Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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What is the difference between a slip and fall and a premises liability accident?
If you suffered injuries on a property or business owner’s property, you may be wondering what type of claim you have to be compensated for your injuries. Do you have a slip and fall or premises liability claim? What’s the difference between the two?
A slip and fall accident is a type of premises liability case where the victim suffers injuries caused by slipping, falling, or tripping due to a hazardous condition. You are entitled to the same types of compensation as in other premises liability accidents.
Types of Premises Claims
A premises liability claim arises when a business or property owner fails to maintain their property in a safe condition and someone is injured. A slip and fall accident is the best-known type of premises liability case. However, other injury claims that fall under the umbrella of premises liability, such as:
- Negligent security. A property or business owner could be held liable for negligent security if they failed to provide adequate security and a victim was assaulted, robbed, or attacked in another way.
- Dog bite. If a dog bites or attacks someone, their owner could be liable to compensate the victim under Virginia’s dog bite laws.
- Toxic chemical exposure. If the negligence of a property or business owner causes individuals to be exposed to toxic chemicals, they may be liable to compensate those who suffered injuries due to the exposure.
- Swimming pool. Individuals may need to pursue a premises liability claim if they suffer injuries in a slip and fall, drowning, or other accident at a swimming pool.
- Elevators and Escalators. Victims can suffer catastrophic injuries or death in an elevator or escalator accident if the elevator or escalator is not properly maintained or repaired.
How to Prove Negligence in a Premises Liability Accident
If you were injured in a slip and fall or other type of premises liability accident, you must prove that the owner’s negligence caused your accident and injuries. To establish negligence, you must show the following:
- The property or business owner owed a duty to you. The owner has a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner, correct dangerous conditions promptly, and post warning signs if they are unable to remove a hazard quickly under Virginia law.
- The owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and breached their duty of care to you by failing to rectify the problem or post a warning sign.
- The breach of the owner’s duty caused your injuries.
- You suffered injuries and are entitled to damages.
Were you injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident? Our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to answer your questions, collect the evidence you need to prove the property or business owner’s negligence, and fight with their insurance company to obtain all the compensation you deserve. To get started, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Can I obtain compensation above the negligent driver’s insurance limits?
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to be fully compensated for your injuries under Virginia law. However, this may not seem possible if the at-fault motorist does not have enough insurance coverage to pay you.
Can you obtain compensation above their insurance limits? Yes, you may be able to recover more damages—if you have the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
How to Obtain Additional Damages Above the Driver’s Policy Limits
The insurance company for the negligent driver is only responsible for compensating you up to the insurance policy limits no matter how serious the injuries are that you suffered. However, you may have other options to obtain additional damages. Here are other ways to recover what you deserve:
- Other liable parties. In some cases, more than one individual caused the car accident. Drivers of other vehicles, mechanics, parts and car manufacturers, and municipalities are some of the potentially at-fault parties who could have liability to compensate you. Pursuing claims against all possible parties increases the likelihood that you will be fully compensated for your injuries.
- Umbrella policy. The negligent driver could have an umbrella policy that provides additional liability coverage if the auto policy is not sufficient to compensate you. Your attorney can help you determine if this is an option.
- Your own insurance. You may have purchased underinsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. If you did, you can file a claim for additional damages with your own insurance company. However, you still need the help of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that you are treated fairly and fully compensated by them.
- At-fault driver. Another option you have is to sue the negligent driver for the additional compensation you deserve. However, they may have no or few assets to pay you. Your lawyer can help you determine if it would be worth the time and expense of a lawsuit to sue them.
We’re Here to Help
If you or a family member were hurt in a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, our knowledgeable car accident legal team is here to assist you. We will help you pursue all your options so that you receive the maximum recovery you deserve. To get started, fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
How long do I have to report a truck accident?
If you were the driver of an auto and were involved in a truck crash, you are required to report it in some circumstances in Virginia. In addition, reporting your truck wreck to the police strengthens your claim for compensation against the negligent trucker and trucking company and could make settling your claim with their insurance company easier.
When Must You Report a Truck Accident in Virginia?
Under Virginia Code §46.2-894, you are required to report a truck collision to the State Police or a local law enforcement agency immediately in either of these situations:
- An individual was injured or killed.
- A vehicle or other property was damaged.
In addition, you are required to report your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to the police and the injured person if they are capable of retaining the information. You must also attempt to render aid to any injured victim of the collision. If you are too injured to report the crash right away, you must do so as soon as you are able to do so.
Since most truck accidents result in the much smaller auto being damaged and often involve victims suffering injuries or death, there is almost always a requirement to report a truck crash. If you fail to do so, you could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor or Class 5 felony.
How Reporting a Truck Crash Strengthens Your Claim for Compensation
Calling the police right after your truck accident will also strengthen your claim for compensation with the insurance company. The police will conduct an investigation and write a police report that could contain helpful information, such as:
- Date, time and place of the wreck
- Details of how the collision occurred
- Statements of the trucker, passengers, and witnesses
- Officer’s conclusions as to who caused the accident
- Any traffic citations issued
When you file your claim, you should obtain a copy of the police report and provide it to the insurance adjuster. The report will help you avoid disputes with them over whether or not the crash actually occurred. They could raise this argument if the police were not contacted in an effort to deny your claim.
In addition, if the officer concluded that the trucker’s negligence was the cause of your accident, this may help you convince the insurance company of their liability to pay you. However, they could still try to use other reasons, such as disputing the seriousness of your injuries, to try to pay you less money than you deserve.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, our experienced truck accident legal team can hold the trucker, trucking company, and their insurance company accountable for compensating you for your injuries. We understand the complexities in these cases and have decades of experience helping truck crash victims obtain the justice and damages they deserve. To learn how we can assist you, fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.
What is a capias warrant?
You face serious consequences if you fail to appear at a court hearing in your criminal case in Virginia. The judge could issue a capias warrant, which is a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear, and you may face additional criminal charges. However, you may be able to avoid these harsh consequences if you take action quickly after your missed court hearing and retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.
Penalties You Face for Failure to Appear at a Court Hearing
If a capias warrant is issued, you could be arrested at any time until you turn yourself into the police. Your bond may be revoked, which means that you may have to remain in jail until your criminal case is decided.
In addition, you could be charged with a separate offense for failing to appear at your court hearing under Virginia Code §19.2-128. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Here are the potential penalties you face:
- Misdemeanor. If you failed to attend a hearing in a DUI, reckless driving, or other misdemeanor case, you would be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Felony. If you missed a court hearing in a felony criminal case, the charges against you would be more serious. You would be charged with a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid the Harsh Consequences You Face
If you miss your court hearing, you make your criminal case more complicated. In addition to facing additional charges, the judge could sentence you more harshly for the original crime you were accused of committing if you are convicted.
Taking prompt actions as soon as you realize you failed to appear in court can go a long way to avoiding these consequences. Here are two important steps you should take:
- Go to court or call the court clerk on the same day as your court hearing if at all possible. The judge could withdraw the bench warrant and schedule your court hearing for another day. Even if there is no longer a capias warrant for your arrest, you should plan to explain why you missed your hearing at your next court date.
- Call your lawyer if you have one or retain one immediately. If you have a good reason for not going to court, such as your car broke down or you had a medical emergency, you may be able to avoid being arrested or having additional charges brought against you.
Did you miss a court hearing in your criminal case? Are you facing criminal charges? Our knowledgeable criminal defense team is here to mount a strong defense for you so that the charges are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.
Who is liable in a rear-end motorcycle accident?
Many people consider rear-end collisions to be a not very serious type of accident. However, you could suffer long-term injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, or back or spinal injuries, especially if you are riding a motorcycle when someone rear-ends you.
In most rear-end motorcycle crashes, the driver in the rear would be found to be a fault. Here’s why this is true and exceptions when a motorcycle rider in the lead could be found to blame.
Why the Driver in the Rear Is Often Found to Be Negligent
In most cases, the motorist that rear-ended a motorcycle will be found to be the negligent party. This is because all drivers are required to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them—including a motorcycle—so that they can slow down or stop suddenly if this becomes necessary to avoid a crash. Unfortunately, this duty is often breached in a rear-end collision. Drivers are often engaged in other unsafe driving practices, such as:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
Because the driver in the rear is often presumed to be negligent, their insurance company may not dispute their liability to pay a motorcycle accident victim. However, this does not mean that settling a rear-end collision claim will be easy. The insurance adjuster could dispute the seriousness of a rider’s injuries in an effort to pay them less compensation than they are entitled to in their settlement.
When the Motorcycle Rider in the Lead Could Be Negligent
While it is not common, in some cases, a motorcyclist in the lead could be at fault for causing a rear-end accident. This can happen if they do the following:
- Pull out in front of another car
- Slam on their brakes for no reason
- Reverse their motorcycle
- Drive while intoxicated
- Drive with broken brake lights
- Make an unsafe lane change
- Engage in distracted driving
If you were injured in a rear-end or other motorcycle collision, you need the assistance of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to prove the other motorist’s negligence in causing your crash and the amount of compensation you deserve. Call our Norfolk office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today to learn about your options and how we can help you.
Why won’t my primary care doctor treat my injuries?
If you were hurt in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, one of your first steps should be to seek prompt medical treatment. This protects your health and avoids disputes with the insurance company for the property owner about what caused your injuries and how serious they are.
However, it can be distressing to find out that your primary care doctor does not want to treat the injuries caused by your accident. Here are some common reasons physicians make this decision.
Why Your Physician May Not Treat Your Injuries
The reasons your doctor may tell you that they will not see you often have nothing to do with you. This is a common response of many primary care doctors when their patients are a victim of a premises liability or car accident.
Primary care doctors have many reasons for this decision. Here are a few of the most common reasons:
- Specialist. You could suffer serious injuries in a premises liability accident, such as traumatic brain injuries, fractures, back injuries, or spinal cord injuries. Your doctor may not be qualified to treat your injuries and may refer you to a specialist.
- Insurance company. It can be more complicated to submit bills for injuries caused in a premises liability accident to the insurance company than to a health insurance provider. Your physician may not want to go through the hassle of dealing with the insurance company or waiting to receive their payment, which is common in these cases.
- Litigation. Your doctor may not want to be involved in a lawsuit if you are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company. They may not want to take the time it would take to give a deposition or testify at your jury trial.
- Lien. Your physician may have to wait to be paid out of your settlement proceeds. They may not want to agree to have a lien on your settlement and wait months or longer for your bills to be paid.
What You Should Do If Your Doctor Does Not Want to Treat You
Getting the medical care you need for your injuries strengthens your claim and will help you obtain all the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. If your physician refuses to see you, you will need to find another doctor. Here are ways to do this:
- Ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a specialist or another physician who deals with injuries caused in premises liability accidents.
- Ask your family, friends, and co-workers for recommendations of doctors who will treat your injuries.
- Retain an experienced premises liability attorney. They may have a network of qualified physicians who see accident victims and can refer you to one.
Were you or a family member hurt in a premises liability accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today to learn how our dedicated legal team can assist you.
Should I hire an attorney in the state where my truck accident happened?
If you were injured in a truck accident while in Virginia on vacation, for business, or while visiting friends or family, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries under Virginia law. You are much more likely to be fully compensated if you hire a lawyer to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company.
However, you need to decide whether to retain an attorney in your home state or Virginia. Here’s why it would be best to select an attorney in the state where your collision occurred.
Five Reasons to Select a Lawyer in Virginia
There is no law in Virginia that would prohibit a lawyer in your home state from filing your claim and negotiating your settlement. While it may feel more convenient to have your attorney nearby, it really is not the best option. Here are reasons you need an experienced truck accident lawyer who practices where your truck collision occurred:
- Investigation of your collision. A local attorney will be able to conduct a more thorough investigation into the cause of your truck crash and can visit the scene of the wreck if they believe this would be helpful.
- Experts. You may need to hire expert witnesses to help resolve complicated disputes with the insurance company. A local lawyer would have a network of qualified experts who could help you and who would be able to testify in court if this becomes necessary.
- Understanding of law and court rules. A local attorney will have a better understanding of Virginia negligence laws that apply to your case. They will also know the court rules and procedures that must be followed if you must file a lawsuit.
- License to practice law. An attorney must be licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia in order to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Even if you live in a nearby state and your lawyer is allowed to litigate cases here, they would not be as familiar with local court rules and procedures as an in-state attorney. In addition, they would not have the same relationship with court personnel and local lawyers representing the defendants that could make your case go more smoothly.
- Consistency of representation. It is always better to have the same attorney who filed your insurance claim represent you if you must take your case to court. They will start developing their litigation strategy while trying to negotiate a settlement and will be collecting the evidence you will need to win your case.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Norfolk Today
If you were hurt in a truck accident while visiting the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area, our knowledgeable truck accident legal team is here to fight for the compensation you deserve. We will make the process easier for you by handling much of the communications through video conferencing, telephone calls, correspondence, and emails so that you do not have to travel back to Virginia. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Should I let my health insurance company pay for injuries I suffered in a car accident?
If you were injured in an auto collision in Virginia, the negligent driver who caused it is responsible for paying you compensation for your injuries. However, their insurance company could spend months or longer fighting to deny your claim or delay paying you.
In the meantime, you may have mounting expensive medical bills for medical care you need to treat your injuries. One good option can be to let your health insurance company pay them.
Using Medical Coverage Under Your Own Auto Insurance Policy
When you purchased your car insurance policy, you had the option to purchase medical expense coverage, which is often referred to as Med Pay. If you did buy it, your medical bills would first be paid from this insurance coverage. However, the amount of coverage under Med Pay is not that much, and it is likely that it would not cover all of your medical expenses.
Benefits of Using Your Private Health Insurance to Cover Medical Bills
If you have a private health insurance policy, you should use it to pay your medical bills while you wait for your settlement from the negligent driver’s insurance company. Here are the benefits of doing so:
- Your medical bills will be paid on time, which will protect your credit rating.
- You will be able to choose the doctors and specialists who will best treat your injuries. Some physicians and other medical care providers would not treat you if you do not have health insurance.
- You would not have to pay your medical expenses out of your own savings.
- You will heal faster if you get the medical treatment you need.
Will You Have to Pay Back Your Health Insurance Provider?
In Virginia, a health insurance company would not be allowed to place a lien against your auto crash claim or require you to pay them back for the medical bills they paid for you once you receive your settlement. However, there are exceptions to this rule:
- If you receive health insurance benefits from your employer, the plan may be subject to a federal law called ERISA. Under ERISA, you may be required to reimburse your health insurance company for the expenses they paid. In addition, they may have a right to subrogation, which would allow them to sue the negligent driver for the medical bills they paid due to their injuries.
- You could also have to pay back your medical expenses out of your settlement if your health insurance is through Medicare or Medicaid.
Even if you have to repay your health insurance provider, you should still use this benefit to pay your medical bills. An experienced car accident lawyer may be able to negotiate with them so that you pay them less than the full amount you owe.
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn how we can assist you.
How can an attorney help me if I am injured in a motorcycle accident?
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be wondering whether it would be better to hire a lawyer or to represent yourself when negotiating your settlement. However, the decision is really an easy one.
You would be at a serious disadvantage if you try to settle your claim with the insurance company and could lose out on a significant amount of compensation you deserve. Here's how retaining a lawyer can benefit you.
Five Ways an Attorney Can Help in a Motorcycle Accident Case
It is important to select an experienced motorcycle accident attorney and not a personal injury lawyer specializing in only car, slip and fall, and other personal injury cases. Motorcycle accident attorneys will understand riders' unique challenges when filing an insurance claim after a collision. Here are five ways your lawyer can help you:
- Obtain evidence. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your motorcycle crash and collect the evidence you need to prove the other driver was at fault. They will also obtain your medical and wage loss records to prove the amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries.
- Value your claim. A skilled attorney who has a track record of success in settling and litigating motorcycle wreck claims will be able to accurately value how much you should receive for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in your settlement.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Your lawyer would take over all communications with the insurance adjuster and negotiate your settlement for you. This would prevent you from making mistakes, such as agreeing to give a recorded statement, or agreeing to accept less than you are entitled to from the insurance company.
- Work with lien holders. There could be a lien on your settlement by a health insurance company or medical provider that must be paid out of your settlement. Your attorney may be able to work out an agreement with the lien holder to accept less than what you owe them, which will result in you receiving more money.
- Litigate your claim. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline to sue, will expire soon, your lawyer would file a lawsuit against the negligent motorist and litigate your claim.
Did you or a family member suffer injuries in a motorcycle crash? Our skilled motorcycle accident legal team understands the complexities in these cases and is committed to obtaining the maximum recovery you deserve in your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
What should I do if I was injured in a slip and fall accident out of state?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident out of state, your vacation or business trip could be ruined. You may need to file a claim for compensation with the negligent property or business owner’s insurance company.
Filing your claim can be more confusing and complicated if your accident did not occur where you live. Here are the steps you will need to take if you pursue damages for an out-of-state slip and fall accident.
What Laws Will Apply to an Out-of-State Slip and Fall Claim?
The laws in the state where your slip and fall accident happened will apply to your claim. They will determine many aspects of your case, such as how long you have to file a lawsuit, the types of compensation you can recover, and how your own negligence could affect your claim.
What Steps Should You Take After an Out-of-State Slip and Fall Accident?
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident while in another state, you will need to take the same steps you would take if your fall occurred where you live. However, it is even more crucial to take these actions right away if you were injured out of state because it may be much more difficult or impossible to take them once you return home. Here are important first steps you should take:
- Obtain immediate medical care. Even if you do not think you were hurt, getting prompt medical treatment protects your health and avoids disputes with the insurance company over the cause of your injuries. You should be examined by a physician within 48 hours of your fall.
- File an accident report. File an accident report with the business or property owner right after your slip and fall accident happens and obtain a copy of it. If they won’t give you one, take a picture of it with your cell phone camera.
- Collect contact information. You should obtain the contact information for the owner, their insurance company, and any eyewitnesses to your fall.
- Take photos. You should take photos of the accident scene that show the dangerous condition that caused you to fall and the lack of a warning sign of the danger. You need to do this right away before the owner or staff removes the hazard.
- Obtain surveillance camera footage. If there is any surveillance camera footage that shows the location where you were injured or your accident as it occurred, you need to obtain it quickly before it is taped over or destroyed.
- Hire a lawyer. You need to retain an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible to file your claim and to fight with the insurance company to obtain the compensation you deserve. You should select a lawyer in the state where your fall occurred. They will know the laws that apply to your claim and the procedures you must follow if you must file a lawsuit.
Were you injured in a premises liability accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how we have helped other slip and fall accident victims and how we can assist you.
Do I have a claim if I wasn’t wearing my seat belt?
If you were not wearing a seat belt in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver, your claim may be more complicated. However, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the insurance company. Here is how your failure to wear a seat belt could affect your case.
What Are the Penalties for Not Wearing a Seat Belt in Virginia?
In Virginia, drivers and passengers in the front seat who are 18 years or older are required to wear a seat belt while the vehicle is in motion. Passengers who are under 18 years old must comply with the state’s child restraint laws no matter where they are seated. Under Virginia Code §46.2-1094, individuals who violate this law face these consequences:
- They could have to pay a civil penalty of $25.
- A violation of the law does not constitute negligence.
- A violation of the seat belt law does not constitute mitigation of damages in any nature.
How Contributory Negligence Could Affect Your Claim
Although the insurance company cannot claim that your violation of Virginia’s seat belt law prevents you from receiving compensation, they may try to claim that your actions should be considered negligent under Virginia’s negligence laws. Our state follows a harsh contributory negligence rule that provides that you would be not be entitled to compensation if you were at all to blame for the crash—even one percent.
However, it is important to keep in mind that just because the insurance company tries to deny your claim because you were not wearing a seat belt does not make their reason valid. They would have to prove that your failure to wear a seat belt caused your collision and injuries. In many truck accidents, the lack of a seat belt has nothing to do with why the crash occurred and the victim’s injuries.
If you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of your truck collision, you need to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer to learn how this could affect your claim for compensation. To find out about your options and how we can help you build a winning case, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free initial consultation today.
Do I have a claim if I can’t remember how my car accident happened?
If you can’t remember how your auto collision occurred, you are not alone. Many car accident victims have no memory of how their crash happened. Fortunately, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver who caused your accident.
Why You May Not Remember How Your Auto Crash Occurred
There are a number of reasons why you may not recall how your car accident happened. Here are two common reasons:
- Trauma. Being involved in an auto crash can be a terrifying experience. The trauma of the wreck, especially if a loved one was killed or you suffered injuries, can cause your brain to block out the details of the collision.
- Your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries in the wreck, this could affect your memory. This is especially true if you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that could cause changes to your reasoning, judgment, memory, and more.
Evidence You Can Use When You File Your Claim
If you cannot remember the details of your car accident, you can use other evidence to prove how it occurred and the other motorist’s negligence in causing it. Crucial evidence to collect includes:
- Police report. While the police report would not be admissible in court for technical reasons, it can contain helpful information that you can use to convince the insurance company of their liability to pay you. The officer would include details of how the accident occurred, driver and witness statements, who was at fault, and whether any citations were issued in their report. In addition, the officer could testify at your trial.
- Photos. Photos taken at the crash scene of the damage to the vehicles and road and weather conditions can show how the collision occurred.
- Eyewitnesses. Although you may not remember how the accident happened, witnesses who saw it as it occurred can provide powerful testimony to help you prove that the other driver caused it.
- Black box. The other driver’s black box may have recorded useful information, such as the vehicle’s speed, steering, braking, and acceleration.
- Surveillance tapes. Your accident may have been recorded by a nearby business’ surveillance camera.
- Accident reconstruction expert. An accident reconstruction expert would have the training and experience to conduct an investigation into your collision and could create a reenactment of how it occurred.
Did you suffer injuries in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced car accident lawyers can pursue your claim for compensation even if you cannot recall how your crash occurred. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Can I represent myself in my criminal case?
Yes, you can choose to represent yourself in a criminal case. However, just because you have the right to represent yourself in court does not mean that it would be a smart decision in your case. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor, such as reckless driving or DUI, or a more serious felony crime, you protect yourself by hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to defend you.
Five Reasons Not to Represent Yourself When Facing Criminal Charges
One of the benefits of representing yourself would be to save money. However, the long-term consequences could far outweigh the cost of hiring an attorney. Here are five reasons why representing yourself would be a bad idea:
- Defenses. You do not have extensive knowledge about the strong defenses you could have to the charges you face. Even if you know you are guilty, you could have defenses, such as violations of your constitutional rights, that could result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.
- Court procedures and paperwork. If you choose to represent yourself, the court would expect you to file the correct legal paperwork and follow the complicated court procedures in your criminal case. The judge could impose harsh consequences, such as barring you from filing an important motion, if you violate the rules.
- Prosecutor. You would be at a serious disadvantage representing yourself because the Commonwealth of Virginia would be represented by a prosecutor. They would have extensive knowledge of the criminal laws governing your case and will aggressively prosecute you if you are unrepresented.
- Plea Bargain. Most criminal cases are resolved through a plea bargain. However, it is unlikely that you would be able to weigh the pros and cons of a plea agreement offered by the prosecutor without the help of a lawyer.
- Trial. Conducting a criminal trial is much more complicated than the ones you may have seen on television or in movies. You would not have the skill to effectively challenge the state’s evidence, cross-exam their witnesses, or present your own defenses if you represent yourself at your trial.
If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, our experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to aggressively defend you so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your circumstances. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free consultation today.
How long does it take to finalize a divorce in Virginia?
If you have decided to get divorced, you want to get the process over as quickly and smoothly as possible. However, how long the process will take will depend on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Here, we explain the timeframes for completing both types of divorces in Virginia so that you know what to expect.
How Long it Takes to Obtain an Uncontested Divorce
A no-fault divorce is one where you and your spouse agree to all the issues in your divorce, such as your property settlement, custody, child support, and alimony. It can be completed much quicker than a contested divorce. However, you must be separated for six months if you do not have minor children or at least one year if you have children with your spouse.
Once you have been separated for six months or one year, the steps in an uncontested divorce can be completed relatively quickly. Depending on how fast you can agree on and sign a property settlement agreement and the judge's availability, your divorce can be finalized in approximately one to two months. You may even be able to complete it by filing an affidavit or deposition and avoid the need to attend a court hearing.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Contested Divorce?
If you and your spouse do not agree on getting divorced or about the issues in your divorce, you would need to file a contested divorce. Depending on why you are seeking a divorce, you may be required to be separated for one year. Even if there is no separation requirement, the process can be lengthy.
First, you would need to establish valid grounds for your divorce. In Virginia, you would have to prove one of the following:
- Felony conviction
- Physical cruelty
- Constructive desertion
In addition, it could take you a long time to go through the process of litigating your divorce. After you file your complaint and your spouse answers it, you could go through a lengthy discovery phase where the lawyers for both you and your partner obtain financial and other information from each other. Discovery can include interrogatories, which are written questions to be answered, requests to produce documents, and depositions.
Once this stage of your divorce is completed, your case would be scheduled for a trial if you do not reach an agreement. The whole process could take a year or more to complete.
If you are planning to file for divorce in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, our experienced family law attorneys are here to protect your rights and help you through the process as quickly as possible. To find out more about how we can assist you, fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today.
What happens if I was partially at fault in causing my motorcycle accident?
If you were partially to blame for your motorcycle accident, it is unlikely that you could recover compensation for your injuries under Virginia’s negligence laws. However, you should not assume that you were at fault just because the other driver or their insurance company claims this as a defense to paying you. You need to take steps to protect your rights and prove that the other motorist caused your collision.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Unlike most other states, Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law. It provides that motorcycle accident victims are not entitled to any compensation if they were at all at fault in causing the collision—even if only one percent to blame.
How to Protect Yourself If the Insurance Company Claims You Were Negligent
Not surprisingly, insurance companies love to raise contributory negligence as a defense when motorcycle crash victims file claims in Virginia—even if it’s not true. However, you can take steps to protect your right to compensation and to prove that the other driver was the negligent party. Here are four important actions you should take:
- Take photos. You should take pictures with your cell phone camera of the damage to the auto and your motorcycle, road conditions, weather conditions, your injuries, and anything else that you think might be helpful. Pictures could help your lawyer or an expert witness prove how your collision occurred.
- Obtain contact information. You should obtain the contact information of anybody that witnessed your crash as it happened. Neutral eyewitnesses who have no stake in your claim and who do not know you can provide powerful testimony that can help show that you were not at all to blame for the accident.
- Don’t speak to the insurance company. You should avoid speaking with the negligent driver’s insurance company. The insurance company could get you to agree to give a recorded statement or say something that can be used to claim you were partially at fault. If you must speak to the insurance company, avoid making any statements, such as “I’m sorry,” that could be construed as an admission of guilt.
- Retain an attorney. You should hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your wreck. An attorney can help collect the evidence you need to prove the true cause of your crash and go up against the insurance company so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law.
What If You Were Partially at Fault?
Even if you were partially negligent for your accident, you may be able to collect some compensation for your injuries. Most cases are settled before they go to a jury trial. In addition, your attorney may be able to use another legal theory to establish the other driver’s liability to pay you damages for your injuries.
Were you or a loved one injured in a motorcycle accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.
How long do I have to report my slip and fall accident?
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident on someone’s property or at a business, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if the owner’s negligence caused you to fall. There is no set deadline to report your accident to the property or business owner in Virginia.
However, you should file your accident report as soon as possible after your slip and fall accident. Taking this important step will strengthen your case and help you obtain the maximum recovery in your settlement.
How Filing an Accident Report Helps Your Claim
You should file an accident report even if you do not believe you suffered any injuries or think your injuries were minor. Here are four ways filing a report will make your claim for compensation stronger:
- It puts the property or business owner on notice that you suffered apparent or possible injuries in a slip and fall accident on their property.
- Filing a report can help you avoid disputes with their insurance company about whether or not your slip and fall accident occurred.
- You provide the owner with your contact information and can obtain the contact information for their insurance company, which you will need to file your claim.
- The accident report will provide details of how your fall happened while they are still fresh in your mind.
You should obtain a copy of the accident report for your records. If the owner will not or cannot provide you with a copy, take a picture of the report with your cell phone camera. You should write up a statement with all the important details of your fall if the property or business owner does not have a form for you to complete.
What Happens If I Did Not File an Accident Report?
If you did not file an accident report because you didn’t know that you needed to, this does not mean that you cannot file a claim with the negligent owner’s insurance company. However, you need to be prepared for disputes with the insurance company about how you were injured and their liability to pay you.
Were you or a family member injured in a slip and fall accident in Virginia Beach and Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced premises liability lawyers to learn how we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Will my truck accident case go to trial?
Most truck accident claims are settled before they go to a jury trial, but this is not always true.
If you were injured in a truck crash, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, you need to be prepared to fight hard to obtain what you deserve from the insurance company. This could include having your case decided at a jury trial.
Why You May Have to Take Your Case to Trial
Because of the serious damages caused by truck collisions, the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company may be more reluctant to offer a fair settlement of your claim. Here are three factors that could make it more likely that you would have to take your case to trial:
- Disputes about liability. If the insurance company disputes who was liable for causing the truck wreck, it is more likely that your case would go to trial. This is frequently an issue in truck accident cases in Virginia because our state follows a harsh contributory negligence rule that would prohibit you from obtaining any damages if you were at all at fault for causing the crash.
- Serious injuries. If you suffered long-term injuries, which is common in truck accidents, you would be entitled to more compensation for your future expensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The insurance company may fight harder and longer to not pay you the full value of your claim, which could force you to take your case to trial.
- Wrongful death. If a loved one died in a truck collision, you would need to file a wrongful death claim. Because of the substantial damages you may be entitled to, the insurance company may not be willing to pay you what you deserve. Unfortunately, wrongful death cases are more likely to go to trial because of the high value of these claims.
How to Decide Whether to Take Your Case to Trial
It can be difficult to decide whether to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company that you do not feel fully compensates you or to take your case to a jury trial. You need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer to help you make this important decision and to fight with the insurance company for the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law. To learn how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today.
Do I have a claim against the negligent driver if I was driving a leased vehicle at the time of my car accident?
More people are choosing to lease their autos rather than purchasing them due to the high purchase price for many vehicles. If you were injured in a car accident while driving a leased motor vehicle, you still have a right to compensation for your injuries. However, there are some unique considerations you need to know about when pursuing your claim.
First Steps You Should Take After an Auto Collision
You need to take immediate steps to protect your health and your legal rights after your accident. The initial steps you need to take are the same whether you lease or own your car. Here are some crucial steps to take at the crash scene:
- Get prompt medical care—even if you do not believe you were hurt.
- Call the police immediately and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver.
- Talk to witnesses who saw the accident occur and obtain their contact information so you can get their written statement.
- Take photos and video of the damage to both vehicles, road and weather conditions, your injuries, and anything else you believe would be helpful.
Who Must You Notify of Your Accident?
Under your lease agreement, you are most likely required to maintain an auto insurance policy on the leased vehicle. Your contract will also have a provision requiring you to notify the dealer and leasing company of any accident. They may have specific rules that must be followed when repairing your leased vehicle.
You also have a duty to contact your insurance company immediately after the collision under your auto insurance policy. Be sure they know any requirements of the leasing company concerning the repairs to your vehicle.
How to Pursue an Injury Claim
If the other driver’s negligence was the cause of your accident, you have the same right to compensation for your injuries as if you were driving a vehicle you owned. You would need to contact the at-fault motorist’s insurance company to notify them of the crash and to file a claim for the damages you are seeking. If you want to win your case, you should retain an experienced car accident attorney to file it for you and negotiate your settlement with the insurance adjuster.
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident that was not your fault in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how our skilled legal team can help you.
How can I help my lawyer win my premises liability case?
If you were injured in a premises liability accident, you should retain a knowledgeable premises liability attorney to negotiate your settlement with the negligent property or business owner’s insurance company. Once you hire an attorney, it is important to understand that you are a team working toward the goal of getting all the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Here are four ways you can help win your case.
#1: Respond When Your Lawyer Contacts You
You want your attorney to get back to you quickly when you have questions or need to be updated on the status of your case. Your lawyer needs you to do the same if they call, write, or email you. If you do not contact them, you may hurt your case or lose a time-sensitive settlement offer.
#2: Follow Up on Your Medical Care
If you want to build a strong case, you need to attend all of your doctor and medical appointments and follow your physician’s advice on your treatment. You would make it harder for your lawyer to convince the insurance adjuster of the seriousness of your injuries if you miss appointments, have large gaps in your medical treatments, or do not follow the recommendations of your physician.
#3: Cooperate in the Discovery Process
You may need to file a civil lawsuit if the insurance company does not offer you a reasonable settlement or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to file your lawsuit, will expire soon. You may need to answer written questions, referred to as interrogatories, produce documents, and have your deposition taken as part of the discovery process.
You help your lawyer by answering any discovery requests thoroughly and quickly. You also need to meet with them to prepare for your deposition. If you do well when giving your deposition, you make it much easier for your attorney to obtain all the damages you are entitled to in a settlement or at a jury trial.
#4: Be Truthful
You must be honest with your lawyer. Do not hide details about your accident, lie, or exaggerate your injuries. If your lawyer finds out you were not being truthful from the insurance company or their attorney, this could significantly weaken your claim and the amount of compensation you will be able to recover.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to get started.
What is the difference between a truck accident claim and lawsuit?
If you were injured in a truck collision caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. There are two ways to obtain the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law: file a claim or file a lawsuit.
While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the processes of filing a claim and lawsuit are very different. As an accident victim, you want to understand how they differ, so you know what to expect in your case.
What Is a Truck Crash Claim?
The first step in pursuing your right to compensation will most likely be to file a claim with the trucking company’s and trucker’s insurance company. If you want to avoid being taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster and to obtain the maximum recovery in your settlement, you should retain an experienced truck accident lawyer to file it on your behalf.
Filing a claim with the insurance company is an out-of-court resolution of your case. After completing a thorough investigation into the cause of your truck accident and your injuries, your attorney would send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining their liability to pay you and the amount of damages you are seeking. The insurance adjuster would conduct their own investigation and make a counteroffer.
It could take several rounds of negotiations before the insurance company agrees to pay you a fair settlement. While not all truck collision claims are resolved in this way, many are settled without the need to go to court.
What Is a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
You may need to file a civil lawsuit against the trucking company, trucker, and any other liable parties if the insurance companies deny your claim or refuse to be reasonable in settlement negotiations. You would also need to file a civil complaint if the deadline to sue, referred to as the statute of limitations, will expire soon.
The process of litigating a claim is much different than filing a claim with the insurance company. Here are some of the steps in the process:
- Complaint. The first step is to file a civil lawsuit in court that states how the accident occurred, the liable parties’ negligence in causing it, and the damages you are seeking.
- Answer. After the defendants are served with your complaint, they would file an answer to it and any defenses they are raising as to why they have no liability to pay you.
- Discovery. The longest phase of a lawsuit is the discovery process. This is where the attorneys obtain information and documents from other parties that can help their case. They can do this through sending interrogatories, which are written questions to be answered, requests for production of documents, and depositions.
- Negotiations. When your lawyer believes it would be productive, they would engage in settlement negotiations. It is very likely that your case would be settled at some point before it is scheduled for trial.
- Trial. If you are unable to settle your lawsuit, your right to compensation would be decided by a jury at a trial.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck collision in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with our dedicated and knowledgeable truck accident attorneys to learn how we can assist you.