the child. The judge will also consider how the visitation will affect the parents’ relationship with their child. If both parents object to the visitation, the grandparents may need to prove actual harm to their grandchildren if no visitation is granted—which can be difficult to show. If only one parent is objecting to the visitation, the grandparents will only need to meet the best interests of the child standard, which can often lead to court-ordered visitation.

    There are two situations where a grandparent will lose the right to visitation. If parental rights are terminated, the grandparents may also lose their visitation rights. Similarly, the grandparents will not continue to have rights if the grandchild is legally adopted.

    If you are a grandparent and need to obtain visitation with your grandchildren, an experienced family law attorney can help you with your request to see your grandchildren. To learn about your legal options and how we can help, fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • Should I report my auto accident to my own insurance company if I was not at fault?

    Reporting Car Wrecks to the Insurance CompanyIn Virginia, the negligent driver who caused your auto crash is liable for fully compensating you for your losses, and you should file a claim with his insurance company. However, this does not mean that you should not report your accident to your own insurance company. By notifying your insurance company, you are preserving your rights to obtain additional sources of compensation if you need it.

    Why Reporting Your Wreck to Your Insurance Company Is Important

    Many people are under the misconception that they do not have to report their wreck to their auto insurance company if they plan to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company or that doing so will increase their insurance rates. Reporting an accident is different than filing a claim. You are simply notifying the insurance company of what happened. Here are reasons why you should do so:

    • Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company, and it most likely requires you to notify them of any accidents.
    • Promptly informing the company of your wreck is a requirement for filing a claim under the policy. You preserve your right to take this step if you later discover that you need to do so.

    Why You May Want to File a Claim Under Your Own Insurance Policy

    Even if you were not the at-fault driver, you may want to file a claim under your own policy. Here are some types of coverage that you may need to use:

    • Collision. Getting your vehicle repaired quickly will most likely be a priority. If there are disputes with the negligent driver’s insurance company about your claim, which is often the case, you may want to use your collision insurance coverage, if you purchased it, to get your vehicle repaired quickly. You may also need to use your own insurance coverage to pay for car rental or towing costs.
    • Uninsured motorist coverage. In Virginia, you are required to purchase at least $20,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as part of the minimum auto liability insurance you must have to drive a vehicle. If the other driver had no insurance, you would need to file a claim under this coverage.
    • Underinsured motorist coverage. If the negligent driver had the minimum amount of liability coverage of $25,000 for injuries to one person or $50,000 for injuries to more than one person per accident, this may be insufficient to fully compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can file a claim under your own underinsured motorist coverage for the amount that you are owed not covered by the other driver’s insurance policy.

    Filing a claim for compensation following a car accident can be complicated, and there are many decisions that you will need to make during the settlement process. Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of pursuing your claim and fighting for the compensation that you deserve. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Can I file a dram shop or social host claim against the business or person who served alcohol to the drunk driver who caused my accident?

    If a drunk driver caused you to suffer injuries in a drunk driving accident, you can file a civil lawsuit against him for compensation for your injuries. In many states, you can also file an action against other parties who served the intoxicated person alcohol. Do you have a right to pursue these claims in Virginia?

    Dram Shop and Social Host Laws in Virginia

    A dram shop law allows a victim of a drunk driving wreck to pursue a claim against the bar, restaurant, or retail business that sold alcohol to the driver when they knew, or should have knownDram Shop Laws in Virginia , that the person was intoxicated. Many state laws allow accident victims to pursue these claims. Unfortunately, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that these civil claims cannot be filed against a vendor of alcohol in our state.

    Social host laws permit claims against social hosts who serve alcohol to intoxicated persons at parties, their homes, or other locations who then drive and cause an accident. As with dram shop laws, these claims are not permitted in Virginia. However, a social host who provides alcohol to a minor under 21 years of age can face criminal charges for doing so.

    Who Is Liable for Compensating You in a Drunk Driving Accident?

    While it is harsh that Virginia does not allow accident victims to sue those that serve alcohol when they should not, the drunk driver who caused your accident is fully responsible for your injuries if you can prove that his intoxication caused your wreck. Drinking after driving can impair driving in many ways that can lead to a driver to cause a wreck including:

    • Reduced vision
    • Slowed reaction times
    • Inability to properly judge distances
    • Impaired judgment, which can lead drivers to engage in reckless driving behaviors
    • Drowsiness

    You could suffer catastrophic injuries in a drunk driving accident, such as traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, burns, and paralysis, which could require you to be off work for long periods of time or cause permanent disability. You can hold the drunk driver accountable for compensating you for your medical bills, lost wages, and more—with the help of an experienced car accident attorney. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn about your legal options and how our experienced legal team will fight for the settlement that you deserve.

     

  • How can I obtain a protective order if I am the victim of abuse?

    Types of Protective Orders in VirginiaIn Virginia, you can obtain an immediate protective order to protect you against acts of domestic abuse, which is defined as family abuse if the person abusing you is a family or household member. Under the law, domestic abuse can include acts of violence, force, or threats that put you in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. If you are a victim of abuse and need to obtain a restraining order, our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you get the immediate help that you need to stop the abuse, remove the abuser from your home, and prevent him from contacting you.

    What Types of Protective Orders Are Available in Virginia?

    There are three types of protective orders that you can obtain in Virginia, and they are all civil court orders. They include the following:

    • Emergency Protective Order. An emergency protective order is an immediate order that is issued without a court hearing and can be obtained any day or night, even when the court is closed. It expires at the end of the third day after it was issued.
    • Preliminary Protective Order. A preliminary protective order is the first step in obtaining a permanent protective order and can be issued if you suffered recent abuse or are in imminent danger of family abuse. The order is effective for 15 days but can be extended for up to six months.
    • Permanent Protective Order. A permanent protective order will only be granted after a full hearing where both you and the abuser are present and testify as to what occurred. These orders can protect you for up to two years.

    How Do You Obtain a Protective Order?

    It is always best to retain an experienced family law attorney to obtain a protective order so that it is done properly, you obtain the full protections that you need, and you obtain it as fast as possible. However, it can be useful in understanding the basic steps in obtaining a protective order:

    • File a petition. You can obtain the forms at the court where you live or download the forms through the Virginia Judicial System website. If you are in immediate danger and the court is closed, you may be able to obtain an emergency protective order by going to your police department. There is no filing fee to file this petition.
    • Filling out the form. If you are completing the form yourself, you should understand that you are the “Petitioner” and your abuser is the “Respondent.” You should describe recent incidents of violence and use descriptive language to describe what was done to you. Sign the petition in front of the clerk.
    • Bring ID and abuser information. You will need to bring your driver’s license or other type of identification as well as a photo, home and work address, and other information about the abuser.
    • Review of order. Once you have filed the petition, the clerk will take it to the judge. He may have questions for you when he reviews it and decides whether to issue an order. A hearing will be scheduled before you can obtain a permanent protective order.
    • Serve the papers. If the judge signs your order, you will need to arrange to serve the abuser with the order and any notice of hearing. Often, you can arrange to pay the sheriff or police to serve him.
    • Hearing. A hearing will most likely be scheduled in your case if you are asking for more than an emergency order. This hearing could be scheduled within 15 days after you file your petition. You will be required to attend this hearing, and it is in your best interest to have an attorney represent you at this hearing. Other court hearings may be scheduled as necessary.

    If you need a protective order to stop family abuse, contact our office immediately for assistance in obtaining it. Call our office to schedule your free consultation and be sure to let us know that you need immediate help.

     

  • Will homeowners insurance cover my premises liability accident claim?

    Homeowners Insurance and Premises Liability CasesNot all premises liability accidents occur at restaurants, malls, grocery stores, or other business property. In some cases, a person can suffer long-term injuries in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident at someone’s home. If you suffered injuries at a private residence, you may be able to file a claim with the person’s homeowners insurance company to obtain compensation for your injuries.

    What Are Common Causes of Premises Liability Claims at Private Residences?

    In order to hold a homeowner responsible for compensating you for your injuries, you must prove that he was negligent. To prove this, you must show that an unsafe condition existed on the property that he knew or should have known about and that he failed to correct the problem or warn you of the danger. Common causes of slip and fall accidents at a residence include:

    • Water or other spills
    • Cracked or worn flooring
    • Torn or frayed carpeting
    • Flooring that is not level
    • Leaking roof
    • Stairways with shallow steps, defective handrails, or no handrails
    • Sidewalks with cracks or holes
    • Sidewalks that are slippery due to snow and ice

    Not all claims against a homeowner arise out of a slip and fall accident. A few other types of claims that can be paid by homeowners insurance include:

    • Dog bites
    • Swimming pool accidents
    • Negligent supervision of a child claims against a homeowner when a child is injured at his home

    Types of Homeowners Insurance Coverage

    If the property owner was negligent in causing your injuries, you will need to determine whether the owner purchased homeowners insurance coverage. Slip and fall and other premises liability accidents are generally covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. You may be entitled to compensation under the following coverages that are typically offered in these policies:

    • Liability coverage. Liability coverage will cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering up to the insurance policy limits if the homeowner was negligent in causing your injury.
    • Medical coverage. This is no-fault medical coverage, which is also known as med pay. It can pay some of your medical bills regardless of the homeowner’s fault in covering your injuries. In most cases, medical coverage is often much less than liability coverage, such as in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.

    If you suffered an injury in a premises liability accident at a residence, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney to file your claim and negotiate your settlement. Learn about your legal options and our years of experience in handling these cases by starting an online chat to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • How can I help my attorney in my premises liability case?

    Helping Your Premises Liability CaseRetaining an experienced premises liability attorney is essential if you want to obtain the compensation that you deserve from the negligent property or business owner that caused your injuries. However, your work is not done once you have researched and selected your lawyer. You are on a team, and there are things that you can do to make it easier for your lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement for you.

    Ways You Can Help Your Attorney Strengthen Your Case

    The actions that you take—or do not take—will have a direct bearing on how strong a case you have against the negligent party that caused your injuries. Here are some of the ways that you can do your part to help your attorney help you:

    • Be honest. You need to be honest with your attorney and not hide information from him—even if you think it will hurt your claim. Anything you tell your attorney is protected by attorney-client privilege. Your attorney can develop strategies to handle facts that may be used by the insurance company to deny or reduce your claim—but only if he knows about them. He will be at a serious disadvantage if he discovers the damaging information from the other party’s insurance adjuster.
    • Follow-up medical care. Because you are trying to obtain compensation for your injuries, your medical treatment is important to the strength of your claim. When you go to all of your doctor appointments and follow your doctor’s advice, this helps your case. Doing this avoids some arguments about how serious your injuries are.
    • Stay off social media. You avoid the problem of the insurance company finding postings that suggest that you are less injured than you claim if you stay off social media while your claim is pending. At a minimum, do not say or post anything about the accident or your injuries.
    • Provide information promptly. When your attorney requests documents and other information, he needs it to move your case along toward settlement. Help him do this by providing the information as soon as possible.
    • Follow your attorney’s advice. One of the best ways to help your attorney is to follow his advice. He has years of experience handling cases like yours and is only asking you to do things that will make your case stronger.

    Did you suffer injuries in a premises liability accident? Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced premises liability attorneys.

     

  • How can I spot a drunk driver to avoid a car accident?

    Spotting Drunk Drivers on the RoadWhile you can control your own actions and not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, you cannot control what other motorists do. Unfortunately, many make the wrong decision of driving when intoxicated, which can significantly reduce their ability to drive safely. Slowed reaction time, poor judgment, inability to concentrate on more than one task, and reduced vision are some of the ways that drunk driving affects driving abilities and leads to catastrophic accidents. However, you can take steps to keep you and your family safe.

    Top Signs That a Driver Is Drunk

    You need to be aware of the signs that a driver is intoxicated so that you can watch for them when you are on the road. If you spot a driver exhibiting these warning signs, you should keep a safe distance from him and contact the police. In this way, you protect others on the road as well as yourself. Here are ways that you can identify a drunk driver:

    • Veering into other lanes. Because of problems judging distances and drowsy driving, a drunk driver can veer into another traffic lane—sometimes causing a head-on collision. This can also lead the driver to suddenly overcorrect, which can cause an accident.
    • Colliding with objects. Some drunk drivers will not see traffic signs, mailboxes, and other objects and crash into them because of reduced vision.
    • Wide turns. The inability to judge distances can cause a drunk driver to make wide turns, which can lead to a head-on or side-impact wreck.
    • Straddling a lane divider. To avoid crossing into another lane or veering off the road, drunk drivers often drive too close to the center lane line or other lane dividers.
    • Driving under the speed limit. Some drunk drivers will compensate for their intoxication by driving too slowly—10 miles or more below the speed limit.
    • Tailgating. Being drunk can impair a person’s judgment, which can cause him to speed and tailgate other drivers. This can be even more dangerous due to slowed reaction times and inability to judge distances.
    • Headlights. Some drivers are so intoxicated that they do not realize that their headlights are not on, making it more challenging for them to see and to be seen by other drivers.
    • Turn signals. If a driver is intoxicated, he may use the wrong turn signal, not use it at all, or forget to turn it off, making it more difficult for you to determine whether the driver intends to turn.

    No matter how hard you try to avoid drunk drivers on the road, you could suffer injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver. However, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the drunk driver. To learn about your legal options, schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.

     

  • What is the sudden medical emergency defense in an auto accident case?

    Medical Emergency Defense While DrivingIf you pursue a claim for compensation for injuries following a motor vehicle accident, the negligent driver has the right to raise any defenses as to why he is not responsible for compensating you. A common defense the driver could raise is that you were partially or completely at fault for causing the wreck. A rarer defense—but one that is important to understand—that may be used to deny your claim is the sudden medical emergency defense.

    What Must Be Proven to Establish the Medical Emergency Defense?

    While most car accidents are caused by speeding, texting, not following traffic laws, or other driver error, in some cases, the crash will be the result of the driver’s medical condition. In rare cases, a driver may experience a sudden medical emergency, such as a stroke, seizure, or heart attack, without any prior notice. In order to establish the sudden medical emergency defense, the driver would need to prove the following:

    • He suffered a physical incapacity.
    • The physical incapacity was not foreseeable.
    • The incapacity caused the driver to be unable to control his vehicle.
    • The crash was in fact caused by the sudden physical incapacity.

    How Can You Fight a Medical Emergency Defense?

    If the negligent driver claims a medical emergency caused your crash, you should not take his statements at face value. Your first step should be to retain an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate your accident and obtain the driver’s medical records. In many cases, the negligent driver had warnings of the medical condition but did not seek treatment or had contacted a doctor about it. You need an experienced lawyer who can review the medical records and hire any necessary experts to refute this defense.

    Were you or a family member injured in an auto wreck? Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of investigating your accident and negotiating a settlement with all liable parties. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out our online form.

     

  • What are common grounds to suppress evidence in criminal cases?

    Common Grounds to Suppress Evidence When you face criminal charges, filing a motion to suppress evidence could be extremely useful in your defense. This is true even if you are guilty of the crime that you are charged with committing. By filing a motion to suppress evidence, you increase the chances that the charges against you will be dismissed or reduced to less serious offenses.

    What Are Common Grounds to Suppress Evidence That Could Help in Your Defense?

    If a motion to suppress evidence is granted, the evidence cannot be used against you by the police and prosecutor. Some evidence that is suppressed could be vital to proving the criminal charges against you, and the prosecutor may be forced to dismiss the charges. In other cases, the criminal case would go on, but the suppression of the evidence could significantly weaken the prosecutor’s case.

    In order to file a motion to suppress evidence, you must have grounds to file the motion. Here are some common reasons why your attorney might file this motion:

    • Unlawful search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, you are protected from unlawful searches and seizures of yourself, your home, your property. The police must have a valid search warrant or probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed to search and collect evidence. If your constitutional rights are violated, the evidence that is found may be suppressed.
       
    • Miranda rights. You have a constitutional right to be read your Miranda rights by the police if you are taken into custody before they question or interrogate you. This includes informing you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If you were not properly given your Miranda rights, your statements could be excluded.
       
    • Chain of custody. Chain of custody refers to the proper handling and storage of evidence from the moment it is collected by the police until it is presented as evidence at your trial. If the evidence was not handled or stored properly, a motion to suppress its use against you may be granted.

    Have you been charged with committing a crime? We offer a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to discuss your situation and how we can help you build a strong defense. To take advantage of this offer, call our office today.

     

  • How does a premises liability case work?

    Premises Liability Case and StepsOne frustrating aspect of filing a premises liability claim is the length of time that it can take to resolve your claim. Unfortunately, you may have to fight for a long time if you want to receive the compensation that you deserve. Knowing how premises liability cases work can help you to better understand why it is taking your experienced premises liability attorney longer than you may like to resolve your claim.

    Steps in a Premises Liability Case

    Whether you have a slip and fall, negligent security, dog bite, or other premises liability claim, there is a certain progression of steps that your case will take until you settle with the insurance company. Here is how a premises liability case works once you retain an attorney:

    • Investigation. The first steps in your case will be for your attorney to investigate your accident. He will also obtain evidence proving the other party’s negligence, and collect your medical records, medical bills, wage loss documentation, and other proof of your damages. This will help him to evaluate the strength of your claim and how much your claim is worth.
       
    • Maximum medical improvement. Your maximum medical improvement is the stage in your medical treatment where you have recovered as fully as possible. You need to reach this stage before moving on with the settlement of your claim to be certain that you know your prognosis and what future medical and wage loss damages you will incur. This is so that these amounts are included in the settlement.
       
    • Demand package. Your attorney will send a demand package to the insurance adjuster outlining the other party’s negligence, your injuries, your medical treatment, and the amount you are entitled to in settlement. Then there will be a period of negotiation where your lawyer would try to settle your claim without the need for litigation.
       
    • Litigation. If your attorney is unable to settle your claim or the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is about to expire, he will file a complaint and litigate your case. Once the answer to the complaint is filed, your attorney will engage in a lengthy discovery phase where written questions are answered, documents are provided pursuant to requests for production of documents, and depositions are taken. He will also try to settle your case at various times, and at some point it will most likely be resolved. If not, your case would be decided at trial.

    Do you need to file a premises liability claim? Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how filing your claim would work and the possible value of your claim.

     

  • Should I sign a medical authorization for the negligent driver’s insurance company?

    Insurance Company’s Medical Authorization FormIf you must file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company following an auto accident, the insurance adjuster could contact you to sign a medical authorization for release of your medical records to the insurance company. Should you sign the medical authorization? Here, we discuss why you should not sign the insurance company’s release and how doing so could damage your claim for compensation.

    Why You Should Refuse to Sign the Insurance Company’s Medical Authorization

    While it is true that the insurance adjuster will need to review your medical records pertaining to your injuries caused by the accident, there are safer ways for you to provide this information to him without signing a release. Here are reasons why you do not want to sign this legal document:

    • Blanket authorization. The medical authorization that the insurance company wants you to sign is a broad release that would allow the adjuster to obtain all of your medical records. Much of this information is unnecessary to the settlement of your claim. By giving the adjuster a blanket authorization, you increase the risk that he will find something in your prior records that he can use to deny or reduce your claim. Many times this is not for legitimate reasons.
    • Pre-existing injuries. If you suffered a pre-existing injury to the same body part, you will have to disclose it to the insurance company. A better strategy would be to retain an experienced car accident attorney and let him disclose your pre-existing condition and provide the medical records that the adjuster truly needs.
    • Invasion of privacy. Providing the insurance company with all of your medical records is an invasion of your privacy and could result in giving the insurance company irrelevant and sensitive medical information about you.

    How Should You Provide Medical Records to the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company?

    Signing a medical authorization for the insurance company without first consulting with an attorney is one of many mistakes in filing a car accident claim that you want to avoid. You should have an attorney review any documents before you sign them to be certain that it is in your interests to sign and you are not waiving important legal rights. Your attorney can investigate your accident, collect the necessary medical records for your claim, and send them to the insurance adjuster for you—without the need for you to sign an authorization.

    Is the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster asking you to sign a medical release? Our experienced car accident attorneys are happy to discuss your situation with you and review the document for you. To schedule your free consultation, call our Norfolk office today.

     

  • What happens if my auto accident is caused by a negligent driver’s medical condition?

    In some cases, a driver could cause a car accident not due to negligence, but because of a medical condition. Seizures, diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes are a few of the medical problems that a person could experience when causing a wreck. Who compensates the victims who suffer catastrophic injuries or death in these situations?

    Is a Negligent Driver Liable to Accident Victims If He Causes an Accident Due to a Medical Condition?

    A person experiencing a seizure, heart attack, stroke, or other medical condition while driving could lose consciousness or be unable to focus on his driving due to the symptoms he experiences. Even the side effects of medications can affect a person’s reasoning ability and reaction time when driving. These guidelines apply when determining whether or not the driver would be considered negligent and responsible for compensating an accident victim:

    • The determination as to whether the condition caused the accident will be based in part on the type of impairment the driver suffers with. A minor impairment, such as high blood pressure or a sinus infection, may not be a contributing factor in the crash—despite the negligent driver’s claims that it caused the wreck. However, having a seizure, stroke, or heart attack could.
       
    • If a driver knew or should have known about his medical condition at the time of the crash, he could be found negligent if his medical condition caused or contributed to the wreck. He may be considered negligent for failing to take necessary precautions to prevent an accident or driving when he knew or should have known that it was not safe to do so. For example, he may not be permitted to drive if he suffers from epilepsy.
       
    • In limited circumstances when the driver truly had no knowledge of his medical condition and it was not foreseeable, he may be able to raise the emergency medical condition defense to avoid liability.

    Is the negligent driver who caused your injuries claiming that a medical condition he suffers from caused your accident? An experienced car accident attorney can help you refute this claim or show that he failed to take necessary safety precautions. To discuss your situation and your legal options, fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • Should I file a police report following an auto accident if I suffered no obvious injuries?

    Importance of a Police Report After a Car WreckWhile you may know the importance of filing a police report if there was significant damage to the vehicles involved in the car accident or someone was injured, you may not want to bother when the property damage was minor and there were no apparent injuries. You may think that you can handle the situation yourself or work something out directly with the at-fault driver instead of involving the police or any insurance companies. However, this could be a bad decision that you later regret if you find you need to file a claim for compensation.

    Reasons to Always File a Police Report After a Car Crash

    While the police may decline to come to the accident scene in a minor collision, you always want to call them and report the accident. Here is why it would be a big mistake not to have the police investigate your crash:

    • Additional injuries or damage to the vehicle. You could discover that your vehicle suffered more serious damage that will require expensive repairs or that you suffered injuries that were not immediately apparent. Back and spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and internal organ damage are just a few medical conditions that victims do not realize they suffered until symptoms appear days or weeks after the accident. If you failed to contact the police, you may lose important information that would have been in the police report that you will need when filing your claim.
       
    • Denial of liability. If the driver admitted liability and agreed to pay you for your minor losses at the accident scene, he could change his story later and claim you were the negligent driver. This can be more difficult for a driver to do if the police were contacted and the officer included the driver’s statements as to how the accident occurred in the police report.
       
    • False information. When you exchange contact information with the negligent driver, he could give you false information regarding himself and his insurance company. If so, you may have no ability to file a claim for compensation if you discover you suffered injuries. When you call the police, the driver would be less likely to provide misleading information.

    Were you injured in a car accident caused by another driver? Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of investigating your accident, filing your claim, and negotiating your settlement so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn more about the value of your claim. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.