Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek

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  • Will a reckless driving conviction affect my insurance premiums?

    Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. If you are convicted of this offense, you will face a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a $2,500 fine, and long-term consequences, such as a permanent criminal record. Another ramification you need to be aware of is how a conviction could affect your car insurance premiums.

    Does Virginia Have an Insurance Point System?

    Toy Cars With Money and a CalculatorSome states have an insurance point system, and drivers convicted of reckless driving or other traffic offenses would have insurance points placed on their record that could impact the cost of their insurance premiums. Virginia does not have this type of system.

    Our commonwealth does have a demerit system that can result in points being added to a person’s driving record, but this is different than insurance points. Six demerit points would be added for a reckless driving conviction.

    How Reckless Driving Can Impact on Your Insurance Costs

    In Virginia, insurance companies may have their own point systems or policies on how a reckless driving conviction will affect insurance premium costs. The amount of increase will depend on the insurance company, but many individuals will see their insurance costs increase significantly for up to three years. Here are some guidelines on insurance premium costs:

    • If a driver convicted of reckless driving that also caused injuries or property damage over a certain amount, this could result in a greater insurance premium increase, especially if victims were injured. However, the insurance company may also consider whether the driver is over 21 years old, the length of time he has been with the insurance company, and his driving record in determining the insurance cost.
    • If a driver is a new or inexperienced driver, the increase in insurance premiums could be greater than for an older driver. Some insurance companies have a policy of adding one point to their system if a driver is young or inexperienced.

    How to Avoid the Harsh Consequences of a Reckless Driving Conviction

    The best way to avoid the severe punishments and long-term consequences of a reckless driving conviction is to retain an experienced reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged with this offense. He can mount a strong defense that can result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To find out how we will aggressively defend you, call our office in Norfolk to schedule a free consultation today.

     

  • What is virtual visitation?

    Sisters Facetiming Their Dad on a TabletGetting divorced is never easy, but it can be even harder when children are involved—and they have to adjust to not seeing the non-custodial parent every day. One way to increase the non-custodial parent’s involvement in their children’s lives is through the use of virtual visitation on days when they do not have parenting time.

    What Is Virtual Visitation?

    Virtual visitation is the use of technology that parents can use to stay in touch with their children when they cannot be with them. While using the telephone has always been an option, there are now many other technologies that can be used, such as:

    • Skype
    • FaceTime
    • Zoom or other video calling services
    • Facebook messaging
    • Email or text
    • Video games

    How to Get Virtual Visitation in Your Divorce

    There are only a few states that have laws on virtual visitation, and Virginia is not one of them. However, judges do permit virtual visitation in divorces and other custody proceedings. Parents can come up with an agreement on virtual visitation as part of a parenting plan and include this in the judgement of divorce or custody agreement. They can specify the types of technology to be used, how it would occur, and for how long.

    If custody is contested or the custodial parent objects to virtual visitation, the non-custodial parent can ask the judge to order it as a part of his court-ordered visitation schedule. In making a decision on this, the judge would be guided by the best interests of the child.

    Are you considering filing for divorce? Is your spouse or ex-spouse denying you parenting time or refusing to give you virtual visitation? Our experienced family law attorneys are here to discuss your situation with you and explain your legal rights. We can file your divorce or other custody action and will be here every step of the way to help throughout the process.

    Take advantage of our offer of a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can help. Call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form to schedule your appointment today.

     

  • Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company?

    No. One big mistake that victims of slip and fall and other premises liability accidents make is to agree to give a recorded statement to the negligent party’s insurance company. While the insurance adjuster’s request may seem innocent—it is not—and you could significantly hurt your claim for compensation for your injuries if you agree to give one.

    Why the Insurance Company Wants a Recorded Statement

    A recorded statement is a question and answer session between you and the insurance adjuster that is tape-recorded and later transcribed into a written document. The insurance Microphone Used by an Insurance Agent for a Recorded Statementcompany wants you to agree to give one for a few reasons.

    The insurance adjuster has a duty to investigate your accident before deciding whether to offer you a settlement. The recorded statement can help him get a better picture of how you were hurt.

    However, the insurance adjuster has another reason for wanting your recorded statement—to compare it to any other statements you made. The information he could find would help him to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve.

    Three Reasons Not to Agree to a Recorded Statement

    If you know that you were not at fault in causing your accident, you may feel like you have nothing to hide and that agreeing to a recorded statement would not be harmful. However, here are three reasons to just say no:

    • Not required. You are not required to give a recorded statement to settle your claim with the insurance company. The insurance adjuster has other ways that he can complete an investigation into the cause of your accident.
    • Inconsistent statements. The insurance adjuster is skilled in asking questions that may be confusing or are designed to get you to inadvertently say something that weakens your case. This can include making an inconsistent statement that hurts your credibility or agreeing that your injuries are not that serious. He would use these statements against you in settlement negotiations.
    • Court. Your recorded statement could also be used against you in any court hearings or at your jury trial. Even if you said something you did not mean and try to explain this later, your recorded statement could damage how your claim and you are perceived by the judge and jury.

    What to Do If the Insurance Company Asks for a Recorded Statement

    If the insurance company contacts you and requests that you give a recorded statement, you should politely say no and inform the insurance adjuster that you will have your lawyer contact them. If you have not already hired an experienced premises liability attorney, now is the time to do so—let him handle all communications with the insurance company. To find out how we can aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve, call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.

     

  • After my truck accident, should I sue the trucking company or truck driver?

    Semi-Truck After it Collided With a Passenger VanIf you were hurt in a truck accident, it can be confusing to know who you should sue for compensation for your injuries. Should you sue the truck driver who caused your collision or the trucking company who employed him? In most cases, you should file your lawsuit against both.

    Why You Should Pursue Claims Against the Trucker and Trucking Company

    You should always pursue claims for compensation against any parties who are potentially liable to compensate you. Depending on the cause of your collision, the trucker, trucking company, shipping company, and others could all be partially at fault. Here are two reasons why it is important to sue the trucker, trucking company, and any other liable parties:

    • Insurance. The trucking company will have more insurance coverage than the truck driver to compensate you for your injuries. If you only file a lawsuit against the truck driver, you may not be able to recover all the compensation that you are owed—even if you win your case. His insurance company would only be responsible for paying you up to the policy limits.
    • Partial fault. In Virginia, negligent parties are only responsible for paying you their percentage of fault in causing your truck accident. To ensure that you receive all that you deserve, you have to sue all potentially liable parties and negotiate settlements with all the parties that you can prove were negligent.

    Two Ways to Hold the Trucking Company Responsible for Compensating You

    You may be able to sue the trucking company based on the legal theory of vicarious liability and based on their own negligent actions that contributed to your crash. In Virginia, employers—including trucking companies—are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees if the worker was acting within the scope of his employment. If the trucker was driving on the clock when he caused your accident, the company he worked for would also face liability under this legal theory.

    You may also have a separate claim that the trucking company’s own negligence contributed to your collision. Here are some common claims that you may be able to raise:

    • The trucking company was negligent in hiring an unqualified truck driver.
    • The trucking company violated its duties under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations to inspect and maintain the truck.
    • The trucking company instructed or encouraged the truck driver to violate the FMCSA hours of service rules that limit the number of hours he can drive without a break.

    You do not need to determine whether you can sue the trucker and trucking company on your own. Our experienced truck accident attorneys are here to investigate the cause of your crash and pursue claims against all possible parties so that you receive all that you are entitled to in your settlement. Fill out the online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • Why won’t my doctor see me after my car accident?

    Car Accident Victim at a Doctor ConsultationIt is crucial to be examined by a physician soon after your auto collision in order to protect your health and to avoid disputes with the negligent driver’s insurance company over the cause of your injuries and how serious they are. However, you may be shocked to discover that your primary care doctor does not want to treat you.

    Why Your Physician May Not Want to Treat You

    Unfortunately, some doctors do not want to treat victims of motor vehicle accidents. Some of the reasons include:

    • Office policy. They may have a strict rule that they do not treat patients injured in car accidents due to the extra work, such as telephone calls, paperwork, and billing.
    • Billing issues. Another reason that doctors may be unwilling to treat an accident victim is that billing auto insurance companies for medical care can be more complicated than a health care insurance company. They may be worried that they will not get paid.

    What to Do If Your Doctor Will Not Treat You

    Fortunately, you do have options for obtaining the medical care you need. Here are steps you can take:

    • Talk to your attorney. Discuss your situation with an experienced car accident lawyer. He may be able to contact your physician and provide him with a letter of protection that states that his bills for medical services would be paid directly out of your settlement.
    • See another physician. Some doctors will treat car accident victims, and you may need to find a new one. If your injuries are serious, you might need to be referred to a specialist. Your attorney may have a network of qualified doctors who can help you.

    Are you having trouble getting the medical care you need for your injuries? Do you need assistance filing your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Our skilled and dedicated legal team is here to help you every step of the way. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule your appointment today.

     

  • How much will it cost to hire a divorce attorney?

    Family Cutouts With a Wooden GavelGetting divorced is an emotional and expensive process. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is essential so that your legal rights are protected. However, one of your big worries can be how much it will cost you to retain one.

    How Attorney Fees Are Charged in Divorces

    Even if you and your spouse agree on most issues in your divorce, it is important to hire your own lawyer because you each still have conflicting interests. One attorney cannot adequately represent both of you. Before retaining someone, you should know how much it will cost you. Attorney fees in divorces are often charged in one of these ways:

    • Hourly rate. The most common way that lawyers charge their fees in a divorce is at an hourly rate for the time they spend working on a case.
    • Flat fee. In uncontested divorces with few or no issues to resolve, some lawyers may charge a flat fee for handling a divorce. However, if disputes arise, they may charge additional fees.
    • Retainer fee. Attorneys who charge on an hourly basis will often collect a retainer fee, which is a deposit on the attorney fees that will be owed, before starting a divorce for a client.

    In addition to attorney fees, you will owe other costs associated with your divorce. They include:

    • Filing fees for your complaint and pre-trial motions
    • Service fees to serve your divorce complaint on your spouse
    • Record copying fees
    • Expert witness fees
    • Deposition costs

    Factors That Can Affect the Cost of a Divorce

    Every divorce is unique, and several issues can affect the cost of a divorce. Some of these are:

    • Contested divorce. If a divorce is contested, the cost will be far more expensive than in an uncontested divorce because the attorneys will need to work more on the case and attend more court hearings.
    • High net worth. If the couple is wealthy and has a high income and assets, it can be more costly to hire experts to value the marital property and can take more time to reach an agreement on the division of property and alimony.
    • Children. When there are children of the marriage, issues of custody, visitation, and child support must be decided. This could become costly if the spouses fight about these issues, and an attorney must attend numerous court hearings to get them resolved.

    Depending on your situation, you may be able to ask that your spouse pay all or part of your attorney fees in your divorce. To learn more about your legal options and how we charge our fees in divorces, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.

     

  • Should I talk to the insurance company after a premises liability accident?

    Insurance Adjuster Keyboard ButtonIf you were injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, the insurance company for the property owner or business where you were hurt will probably contact you within a few days of your accident. Should you talk to the insurance adjuster? While you may need to have a short conversation with him, you should keep your call as brief as possible and limit further direct communications with the insurance company.

    Why the Insurance Company Wants to Talk to You

    Once the insurance company is notified of your accident, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case. One of the reasons he would contact you is to investigate your claim. However, he also may have other motives.

    The insurance adjuster may appear to be friendly and concerned about your health. However, it is important to remember that this person is not your friend and is not looking out for your best interests. He works for the insurance company and may try to use statements you make to him to deny your claim or try to pay you less than you are owed.

    How to Handle Talking to the Insurance Company

    You need to be very careful when talking to the insurance adjuster so that you do not inadvertently say something that weakens your right to compensation for your injuries. Here are guidelines on how to talk to him:

    • Be polite.
    • Obtain the contact information for the insurance company.
    • Provide basic information, such as the date, time, and place of your accident, but do not discuss the details of the accident or your injuries.
    • Advise the insurance adjuster that you will have your lawyer contact him to discuss your claim. Then retain an experienced premises liability attorney immediately if you have not hired one.

    There are some things that you should not say or agree to when speaking to the insurance adjuster:

    • Do not say “I’m sorry” or statements that admit fault.
    • Do not agree to give a recorded statement, which is a tape-recorded question and answer session between the insurance adjuster and you.
    • Do not sign the insurance company’s authorization for release of medical information. You would give them access to confidential medical information that they do not need and may use to try to deny your claim.

    Our skilled and dedicated legal team is here to file your claim and take over all communications with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum amount in your settlement. Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you.

     

  • How soon should I hire an attorney after my truck accident?

    Semi-Trucks Travelling on the Road With Other VehiclesIf you are injured in a truck accident, you may not see the need to rush to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer right after your truck crash to help you file your claim for compensation. However, even though you have two years from the date of your collision to file your lawsuit for your injuries, you should not delay hiring an attorney. If you do, you could weaken your case against the negligent trucker and trucking company.

    Three Reasons Why You Need to Retain a Lawyer as Soon as Possible

    It can be overwhelming to cope with your injuries and how to pay your bills while you are off work recovering after your truck crash. An attorney can help by taking over the burden of filing your claim so you can focus on healing from your injuries. Here are other reasons why it is crucial to have a lawyer advocating for you right away.

    Reason #1: Preserving Evidence

    The causes of a truck accident can be more complicated than in a car accident and may involve violations of federal regulations governing the trucking industry, such as maintenance requirements and hours of service rules regarding how long truckers can drive without a break. If you hire a lawyer immediately, he can conduct a more thorough investigation into the cause of your crash and collect the evidence you need to prove the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence. He can also quickly send the trucking company a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and not to destroy documents that may be helpful to your case.

    Reason #2: Avoiding Mistakes

    If you do not have an attorney, you may make mistakes that weaken your case when you talk to the insurance adjuster and file your claim. For example, you could agree to give a recorded statement or say something that could be misinterpreted as an admission of fault.

    Reason #3: Negotiating Your Settlement

    An attorney who has settled and litigated many truck accident cases will be able to accurately value your claim and negotiate your settlement so that you receive the maximum amount you are entitled to. He will understand the strategies that the insurance company may use to try to deny or reduce your claim and will have persuasive arguments and evidence to defeat them.

    You do not need to go it alone when filing your claim with the insurance company following a truck crash. Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to learn about your options and how we can assist you. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your appointment with our skilled truck accident legal team.

     

  • Should I talk to the police following my car accident?

    Police Officer Talking to a Car Accident VictimYou should always call the police at the scene of your auto crash even if you believe that you suffered no injuries or “minor” injuries and there was little damage to your car. Why is this important? You may find that the cost to repair your vehicle is higher than you thought or that you suffered serious injuries requiring medical treatment. The symptoms of some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, and internal bleeding, can take days or longer to emerge.

    If you decide to file a claim with the negligent driver’s or your own insurance company, having a police report can be extremely useful. It can avoid disputes with the insurance company about whether your crash really happened and will have helpful information, such as the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault and whether a traffic citation was issued.

    When Are You Required to Report a Car Accident in Virginia?

    Under Virginia law, you are required to report an auto accident in the following situations:

    • An individual suffered injuries or was killed.
    • A vehicle was damaged in the wreck.

    It is best to call the police from the scene of your accident because the police report will be more detailed and help prove the other driver’s negligence. If you do not contact law enforcement, then you should do so within 24 hours of the collision or as soon as you can if your injuries prevent you from doing so right away.

    Tips on What You Should Say to the Police

    You will have a duty to provide the police officer with a copy of your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. When talking to the police, you need to be careful what you say. Your statements will be included in the police report, and the other motorist’s insurance company may use them to try to deny your claim or pay you less than you are entitled to. Here are some tips on how to talk to the police:

    • Be polite when speaking to the officer or anyone else.
    • Do not interrupt the other driver or other witnesses when they are being interviewed by the officer.
    • When answering the officer’s questions, stick with the facts, and give a general accounting of how the collision occurred. Do not embellish what happened or give too many details that you may contradict later or can be misinterpreted by the insurance company when you file your claim.
    • Do not admit fault or make statements, such as “I’m sorry,” that can be interpreted as an admission of guilt. 

    Do you have additional questions about your legal rights following a car accident? Do you need to file a claim for compensation? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced car accident attorneys today to get answers to your questions and learn how we can assist you with all the steps you will need to take to win your case.

     

  • How soon should I go to a doctor after a premises liability accident?

    Empty Doctor Exam Room There is no law in Virginia that sets a deadline for being seen by a physician after a premises liability accident. However, it is best to be examined by a doctor within a day or two of your accident—even if you believe your injuries are “minor” or that you were not hurt.

    Two Reasons Why Prompt Medical Treatment Is Important

    There are two important reasons to go to the emergency room, an urgent care facility, or your physician right away after a slip and fall or other premises liability accident.

    Reason #1: You Protect Your Health

    If you suffered obvious injuries, you know to get medical care right away. However, no matter whether you know you were hurt or not, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

    Why is this so important? The symptoms of some injuries may not develop for days or longer after your accident. Some common injuries that may not be evident right away include:

    • Traumatic brain injury and other brain injuries
    • Back, neck, and shoulder injuries
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Internal bleeding
    • Internal organ damage

    It could become a life-threatening medical emergency if you wait until symptoms develop to see a doctor or your condition could worsen due to the lack of prompt medical treatment. You protect your health by seeing a medical professional within a day or two of your crash.

    Reason #2: You Build a Stronger Case for Compensation for Your Injuries

    When you file your claim with the negligent property owner’s or business’ insurance company, the insurance adjuster may look for reasons to deny your claim or reduce the amount of your settlement. If you delay getting medical care, you give them ammunition to dispute your claim. They could argue that your injuries were caused by another incident or that they are not very serious, or you would have sought treatment sooner.

    Were you or a loved one injured in a premises liability accident in Norfolk? Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn how our experienced premises liability lawyers can help.

     

  • What should I do after a hit and run accident?

    Wrecked Side of a Small Car After a Hit and RunIf you were injured in a hit and run accident in Norfolk, you may still be able to obtain compensation for injuries. However, there are immediate steps you need to take to protect your legal rights. Here are five first actions that you should take.

    Step #1: Stay at the Crash Scene and Call the Police

    Do not try to chase the hit and run driver. It could be dangerous. Instead, you should stay at the crash scene and call the police. The police report will contain vital information that you will need if you later locate the motorist and file a claim with his insurance company or if you need to file one with your own insurance company. This includes:

    • Date, time, and place of your crash
    • Narration of how the collision occurred
    • Witness’ contact information and statements
    • Officer’s conclusions as to who caused your accident

    Step #2: Obtain Medical Treatment

    If you know you suffered injuries, call 911 for an ambulance or go to the emergency room as soon as possible. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you may have suffered injuries that are not apparent right away, such as neck and back injuries, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. You protect your health and your claim by having a doctor examine you within a day or two of the crash.

    Step #3: Take Photos

    You should use your cellphone camera to take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and anything else that could help you identify the hit and run driver or prove his negligence. Ask a passenger or witness to take photos for you if you are too hurt to do it yourself.

    Step #4: Obtain Witness’ Contact Information

    Get the contact information for any witnesses at the crash scene before they disappear. They may have information that can help you identify the negligent driver and can corroborate his fault in causing your wreck.

    Step #5: Retain an Attorney

    Although you may have plenty of time before the deadline, referred to as the statute of limitations, expires to sue the negligent driver, you should retain an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. He may be able to obtain business surveillance footage and take other steps to help you locate the negligent driver and can negotiate your settlement with the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve.

    If you or a loved one were injured in a hit and run or other type of car accident in Norfolk, call our office today to schedule a free consultation. A member of our skilled legal team can answer your questions and explain how we can help you file your claim.

     

  • Is a truck accident settlement or judgment taxable?

    Settlement Check From a Truck Accident CaseIf you settled your truck accident claim or won your case at a jury trial, you may be worried that you will have to pay federal income taxes on the amount you received. Whether you will owe any taxes will depend on the type of damages you receive.

    Understanding the Taxable and Non-Taxable Portions of Your Settlement or Judgment

    Settlements and judgments are treated the same when determining whether the proceeds you receive are taxable. Under IRS rules, the damages you received for physical injuries and sicknesses are not taxed. Here are the types of compensation you may receive and whether the proceeds are taxable:

    • Medical expenses. The amount you receive to reimburse you for your medical expenses for hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, medications, and other necessary medical treatments are not taxable.
    • Wage loss. The portion of your settlement that is to reimburse you for the wages you lost while you were off work recovering from your injuries may be taxed. You could also owe income taxes on future wage losses, and lost earning capacity in the future if you cannot return to work.
    • Pain and suffering. If you received damages for the physical pain and injuries you endured in a truck accident, this amount would not be considered income. However, if the amount you received is for emotional distress not related to physical pain and injuries, it could be taxed.
    • Property damage. The amounts you receive for car repairs, other property damage, and car rental fees are to reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses and are not taxable.
    • Interest. If a portion of your settlement or judgment is interest on the amount you received, you would owe taxes on this amount.
    • Punitive damages. Punitive damages are not commonly awarded in truck accident cases. However, if you received this type of compensation, it would be taxable income.

    We Are Here to Fight for the Compensation You Deserve

    Were you or a family member injured in a truck accident? You can trust our skilled truck accident lawyers to collect the evidence you need to prove the trucker’s and trucking company’s liability and to fight with their insurance companies so that you receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your options and how we have helped other truck collision victims successfully resolve their cases, fill out the online form on this page to schedule a free case evaluation today.

     

  • What are the potential penalties for driving under the influence with a child in the car?

    Any conviction for DUI in Virginia comes with harsh penalties, such as a jail sentence and hefty fines, and long-term consequences of having a permanent criminal record. However, you could face additional charges and more severe punishments if you had a child in your vehicle when you were arrested for DUI.

    What Charges Could You Face If You Are Arrested for DUI With a Child in Your Car?

    If you are caught driving while intoxicated with a minor child who is 17 years old or younger in your vehicle, you could face aggravated charges. You may also be charged with DUI child endangerment. It is considered child endangerment to put a minor child in danger of being injured or killed due to a parent or other adult’s willful act or omission or refusal to Child Looking Out of the Backseat Window in a Carprovide the necessary care.

    Like many other states, the Commonwealth of Virginia considers it a form of child endangerment to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher with a child in the car. The risk that a child will be seriously injured or killed in a car accident increases significantly if the driver was drunk. In addition, it is less likely that the child will be wearing his seat belt.

    DUI child endangerment is a misdemeanor offense, and you could be charged with is as well as DUI when pulled over for drinking with a child in the car. If convicted of DUI child endangerment, you face these punishments in addition to those for DUI:

    • First offense. You will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days and a fine of between $500 and $1,000.
    • Second offense. You face the same penalties as for a first offense and will be required to perform 80 hours of community service.

    You could be charged with additional crimes if the child was injured or died. You also risk losing your right to custody and visitation if the child in your vehicle was yours

    Were you charged with DUI or DUI child endangerment? You could have strong defenses to the charges you face—even if you believe you were guilty. Let our experienced DUI lawyers in Norfolk mount a strong defense for you so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your situation. To schedule a free consultation to learn more, call our Norfolk office or fill out the convenient form on this page.

     

  • How much does it cost to hire a premises liability attorney?

    Empty Wallet With Medical Bills and a CalculatorIf you were hurt in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you may realize that settling your claim against the negligent property or business owner on your own would not be in your best interests. However, you may worry that you cannot afford to hire an experienced premises liability lawyer, especially when you have mounting medical bills and no income while you are off work recovering. Fortunately, most attorneys charge their fees in a contingency fee agreement where you would not owe any fees upfront.

    How a Contingency Fee Arrangement Works

    Most premises liability lawyers understand how difficult it is for accident victims to pay attorney fees when they are struggling to get the medical treatment they need and charge their fees on a contingency fee basis. Here is how this agreement works:

    • No upfront fees. You do not owe any attorney fees at the beginning of your case. Your lawyer would not get paid until your claim is resolved.
    • Fees only owed if you win. You will only owe attorney fees if your lawyer settles your case or wins it at a trial. If your case is not successful, you would owe him no fees.
    • Fees are a percentage of your settlement. Most premises liability lawyers charge a percentage of the amount you recover in your settlement or at trial as their fees.
    • Fees paid from your settlement. When your case is settled, you do not have to write a check to your lawyer for his fees. Instead, he will deduct the amount you owe from your settlement proceeds.

    Other Costs You Could Owe

    Attorney fees are not the only expense you will incur when filing a claim for compensation following a premises liability accident. Some attorneys will expect you to pay a retainer when you hire them to cover a portion of these costs, while others will pay these expenses for you and deduct them from your settlement. Here are some of the additional costs you may owe:

    • Expert witness fees
    • Record copying costs
    • Civil lawsuit filing fee
    • Deposition costs

    Your lawyer should explain how he would charge his attorney fees and other costs at your initial consultation with him—which should be at no cost to you. At Tavss Fletcher, we offer a free consultation with a member of our legal team to discuss your legal options, how we can assist you, and the attorney fees and costs you would owe. To schedule yours, call our office or fill out the online form on this page.

     

  • Do I need to register my out-of-state custody and child support order in Virginia?

    Child Support Paperwork and MoneyIf you obtained a custody and child support order in a divorce or other child custody action in another state and moved to Virginia, your orders can be enforced in Virginia. Our commonwealth has adopted The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which provides that the custody and child support orders entered in another state are recognized by our state courts. However, you need to register your out-of-state orders.

    What Is the Benefit of Registering Your Out-of-State Custody and Support Orders?

    The benefit of registering your custody and support orders from another state within a Virginia court is that it will be easier for you to enforce the orders if you need to. Once you register your orders, you can file any necessary motions to change the orders or compel your ex-spouse or partner to comply with them in a state court. If you do not register your orders, you would have to file your motions in that state and incur travel costs and miss work to attend required court hearings.

    How Do You Register Your Out-of-State Family Law Orders in Virginia?

    The process of registering your child custody and support orders from another state is relatively simple. You must follow this procedure:

    • File a letter or other document requesting to register your out-of-state orders with the court in the county or city where you reside after you have lived there at least six months.
    • File two copies of the order to be registered with an affidavit that there are no modifications of the order. One copy of the order must be a certified copy, which you can obtain for a fee from the court that entered the order.
    • Serve notice of the registration of your orders on your ex-spouse or partner. He will have the opportunity to object to your request, and a hearing will be scheduled if he files an objection.

    If you need to enforce an order from another state quickly, you can file a petition for expedited enforcement of the order.

    Do you have questions about enforcing an out-of-state custody or support order? Do you need to file an action to enforce these orders? Our skilled and compassionate family law lawyers are here to help. Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to get the answers and legal assistance you need.

     

  • How soon after my premises liability accident should I retain a lawyer?

    Man With a Broken Leg After a Slip and Fall Holding a ClockIf you want to obtain all the compensation you deserve for your injuries, you should hire an experienced premises liability attorney right away after your accident. Here are four reasons why this is so important.

    Reason #1: Preservation of Evidence

    It is not easy to prove a property or business owner’s negligence in causing a slip and fall or other type of premises liability accident. Your attorney can conduct a more exhaustive investigation into the cause of your accident soon after it occurred. In addition, he can obtain time-sensitive evidence, such as surveillance videotape that may have recorded your accident or witness statements—before they are lost.

    Reason #2: Help You Avoid Mistakes

    You probably have never been injured in an accident where you needed to file a claim for compensation with the negligent party’s insurance company. It is easy to make unintentional mistakes that can weaken your case. Here are some common ones that a lawyer can help you avoid:

    • Agreeing to give a recorded statement to the insurance company
    • Signing the insurance company’s blanket authorization for release of your medical records
    • Posting about your accident on social media sites
    • Making statements to the insurance adjuster that he can use to deny your claim or try to pay you less than you are owed.

    Reason #3: Negotiate Your Settlement

    It can be challenging to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. It is difficult to know how much your claim is really worth. In addition, the insurance company may try to pressure you into accepting a quick settlement for far less than you deserve.

    An attorney who has handled many premises liability cases will be able to value your claim accurately. He will also have strategies that he can use in negotiations with the insurance company to defeat their arguments as to why you should receive less than you deserve.

    Reason #4: File Your Lawsuit

    In Virginia, there is a deadline referred to as the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the negligent party who caused your injuries. If your lawyer cannot settle your claim, he will sue the property owner or business before the time period to do so expires.

    Were you or a family member injured in a premises liability accident? Our dedicated and knowledgeable lawyers are here to help. To get started, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • What happens if I was partially at fault in causing my truck accident?

    Contributory Negligence Paperwork and GavelIf you were partly to blame for your truck collision, it can have very negative consequences on the value of your claim for compensation for your injuries. This is because Virginia, unlike most other states, follows the contributory negligence doctrine.

    How Contributory Negligence Could Affect Your Truck Crash Claim

    Virginia follows a very harsh rule when the victim is partially at fault in causing a truck collision. Under the contributory negligence law, a person who is at all negligent in causing an accident is barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries. This is true whether he was 1, 50, or 99 percent to blame.

    Don’t Trust the Insurance Company If They Claim You Were at Fault

    Not surprisingly, insurance companies love to raise a victim’s partial fault as a reason to deny his claim. However, just because the adjuster uses this insurance tactic does not make it a valid one.

    How Can You Protect Your Rights After a Truck Accident in Norfolk?

    You should take steps to protect your right to compensation even if you think you may have been partially to blame for your truck crash. Here are important ways to do that:

    • Don’t admit fault. You should not make any statements admitting or implying that you were to blame. It is best not to talk to the insurance company at all on your own.
    • Collect evidence. Collect evidence at the accident scene that can help you prove that you were an innocent victim—which could very well be true. Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, crash scene, weather conditions, and anything else that might help show how your crash occurred. You also want to get the contact information for any witnesses who can corroborate the trucker’s fault in your wreck.
    • Don’t give a recorded statement. Do not agree to give a recorded statement, which is a recorded question and answer session with the insurance adjuster. You may unintentionally say something that you did not intend that the insurance company can use against you.
    • Contact an attorney. Retain an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. He can help you prove you were not at fault, handle all communications with the insurance company, and negotiate your settlement so that you receive what you deserve.

    Do you have questions about your options after a truck crash? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to get answers and the quality representation that you need.

     

  • What should I do if the police don’t come to the scene of my car accident?

    Broken Glass on the Road After a Car WreckWhenever you are involved in a car accident, you should contact the police at the crash scene and obtain a copy of the police report. The police report will contain helpful information, such as a narration of how the collision occurred, who was at fault, and whether any citations were issued. It can be very useful when filing a claim with the insurance company.

    However, the police do not always show up at the scene. If you are in this situation, here’s what you can do to document your accident and protect your right to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver.

    Why the Police May Not Show Up at a Crash Scene

    There are a number of reasons that the police may not come when you call to report a collision. Here are some common ones:

    • If there were no injuries or the injuries were minor, it may not be a priority to the police, especially if there are a lot of other accidents or other incidents they need to respond to at the same time.
    • If your accident happened in a parking lot or on private property, the police may have a policy not to respond.
    • If weather conditions are bad, the police may not have sufficient personnel to respond to all the crashes being reported and may only go to the scene of the most serious ones.

    What to Do If the Police Don’t Show Up After You Call 911

    If the police will not come to your accident scene, it is important to remember that this will not prevent you from filing a claim with the negligent driver’s or your own insurance company. You also have options for obtaining a police report. Here’s what you need to do:

    • Seek medical care. Your first step should be to obtain immediate medical treatment for anyone injured in the crash.
    • Obtain contact information. You should get the contact information for the other driver and his insurance company. This includes the driver’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, and the license plate number for his vehicle. If there were any witnesses to the collision, it is vital to obtain their contact information too.
    • Take pictures. Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, the accident scene, your injuries, and anything else you think might be helpful when you file your claim.
    • File your own report. If the police do not come to you, you may be able to go to the police station or on their website and file a police report on your own. They most likely have a form that you can fill out to file the report.
    • Retain an attorney. It is always best to retain an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to file your claim for compensation with the insurance company and negotiate your settlement so that you receive all that you deserve.

    Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Call our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how we can help you.

     

  • Can I date after I separate from my spouse?

    Man Using Dating App on His PhoneDating after you split up with your spouse may not be a good idea in Virginia. Unlike other states, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize legal separations. You are either married or divorced.

    How Dating Can Hurt Your Divorce Case

    If you enter into a romantic relationship with someone after you stop living with your spouse, you are doing so while you are still married. Here is how this can be used against you in your divorce.

    Property Division

    Virginia is an equitable division state, and marital property should be divided fairly in a divorce. However, the judge can consider fault in determining what is fair. Dating while separated is technically committing adultery. This could be used by your spouse to argue she is entitled to more of the marital assets.

    Child Custody and Visitation

    When deciding custody and visitation issues, the court must consider the best interests of the child, which involves considering many factors relating to a child’s welfare, needs, and care. If you are dating someone new, the judge may consider this as negatively affecting your fitness as a parent and the ability to take care of your children. You may not be granted primary physical custody, and your visitation with your children may be impacted as well.

    Criminal Prosecution

    Adultery is a crime in Virginia. While it is unlikely, you may be charged with a criminal offense if you are involved romantically with someone else during your divorce proceedings.

    How to Protect Yourself in Your Divorce

    While there is no law that prohibits dating, it may be in your best interests to not date until your divorce is finalized. If you are considering dating, you should contact an experienced family law lawyer for advice on your rights and how to avoid the potential negative consequences before doing so. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to get the answers you need to your questions and to learn how we can help you move forward with filing for divorce.

     

  • Can someone who was injured while illegally on your property sue you?

    Man Crossing Fence Behind a No Trespassing SignUnfortunately, a trespasser on your property who is injured in a premises liability accident may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against you. However, the type of guest a person is matters in Virginia, and your duties to a trespasser are limited.

    When Can a Trespasser Sue You for His Injuries?

    In Virginia, there are three types of guests: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Your duties to each are different, and you have the least duty to a trespasser. A trespasser is an individual who enters the property of another without permission or any right to do so. Your duty to him is only to not intentionally or wantonly injure him.

    Like with other rules, there are exceptions to this law. A trespasser may be able to sue you in these situations:

    • If the trespass is of such a nature and so frequent that you should have known of the trespass and the likely danger to the trespasser, you could face liability.
    • Under the “dangerous instrumentality doctrine,” you can be found negligent if you leave on your property an instrument, appliance, or machine that is easily accessible to children and that has hidden, concealed, or latent dangers. These dangerous items must be in an area that you know or should reasonably know that children gather in. If a child is seven-years-old or younger and is injured, he cannot be considered negligent under Virginia law.

    What to Do If a Trespasser Is Injured on Your Property in a Premises Liability Accident

    If a trespasser is injured while on your property, you should retain an experienced premises liability accident lawyer as soon as possible. He can help you build a strong defense to this person’s claim. In addition to showing that the exceptions discussed above do not apply, an attorney can prove that the trespasser’s comparative fault caused his injuries.

    Do you have other questions about your liability to a trespasser? Do you need to file a claim after suffering injuries in a premises liability accident? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you.