Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek

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  • When creating a prenup, what types of things should my partner and I be aware of when listing premarital assets and debts?

    When planning a prenuptial agreement, it is imperative that both you and your future spouse disclose all of your financial assets and property at the time of marriage. Prenups are designed to help protect personal property and finances and to make sure property is fairly divided in case of a divorce. When one partner fails to disclose certain premarital assets, it could raise red flags for the divorce judge and potentially cost you more during divorce proceedings.

    Premarital assets are defined as any assets you have acquired before your marriage. These types of assets can include savings, stock options, personal property (car, house, jewelry, etc.), and promised holdings (inheritances, retirement, etc.). In addition to financial securities, debts must also be disclosed within premarital assets (even though a debt isn’t generally considered an asset).

    Identifying Premarital Assets

    In order to ensure that all assets are divulged, the American Bar Association highly recommends that you and your partner create extensive lists of all of your personal property, assets, and debts. While creating your lists, it is important to ask yourselves where you both stand on particular financial issues going forward. This will not only reiterate the need for a prenup, but will also help clarify future financial dependencies.

    To help make sure you’re both on the same page, you should ask yourselves the following questions:

    • How will you handle premarital assets and debts during your marriage? How will you handle them in the event of a divorce?
    • Will your personal property become co-mingled with your marital property? Do you wish to have your assets and debts remain separate property so they will go back to the spouse who acquired them before the marriage?
    • If you use your premarital assets to help pay off your fiance’s debts, will you expect to be reimbursed in the event of a divorce or was the payoff a gift?
    • What if you use premarital property to buy a home you’ll own together? Will the paying spouse need to be reimbursed or is it a gift?
    • Would you like to set up a trust in order to keep certain personal property from being declared as premarital assets?

    Prenup Setup

    Once you’ve made the decision to create a prenuptial agreement, setting it up is easier than you may think. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and we’ll walk you through the process. With specialized and diligent representation you will not only have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your agreement is secure, but you’ll also have the support and guidance you need to ensure your prenup is what you and your fiance want.

    No one expects her marriage to end in divorce, but with separation rates being what they are, planning for the future is a wise decision. Let us help you make sure you’re covered. Call us today for a free consultation. Remember, we take our job (and our clients’ futures) very seriously. Take advantage, and let us help you!

     

  • What items are considered weapons under Virginia’s concealed weapons law and what are the penalties if I’m caught carrying such a weapon?

    Gun control and enforcement is a hot-button issue in the United States. As such, the federal government tries to limit its control over gun laws and instead leaves specific gun laws up to each individual state’s government. For example, there is no federal law that prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons.

    However, each state has its own laws regarding rights, enforcement, and punishment for weapon concealment. Although the state of Virginia has slightly more lenient gun laws than some other states, it still has a black-and-white view of concealed weapons.

    Classifying Concealed Weapons in Virginia

    In Virginia, a concealed weapon is defined as any weapon or artifact that is hidden from plain view, or has such a deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature, and could potentially cause harm to another person. Although the assumption is that the term weapon refers to a gun or knife, Virginia’s law incorporates a broader sense of what a weapon can be.

    Under the law, weapons are defined as objects that could reasonably cause harm to another person. The law specifically states that the following items can be considered weapons and, if hidden from view, can fall under the concealed weapons mandate: 

    • Guns: any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed to expel or propel missile-like objects by action of an explosive combustible.
    • Knives: any dirk, bowie, switchblade, or ballistic knife, machete, or razors that are able to cut or impale a human body.
    • Blunt objects designed to inflict harm: blackjacks, nun-chucks, fighting chains, or any instrument designed with rigid parts meant to flail and swing freely.
    • Propelling tools: any instrument designed to propel or shoot objects at high velocity such as potato guns, slingshots, blow darts, etc.
    • Sharp tools: any instrument with sharp edges that could potentially be used to cause harm, for example, makeshift shivs, throwing stars, needles, broken glass, etc. 

    Enforcement

    If you’re found to be concealing or hiding an object which could be considered a weapon under Virginia’s weapons classification, you could be charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Depending on the severity of the offense as well as past convictions, your penalty can range from misdemeanor charges to felony charges. The following is an overview:

    • First violation: you could be ticketed and charged with a class one misdemeanor, which could lead to jail time, fines, or both.
    • Second violation: if you’ve previously been charged with a class one concealment misdemeanor and are found to be illegally carrying again, you could be charged with a class six felony. Conviction can lead to up to five years imprisonment, a $2,500 fine, or both.
    • Third or subsequent violations: when you violate the law more than twice, you could be charged with a class five felony; if convicted you could serve up to 10 years in prison, fined up to $2,500, or both.

    Legal Help

    Being aware of different states’ gun laws can be extremely confusing. Unfortunately, this confusion could potentially land you in the back of a cop car. However, with proper representation, you don’t need to fear punishment. If you were a victim of a concealed weapon misunderstanding and need legal advice and support, contact us today. Our extensive knowledge and experience with Virginia’s laws will help you avoid jail time and keep your record clean. Don’t allow your future to be tarnished because you were unaware of the law. Call us today to get the advice you need.

    Make sure your family and friends are aware of the law before it’s too late. Share this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about carrying concealed weapons.

     

  • How can I tell if my hysterectomy caused internal damage?

    You had a hysterectomy last week due to painful fibroids in your uterus. Your surgeon assured you that everything went smoothly and any residual pain should subside quickly. However, after seven days of cramping, residual bleeding, and painful urination (not to mention fatigue and bloating), you’re starting to believe something went very wrong. Fortunately, your husband agreed and convinced you to go to the emergency room.

    After an x-ray and two MRIs, the attending physician informed you that you not only had a perforated bladder but a perforated bowel as well. You were shocked and angry as he prepped you for another surgery, but grateful your husband made you come to the ER. You can’t even imagine what would have happened if you had ignored the signs any longer.

    Have other women had this issue when having a hysterectomy? How did they figure it out?

    Symptoms of Hysterectomy-Related Injuries

    The National Women’s Health Network estimates that over 600,000 women undergo hysterectomy surgeries each year. Clearly, this is a common procedure in the United States and with such a large number of surgeries there are bound to be many women affected by hysterectomy negligence and injuries. According to the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, up to10% of hysterectomy patients (60,000) suffer from adverse complications due to the surgery. These complications can vary from small cuts in the abdominal wall to perforated bowels leading to sepsis.

    Unfortunately, if the injury isn’t identified during the time of surgery, long-term effects could ensue, resulting in embarrassing, painful and even fatal consequences. It is important to stay alert and watch for symptoms of injury following a hysterectomy so that you may seek medical attention as quickly as possible. These symptoms include:

    • Weakness
    • Bloody stool
    • Blood in the urine
    • Noticeable vaginal bleeding
    • Rapid breathing
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fatigue
    • Diarrhea
    • Pain or tenderness in your abdomen that gets more intense with motion or touch
    • Abdominal bloating or distention
    • Constipation or the inability to pass gas
    • Painful urination
    • Difficulty urinating or passing only a small amount of urine
    • Poor appetite
    • Excessive thirst
    • Fever and chills
    • Cold symptoms due to a suppressed immune system

    Taking a Stand Against Negligence

    Malpractice is a growing concern in the medical profession, and carelessness, negligence and misconduct need to be addressed and stopped before more tragedies occur. If you feel your doctor or hospital has acted irresponsibly and has caused you additional pain or discomfort, don’t be afraid to speak up. Contact us for a free consultation and review of your case. You could be entitled to a medical malpractice settlement and compensation for long-term effects your doctor’s negligence may have caused. Don’t hesitate any longer. Time has already cost you, don’t let it cost you more. Call today to get your life back on track.

    Did this article help answer your questions? Let us know by liking us on Facebook for periodic updates and tidbits, or email us directly for more information at Tavss Fletcher.

     

  • How can I protect myself from a slip and fall accident?

    It all happened so fast. One second you were walking into the movie theater, the next you were flat on your back with your hand lodged between your bottom and the floor. By the time you realized that you had tripped over a bad patch in the carpet, a searing pain was flooding your hand, wrist, and forearm. You tried to sit up but when you put even the slightest bit of pressure on the trapped wrist, the pain was unbearable. Your stomach turned and your vision became blurry.

    Thankfully, your husband was there to help. He carefully braced your torso against his and gingerly pulled your hand out from under you and placed it over his shoulder. He tried not to make a face as he saw your writs was already swelling up and turning purple. He hoisted you up to a standing position and stabilized you by putting his arm around your waist.

    As you tried to move in closer to him, you noticed that your foot was still caught in the carpet. You forcefully kicked the offensive material away from you as the manager of the theater approached. He took one look at your swollen hand and told his assistant manager to call an ambulance. He helped your husband move you to a table and brought you some ice.

    As you sat waiting for the ambulance and your husband filled out an incident report, you watched as the manager, assistant manager, and janitor padded down the section of carpet that tried to kill you and set up a caution sign to warn others of the flap.

    Although you’re happy that they’re warning others of the danger, you can’t help but wonder why it wasn’t marked earlier. Shouldn’t public spaces have preventative measures in place to avoid these types of accidents?

    Avoiding Slip and Fall Dangers Whether Marked or Not

    Research performed by the National Safety Council discovered that every year, an average of nine million people are admitted into emergency rooms across the U.S. due to slip and fall accidents. Further investigations found that approximately 63% of these accidents in which injuries occurred happened in public areas. Due to the alarming risk of slip and falls, it is important that you and your family take proper precautions to avoid such accidents and know what to do to help prevent others from suffering a tragic fall.

    These safety and preventative measures include:

    • Paying attention to your surroundings. Seeing hazards before they become a problem is the best way to avoid an accidental fall. If you see a problem, make sure you walk around it and bring it to the attention of the area’s owner or maintenance person.
    • Not dragging your feet. Uneven sidewalks, bunched carpeting, or small obstacles in your path can easily catch your toes if you slide your feet. Make sure you pick your feet completely off the ground to avoid trips.
    • Removing tripping hazards (paper, boxes, toys, clothes, shoes) from stairs and walkways. The best way to avoid a tripping accident is to make sure your path is clear. Remove any excess dangers and ensure that rugs and carpets are secured. This will not only keep you safe but will also prevent someone else from tripping over your property.
    • Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps. Time, weather and traffic can wreak havoc on sidewalks and stairs. Make sure you pay attention to any signs of disrepair and either avoid those areas or make sure they are properly fixed as soon as possible.
    • Clean up all spills immediately. One of the main causes of falls is slipping on wet surfaces. If you spill liquid on the floor or otherwise cause a puddle, make sure you clean it up as quickly as possible or put out a caution sign. Clear liquids are especially dangerous as they are hard to see, so be extra diligent when it comes to water, rain, and melting snow.

    When Negligence Leads to Disaster

    Slip and fall injury claims are one of the most common types of compensatory claims against businesses and workplaces. However, they’re also unfortunately difficult to pursue without proper evidence, witness statements, and representation. An experienced accident attorney can help ease the difficulty and get you the justice you deserve.

    Don’t allow someone else’s negligence, incompetence or laziness to cause you pain and suffering. Call us today to see how our experience, know-how, and need to help our clients could help you get back on your feet. We’re waiting to help you—all you have to do is call.

    Did you find this article interesting and helpful? Let us know by liking us on Facebook or sharing this page with your friends, family and coworkers on Twitter and Google Plus. You never know, they may even thank you for it.

     

  • I see a lot of drivers use the shoulder as a passing lane. Isn’t this dangerous?

    About once a week, when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic, you see at least one person bypass the congestion by driving on the shoulder. This infuriates you because not only is it illegal, but that kind of reckless driving could make traffic worse if it causes an accident. Then again, there are days that you wish you could do the exact same thing, but you’re worried about the dangers.

    The AAA Foundation estimates that 12% of all interstate highway deaths result from shoulder accidents. In other words, 600 people a year are needlessly killed and thousands more are injured due to the misuse of highway shoulders. Some of these victims obeyed emergency laws and used the shoulder for safety. Instead of continuing to drive during an emergency situation, they pulled off the highway, thinking they’d be safer on the shoulder. Unfortunately, poor decisions by other drivers turned their lawful actions into horrific accidents.

    Shoulder Passing Stupidity

    If shoulders are supposed to be a safe place to pull off for emergencies, as stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, why are so many people dying? The answer to this question is actually sadder than you may think. Over 90% of these deaths occur because other motorists, for whatever reason, use the shoulder as their own personal passing lanes.

    When stuck in traffic, or behind a slow-moving vehicle, some motorists decide that their time is more precious than the drivers around them. Instead of obeying traffic laws, they use the empty shoulder as an easy way to pass slow traffic. However, when traveling at speeds close to 60 mph, the shoulder can quickly become hazardous.

    If you’ve ever wondered whether or not it would be a good idea to drive on the shoulder, remember these potential shoulder risks: 

    • Emergency pullovers blocking the lane. Due to the speed at which you’re traveling, it can be difficult to see stopped cars, let alone the drivers who are bent over changing tires, calling a tow truck, or comforting their children. If you can’t see them, you can’t avoid causing a disastrous collision.
    • Pedestrian accidents. Since the shoulder is used for emergency situations, there is the potential that pedestrians are standing near their cars to wait for assistance.
    • Driver confusion. Drivers don’t expect to see cars driving on the shoulder; this confusion can lead some drivers to swerve toward you or to completely ignore your presence when you’re attempting to reenter traffic.
    • Road rage. Never underestimate the danger of anger and frustration. By using the shoulder to pass traffic, you’re basically telling the drivers you pass that you’re more important than them. This is a bad idea when they’re already stressed and tense from sitting in a back-up. Some drivers may even take that rage and focus it on you by moving in front of you, blocking you, or running you off the road altogether.
    • Re-entering collisions. If you successfully manage to pass traffic without road rage incidents or encountering shoulder hazards, you still must be able to re-enter traffic. If you’re not careful, the few seconds it will take to match highway speed could be your last.

    Staying Safe Before and After a Shoulder Collision

    You’re a smart person who knows that you should always obey traffic laws. However, other motorists aren’t so inclined to put caution and security above their egos. Unfortunately, their ignorance can put you and your family in jeopardy.

    If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a shoulder accident, contact us today. We can help ensure that you get the compensation your injuries deserve. Don’t let your insurance company make you pay for someone else’s mistake. Call now!

    Do you want to protect your friends and family from a highway shoulder accident? You can use your social media connections to make sure they have the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe and make good decisions. Simply click the Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus icons to keep your loved ones safe and our roads clear.

  • My fiancée and I are getting ready to buy our new home but I’m worried! What if something is wrong with it? Since we’re both first-time homebuyers, can you describe the types of problems we should look for before buying?

    Buying your first home is an exciting time. It’s also very scary. What if something goes wrong? What if the seller scams you? These are all worries homebuyers face no matter how experienced they are at buying houses, but it is especially worrying for first-time buyers.

    Protecting Yourself During the Home Buying Process

    As real estate lawyers, we are very familiar with the problems Virginia homebuyers often run into when buying a home. The best way to avoid falling victim to these hidden defects is to know what to look for before you sign the contract.

    Here are some of the most common costly problems people find in homes after buying:

    • Termites. Termites can eat away at the structure of your home and do serious damage. Make sure you have a pest control expert inspect the house before you buy.
    • Water damage. This can lead to mold, warping, and other serious home issues. A thorough inspection will uncover the damage before it’s too late.
    • Gas leaks. All homes, new and old, should be inspected for gas leaks. Carbon monoxide and radon are both colorless and odorless, but very dangerous. Have the home tested before you buy and always have a working radon and CO detector in your home.
    • Faulty foundations or roofing. The outside of the home must be inspected for faulty structures. An expert should examine the roofing, siding, and foundation.

    Unfortunately you cannot expect the seller to disclose all of the issues with the home. Take matters into your own hands and hire a home inspector before you buy.

    If you notice any defects after purchasing your home, don’t just live with the damages. Get the necessary repairs done by holding the seller accountable. We can help. Contact one of our real estate lawyers as soon as you notice the damage to discuss the details of your case.

     

  • What is probate, and how does it affect my will?

    You know that having a will is essential in order to protect your family once you die. Although it was difficult to face the reality that you may not always be with them, you went through the proper will-making procedures to secure your family’s future. You had a lawyer draft your will, friends witness you signing it, and you even had it notarized to ensure its legality. However, now what?

    What happens to the will now? If you die tomorrow, where does it go to guarantee your wishes are carried out?

    Probate: The First Step Toward Implementing Your Will

    As a general rule, a will has no legal effect until it has gone through the process of probate. Probate is the first process that your will must go through before its contents are distributed. A probate court will establish the validity of the document to ensure that the wishes contained within are indeed your last requests, and no one else’s. Once the court accepts that the document is legal, it officially appoints the named executor—the person you requested in the will—and hands the document over to them for completion.

    Unfortunately, as in most legal proceedings, before the court can sign off on the document, it must follow certain administrative regulations. These regulations include:

    • Notifying creditors and publishing legal notices to make sure all outstanding debts are accounted for.
    • Teach executors how and when to distribute assets, as well as how to take creditors' rights into account.
    • Possibly file a petition to appoint a personal representative if an executor is unnamed or unable to perform his duties under the law.
    • Determine tax deductions from assets in the estate.

    Making Sure Your Will Goes Through Probate Without a Hitch

    You never know what issues may come up after you’ve gone. However, it’s a guarantee that by then, it’ll be too late to do anything about it. Thankfully, with our help, you don’t have to worry about it. Call us today to review the legality of your will. Not only will we make sure your will is valid and secure for probate, but we’ll give you the added confidence and serenity that comes with knowing that your family will be protected. Call now to get the assurance you and your family deserve!

    Make sure your family and friends are aware of the intricacies involved with executing a will. Use your social media to share this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about their own wills. We’ll be more than happy to help them get the comfort we hope to give to you.

     

  • Does trying a juvenile as an adult benefit or deter his rehabilitation and future options?

    Sentencing for juvenile crimes is discretionary based on individual state opinions and law. However, every single state has at least one legal bylaw which allows juveniles to be tried in adult courts based on the severity of their crimes. These provisions are put in place to allow for two separate but equal assumptions:

    1. Severe crimes, no matter what age they are committed, deserve equal punishment.
    2. The threat of harsher punishments will deter juveniles from committing these types of crimes in the first place.

    Unfortunately, these assumptions aren’t proving to be as accurate as previously thought.

    Juvenile Risks in Adult Court Verdicts

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that over 7,000 juveniles each year are convicted in criminal courts and sentenced as adults. Although these sentences are based on individual crimes, felony status, and severity of violence or damage inflicted—the form of punishment is considered questionable by many.

    The basic notion behind judicial justice is to rehabilitate the guilty in order to preserve their—hopefully crime-free—future. However, when it comes to severe crimes, adult sentencing completely goes against this notion of rehabilitation.

    Recent studies have found that besides the lack of crime rate changes, adult tried juvenile statistics are actually much worse than anticipated. Risks include:

    • Educational disadvantages. Minors in criminal justice systems have less access to education and other age-specific programming than those in the juvenile justice system, putting them at a serious disadvantage upon release.
    • Higher victimization rates. Minors have an increased risk for both sexual and physical violence within adult prisons and confinement.
    • Higher risk of suicide. Due to higher victimization, longer punishments, and psychological immaturity, depression and suicide can run rampant for youths in adult systems.
    • Increased chance for re-arrest. Rates among previously convicted minors are higher than those for any other age group for repeat offenses. Even low-risk minors in the criminal justice system have re-arrest rates twice as high as low-risk juvenile offenders.
    • Poor rehabilitation. An astonishing 85 percent of juveniles tried in the adult court system are repeat offenders, compared to 15 percent over those retained in the juvenile justice system

    Defending Your Future

    Felonies, violent crimes, and sexually explicit transgressions can all be considered severe enough to be prosecuted in an adult court, with adult crime punishments. If you need help defending yourself, or need an experienced criminal attorney for the defense of a loved one, contact us today. We know what’s at risk, and we’ll fight to make sure justice is upheld for everyone involved. Don’t allow a stupid decision to be blown out of proportion and affect the rest of your life. Call today to review your options and get the defense you deserve.

    Juvenile crimes have become an increasingly alarming problem in the United States. Help lower the chances that your loved ones, or friends will become part of this statistic. Share these risks via Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, and maybe, just maybe, you can stop a juvenile crime before it even happens. It doesn’t hurt to pass along the information, but it may hurt to keep it to yourself. Please, share now!

     

  • Are some types of surgeries more at risk than others, for the likelihood of a retained object?

    Your doctor said the procedure was routine. He said that the probability of anything going wrong was next to nothing. He answered all of your questions with precise confidence and affirmation. Perhaps what you should have asked him was whether or not he could count.

    After two weeks of pain and suffering, your primary physician suggested going to the emergency room for an X-ray of your abdomen. Low and behold, the doctors at the emergency room discovered three sponges that were left inside you during your hysterectomy.

    Seriously!? Three sponges!? Although your surgeon never mentioned the possibility of something like that happening, is leaving equipment or tools inside a patient common for certain surgeries?

    Surgeries That Put You Most at Risk for a Retained Object

    Retained surgical instruments (RSIs), also known as retained foreign objects, should never be an issue after a surgical procedure. However, NoThing Left Behind, a national surgical patient-safety project designed to prevent retained surgical items, estimates that 2,000 patients a year in the U.S. suffer from an RSI. These incidents generally occur as a result of surgeons being rushed or having to quickly perform intricate surgeries. Unfortunately, hurried actions can, and do, lead to mistakes and forgotten equipment—which ultimately leads to you paying a high price.

    The types of procedures most commonly linked to retained foreign objects include:

    • Obstetrical surgery. Vaginal deliveries and cesarean sections account for 25 percent of retained foreign object incidents. This alarmingly high rate is most likely due to the chaotic nature and necessity to deliver the baby as quickly as possible.
    • Digestive system procedures. Internal abdominal exams using a laparoscope (an instrument equipped with a camera, scissors, and forceps to aid in surgical endeavors), hernia repairs, colon removals, and partial stomach removals account for 16 percent of RFOs.
    • Hysterectomies. These surgeries account for 10 percent of RFOs, including both abdominal and vaginal approaches and procedures that had to be converted from vaginal to abdominal mid-procedure.
    • Cardiovascular procedures. Heart bypass surgery and the insertion or extraction of pacemakers, account for an additional 10 percent of RFO cases. In most of these cases, the RFO was a sponge that was packed into the wound pocket and became forgotten.

    Fighting Back

    Living with a foreign body inside you as a result of someone else’s negligence is inexcusable. Not only should you be able to trust your surgeon with your life—which you did—you should also be able to trust him to keep track of his instruments. Unfortunately, the chaotic nature of a surgery can cause mistakes to be made, in which you wind up paying the price. That is—unless you fight back.

    If you’re a victim of surgical malpractice, contact us today to learn more about your rights and options for a malpractice lawsuit. Surgeons rely on their hospital’s lawyers to free from them from blame—but you don’t have to allow their blatant mistakes to go unpunished. You owe it to yourself to get compensation and justice for your injuries.

    Share this page on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, to help spread the word about surgical risks. Your friends and loved ones may need this information, too. Help them find it by clicking the media icons above.

     

  • What should I do if I think a truck near me is about to cause an accident?

    You had just paid your toll on the Chesapeake Expressway and were getting back onto 168, when you noticed the truck ahead of you was moving strangely. It kept shaking and wobbling, and the driver had to keep braking for no apparent reason. Although you don’t normally mind driving behind trucks, this one gave you a funny feeling, and you weren’t quite sure what to do about it.

    Should you try to pass him, or keep your distance? Could he be in trouble? What should you do?

    Common Signs a Truck Is Out of Control

    Truck accidents kill 3,500 people and cause over 6,000 serious injuries every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although the majority of the accidents are caused by the trucker losing control, 98 percent of the injuries (fatal and non-fatal) are suffered by nearby motorists and pedestrians. This frightening statistic is enough to cause panic attacks every time you see a truck, let alone drive near one. However, with proper awareness and detection, you can help decrease your and your family’s odds of injury, by predicting—and being able to avoid—a collision before it even occurs.

    When driving near a truck, stay alert for the following signs that the trucker may have lost control or that the truck itself is having mechanical problems. If you witness any of these signs, back off immediately!

    • Swerving, shaking or veering. Trucks can be difficult to handle, and even a slight overcorrection can cause a trucker to lose control. Although slight movements aren’t definite signs of an impending accident, you should increase your distance to give the trucker room to maneuver.
    • Excessive or abrupt braking. This could be a sign of driver distraction or fatigue; either way, it’s best to keep your distance.
    • Tilting or shaking trailer. An unbalanced or unstable trailer could cause the entire truck to lose control, tip, or roll over.
    • Wobbly or loose tires. Odd looking or poor tire rotation could be a sign of excessive wear and tear, possibly indicating a potential blowout in the near future.
    • Open trailer, loose objects, or unsecured cargo. An open or poorly secured trailer could cause the shipment to fall into the roadway or directly on your car.
    • Loud or slowly responsive brakes. Brake issues could be a sign of poor overall maintenance, which might mean the entire truck is an 18-wheeled death trap. It’s best just to steer away.
       

    Getting Compensation for Your Injury

    Although staying alert and identifying possible signs of distress can lower your odds of a tragic collision, accidents can still happen out of nowhere. This is why it is important to have someone who is committed to helping you and your family after an unforeseen truck accident. Our extensive truck accident knowledge and experience will help you get the compensation your family needs for treatment and damages.

    Our clients are part of our family, and as such, we’re driven to make sure they get the justice they deserve. As part of our family, you too will witness our diligence and compassion for getting you the settlement your injuries require.

    But you don’t have to take our word for it. Feel free to read our clients’ firsthand accounts of their own claim experiences, and see how we helped them get their rightful settlements. We can extend you the same helping hand. You can also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to see periodic updates, client responses, and updated claim information.

  • How can I protect myself from further road rash injuries?

    Since fall is coming up fast, you decided to take your bike through Mutton Hunk to see if any of the trees have begun changing color. On your way there, you were cruising down Metompkin Road, about to turn onto Baker, when all of a sudden a bus cut you off and sent you skidding toward the open field.

    Thankfully, you were wearing your helmet and leather jacket, so your head and torso were protected, but once you hit the ground, your hands, legs. and hips became badly scraped and flayed. By the time you stopped skidding, your legs and hands were a bloody mess with road rash.

    Although you’re thankful that you remembered your helmet and jacket, you’re upset that you didn’t take more precautions to protect the rest of your body.

    Safety Precautions to Prevent Road Rash

    The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that motorcyclists are nine times more likely to be injured than anyone else in a traffic accident. It estimates that nearly 100,000 people a year are injured in motorcycle collisions due to the lack of proper safety equipment and gear.

    So the next time you take your bike out for a spin, don’t put yourself in the position to become a statistic. Instead, always make sure that you ride defensively, and wear these five safety accessories to help prevent serious road rash injuries.

    1. Helmet. Not only will a helmet prevent painful facial abrasions, but it will help decrease your odds of a head, brain, or neck injury as well
    2. Safety goggles or other eye protection. Goggles not only can prevent traumatic scrapes to your eyes, but they’ll also keep debris and dust from temporarily blinding you and causing a severe accident.
    3. Leather, ballistic nylon, or durable jackets and pants. Durable and resistant clothing, such as heavy duty nylon and leather, can act as a protective layer of skin, preventing a drag or skid from peeling off your own flesh.
    4. Protective gloves. Gloves will protect the sensitive palms of your hands from being scraped, cut, and mangled.
    5. Boots or durable footwear. Not only will durable shoes give you more traction while on your bike, but if you need to suddenly put your foot down, it will also protect it from abrasions.

    Where to Turn When Precautions Fail

    No matter how cautious you are, it’s a scary and sad reality that accidents can still happen. Don’t allow someone else’s irresponsible decisions to cause you serious, enduring injuries and scars. If you’ve recently been in a motorcycle accident and sustained traumatic injuries, contact us today for a free consultation about your rights and options. We can help you file an injury claim to collect fair compensation you need for treatment and damages. What are you waiting for? Call now to fight back!

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  • How can I tell if I’m too drunk to drive and need a designated driver?

    Your 21st birthday was an absolute riot. Your buddies met you on Granby and took you on an epic pub crawl. First you stopped at the Vineyards Norfolk where your pals bought you a few shots, then you had a few pints at Mo and O’Malley’s, and finally wound up at the Norfolk Tap Room. The Tap Room, however, is where the evening took its downturn.

    Around 1:45 a.m., right before last call, your best friend informed you that he had to take your keys away from you, and that he would be driving you home. You looked at him with a mix of confusion and defiance when you told him you’d be driving yourself. He tried to laugh off your remark, and told you that he promised your mom that he’d be the designated driver.

    As soon as he mentioned your mom, you flew off the handle, and shouted to him (and the entire bar), that you were an adult, and could make your own “deslesions.” Besides, you’re the best judge of whether or not you’re too drunk to drive, right?

    Wrong!

    Signs That You Need a DD

    No matter how much you may think you are sober enough to drive, if someone suggests that you should call a cab or have a DD (designated driver), take his word for it. It’s hard to notice signs that you’re becoming too impaired to drive, especially when you’ve been drinking. Therefore, when someone else notices that you shouldn’t be behind a wheel, let his opinion decide for you.

    If you’re otherwise not sure if you should be driving, but are experiencing the following symptoms, it’s best for everyone for you to call a DD:

    • Slurring speech
    • Walking erratically
    • Falling down
    • Running into stationary objects or people
    • Blurred vision
    • Numbness in arms, legs and fingers
    • Forgetfulness
    • Blackouts
    • Fatigue

     

    All of the above symptoms can be dangerous when your traveling on your own to feet, let alone in a metal box moving at 70 mph.

    Don’t allow a stupid decision to ruin the rest of your life and the lives of others. Don’t drink and drive…period! This is why it is always a good idea to have a designated driver or cab fare whenever you go out drinking. Time is the only thing that can reverse the effects of alcohol. Don’t get behind the wheel unless you’ve given your body enough time to flush out the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed—it’s safer for everyone and smarter for you.

    Already been injured by a drunk driver and need advice about your car accident claim? Contact us today for a consultation and more information about how our experience can help you and your family.

    Help make a difference by sharing this article with your friends, family, co-workers and Facebook pals. So often things that don’t matter get posted, reposted, and talked about. Just this once, help us spread information that can truly make a difference. Share now and help us keep our roads clear and our families safe.

  • How much time are landlords legally required to give before serving an eviction notice?

    When you first moved into Southgate Manor Apartments, you were absolutely thrilled. The complex was absolutely beautiful and you felt like you finally found a place you could call home. Unfortunately, you’ve had some payroll issues at work and you’re presently two weeks behind in your rent. You spoke to your landlord a few days ago and promised him that you’ll pay as soon as your check arrives. You thought he empathized with your situation as he agreed to the terms. However, today you found an eviction notice taped to your door, stating that you have three days to pay or get out.

    What can you do? Your boss guaranteed that you’ll have your check by the end of the week, but by then it’ll be too late. Do you legally have to leave?

    Time-frames for Eviction

    Time allotments and eviction rules can vary from state to state. However, North Carolina’s rental laws are conceived to help tenants as much as possible. Therefore, our state demands proper notification, reasonable and adequate time-frames, and the right for an appeal for any and all evictions.

    In North Carolina, the first step of the eviction process is giving the tenant an eviction notice. The most common reason for eviction is non-payment of rent, whereupon your landlord must demand the rent and give you ten days to pay it before issuing the eviction notice. This warning is called, reasonably enough, a “ten day demand for rent.” If you fail to pay within those ten days, then a Summary Ejectment (Eviction) Complaint is filed.

    Once an eviction notice is filed and presented, there are several varying time-frames to comply, depending on the circumstances.

    Staying beyond your lease term, where the landlord told you that the lease would expire and you would have to move out, is called a holdover. When a landlord issues an eviction for a holdover, the notice period is as follows:

    • Seven days if the tenant paid rent monthly.
    • One month if the tenant paid rent yearly.
    • Thirty days for mobile home lot rental.

     

    However, if you’re contesting the eviction, you have the right to remain on the premises until the claim has been settled.

    Contact us immediately if you believe you are being unjustly or illegally forced out of your home. Experienced real estate lawyers such as ourselves can help you understand your rights, get you the appropriate time you need to move, or help you appeal the eviction altogether. Call us today for the advice, support and knowledge you need to keep the roof over your head.

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  • What are the legal grounds for divorce if I wish to file in Virginia?

    Filing for a divorce in Virginia can not only be emotionally painful, but it can be confusing as well, especially if your spouse doesn’t want to separate. Before filing, there are several things you need to know about Virginia’s divorce laws and how specific grounds for divorce may impact your claim.

    Legal Grounds for a Virginia Divorce

    In order to file for divorce in Virginia, you or your spouse must have been a state resident for at least six months. Once you can establish residency, you must then establish the grounds or reasons for the divorce; if no reasons can be claimed, a divorce may not be considered appropriate or pertinent enough to be granted.

    There are two separate grounds classifications for divorce: No-fault and fault-Based

    No-fault divorce is generally classified when the reason behind the separation is claimed by either you or your spouse as a result of irreconcilable differences. These differences can include not getting along, or a mutual desire to terminate the marriage. However, in order to declare a no-fault divorce, you must have been separated for at least six months (if there are no children involved) or up to a year (if minor children are affected).

    Fault-based divorce indicates that there is a problem with the marriage that has caused you or your spouse to seek a legal separation. These problems or incidents include:

    • Adultery
    • Felony conviction and imprisonment after the marriage
    • Cruelty and abuse that causes fear of emotional and physical harm
    • Desertion or unplanned separation lasting over a year

     

    A divorce can be one of the most painful and stressful periods in your life; don’t go through it alone. We’re here to help make sure your rights are upheld, your family is protected, and you receive the care, information, and support you need throughout your ordeal. Contact us to make sure your divorce goes smoothly and doesn’t impact the rest of your life. Don’t wait any longer to get your life back—call now!

    Know someone who needs help with her divorce? Along with your next condolence e-card, why not also give her the information she needs? Share this page with her via Facebook, email, or Twitter, to show your support and help her in her time of need. Click the media icons on this page or copy and paste the link into your next email.

  • What does the term “sexual assault “ mean, and how broad is the definition?

    The Appalachian State University’s Sexual Assault Prevention Center classifies sexual assault as, “the sexual exploitation, forcible penetration, or an act of sexual contact on the body of another person, male or female, without his or her consent,” including rape, molestation, masturbation and coercions. However, sexual assaults have several levels—called “degrees”—of severity that affect conviction and punishment.

    Degrees and Punishments of Sexual Assault

    These degrees, much like degrees of murder, vary depending on violence, intent, and outcomes, and can be either classified within a felony class or as a misdemeanor.

    1st Degree

    These are Class B felonies. Conviction means a sentences not to exceed 60 years in prison:

    • Sexual contact or sexual intercourse with another person that has been committed without consent, or has been forced on another person by use of a dangerous weapon or threat of harm.
    • Assault is aided or abetted by one or more other persons by use of force, threats, or violence, without consent
    • Sexual contact or sexual intercourse with or without consent with a person under the age of 13.

    2nd Degree

    Each of these is a Class C felony. The punishment is a fine not to exceed $100,000, and imprisonment that may not exceed 40 years:

    • Sexual contact without consent, by use of threats, force or violence, which causes injury, including illness, disease or impairment of a sexual or reproductive organ, or mental anguish requiring psychiatric care for the victim.
    • Sexual contact with a person who cannot legally give consent at the time of the incident, such as someone who suffers from a mental illness, was intoxicated, or was unconscious during the incident
    • Sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person who is a patient, employee, subordinate or resident of the facility or program in which the defendant works.

    3rd Degree

    This is a Class G felony, punishable by a fine not to exceed $25,000 and by imprisonment for a period that may not exceed 10 years (the maximum term of confinement may not exceed five years and extended supervision may not exceed five years):

    • Sexual contact (not intercourse) involving ejaculation without the consent of that person

    4th Degree

    These are Class A misdemeanors, punished with a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed nine months in the county jail, or both:

    • Sexual harassment, stalking, or lewd behavior toward another person without the consent of that person
    • Sexual intercourse with a person 16 or 17 years old

     

    No matter the degree of accusation, a sexual assault conviction can have dire consequences on your future. Do not allow a false accusation to ruin the rest of your life. Contact us today to discuss your case and allow us to convince you how our experience, diligence, and dedication can help you get the justice you need to prevent a life altering conviction. Although the circumstance may seem bleak, the next step is clear: call now for the help you need and the support you deserve.

  • Is it really important to hire an attorney for my medical malpractice claim?

    It’s been almost a month since your botched procedure at Sentara. After a six-hour surgery, you awoke to discover that an error was made, and instead of removing your damaged ovary, the surgeon mistakenly removed the healthy one first, forcing him to remove them both. Now, you are forced to not only suffer through the excruciating abdominal pain the surgery left behind, but you must also suffer the pain of knowing you won’t be able to bear any children.

    There is absolutely nothing worse than suffering a debilitating injury at the hands of someone you trusted, and then feeling as if there is nothing you can do about it. Not only are you in pain and financially troubled, but you also feel alone and depressed that you’ll never be able to get back to the life you had before the injury. All of these feelings are completely natural, and you’re not alone. Thousands of malpractice victims feel exactly the same way, and instead of fighting to get their lives back, they try to take comfort in the fact that they couldn’t do anything about it.

    That’s where they’re wrong.

    What an Experienced Malpractice Lawyer Can Do for You

    Contacting an experienced lawyer will not only help give you an edge when filing for malpractice compensation, it will also allow you to connect with someone who knows what you’re going through, knows your frustrations and concerns, and will fight, tooth and nail, to make sure you get the justice you need to get your life back.

    Malpractice attorneys can:

    • Research, gather and establish the necessary documentation and evidence needed to help secure your claim.
    • Help set up a durable power of attorney. Without a durable power of attorney, no one has the legal authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated or unable to communicate. An experienced lawyer can help change that by establishing a durable power of attorney instrument.
    • Help you file your claim and combat any unforeseen tricks that insurance companies may throw up to reject, delay, or reduce your settlement.
    • Provide support, encouragement, and a listening ear throughout the entirety of your case, to ensure you’re well informed, your needs are being met, and you’re confident about your settlement options.
    • Fight and argue on your behalf in order to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
    • Give you the courage, morale, comfort and security that comes with knowing you’re not alone.

     

    When a medical professional makes a negligent mistake, he not only compromises his integrity and reputation, he alters your entire life. Don’t allow him to get away with it merely because you think there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Let us fight to make sure he is held responsible for his negligence and that you receive the justice you are owed. Contact us today to discuss your case with an experienced, and highly motivated, malpractice attorney.

    Do you know someone who may need our help? Feel free to share this page on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, to show your friends and family that they don’t have to needlessly suffer alone. We’ll have their backs.

  • What is secondary drowning?

    It’s been over two hours since you and your son returned from swimming. While swimming, you had a rather large scare when he lost his footing on the handicap ramp and fell face-first into the water. Thankfully, you were close enough to pull him up after only a few seconds. However, ever since then, he’s been periodically coughing and complaining that his chest hurts.

    What could be causing the problem? Should you take him to the hospital to be safe, even though it’s been hours since the incident?

    Secondary Drowning Causes

    Secondary drowning, or “dry drowning” occurs when someone inhales small amounts of water or fluid during a struggle. When there is fluid in the lungs, the muscles in the airway begin to spasm in order to try to expel the excess fluid, making it difficult to breathe and possibly causing fatal consequences.

    • Liquid pockets prevent the lungs from fully opening, restricting necessary amounts of oxygen from reaching the brain and vital organs.
    • Irritation and inflammation of the lungs can cause excess coughing, wheezing, and throat closures, preventing adequate oxygen intake.
    • Absorption of chemicals and bacteria from over-chlorinated pool water or dirty fluid can cause irritation, inflammation, or chemical side effects within the lung tissue, possibly deteriorating the tissue itself.

     

    Always make sure you monitor any symptoms after swimming or heavy water exposure especially if possible water inhalation occurred. If you witness heavy coughing, wheezing, lethargy, fatigue, or labored breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Secondary drowning can be fatal even hours after the initial incident, so don’t hesitate to get a medical opinion if you feel something is wrong.

    Make sure your family and friends are protected by sharing this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident. Allow us to help you get the justice you deserve from those who have hurt you. Contact us today!

  • Why do people say roundabouts are safer than regular intersections? I think they’re scary and confusing.

    The day you’ve been dreading for nearly 17 years has finally arrived: your daughter just received her driver’s license and wants to take the car out on her own.

    You know that she is completely capable and you’ve taken her to practice on every street within a 10 mile radius, including 190, Kempsville and Great Bridge. You know she‘s familiar with the roads, but you’re still not quite sure about letting her go by herself. Finally you concede and give her the keys. You begrudgingly wave her goodbye as she pulls out of the driveway and with much trepidation, you go back into the house to anxiously await her return.

    After about ten minutes, your phone rings. You almost drop it when you see it’s her, fearing the worst. “Honey...what’s wrong?”

    “Hi, Daddy. I think I may be lost. I’m on Old Oak Grove but I need to be on Green Tree. Should I just go straight to the roundabout, or turn on Green Tree Circle?”

    You pause a moment to think before replying. Which way is safer? Should you tell her to take the roundabout or take her a little out of her way to take the normal intersection?

    The Safety Features of Roundabouts Compared to Conventional Intersections

    Although regular intersections may appear to be more straightforward, with clear-cut rules, a lot of intersection accidents occur as a result of head-on collisions and abrupt stops from stop-and-go traffic. Roundabouts are designed to address these issues by:

    • Limiting stop-and-go traffic
    • Eliminating fear of other motorists running a light
    • Decreasing turning guidelines such as “No turn on red” or confusion over which vehicle has priority in making a turn
    • Increasing traffic awareness, since you must pay attention to the entire circle in order to merge into it
    • Preventing crossover traffic (motorists turning in front of you)
    • Eliminating head-on collisions by moving all traffic in the same direction

     

    As long as you’re comfortable with roundabout procedures and are aware of the proper use of the lanes, roundabouts are much more efficient and less dangerous than normal intersections. However, although inherently safer, if you’re not familiar with roundabouts, or guide signs aren’t clearly marked, navigating a roundabout could not only be difficult, but could cost you a police citation. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and avoid common errors to prevent a ticket.

    Have questions about roundabout safety, or believe that you received a roundabout citation in error? Contact us today to learn more about reckless driving laws, safe driving techniques, and your rights as a motorist. We’re here to help you, so don’t hesitate to fill out the contact information on this page.

  • What are some of the complications associated with a broken bone?

    Motorcycles are quickly becoming a popular choice for many people in Virginia. This is not surprising, as Virginia offers some great roads to ride and explore. It is also a great way to save on fuel and vehicle expenses. Many veteran riders are already aware of the great joys and benefits riding a motorcycle brings.

    As with all great things, there are costs to riding a motorcycle. One of those downfalls is the hazard posed by other drivers on the road. Passenger vehicle drivers cause a large number of motorcycle accidents every day.

    The nature of a motorcycle accident commonly causes the rider to sustain serious injuries. One of these common injuries is a broken bone. While modern medicine does a great job of healing a broken bone for a victim, complications can still arise. Some of the complications a motorcycle accident victim may experience from a broken bone are:

    • Malunion. When a fracture is not set in the proper manner, a malunion occurs. This is a result of the bone healing in the wrong position. A malunion may also take place if a fracture shifts.
    • Osteomyelitis. A complication that can develop as a result of a broken bone is osteomyelitis. This is an infection in the bone or bone morrow.
    • Avascular necrosis. The blood supply can be cut off by a broken bone and cause the bone to die. This is known as avascular necrosis.

     

    If you have been injured due to a motorcycle accident, you need to act quickly to protect your legal rights. Do not sign any insurance form or accept an insurance settlement check before getting legal advice from someone you trust. To get in touch with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, fill out the contact form on this page.

  • Will a criminal conviction play a role in a custody battle during a Virginia divorce?

    An issue that has become a part of modern day society is divorce. Divorce now affects nearly fifty percent of married couples. For some, divorce is simple and easy process; however, this is not the norm. Many divorces involve bitter fights between the couple as struggle over who gets what—and even the children are used as trophies in this war.

    A custody battle during a divorce often exposes the worst in the spouses as they fight for the custody they want. What should be done out of love for the child ends in ugliness and bitterness. It is important for both parties involved remember that whatever happens the children should still be put first.

    When determining what the custody arrangement will be, there are many factors that may come into play. One of those things is the criminal history. Three crimes that may prevent a parent from gaining custody of a child are:

    • Murder. This is probably the most obvious crime that will affect the custody battle. This category also includes voluntary manslaughter and felony attempted homicide.
    • Felony assault. If the victim of a felony assault resulting in bodily injury or harm was a child of the parent or a child with whom the parent lived with at the time of the assault, custody may not be awarded.
    • Sexual assault. Custody may not be awarded if there was a felony sexual assault with the victim being a child of the parent or a child with whom the parent lived with at the time.

     

    If you are going through a divorce and custody battle, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side. To get learn more simply fill out the contact form found on this page.