Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
- Page 1
What are Virginia’s motorcycle insurance requirements?
If you are riding a motorcycle in Virginia, you must comply with the commonwealth’s requirements for purchasing motorcycle liability insurance. In addition, having motorcycle insurance is important if you cause an accident or are the victim of one, and the negligent driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Virginia
You do not have to purchase motorcycle liability insurance if you pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee. However, you would have no liability insurance coverage and would be personally liable for any injuries to victims or property damages caused in the collision if you just paid this fee.
If you do not pay the UMV fee, you are required to purchase motorcycle liability insurance. The minimum liability requirements for this insurance coverage is:
- $25,000 coverage for one victim’s injuries or death per accident
- $50,000 coverage for bodily injury or death per accident
- $20,000 coverage for property damage per accident
Why You Need to Purchase Additional Insurance Coverage
Having the minimum amount of liability insurance will not sufficiently protect you if you cause a crash. You should consider purchasing additional liability coverage to be certain you do not face personal responsibility if a victim suffers serious injuries.
You should also buy additional insurance coverages to protect you if you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver. Types of insurance that you should consider purchasing include:
- Collision coverage. This would pay the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle if it were damaged in an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage would compensate you for damages caused due to fire, wind, water, theft, or vandalism.
- Uninsured/underinsured coverage. If you purchase uninsured coverage, this would protect you if the at-fault motorist had no auto insurance as required under Virginia law. Even if they have insurance, it may not be sufficient to fully compensate you if you suffer a serious injury—which is much more common in a motorcycle accident. You could file a claim with your own insurance company if you purchased uninsured motorist coverage.
Were you injured in a motorcycle crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are here to answer your questions and explain your options to you. Call our office to schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
How long will it take to settle my dog bite case?
It is not easy to know how long it will take to resolve your dog bite claim because every case is unique. However, there are some common factors in these cases that can make it take longer to settle your claim. Understanding what they are can give you a better sense of how long you may have to wait to receive your money.
Factors That Affect How Long it Will Take to Settle Your Dog Bite Claim
Under Virginia dog bite laws, you may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the dog’s owner. However, it may not be easy to reach a settlement for what you deserve with their insurance company. Here are some factors that can affect how long this process will take:
- Your recovery. It is important to wait until you fully recover from your injuries, or as much as you will, to settle your case. You cannot know how much you should receive in your settlement for your future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering until you reach this stage of your medical treatment.
- Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries, the value of your claim will be higher. You may need to fight longer and harder to convince the insurance company to pay you all the compensation you deserve than if you suffered a minor injury.
- Litigation. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations, which is the time period to sue, will expire soon, you will need to retain an experienced premises liability attorney to file a lawsuit against the dog owner. It can take longer to go through the litigation process, although it is still likely that your case will be settled before it goes to a jury trial.
If you suffered injuries in a dog attack, our skilled premises liability lawyers are here to explain your options to you and how long it could take to settle your case. To get started, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today.
Will the trucking company try to destroy evidence after my truck accident?
If you are injured in a truck accident, the trucking company could have the evidence you need to prove their negligence in causing your crash. Unfortunately, they could try to destroy documents you will need—and that they are required to keep under federal regulations—in an effort to weaken your case against them. However, you can take steps to stop them from doing this—if you act quickly.
Laws Prohibiting Trucking Companies From Getting Rid of Evidence
Both the truck driver and trucking company must follow federal regulations enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSA) designed to promote truck safely and prevent truck accidents. Under these regulations, trucking companies must retain documents for a certain length of time before destroying them. For example, trucking companies are prohibited from destroying truck driver log books, trip receipts and other records for six months. Other records, like the truck driver personnel records and truck maintenance records, must be maintained for much longer.
Although it is against the law to get rid of documents, the trucking company may do this anyway to prevent you from proving their liability to compensate you for your injuries. Another strategy they may employ is to drag out the settlement negotiations beyond the six months they are required to keep records so that they can legally dispose of them.
How to Stop the Trucking Company From Destroying Records You Need
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent the trucking company from destroying vital evidence. Your first step should be to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your truck collision. They can send the trucking company a spoliation letter to stop their illegal actions. Here is why sending this letter right away is so important:
- The spoliation letter puts the trucking company and trucker on notice that you have a claim for compensation against them. FMCSA regulations prohibit them from destroying evidence that could affect your case once they receive this letter.
- Your attorney will demand that the trucking company not destroy and turn over specific documents that could help you when filing your claim.
- If the trucking company gets rid of evidence after receiving your attorney’s letter, they could face harsh consequences. Once you file a lawsuit against them, the judge could rule that there is a presumption that the destroyed documents are helpful to your case.
Are you afraid that the trucking company will destroy evidence you need to prove their liability for your truck accident? Do you need help fighting with their insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.
Should I agree to a structured settlement in my car accident case?
In most auto collision cases, the victim agrees to accept their settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company in a lump sum payment. However, in certain situations, it may be better to accept payments over time in a structured settlement.
What Is a Structured Settlement?
A structured settlement is an agreement where the accident victim agrees to accept their settlement proceeds in payments over time. The terms of the agreement are negotiated and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the victim.
Individuals often receive an initial larger payment and then smaller payments that are paid monthly or at other set intervals. The payments can be paid over several years or for the victim’s entire life.
When You May Want to Accept a Structured Settlement
A structured settlement may be a good option for you if you suffered serious injuries and are receiving a large settlement from the insurance company. Here are some reasons why you may want to agree to one.
If you suffered permanent injuries that prevent you from working and will require expensive medical treatments in the future, you may want to accept a structured settlement. By spreading out the payments over time, you can ensure that you will have the money you need to replace your income, pay your medical bills, and get the personal care you may need throughout your life.
While much of a car accident settlement is not taxable income, some amounts, such as punitive damages and interest, could be taxed. You would spread out your tax liability by accepting your settlement proceeds over time.
Control Over Spending
If you are worried that you will not spend your settlement wisely if you get it in a lump sum, you may want to accept a structured settlement. You can work out an agreement so that you receive larger payments when you really need them, such as for expensive medical treatments, college expenses of your child, or other large expenses that you anticipate in the future.
Minor Children Settlement
If you are settling a car accident claim on behalf of your minor child, you most likely would want to accept the payments through a structured settlement. If your child needs medical care and income throughout their life, this can provide them with the regular income they need. The payments can also be designated for their future college expenses.
Do you have additional questions about whether a structured settlement is right for you? Do you need help negotiating your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation with our knowledgeable car accident lawyers today.
How can my spouse’s adultery affect our divorce?
If you discovered that your spouse committed adultery, it can be emotionally devastating. It could also have an impact on your divorce in Virginia. However, the financial implications may not be as major as you might think.
Adulty Is Grounds for Divorce in Virginia
It is considered adultery for a married person to have sexual intercourse with someone that is not their spouse. Adultery is grounds for an at-fault divorce in Virginia. In addition, there is no waiting period for filing the divorce when it is based on your spouse cheating on you.
How Adultery Impacts on Issues in a Divorce
Under Virginia’s divorce laws, the fact that your spouse cheated on you may not have much of an effect on the issues that must be decided in your divorce as you would wish. Your spouse will not be punished or be forced to give up many of their rights in the divorce. Here is how it could impact on the judge’s decisions.
The court must consider adultery in deciding how to split up marital property and debts. However, you will most likely not receive more assets than you would have been awarded if there was no cheating unless your spouse used marital assets in pursuing their secret relationship.
Child Custody, Support, and Visitation
Similarly, a spouse’s infidelity will have little impact on a judge’s decisions on who should have custody of your children and parenting time. The court must be guided by the best interests of the child in deciding custody and visitation issues, and adultery is not one of the factors that is to be considered. However, the court may not allow a new partner to be present during parenting time until the divorce is finalized.
Your child support also would not be impacted by your spouse’s cheating. A non-custodial parent’s child support payments are calculated using child support guidelines.
The one issue in a divorce that can be significantly affected by adultery is spousal support. In most cases, the cheating spouse is prohibited from receiving alimony. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the judge can consider these factors in awarding spousal support:
- Financial situation of each spouse
- Degree of fault of each party in the marriage
Do you suspect that your spouse is committing adultery? Are you considering filing for divorce for other reasons? Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Is lane splitting legal in Virginia?
Lane splitting is not legal in Virginia. However, lane sharing is permissible. Here’s what you need to know about lane splitting so that you can protect your right to compensation for your injuries if another driver causes your motorcycle accident.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rider rides between rows of motor vehicles going in the same direction as the motorcycle that are traveling at a slow speed or are stopped. Lane splitting is illegal in Virginia and is considered reckless driving. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense that is punished by a jail sentence and fines.
What Is Lane Sharing?
Lane sharing is the practice of motorcycle riders riding side-by-side with other motorcyclists in the same lane. Motorcycle riders are permitted to lane share with other motorcycles in our state.
It can be safer for motorcycle riders to lane share. They are more visible to other motorists when riding in a group in the same lane. In addition, drivers are more likely to keep a safer distance between their vehicles and motorcycles when there is more than one motorcycle in a nearby lane.
What Happens If You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident When Lane Splitting?
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident while lane splitting, you may have difficulty obtaining compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the collision. Under Virginia’s harsh contributory negligence laws, a motorcyclist who was at all at fault in causing a crash—even one percent—cannot recover any damages from another driver. However, the lane splitting must have been one of the causes of the crash for this rule to apply.
Contact Tavss Fletcher Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney who will fight for your rights and obtain the maximum recovery you deserve for your injuries. To learn how our legal team can help, call our Norfolk office or fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
Who could be liable when a dog bites someone?
Under Virginia dog bite laws, dog owners are liable to compensate victims if they knew or should have known their dog was dangerous or aggressive, failed to use reasonable care to control their dog, or violated a law or ordinance relating to the dog’s care. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a dog bite, other parties, in addition to the owner, could face liability. If you were injured in a dog attack, you need to identify all the responsible parties if you want to obtain the maximum recovery you are entitled to.
Parties Who May Liable in a Dog Bite Case
Even if you have a strong case against the dog owner, they may not have enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries fully. That is why it is so important to pursue claims against other liable parties if there are any. Who is liable will depend on the facts in your case. However, here are some parties who may face responsibility:
- Dog owner. In most cases, the dog owner would be partially or fully responsible if their dog bit you.
- Dog keeper. If someone was taking care of the dog at the time of the attack, they could face liability if they knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous tendencies or failed to reasonably control the dog, and this caused the victim’s dog bite. Violation of a local dog ordinance could be another way to hold them liable.
- Landlord. A landlord has a duty to protect against dangerous conditions on their property, which can include aggressive dogs. They also have a duty to regularly inspect for hazardous conditions and to take steps to protect others from these dangers. If they breach these duties, they can be liable to compensate a dog bite victim.
- Parents. If a child under 18 years old owned or was taking care of a dog who bit you, they might not be held responsible due to their age. However, their parents could be responsible depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack.
- Business. If the dog attack occurred on business property, the business owner might have breached their duty to protect against dangerous conditions and be an additional party to pursue a claim against.
Did you or a loved one suffer a dog bite in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our experienced premises liability attorneys can identify all the liable parties and pursue claims on your behalf. To learn how we will aggressively fight for your rights, fill out our convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
How long do I have to report a car accident?
It is always a good idea to contact the police at the scene of a car accident and obtain a copy of the police report to protect your legal right to compensation for your injuries. In addition, in some cases, you are required to report the crash under Virginia law.
When Are You Required to Report an Auto Collision in Virginia?
You are required to report most car crashes to law enforcement within 24 hours or as soon as possible if you are too injured to report it right away. When you report the collision, you must provide the officer with your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number. You are required to contact the police under these circumstances:
- An individual is injured or killed.
- The vehicle or other property is damaged.
In addition, individuals involved in an auto accident have the following duties under Virginia law:
- Stop as close to the collision scene as possible without obstructing traffic
- Provide reasonable assistance to any individuals injured in the crash
If the driver fails to notify the police of an accident, any passenger in the vehicle who is over 16 years old has a duty to report it to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Violation of this law can result in felony charges if a victim is injured or killed or the property damage is over $1,000. It would be a misdemeanor offense if there were no injuries or death and the property damage is less than $1,000.
Why You Should Always Contact the Police at the Accident Scene
Even if your vehicle suffered little damage and you believe that you suffered no injuries, you should call the police at the accident scene. The damage to your vehicle could be more extensive and expensive to fix than you thought. In addition, the symptoms of some serious injuries, like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage, can take days or longer to develop.
If you do not report your accident, you lose important evidence that can help you prove the other driver’s negligence and responsibility to compensate you for injuries. The officer at the scene would investigate the crash and provide information, such as how the collision occurred, who was at fault, contact information for witnesses, and any traffic citations issued, in their police report.
Providing a copy of the police report to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company can help you convince them of their liability to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, it can help avoid disputes about whether the accident occurred and whether it caused your injuries.
If you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company for your injuries in an auto collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area, our experienced car accident legal team is here to assist you. Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about your options.
Can my child decide who to live with after our divorce?
Your child cannot decide which parent they want to live with after your divorce. However, their preferences may be considered by the judge in making a custody decision. Here’s what you need to know about this important issue, so you are prepared if your child wants to live with you or you are worried that they will pick your spouse.
How Child Custody Is Determined in Virginia
In our state, parents can agree on custody and parenting time and ask the court to approve it, or the court can decide these issues in a contested divorce. The judge would base their decision on the best interests of the child. Many factors are considered and include:
- Age, physical condition, and mental health of the child
- Child’s relationship with each parent and their involvement in their child’s life
- Child’s needs, which include their relationships with siblings, friends, and other family members
- Role that the parents have played in raising their child and their role in parenting in the future
- Each parent’s ability to foster a close relationship with their child
- Child’s preference, depending on their age, intelligence, and experience
When Will a Child’s Preferences Be Considered in Custody Decisions?
A judge must consider the child’s age, intelligence, and experience when deciding whether their preference on which parent to live with should be considered. There is no set age when a child’s opinion on custody will be seriously listened to by the judge. However, children who are 12 years old or older are more likely to have the maturity, intelligence, and experience to make a reasonable decision on who to live with.
In addition, a judge can weigh the child’s reason for wanting to live with one parent over the other one. For example, wanting to live with a parent because they let the child stay up later or eat more junk food would not be given any weight by the court. However, if a child is genuinely closer to one parent and spends much more time with them, this could be an important factor in granting the child’s preference.
Are you worried about who will be awarded custody of your child in your divorce? Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation with a member of our family law legal team to find out what to expect in your divorce and how we can help protect your rights.
Who could be responsible for compensating me for my injuries in an elevator accident?
Elevator accidents can be a frightening experience, and more than one party’s negligence could have caused the elevator to malfunction. If you need to file a claim for compensation for your injuries, it is important to identify all liable parties if you want to win your case and recover all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Common Causes of Elevator Accidents
There are a number of reasons that victims suffer injuries in elevator accidents. You need to understand the common causes of elevator breakdowns in order to identify who to sue. Leading reasons for these tragic accidents include:
- Defective elevator doors
- Excessive speeds
- Falls into shafts
- Elevator malfunctions
Who Could Be Liable in an Elevator Accident?
The liable parties in your case will depend on the specific facts surrounding your elevator accident. However, these three parties are typically responsible:
- Building owner and lessee. The building owner and lessee of the premises have a duty to keep the property and its elevators in a safe condition and to warn guests of any dangerous conditions. If they failed to inspect or maintain the elevator—which is frequently true in elevator accidents—or notify guests of hazards, they could be liable for compensating you for your injuries.
- Maintenance companies. Owners and lessees typically hire maintenance companies to perform regular inspections of the elevator, perform maintenance, and make necessary repairs. When these parties do not spot a potential problem or fail to repair it, they can be held legally liable.
- Manufacturer or seller. If your accident was caused by an elevator design or manufacturing defect, you may be able to hold the manufacturer and seller responsible for compensating you in a product liability lawsuit.
If you or a family member were injured in an elevator or other premises liability accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, our skilled and dedicated premises liability lawyers are here to identify all liable parties and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
How can a truck accident attorney help me?
If you were hurt in a truck accident caused by a negligent trucker, you should not try to handle your claim on your own to save on paying attorney fees. The value of your case could be higher due to the seriousness of the injuries you have suffered, and settling your claim with the insurance company will be more complicated. Here are five ways an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you.
#1 Gather the Evidence You Need
If you want to have a strong case against the trucker and trucking company, you need evidence that proves their fault in causing your truck collision and the seriousness of your injuries. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your crash and will collect the evidence you need to win your case. Types of evidence that can be helpful include:
- Photos and videos of the accident
- Truck’s black box, dashcam, and other electronic data
- Trucker’s employment and medical certification documents
- Trucker’s logbook
- Truck maintenance records
- Your medical records, bills, and an expert medical opinion
- Witness statements
- Paystubs and other wage loss documentation
- Expert witness reports from an accident reconstructionist, economic, and other types of experts
#2 Identify Liable Parties
In a truck accident case, the trucker is often not the only party responsible for causing a truck wreck. The trucking company, shipper, and truck repair facility are a few of the negligent parties who could be liable to compensate you for your injuries. Your lawyer will identify all potentially negligent parties and file claims with their insurance companies.
#3 Manage Your Medical Expenses
If the insurance company denies payment for necessary medical treatments, your attorney can fight with them to ensure that they pay your medical bills. In addition, your lawyer can work with your medical providers to arrange for payment for your care out of your settlement proceeds.
#4 Negotiate Your Settlement
A lawyer who handles truck accident cases will be able to accurately value your claim and can negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. They will also know the common tactics the insurance adjuster may use to try to deny your claim or pay you less than you are owed and will have strategies to defeat the adjuster’s arguments.
#5 File Your Lawsuit
While your case will most likely be settled without the need for a jury trial, you will have to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to be reasonable, or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, will expire soon. You need an attorney licensed in Virginia to file your complaint and litigate your case.
Were you injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver in Norfolk? Fill out our convenient online form on this page to schedule your free case evaluation today.
What future compensation can I recover in my car accident settlement?
If another driver caused you to suffer injuries in a car accident, they are responsible for fully compensating you for your injuries under Virginia law. This includes compensating you for your future losses. Here are the types of future compensation you should ask for in your settlement.
Importance of Future Damages to Your Recovery
If you suffered serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, back and spinal injuries, or scars and disfigurement, you could need medical treatment for years after your accident. In addition, you could be off work with no wages for months or longer while you recover. Obtaining the future compensation you are entitled to in your settlement is essential so that you can afford the medical care you need and can support your family and you when you cannot work.
Types of Future Compensation You Can Recover
You need to wait until you reach your maximum medical recovery to know the amount of your future damages. This is the stage in your medical care where you have recovered, or recovered as much as you will, and your doctor can give you a prognosis of the future medical treatments you will need. Types of compensation you deserve include:
- Future medical care. You should be reimbursed for all reasonable medical expenses you will incur, and there is no cap on how much you can receive. Surgeries, physical therapy, medications, diagnostic tests, modifications to your home, and home health and personal care are some of the future medical treatments you may need if you suffered a long-term injury.
- Future wage losses. If you must take off work in the future when you are having surgery or other treatments, you are entitled to be reimbursed for your lost wages. You should also receive your lost bonuses, commissions, sick and vacation time, and other perks of your job.
- Future lost earning capacity. If you suffer a permanent injury, you may be too disabled to work or need to make a career change to a job that pays you less. You should receive your future lost earning capacity throughout your working life in your settlement. You may need an economic expert to calculate how much money you are owed.
- Future pain and suffering. Depending on your injuries, you could suffer from chronic pain, depression and other psychological conditions due to the life changes that your injuries caused and experience a much less satisfying quality of life. An experienced car accident attorney can accurately value how much you should receive for your future pain and suffering.
If you or a family member suffered an injury in a car accident, our experienced car accident lawyers are here to aggressively fight for all the compensation—including future damages—that you deserve. To find out about your options and our track record of success helping other clients like you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
How much does a motorcycle accident attorney cost?
One of the most important steps you can take if you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident is to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to file your claim and negotiate your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, you may be reluctant to do this due to worries about how much you will have to pay in attorney fees. The good news is that most attorneys handle these cases on a contingency fee basis so that you will not owe any upfront fees.
What Is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
Once you decide to hire a lawyer, you should enter into a written retainer agreement that clearly states the attorney fees that they will charge you. In motorcycle crash and other personal injury cases, most attorneys in Virginia handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. Here is how this fee arrangement works:
- You do not pay your lawyer any attorney fees upfront when you retain them.
- The lawyer will charge a percentage of your motorcycle accident settlement as their fees. This percentage may be different if your case is settled out of court or decided at a jury trial.
- When your claim is settled, the attorney fees you owe will be paid out of your settlement proceeds before you receive your check.
- You will not be charged any attorney fees if you do not win your case.
Costs of Litigation That You Could Owe
You will also be responsible for paying the cost of litigation if filing a lawsuit becomes necessary. You will owe these fees even if you lose your case.
Some lawyers will require you to pay these costs as they are incurred while others will cover these expenses and deduct them from your settlement. Your contingency fee agreement should specify how you must pay these costs. Litigation expenses you may owe include:
- Medical records
- Expert witness fees
- Court filing fees
- Depositions and transcript costs
- Exhibits for trial
Were you or a family member injured in a motorcycle accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys. We can explain how we charge attorney fees in these cases and how we can help you obtain all the compensation you deserve from the at-fault motorist’s insurance company.
How do I prove the business owner knew of the dangerous condition that caused my premises liability accident?
If you are injured in a premises liability accident at a grocery store, mall, gas station, or other business, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries under Virginia law. However, proving a premises liability case is not as easy as you may think. Here is how you can show that the business owner was negligent in causing your accident.
What You Must Prove to Win Your Case
When you file your claim with the at-fault business’ insurance company, you will need to convince them of their liability before they will offer you a fair settlement. You do this by establishing all these elements of a negligence claim:
- There was a dangerous condition on the property.
- The owner knew or should have known of the hazardous condition and did nothing to remove the danger or post a warning to guests.
- You were injured because of the dangerous condition on the property.
- You suffered damages due to your injuries.
How to Show the Business Owner’s Knowledge of the Dangerous Condition
One of the hardest challenges in a premises liability case is showing that the business owner knew or should have known of the hazardous condition that caused the accident. Proving all or some of the following can help you do this:
- The dangerous condition existed for a long enough time period that the owner knew or should have known about it.
- The business had no or insufficient procedures for checking for hazards and promptly removing them.
- The business had no or insufficient procedures for warning guests of a dangerous condition when they could not immediately remove it.
- The details of how the condition that led to your accident was caused.
- The steps that the owner took to remove the dangerous condition or warn others of it before your accident and afterward.
Photos of the accident scene, witness testimony, business records, video surveillance tapes, employee statements, and other evidence can you establish these facts that prove the owner’s negligence.
How to Get the Evidence You Need to Win Your Case
The business owner and its insurance company will not voluntarily turn over their records to you. You need the help of an experienced premises liability lawyer if you want to prove your case and receive all the compensation you deserve in your settlement. To learn how we can help you, call our Norfolk office and schedule a free consultation today.
How can I prove that the truck driver was fatigued when he caused my truck accident?
Truck driver fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents in Virginia. Drowsy driving impairs a trucker’s driving abilities in similar ways as if they were intoxicated. To reduce the dangers of deadly collisions caused by drowsy driving, the federal government has enacted strict hours of service regulations on how long a trucker can drive without a break. Unfortunately, many drivers—with the encouragement of the trucking company they work for—violate these rules and continue driving when they know it is unsafe.
How to Prove the Trucker Was Too Sleepy to Drive
If you suspect that the truck driver was too tired to drive, you will need to prove that this was the cause of your truck accident. Drowsy driving is complicated to prove, and you will need the help of a skilled truck accident lawyer who can quickly send the trucking company a spoliation letter demanding the records you need to establish this. Here are some of the documents that your attorney will need to obtain and analyze.
Newer trucks are equipped with systems that record how long the truck was in motion, which can show how long the trucker was driving. An attorney can obtain these records not only for the day of the accident but also for the days leading up to the crash, which can show the trucker’s hours of sleep and rest.
Under federal regulations, truck drivers are required to maintain a logbook with a record of their driving hours and breaks while they are on the road. The logbook is an essential piece of evidence to obtain when trying to prove that the trucker violated federal hours of service regulations.
However, some truck drivers and trucking companies falsify the logbook or change it after an accident. It is crucial to compare information in the trucker’s logbook with other documents to get a true picture of how long the trucker drove.
Your lawyer can review the trucker’s receipts to track their route and when they were at certain destinations. This can help show that it was impossible for a truck driver to have been resting or sleeping when they claim. Receipts that can be helpful include:
- Gas receipts
- Toll receipts
- Bills of lading
- Meal and convenience store receipts
Were you or a family member hurt in a truck accident in Norfolk? You must retain an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible so that they can obtain the documents you need from the trucking company before they alter or destroy them. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation to get started.
Can an employer be liable for a car accident caused while an employee was driving for work?
If the driver who caused your auto collision was driving while on the job, they would be liable for compensating you for your injuries under Virginia law. You may also be able to hold their employer responsible for paying your damages. Here is why you would want to file a claim with their insurance company too.
Ways to Hold an Employer Liable for Compensating You
There are a number of legal claims that you could have against a negligent driver’s employer. Three common claims that may help you include:
- Negligent hiring. If an employer hired someone who had a poor driving record or was unqualified to drive for work, you may have a negligent hiring claim against the employer.
- Negligent supervision. Employers also have a duty to supervise their employees and to have safety procedures that must be followed when employees are on the road. When they fail to fulfill these duties or do not check an employee’s driving record for traffic offenses or a DUI, they could face liability for negligent supervision of the driver.
- Vicarious liability. Employers are responsible for the actions of their employees if the employees were acting in the course of their employment. If the person who hit you was driving for their job and not for personal reasons when they struck your vehicle, their employer could be found negligent under this legal theory.
Why it Is Important to File a Claim With the Employer’s Insurance Company
Whenever you must file a car accident claim or other personal injury claim, you want to file claims with the insurance companies for all potentially at-fault parties. By doing this, you increase the chances of there being enough insurance coverage to pay all the compensation you are entitled to in your settlement. The employer will almost certainly have far more insurance than their employee to pay you what you are owed.
Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers are here to explain your options and to go up against the insurance companies for all the liable parties so that you receive what you are entitled to in your settlement. Fill out the online form on this page to schedule your free, no-obligation appointment today.
What is the difference between a traffic ticket for speeding and being charged with speeding as reckless driving?
You may not realize the difference between receiving a traffic ticket for speeding and being charged with reckless driving in Virginia because the police do not put handcuffs on you and take you to the police station when arresting you for reckless driving. Instead, they give you a summons to appear at court that looks similar to the traffic ticket you would receive for speeding. However, there are four crucial differences between a speeding ticket and a reckless driving charge.
#1: Traffic Infraction vs. Misdemeanor Offense
If you get a ticket for speeding, it is a traffic infraction. Reckless driving is a crime in Virginia. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense and carries harsher penalties and long-term consequences.
#2: Penalties for Speeding vs. Reckless Driving
If you receive a speeding ticket, you cannot be sentenced to jail, and the maximum fine that you could have to pay is $250. Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, the penalty is much more severe. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and have to pay a fine of up to $2,500.
#3: Points on Your Driving Record for Speeding vs. Reckless Driving
Points will be assessed on your driving record for speeding and reckless driving. If you are ticketed for speeding, you can be assessed as little as three points. However, you would have six demerit points added if you are convicted of reckless driving. Here are ways this could affect you:
- You may have your driver’s license suspended if you accumulate too many points within a relatively short period of time.
- Your insurance costs will increase more if you have more points on your driving record.
#4: No Criminal Record for Speeding vs. Criminal Record for Reckless Driving
You will not have a permanent criminal record if you pay a speeding ticket because it is only a traffic infraction. You will have a permanent criminal record if you plead guilty to or are convicted of reckless driving. This can have long-term consequences on your ability to obtain a job, security clearance, housing, and more.
Were you ticketed for speeding or charged with reckless driving? Our experienced traffic law attorneys are here to explain the consequences you face and how we can build a strong defense so that you achieve the best possible outcome. To learn more, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Do I need an attorney for an uncontested divorce?
You can avoid the expenses of a contested divorce and may be able to obtain it sooner if you file an uncontested divorce in Virginia. However, you should still retain an experienced family law lawyer to protect your legal rights.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
In Virginia, spouses with or without minor children can obtain an uncontested divorce. In order to file for one, they must have come to an agreement on issues in their divorce and must have lived separately for at least six months if there are no children and one year if there are minor children. In addition, one spouse must have lived in the district where the divorce will be filed for at least six months. Here are the major issues that must be agreed on before the divorce is filed:
- Division of real estate, personal property, and other assets
- Division of marital debts
- Child custody and parenting time for the non-custodial parent if there are minor children
- Amount of child support and health insurance payments
- Alimony and spousal support payments and the length of time they will be paid
- Any other issues related to the divorce
Three Reasons You Need an Attorney in an Uncontested Divorce
You may be tempted to file an uncontested divorce on your own to save on the cost of attorney fees. However, here are three crucial reasons why you should retain a lawyer.
Filing the Correct Legal Documents
A lawyer will understand the legal forms that must be completed to file your divorce, and the court processes that must be followed. If you try to do this on your own, you may not file the correct documents or make mistakes when preparing them, which can make your divorce take longer and be more expensive to complete.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
Even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce, you should consult with an attorney to be sure that your legal rights are protected and that your partner is not taking advantage of you. For example, you would probably not want to pay more child support than you are required to under Virginia law. A family law lawyer will know how child support payments should be calculated and can advise you on how much your payment should be.
Avoiding Unnecessary Court Hearings
Your divorce will need to be approved by the judge before it can be finalized. However, you may be able to do this without going to a court hearing. Your lawyer may be able to get your divorce finalized by requesting a divorce through a deposition or affidavit.
Are you planning to file an uncontested divorce? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help through the process so that your divorce goes smoothly and you can move on in your new life.
What happens if I wasn’t wearing a helmet when my motorcycle accident occurred?
If you were not wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of your motorcycle crash, your injuries could be much more severe. However, you still may be able to recover compensation from the negligent driver who caused your collision.
Are You Required to Wear a Helmet in Virginia?
Motorcycle operators and their passengers are required to wear a helmet under Virginia’s motorcycle helmet law. The helmet must comply with the standards set by the federal Department of Transportation, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American National Standards Institute, Inc. In addition, motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear one of the following, unless the motorcycle is equipped with safety glass or a windshield:
- Face shield
- Safety goggles
How Does Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Right to Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident?
The law requiring motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet and goggles, face shield, or safety goggles specifically provides that the failure to wear them shall not constitute definite proof of negligence. This provision is a crucial protection for motorcycle accident victims because Virginia follows an extremely harsh contributory negligence law.
Under the contributory negligence doctrine, motorcyclists and passengers who were even one percent at fault in causing the motorcycle accident would not be entitled to any compensation for their injuries. However, the insurance company for the negligent driver cannot use the fact that the person was not wearing a helmet or other safety equipment as a complete bar to paying them damages for their injuries.
However, this does not mean that the failure to wear a helmet will not hurt a victim’s claim. All injured parties in motorcycle and other vehicle accidents have a duty to mitigate or reduce their damages. If a victim suffered a traumatic brain injury or other head injury, the insurance company may be able to successfully argue that they failed to mitigate their damages and should receive less compensation in their settlement.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet when you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, our knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers can explain how this may impact on your legal rights against the negligent driver. We will also aggressively fight so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to from their insurance company. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation to get the answers and legal assistance you need.
Should I sign a medical release from the insurance company?
If you are injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident and file a claim for compensation with the insurance company, they will assign an insurance adjuster to investigate and settle your claim. As part of their investigation, the adjuster may ask you to sign an authorization for release of your medical records to them.
While this request may appear innocent, you should not agree to it. You could seriously weaken your claim and have to accept less than you deserve in your settlement.
Two Reasons Not to Sign the Insurance Company’s Medical Authorization Release
Because your injuries are the basis of your claim with the insurance company, your medical records are essential to proving the seriousness of your injuries and the damages you are entitled to. However, the medical authorization forms that insurance companies use are blanket authorizations that request all of your medical records, not just the ones associated with your accident. You do not have to give them access to your entire medical history to settle your claim.
So why does the insurance adjuster want you to sign their medical release? They may be looking for information that they can use to deny your claim or pay you less money. Here’s how they use medical records to do that:
- Pre-existing injuries. The insurance adjuster would look at your medical records for pre-existing injuries you suffered. If they find any, they could use the information to argue that your current injury was caused by a prior incident and not your premises liability accident.
- Inconsistent statements. The insurance company may review your doctor’s notes for statements you made that are inconsistent with what you told them or others. They may use your statements to argue that you are not a credible witness or that your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
What Is the Best Way to Handle the Insurance Company’s Request for Your Medical Records?
You should never sign any legal documents—including the insurance company’s medical authorization—without first consulting with an experienced premises liability attorney. They can revise the authorization so that it only releases the medical records that the insurance company truly needs or can provide them with these records on your behalf.
Your lawyer can also take over communications with the insurance company so that you do not make other inadvertent mistakes that may hurt your case. They will also negotiate your settlement so that you receive all that you deserve in your settlement.
Were you injured in a premises liability accident in Norfolk? Call our office to schedule your free case evaluation to learn about your options and how we can help you.