Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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What should I do if I get in a car accident out of state?
Getting injured in an auto crash caused by a negligent driver in another state can make the experience even more traumatic and confusing. Who will compensate you for your injuries? What steps do you need to take? Here is what you need to know so that your legal right to compensation for your injuries is protected.
Insurance Coverage in Out-of-State Car Collisions
The good news is that you have insurance coverage under your own auto insurance policy for car accidents that happen in another state. In addition, all states—including Virginia—require residents to maintain a certain minimum amount of auto insurance to cover injuries and property damages in a collision that they cause.
Which State Laws Will Apply to Your Crash?
The laws of the state where your accident occurred will be the ones that you must follow when filing your claim. If you must file a civil lawsuit, you would most likely need to do so in the state where the collision happened.
Six Steps You Need to Take Following Your Accident
You should take the same steps you would take if your collision happened where you live when it happens in another state:
- Get medical care. Obtain immediate medical care for apparent injuries. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you should be examined by a doctor within 48 hours of your crash to be certain you have not suffered hidden injuries and to avoid disputes with the other driver’s insurance company about their cause.
- Contact the police. Call the police at the accident scene and obtain a copy of the police report. It will contain crucial information that can help you prove the other motorist caused your auto crash.
- Exchange contact information. You should obtain the contact information for any drivers involved in the wreck and their insurance companies. You also must get contact information for any eyewitnesses who can testify about how the crash occurred and who was at fault.
- Take pictures. You should take pictures of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, your injuries, and anything else you believe will be helpful.
- Contact your insurance company. It is important to report the collision to your own insurance company. Your contract with them most likely requires you to do this, and it will protect your rights if you decide you must file a claim with them.
- Retain a local attorney. If your car accident occurred out of state, you should retain a local lawyer in the state where it occurred. He will understand the laws and procedures that must be followed when you file your claim and a civil lawsuit if this becomes necessary.
Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Our skilled and compassionate legal team represents accident victims who live out of state as well as Virginia residents. To learn about your options and how we can help, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
When can speeding be charged as reckless driving in Virginia?
Speeding is a serious traffic offense that can result in large fines and points on your driving record in Virginia. However, in some cases, speeding can be charged as reckless driving, which is a much more serious crime that has more severe penalties and long-term consequences in your life.
When Can You Be Charged With Reckless Driving for Speeding?
One of the most common ways that a person can be charged with reckless driving in Virginia is for speeding. Under Virginia Code § 46.2-862, speeding can be elevated to reckless driving in these two situations:
- Driving 20 mph or more in excess of the applicable speed limit
- Driving 80 mph no matter what the posted speed limit is
It is not that difficult to violate this law, especially on the highways around Norfolk, where the speed limit is 70 mph and many drivers are driving at a much faster speed than that.
What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?
If you are convicted of reckless driving for speeding, you face harsh penalties. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor crime. The punishments include:
- Fine of up to $2,500
- Jail sentence of up to 12 months
- Driver’s license suspension of up to 12 months
- Six demerit points on your driving record
Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, you would also have a permanent criminal record. This can have long-term term consequences on many aspects of your life, such as:
- Increased insurance costs
- Security clearance
- Additional driver’s license suspension if you accumulate too many demerit points over a relatively short period of time
Contact Us for the Legal Representation You Need
Were you charged with reckless driving for speeding? Our experienced reckless driving attorneys can mount a strong defense for you so that the charges are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. It is important to understand that you may have good defenses even if you know you were speeding. To find out more about how we can help you, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today.
How long will it take to settle my motorcycle accident claim?
While wanting to know how long it will take to settle your motorcycle crash claim is one of the first questions most clients ask, it is not one that your attorney can give you a precise answer to. However, understanding these three factors that can make a case take longer to resolve can give you a better idea of how long it could take to settle yours.
Your Maximum Medical Recovery
You may be surprised to learn that your recovery from your injuries impacts on the timeframe to settle your case. You do not want to agree to a settlement until you reach your maximum medical recovery. This is the stage where you have fully recovered or recovered as much as you will, and your doctor can give you a prognosis on your future medical treatments.
You need to wait until this point in your recovery to have a better understanding of what your future medical expenses and wage losses will be. This ensures that you receive these amounts in your settlement. If you suffered a serious injury or more than one injury, it could take months or longer to reach this stage in your medical care.
Disputes With the Insurance Company
If the insurance company for the negligent driver disputes who caused the accident or the seriousness of your injuries, it could take your lawyer longer to settle your case. Arguments by the insurance company are more likely if you suffered long-term injuries that increase the value of your claim. Your attorney may have to collect additional evidence or hire an expert witness to refute the insurance company’s claims before they will agree to pay you what you are owed.
Many motorcycle accident claims settle without litigation. However, if the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the deadline to sue, referred to as the statute of limitations, will expire soon, your lawyer will file a lawsuit for you. Your case could still be resolved before a jury trial, but litigating your claim could increase the time it takes to reach a settlement.
Were you injured in a motorcycle collision caused by another driver? Our motorcycle accident legal team is here to fight with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
How much is my claim worth?
If you were injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you may consider filing a claim with the negligent property owner’s or business’ insurance company. It is important to understand how much your claim is worth. This helps you know whether it is worth your time and energy to pursue your right to compensation and whether you are getting a fair settlement from the insurance company.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive in a Premises Liability Settlement
Part of the determination of how much your claim is worth is based on the amount of compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. The negligent party is responsible for paying you for your past and future damages. Types of compensation awarded in these cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages if a family member died
Factors That Affect the Value of Your Claim
Most premises liability cases are settled either before or during litigation. However, not all victims receive the maximum amount in their settlement. Certain factors can make your case stronger or weaker and increase or decrease the value of your claim. Some of these factors include:
- Negligence. You must prove that the negligence of the business or property owner caused your accident and injuries in order to be entitled to compensation from them. If you have strong evidence that proves this, the strength of your claim and its value will be greater.
- Your fault. If there are legitimate disputes about whether you were partially to blame for causing your accident, this could significantly weaken your case. Virginia follows a very harsh contributory negligence law that prevents you from receiving any damages if you were even one percent negligent.
- Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries that require expensive medical treatments and that cause long-term or permanent limitations in your ability to work and the quality of your life, the value of your claim will be greater.
Let Us Help You Determine How Much Your Claim is Worth
You need the help of a skilled premises liability lawyer who has a track record of success in settling and litigating premises liability cases to accurately determine how much you should receive in your settlement. To learn about our extensive experience in these cases and how we can assist you, call our office to schedule a free case evaluation today.
How do I know if the insurance company is offering me a fair settlement?
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a truck driver, both the driver and the trucking company he works for may be responsible for compensating you for your injuries under Virginia law. The insurance carrier for the trucking company may contact you soon after the collision as part of their investigation of your claim and may even make a settlement offer. Here is how to know if they are offering you a settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries.
Why You Should Not Accept the First Offer
If the insurance company makes a quick settlement offer, you should most likely not accept it. They are probably trying to settle your claim quickly for less than you deserve in an effort to save money.
In addition, you cannot know the true amount you are owed right after the truck accident. You need to wait until you reach your maximum medical recovery to settle your claim. This is the stage in your medical treatment where you have fully recovered or recovered as much as you will and know what your future medical expenses and wage losses will be. Why is this important? You must know the amount of all your future losses so that they are included in your settlement.
How to Determine the Value of Your Claim
You should never accept a settlement without the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer. He will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your collision and the seriousness of your injuries. Factors that he will use to determine how much your claim is worth include:
- Compensation. You are entitled to receive your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses in your settlement. Once you reach your maximum medical recovery, your attorney will be able to accurately value your claim.
- Liability. If the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence in causing your accident is clear cut, this will increase the value of your claim and the amount that should be paid to you in your settlement.
- Your negligence. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that bars you from receiving any compensation if you were at all at fault in causing your crash. If there are legitimate disputes about your partial fault, this could weaken your claim and you may have to accept less money from the insurance company.
- Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered more serious injuries, this will increase the cost of your medical treatment and the amount of time you will have to be off work—and the amount of damages you should receive.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck accident in Norfolk? Our dedicated legal team can help you value your claim and ensure that you receive the maximum recovery you deserve from the insurance company. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free case evaluation today.
What questions could I be asked at a car accident deposition for my case?
If you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your auto collision, you will most likely have your deposition taken. A deposition is a question-and-answer session where you would give answers under oath to questions by the attorney for the other driver and his insurance company. Your answers would be transcribed into a document that could be used in settlement negotiations, at court hearings, and at your trial.
Your deposition is an important part of the discovery phase of your case where you and the attorneys for the insurance company obtain information—both helpful and harmful—to their case so that they can prepare for a trial. To ensure that your deposition goes well and strengthens your claim against the negligent driver, it is a good idea to understand the types of questions you will be asked.
Background Information Questions
The first questions you would be asked would be about your personal background, family situation, education, employment, and prior injuries. You could be questioned about the following:
- Your address and age
- Your residential address over the last five to ten years
- Your education, degrees, and training you received after leaving school
- Your family, including your marital status, who you live with, and the number of children you have
- Your current employment, duties, income, and length of employment and similar information for prior jobs
- Your criminal record
- Any lawsuits and claims you filed in the past and the outcome in these cases
- Other injuries and medical conditions you suffered before the accident, treatments you received, and doctors who cared for you
Details of Your Accident
The next set of questions will probably focus on how your auto collision occurred. You could be asked about the following:
- What was the date, time, and place of the accident?
- Where were you coming from and where were you going?
- What were the traffic conditions where your collision occurred?
- What were weather conditions like?
- What were you and the other driver doing when the accident occurred? You should also expect specific questions, such as about the speed of the vehicles, when you first noticed the vehicle that hit you, and where the vehicles struck each other.
- How was your body affected during the crash?
- What was the physical damage to each vehicle?
- Did you speak to the other driver after the crash? What was said?
- Were there witnesses to the accident?
- Do you have any photos or diagrams of the collision scenes?
- Had you consumed alcohol or drugs in the 24 hours prior to your accident?
Information About Your Injuries and Treatments
You will also be questioned about your injuries and how they have affected your ability to work and the quality of your life. You should be prepared to answer questions about:
- Injuries you suffered
- Symptoms you experienced at the time of the crash and over time
- Any medical conditions made worse by the accident
- Doctors who have treated you
- Diagnostic tests performed
- Treatments you have received
- Any gaps in your medical care
- Medical bills you received
- Your future medical treatments and prognosis
- How long you have been off work and when you expect to return to your job
- Wages you have lost and will lose in the future
- How your injuries have affected your day-to-day activities, relationships, and quality of life
At Tavss Fletcher, our experienced car accident lawyers would thoroughly prepare you for your deposition so that you know what to expect and how to answer the questions you are asked. Find out more about how we will fight for the compensation you deserve at a free consultation. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
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?
Some 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?
Getting 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:
- 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 company 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?
If 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?
It 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?
Getting 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?
If 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?
If 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?
You 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?
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?
If 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?
If 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 provide 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?
If 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.