Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek

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  • What factors affect the value of my premises liability claim?

    Premises Liability Settlement Information and CalculatorIf you were injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you are entitled to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the negligent business or property owner. However, determining the value of your claim and what you can realistically expect to receive in a settlement or at a jury trial is more complicated than adding up the amount of your damages.

    Factors That Can Increase or Decrease the Amount of Your Settlement

    Every premises liability case is different, and a claim’s value will be based on the unique circumstances surrounding the accident and the victim’s injuries. However, there are common factors that can increase or decrease the value of a claim. Here are some top factors that may affect the amount of compensation you receive in your settlement.

    The Liability of the Negligent Party

    You must prove the business or property owner’s negligence in causing your accident in order to be entitled to compensation for your injuries. When you have strong proof that they were at fault, this will increase the value of the claim. If there are legitimate disputes about liability, this may weaken your claim and the amount you can realistically expect to receive in your settlement.

    The Seriousness of Your Injuries

    If you suffered a more severe or permanent injury, such as traumatic brain injury, back injury, spinal injury, or paralysis, you will need more long-term, expensive medical treatments, be off work for longer—if you can return at all—and have more serious limitations in your day-to-day life. This can increase the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to and increase the overall value of your case.

    The Percentage of Fault for the Accident

    If you were partially at fault in causing your accident, this may significantly reduce what you can receive in your settlement. Virginia follows the harsh contributory negligence doctrine that bars an accident victim who was at all at fault from receiving any compensation.

    However, just because the insurance company claims that you were partially to blame for your injuries does not mean that it is true. This is a common insurance tactic used to deny or reduce legitimate claims for compensation.

    If you were injured in a premises liability accident in Norfolk, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the true value of your claim and to fight the negligent party’s insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Take advantage of our free consultation to learn how we can assist you. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your appointment.


  • What parties could be responsible if I injured myself in a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk?

    Woman Falling on a Snowy SidewalkIf you suffered injuries in a fall on a sidewalk in Norfolk, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, you will need to identify the party responsible for the sidewalk’s maintenance, which can be complicated if you do not have the assistance of an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer.

    Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall on a Sidewalk?

    All property owners and businesses have a duty to maintain their properties—and their sidewalks—in a safe condition and to post warning signs of hazardous conditions. In some cities and municipalities, a local ordinance will place additional duties—such as to remove snow and ice from sidewalks within a certain time—on the owner of the property that may have been breached in a slip and fall accident. In other situations, public sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the local government.

    Because of this, there are a number of parties who may face liability when a slip and fall accident occurs on a sidewalk. They include:

    • Property owner or business. When a property owner or business has a duty to maintain the sidewalk, they can face liability if repairs are not made, snow and ice are not removed promptly, or other hazards are not taken care of. This can be true even if the sidewalk is on public property if a city or municipal ordinance places additional duties on the owner.
    • Lessee. If a business leases their commercial space, the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance may be on the business instead of the owner. Landlords may also include a provision in their apartment and home leases requiring the tenant to maintain the sidewalk in some fashion. Whenever a property is leased, the lease will need to be reviewed in order to determine whether the owner or lessee is the negligent party.
    • Homeowner’s association. In some residential neighborhoods, a homeowner’s association is responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in the subdivision. In this situation, a claim would need to be filed against their insurance company if their breach of duty caused your fall.
    • Government. If a city or municipality was responsible for sidewalk maintenance and repair where you fell, your claim will be more complicated. There are special notice and other procedural rules that must be followed when pursuing a claim against a local government.

    Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a fall on a sidewalk in Norfolk? Our experienced slip and fall accident attorneys can help you determine who is liable for compensating you and will fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your legal options, fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation today.


  • What is premises liability?

    Man Slipping and Falling in an AirportPremises liability is a legal concept that can give you a right to compensation when a business or property owner fails to maintain their property in a safe condition or to post warning signs of a potential hazard, and you suffer injuries. Like other types of personal injury cases, it is based on the concept of negligence.

    It is not enough that you suffered injuries on someone’s property at a business or that a hazardous condition existed for you to be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You must prove the following:

    • The property owner or business owed you a duty of care.
    • A dangerous condition existed on the property.
    • The property owner or business knew or should have known of the hazard but did not take steps to remove the danger or to warn you of it.
    • You suffered an injury because the property owner or business failed to act reasonably to prevent your accident.

    Examples of Premises Liability Claims

    There are many types of cases that fall under the legal theory of premises liability. Here are examples of some common ones:

    • Slip and fall accidents. One of the most common premises liability claims involves slip and fall accidents. Some dangerous conditions that lead to these accidents include defective flooring, wet floors, defective staircases, potholes and cracked asphalt, inadequate lighting, debris, and spilled food and drinks.
    • Inadequate security. Inadequate security claims often arise when landlords, other property owners, and businesses fail to provide proper security to guests and they are injured or killed by someone engaging in criminal activities. Failure to provide adequate locks or lighting are a few negligent actions that can give rise to a premises liability claim. When the owner knows of increased dangers of criminal activities on his property, he can face liability if he failed to provide additional security, such as security guards.
    • Swimming pool accidents. Because of the dangers to children when swimming pools are left unsupervised or unsecured, property owners are often required to have a fence, locked gate, or other means of securing the property. When they fail to do so, they can be liable if someone suffers injuries or dies in a tragic drowning. A property owner can also be found negligent for failing to repair defective handrails or steps leading into a pool, having a dangerous pool filtration system, or allowing slip and fall hazards to exist.
    • Dog bites. Dog owners have a duty to prevent their dogs from injuring other people. They can be liable to compensate a dog bite victim if they were negligent or under Virginia’s “one-bite” rule that holds an owner liable if the dog has bitten someone at least once in the past.

    If you suffered injuries due to a property owner’s or business’s negligence in Norfolk, our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to help. Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to start learning about your right to compensation for your injuries.


  • What if I was partially at fault for my premises liability accident?

    A Slip and Fall Incident Report Can Help Show Fault in a Negligence CaseIf you were injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you may have a claim for compensation for your injuries against the negligent business or property owner. However, if you were partially at fault in causing your injuries, you may be barred from pursuing a claim under Virginia’s contributory negligence laws.

    What Is Contributory Negligence?

    While all states have laws on how a victim’s own negligence affects their claim for compensation, Virginia is one of the few states that follow the contributory negligence law. Most other states follow a comparative negligence doctrine. Here is how each affects an individual’s right to damages:

    • Comparative negligence. In states that follow comparative negligence, an injured person’s compensation would be reduced by his percentage of fault in causing his injuries. In some states, he would be barred from obtaining any compensation if he was found to be 50 or 51 percent at fault.
    • Contributory negligence. Virginia’s contributory negligence law is harsh. It provides that if a victim is at all to blame—even by one percent—that he is not entitled to any compensation from the negligent party.

    What Should You Do If You Believe That You Are Partially to Blame for Your Premises Liability Accident?

    If you were hurt in a premises liability accident, it is crucial that you contact an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible. He will have an understanding of the negligence and contributory negligence laws in Virginia and can evaluate whether or not you really share any blame for your injuries. He will also know what evidence will be needed to establish that the negligent party was 100 percent responsible for your injuries.

    At Tavss Fletcher, we offer a free initial consultation where you can discuss your case and learn about your legal options. To schedule yours, call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form today.


  • What is an attractive nuisance that could subject a property owner to liability for a child’s injuries?

    Attractive Nuisances and Premises Liability ClaimsKeeping children safe can be challenging since they often do not understand when they face a dangerous situation. In some cases, a child becomes injured due to inherent dangers of an object on another’s property. He may even trespass on an individual’s or business’ property because he is drawn to the dangerous item. If a child suffers injuries, the property or business owner could face liability in Virginia under the attractive nuisance doctrine—even if the child was trespassing.

    What Is an Attractive Nuisance?

    Attractive nuisances are features of a property, or objects on a property, that pose risks to young children who are unable to understand the dangers they face. In many cases, the object or property feature is something intended for children to use and can be used safely under adult supervision. Common attractive nuisances that result in children suffering injuries include:

    • Swimming pools
    • Playground equipment
    • Trampolines
    • Sandboxes
    • Abandoned vehicles and appliances
    • Tool sheds
    • Construction sites
    • Railroads
    • Man-made ponds and fountains

    What Is a Property and Business Owner’s Duty to Protect Children From Attractive Nuisances?

    Property and business owners have a duty to protect children who may enter their property—even if the children are uninvited—from attractive nuisances on the property. In order to be liable, the following is usually required:

    • The owner knew or should have known that children might trespass onto the property.
    • A condition on the property could result in a child suffering an injury or death.
    • A child who suffered the injury on the property was too young to understand the danger.
    • The cost of repairing or maintaining the attractive nuisance so that it is safe is small in comparison to the potential injury to the child.
    • The owner failed to take reasonable steps to keep children from suffering injuries from the attractive nuisance. This can include installing a fence, locks, or posting warning signs.

    Did your child suffer injuries on another property? He may be entitled to compensation from the business or property owner for his injuries. For help pursuing his legal rights, call our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


  • What happens if I suffer injuries in a car accident while traveling out of state?

    Car Accidents That Occur When Visiting Another StateAny car accident that causes the victim to suffer injuries can be complicated and leave the injured person feeling overwhelmed by the claim filing process. The stress and worries can become magnified if the victim is injured in a wreck caused by a negligent driver while traveling in another state. Let’s look at what you need to know if you get into an accident out of state.

    What Happens If Your Auto Crash Happens in Another State?

    The good news is that you will have insurance coverage and options for compensation if you are involved in a car accident in another state. Here is what happens in this type of accident:

    • Your insurance company will most likely provide you with insurance coverage as if you were injured in your home state. This means that if you purchased additional coverages, such as medical payments, collision, and underinsured and uninsured coverages, that you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company.
    • Your claim is governed by the laws of the state where your accident occurred. Each state has its own laws that apply to car accident cases, and it is important to understand relevant laws, such as the statute of limitations, for where you were hurt. In addition, you would most likely need to file any lawsuit against the negligent driver in the state where the crash happened.
    • You need an experienced local car accident attorney. He will understand important state laws, have a network of qualified local experts, and have a working relationship with other local attorneys and judges involved in these cases.

    Are you an out-of-state resident who was injured in a car accident in Virginia? Our experienced car accident attorneys are happy to any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation, start an online chat today.


  • What is the statute of limitation to file a lawsuit in my premises liability case?

    Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability CasesOne of the most important laws that you need to understand in relation to any personal injury case is the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. This is a critical law to comply with if you suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident at a swimming pool or amusement park, or in any other type of premises liability accident. Waiting beyond this time limit could have dire consequences for your claim.

    What Is the Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases?

    The statute of limitations is the time period you have to file a lawsuit. Every state has its own laws regarding the statute of limitations for different types of lawsuits. For example, the statute of limitations for filing a breach of contract lawsuit could be very different than for filing a slip and fall accident case. In North Carolina, the following statute of limitations rules will apply to premises liability cases:

    • You must file your lawsuit in a premises liability case within three years.
    • This three-year time period begins on the date of the accident that caused your injury.

    What Happens If You Wait Longer Than Three Years to File Your Premises Liability Lawsuit?

    If you fail to file your civil complaint before the statute of limitations expires, the consequences are severe. You lose your right to file your lawsuit. If you did file a complaint more than three years after your accident, it would most likely be dismissed by the judge. While your right to file a claim with an insurance company is not affected by this law, practically speaking, you would not be very successful in resolving your claim after this time period to sue ended. The claims adjuster would know that the statute of limitations had expired and would not be willing to settle your claim.

    Even if the statute of limitations is years away in your premises liability case, you do not want to wait to contact an experienced premises liability attorney. Your attorney can complete a much more thorough investigation of your claim and build your case against the negligent party if you retain him soon after your accident.

    If you or a family were hurt on another party’s property, the experienced premises liability attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to help you file your claim. To learn what your first steps are, call our office to schedule your free consultation.


  • Who could be liable for compensating me in my premises liability claim?

    Who Is Liable for a Premises Liability Injury?If you suffered a slip and fall, assault on another’s property, swimming pool accident, or other premises liability accident, it may be more complicated than you think to determine the parties liable for compensating you. In some cases, the business may rent and not own the property where you hurt yourself, and another party could be responsible for maintaining the hazardous condition that caused your injury. Identifying the proper party is vital when you need to make a claim for compensation for your injuries.

    Common Liable Parties in Premises Liability Cases

    When deciding which party to pursue, you want to be certain to identify all the possible parties. Why? More parties mean more insurance companies to file claims with and more money to pay you what you deserve. Common negligent parties in premises liability cases include:

    • Property owner. An owner of a residence, business property, commercial property, or any other property would be one of the most likely parties responsible for compensating you. If a business also owns the property where it conducts its business, its responsibility for your injuries would be fairly clear cut.
    • Renters. If an owner leases out the building or other property to a tenant, the lease agreement may be needed to determine who was responsible for the dangerous condition that caused your injury. In some cases, such as a retail store, the business renting the store space could be responsible for keeping debris out of the aisles, cleaning up spills, and certain maintenance items. However, the owner could be responsible for the upkeep of other areas, such as a common area shared with other businesses, the business grounds, and the parking lot. Even in the rental of residential property, some tenants are responsible for the upkeep of the property and not the owner. Where you injured yourself and the cause of your accident will be important factors in sorting out which party is liable.
    • Property managers. Some owners will hire a management company to perform many duties for the owner, such as leasing apartments, commercial retail and office space, or other properties, and keeping the property free of hazards and in good repair. In this situation, you may need to review the contract between the property manager and owner to determine who should be sued.
    • Business owners. When a business leases property and is responsible for the condition of the property where it conducts business, such as a restaurant or a store in the mall, the business owner rather than the property owner could be the party you should file a claim with.
    • Security company. If you suffered an assault on property where the owner hired a security company, you may have a claim against this company if its employees’ negligent security was the cause of your attack.

    An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to identify the proper parties to pursue and build your case for compensation. Review our testimonials to see how we have helped other clients. Then call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn the next steps you should take to pursue your claim.


  • How long will it take to settle my premises liability claim?

    One of the most common questions accident victims have once they decide to file a claim is how long it will take to resolve their claim and receive their settlement money. While there are no specific rules or timelines for settling these cases, an experienced premises liability attorney can give you an idea of how long your case will take to complete. In addition, understanding the factors that influence how long your case could go on will also help you be realistic about when you will be able to put this accident behind you.

    Factors That Influence How Quickly Your Case Can Be Settled

    Even if you take the right step in retaining an attorney soon after your accident, this does not mean that your claim will be settled quickly. It could take months before you receive your settlement proceeds. Here are some factors that influence the speed at which these claims are resolved:

    • Disputes as to liability or injuries. If there are no or few disputes about the liability of the negligent party or your injuries, your claim may be resolved quickly. However, if there are serious disputes between you and the insurance company about these issues, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit before convincing the adjuster to settle your case for what it is worth.
    • Your medical prognosis. Like many accident victims, you may not understand the importance of waiting until you have reached your maximum medical recovery—whether or not you fully recover—and a final prognosis. Because your doctor will often start with less invasive treatments, such as physical therapy, it could take months before he decides that you need surgery. You need to wait until you reach the point of maximum medical recovery or your doctor is able to give you a final prognosis so that you request the future medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages you could be entitled to in your settlement offer.
    • Complete demand package. Your attorney will prepare a demand letter and package that includes other helpful documentation of liability, your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are asking to be paid. It can take time for your attorney to obtain the necessary medical records and other documents he needs to include with the letter. However, preparing a compelling demand package can ultimately quicken the time it takes to resolve your claim.
    • Negotiations. Negotiations between your attorney and the insurance adjuster can take time, especially if there are areas of dispute. Your attorney could decide to obtain further documents or hire an expert to help persuade the adjuster to settle for what you are requesting. Just the back and forth of offers and counteroffers that is often part of the process of settling an injury claim can be longer than you think.
    • Insurance company. What insurance company you are dealing with can also have an impact on how long settlement will take. Some companies and adjusters have a reputation for being less reasonable and slower in resolving disputes.

    You definitely should ask your attorney for his opinion on how long it will take to settle your claim. But then keep in mind that this is just a guideline. You want to wait so that you receive what you deserve. If you or a family member was injured in a premises liability accident, fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how our experienced legal team can help you.

  • Who can file a wrongful death action in Virginia?

    wrongful-death-claimsUnder Virginia law, a wrongful death action can be brought when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of a person or corporation. If the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury action if he had survived, then a family member can file a wrongful death claim on his behalf. The right to file a wrongful death action is based on Virginia statutes. These laws give the right to sue for wrongful death due to many types of fatal accidents, including:

    • Car accidents
    • Truck accidents
    • Motorcycle accidents
    • Medical malpractice
    • Premises liability accidents like slip and fall or drowning
    • Other accidents caused by negligence

    Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

    Under Virginia law, only surviving family members defined as statutory beneficiaries are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The law has a very specific order of who can sue. In addition, the lawsuit is not filed in the name of the deceased person or filed by the statutory beneficiaries. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate files the lawsuit on behalf of the statutory beneficiaries. These beneficiaries are as follows:

    • Spouses and children have the first right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If their parent is deceased, grandchildren can file the suit.
    • If there is no spouse, and no children or grandchildren, then the parents, brothers, and sisters, and any other family member in the deceased person’s household who was dependent on him can file a wrongful death action.
    • If the deceased person left a spouse but no children or grandchildren, the spouse and the deceased person’s parents can file a wrongful death claim.
    • If the deceased person left no family members described above, other family members who would inherit under Virginia’s intestacy laws would have the right to file a wrongful death action.

    Determining who can file a wrongful death action and the proper form of the lawsuit is complicated. If you need to file a wrongful death claim, you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the process. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your case evaluation to discuss your situation.

  • How does a wrongful death action work in Virginia?

    wrongful death actionIt is never easy to lose a loved one, but it can be especially heartbreaking if he died because of another person’s negligence. While it will never replace the loved one who has been lost, the family of an injury victim may be able to obtain compensation from the negligent party in a wrongful death action.

    What Is a Wrongful Death Action?

    Under Virginia law, the family of a person who died in an accident can file a claim for compensation in a wrongful death action if the death was caused by “the wrongful act, neglect, or default" of another party. The deceased person must have had a valid claim that he could have pursued if he had lived. Only certain family members can file this type of claim. They include the following:

    • Surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren of the deceased person
    • Surviving parents, siblings, or other relatives who shared a household with the victim and were his dependents
    • A surviving family member who is entitled to inherit from the deceased person’s estate under Virginia’s intestate laws.

    Compensation in Wrongful Death Actions

    In a wrongful death claim, the victim’s family may be entitled to damages which are slightly different from those that the deceased person could have received had he suffered injuries but lived. The family may receive compensation for:

    • Their pain and emotional trauma
    • Loss of the deceased person’s companionship, care, comfort, and advice
    • Loss of the value of the person’s wages and benefits, including future amounts that they would have received if he had lived
    • Medical bills from the victim’s last injuries and death
    • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
    • Punitive damages—awarded to punish the negligent party if his actions were especially negligent

    If a loved one died as a result of the negligence of another person or business, we are here to help you hold the negligent party responsible and to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to get you questions answered and learn about your legal options.

  • I can’t seem to get over losing my baby in a car crash. Is it normal to feel this way?

    You were 21 weeks along in your first pregnancy when you were t-boned by a drunk driver on Chesapeake Blvd. The collision left you unconscious, and when you woke up you were lying in a bed at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

    Naturally, your first thoughts were of the safety of your unborn baby. The doctors told you that the accident caused a placental abruption, where the placenta tears away from the uterus. If you were further along, the doctors would consider delivering the baby now, but since they can’t, you are to stay on bed rest.

    The Aftermath of a Miscarriage

    Despite your best efforts, your baby was not able to survive the trauma. Experiencing a miscarriage is devastating enough, but particularly when it is at the hands of a negligent driver. Many moms who lose their unborn children experience a range of emotion, including:

    • Guilt. Even though the accident and subsequent miscarriage weren’t your fault whatsoever, you may still feel like there was something you could have done to prevent it. The guilt can become crippling and affect your quality of life.
    • Anger. Feeling anger towards the negligent driver, and even at the medical team and yourself after the miscarriage is common. Visiting a therapist to learn how to cope with the anger is often a viable solution.
    • Depression. Perhaps the most common psychological effect mothers feel after miscarriage is depression. The overwhelming sadness can cause physical and emotional symptoms, and taking anti-depressant drugs or speaking with a counselor can help.

    Having to Pay for Someone Else’s Negligence

    You’ve already suffered enough because of someone else’s mistake; don’t allow yourself to pay for the negligence, as well. Medical bills from your current treatment, as well as treatment you may need in the future because of the miscarriage, will end up costing you thousands of dollars. Unless you have the help of an experienced attorney on your side, you may end up footing the bill, which isn’t right.

    The attorneys of Tavss Fletcher don’t think you should have to pay for expenses related to another driver’s error. Contact us today to learn how we may be able to help.

  • What complications can occur from a fractured pelvis?

    While severe pelvic fractures are relatively rare, when they do occur, they are most commonly caused by high-speed motor vehicle accidents or falls from great heights. The pelvis is a butterfly-shaped group of bones that is held together by tough ligaments. Because of the construction of these bones, it is quite common for more than one to break when experiencing trauma.

    Pelvic fractures can become life-threatening when damage to the surrounding blood vessels and ligaments causes massive blood loss. These types of emergencies require surgery to stop the bleeding and repair the fracture.

    Complications You May Face

    Although mild pelvic fractures, such as those caused by a trip and fall or sports-related impact, can heal without difficulty, severe fractures cause more trouble. Some possible complications are merely a nuisance while others are extremely dangerous. Either way, they add to your recovery time and medical expenses. Possible complications include:

    • Bed rest problems. Bed rest is often part of the treatment plan, but lying around for extended periods of time creates the potential for problems. Deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and pneumonia are just a few of the issues that can occur, and all can be life-threatening.
    • Infection. All surgeries and breaks are susceptible to infections, but pelvic fractures are extremely so when the bone pierces through the skin. Additionally, some patients with pelvic fractures require colostomy bags during the healing process, which are also prone to infection.
    • Medication issues. Those who experience pelvic fractures often take a variety of different medications during treatment. Antibiotics and pain medicine are likely obvious, but they are also typically given blood thinners to prevent clots from forming. All medications run the risk for allergic reactions, and many can affect the gastrointestinal system, which can cause extreme discomfort.

    Should You Have to Pay for These Treatments?

    Current and future treatment for your injury can cost thousands of dollars. If your pelvic fracture was due to someone else’s negligence, such as a car crash on I-664 or a fall from an unsafe worksite, you may be able to seek financial compensation that can help pay for the treatments.

    The attorneys of Tavss Fletcher will work hard to try and get you the justice you seek. Contact us today to learn how we have helped other victims in the Norfolk area, and how we may be able to do the same for you.

  • Who is prone to experiencing compartment syndrome?

    Compartment syndrome is a painful and often life-threatening condition that can occur after a severe injury, such as a fracture. This ailment develops when swelling or bleeding occurs in a muscle compartment, applying pressure to the tough membrane called the fascia covering the muscle compartment.

    Those who suffer from compartment syndrome potentially face damage to their nerves and muscles if not treated quickly or effectively. Additionally, if the pressure is not relieved in a short amount of time, permanent disability and muscle death can occur.

    Are You at Risk?

    Fortunately, not every fracture will have you headed to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital or another medical center in the area for compartment syndrome, but some patients are more likely than others to develop the syndrome. Conditions that put you at an increased risk for compartment syndrome are:

    • Fractures in arms and legs. Those who experience broken bones in their forearms (the part of the arm below the elbow) or in the part of the leg below the knee are more likely to develop compartment syndrome than those who have fractures in other body parts, such as the clavicle or femur.
    • When you require surgery or antibiotics. Compartment syndrome is more likely to occur when you have surgery to repair a broken bone. Additionally, those who suffer from infections related to the fracture have an increased risk of developing the syndrome.
    • When you take anti-coagulants. If you’re on medication to treat or prevent blood clots from forming, you have a higher chance of getting compartment syndrome than someone who is not.

    Fortunately, the Office of Rare Diseases of the National Institutes of Health has classified compartment syndrome as a “rare” disease, as it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans each year.

    We Want to Help

    If your experience with compartment syndrome was caused by an accident that wasn’t your fault, the legal team of Tavss Fletcher may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to learn more.

  • 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.


  • 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!