Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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How can I help my lawyer win my premises liability case?
If you were injured in a premises liability accident, you should retain a knowledgeable premises liability attorney to negotiate your settlement with the negligent property or business owner’s insurance company. Once you hire an attorney, it is important to understand that you are a team working toward the goal of getting all the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Here are four ways you can help win your case.
#1: Respond When Your Lawyer Contacts You
You want your attorney to get back to you quickly when you have questions or need to be updated on the status of your case. Your lawyer needs you to do the same if they call, write, or email you. If you do not contact them, you may hurt your case or lose a time-sensitive settlement offer.
#2: Follow Up on Your Medical Care
If you want to build a strong case, you need to attend all of your doctor and medical appointments and follow your physician’s advice on your treatment. You would make it harder for your lawyer to convince the insurance adjuster of the seriousness of your injuries if you miss appointments, have large gaps in your medical treatments, or do not follow the recommendations of your physician.
#3: Cooperate in the Discovery Process
You may need to file a civil lawsuit if the insurance company does not offer you a reasonable settlement or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to file your lawsuit, will expire soon. You may need to answer written questions, referred to as interrogatories, produce documents, and have your deposition taken as part of the discovery process.
You help your lawyer by answering any discovery requests thoroughly and quickly. You also need to meet with them to prepare for your deposition. If you do well when giving your deposition, you make it much easier for your attorney to obtain all the damages you are entitled to in a settlement or at a jury trial.
#4: Be Truthful
You must be honest with your lawyer. Do not hide details about your accident, lie, or exaggerate your injuries. If your lawyer finds out you were not being truthful from the insurance company or their attorney, this could significantly weaken your claim and the amount of compensation you will be able to recover.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to get started.
What is the difference between a truck accident claim and lawsuit?
If you were injured in a truck collision caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. There are two ways to obtain the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law: file a claim or file a lawsuit.
While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the processes of filing a claim and lawsuit are very different. As an accident victim, you want to understand how they differ, so you know what to expect in your case.
What Is a Truck Crash Claim?
The first step in pursuing your right to compensation will most likely be to file a claim with the trucking company’s and trucker’s insurance company. If you want to avoid being taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster and to obtain the maximum recovery in your settlement, you should retain an experienced truck accident lawyer to file it on your behalf.
Filing a claim with the insurance company is an out-of-court resolution of your case. After completing a thorough investigation into the cause of your truck accident and your injuries, your attorney would send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining their liability to pay you and the amount of damages you are seeking. The insurance adjuster would conduct their own investigation and make a counteroffer.
It could take several rounds of negotiations before the insurance company agrees to pay you a fair settlement. While not all truck collision claims are resolved in this way, many are settled without the need to go to court.
What Is a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
You may need to file a civil lawsuit against the trucking company, trucker, and any other liable parties if the insurance companies deny your claim or refuse to be reasonable in settlement negotiations. You would also need to file a civil complaint if the deadline to sue, referred to as the statute of limitations, will expire soon.
The process of litigating a claim is much different than filing a claim with the insurance company. Here are some of the steps in the process:
- Complaint. The first step is to file a civil lawsuit in court that states how the accident occurred, the liable parties’ negligence in causing it, and the damages you are seeking.
- Answer. After the defendants are served with your complaint, they would file an answer to it and any defenses they are raising as to why they have no liability to pay you.
- Discovery. The longest phase of a lawsuit is the discovery process. This is where the attorneys obtain information and documents from other parties that can help their case. They can do this through sending interrogatories, which are written questions to be answered, requests for production of documents, and depositions.
- Negotiations. When your lawyer believes it would be productive, they would engage in settlement negotiations. It is very likely that your case would be settled at some point before it is scheduled for trial.
- Trial. If you are unable to settle your lawsuit, your right to compensation would be decided by a jury at a trial.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck collision in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with our dedicated and knowledgeable truck accident attorneys to learn how we can assist you.
What damages can I recover in a rideshare accident?
If you were injured in an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare accident, you are entitled to compensation if the rideshare driver caused the collision. When filing your claim with the insurance company for the driver and rideshare company, it is important to understand the types of damages you are entitled to under Virginia law so that you are fully compensated in your settlement.
Types of Compensation You Can Obtain in a Rideshare Collision
If a rideshare driver was on the clock when they caused your accident, the rideshare company could have up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, they may have a contingent liability policy that offers less money if the driver was waiting to pick up a passenger when the crash occurred. You may also be able to file a claim with the rideshare driver’s or another negligent motorist’s insurance company.
You are entitled to recover both your past and future damages. Here are the types of compensation you should request when you file your claim:
- Medical expenses. You are entitled to be fully compensated for your medical expenses to treat your injuries. Emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, and medications are some of the medical treatments that you can receive compensation for.
- Lost wages. You should recover the lost wages and other benefits you did not receive while you were off work recovering from your injuries. If you have to make a career change with a pay cut due to your injuries or become permanently disabled, you may also be able to recover lost earning capacity damages.
- Pain and suffering. You are also entitled to compensation for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress you endured due to to your injuries and how they have affected your quality of life.
- Property damages. If you suffered any property damages, such as to a vehicle, cell phone, or laptop, you should be compensated for the cost to repair or replace the damaged property.
- Wrongful death. If a family member was killed due to the negligence of the rideshare driver, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim for compensation for reasonable funeral expenses, the emotional and financial support your loved one provided, and more.
How to Know the Amount of Compensation You Should Recover
It can be complicated to determine how much your claim is worth. At Tavss Fletcher, our experienced car accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident and the injuries you suffered so we can determine how much compensation you should receive from the rideshare company and other liable parties. We will aggressively pursue claims with all at-fault parties so that you obtain the maximum amount in your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
What is probation?
If you plead guilty or are found guilty at a trial in Virginia, you will be sentenced to a punishment for your crime by a judge. One alternative to being incarcerated in jail or prison is to be placed on probation. If you are hoping to be sentenced to probation, it is important to understand the basic rules you must follow since you could face harsh consequences if you violate the terms of your probation.
Two Types of Probation in Virginia
Probation is only granted for less serious offenses in our state. When you are sentenced to probation, you will not have to go to jail or prison. Instead, the judge would place you on probation for a specific length of time. During this period, you would be expected to follow certain rules. There are two types of probation in Virginia:
- Unsupervised. If you are sentenced to unsupervised probation, you would not be assigned to a probation officer. Your case would be suspended for a period of time when you must comply with basic rules, such as not committing other crimes, paying fines as part of your punishment, or other conditions set by the judge.
- Supervised. Your case would be assigned to a probation officer, who you would need to meet with at scheduled appointments either in-person or by telephone. You would also have more stringent rules that you would need to follow.
What Rules Could You Be Required to Follow While You Are on Probation?
The specific rules you would be required to follow will depend on the crime you committed, your prior criminal record, and other factors. Some requirements of probation could include:
- Attending meetings with your probation officer at scheduled times
- Not possessing a firearm
- Not committing any other criminal offenses
- Not consuming alcohol or controlled substances
- Not leaving the Commonwealth of Virginia without court permission
- Keeping a job or maintaining enrollment in college or other job training program
- Paying fines and court costs by a date set by the judge
- Submitting to alcohol and/or drug tests
- Consenting to be searched even if there is no probable cause to search you
- Completing a certain number of hours of community service
What Happens If You Violate the Terms of Your Probation?
You could face harsh consequences if you violate the terms of your probation. If the violation is minor and this is a first offense, your probation officer could issue you a warning. However, if there are multiple or serious violations, you could face a number of punishments, such as an extension of the time you are on probation, being ordered to jail for a short period of time, or having your probation revoked and being sentenced to prison or jail.
Have you been arrested in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to explain what you can expect in your criminal case and to mount an aggressive defense strategy so that you achieve the best outcome given your situation. To find out more about how we can assist you, fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation.
Can I finalize my divorce by filing an affidavit so I don’t need to go to court?
In many divorces in Virginia, an individual must attend a court hearing in order to complete their divorce. However, you may be able to avoid the time and cost of attending a lengthy court proceeding to finalize your divorce by filing an affidavit.
Who Can File a Divorce by Affidavit in Virginia?
In order to obtain a divorce in Virginia, you must establish a legal ground to file for divorce. In addition, there are specific requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for a divorce by affidavit. They include:
- You must have an uncontested divorce where you and your spouse have agreed to all the terms of your divorce, such as custody of your children, child support, alimony, and the division of your property.
- You must have been legally separated for at least six months if you do not have children with your partner or for one year if there are children of the marriage.
- You must plan to file a no-fault divorce where neither spouse is claiming that the other partner caused the divorce.
How Does the Process of Obtaining a Divorce by Affidavit Work?
To finalize your divorce by filing an affidavit, you and a witness will need to sign an affidavit in front of a notary public. You should be able to sign the affidavit at your lawyer’s office.
In your affidavit, you would need to state the date of your marriage, the date you separated, any children you had together, and whether you have a signed property settlement agreement. You would also need to have a corroborating witness. They must be 18 years old or older, not have a mental deficiency, and have personal knowledge about your marriage and separation. Their affidavit must state:
- How often they have spoken to you since your separation
- Whether they visited your home after you separated from your spouse
- How long you and your spouse have been separated
Consult With a Family Law Attorney Today
Are you considering filing for divorce? Are you planning to file an uncontested divorce and want to avoid attending any court hearings? Our experienced family law lawyers in Norfolk are here to protect your legal rights and help you go through the process of obtaining a divorce. Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.
Are truck drivers required to take drug tests after a truck accident?
Truck accidents can be much deadlier when the truck driver is intoxicated due to illegal drug use. If you suspect that your truck crash was caused by a drugged trucker, you would need to prove that this is why your collision occurred in order to be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Here is what you need to know about when truck drivers are required to take a drug test after a crash.
When Must a Truck Driver Must Take a Drug Test After a Truck Collision?
Trucking companies and truck drivers must follow regulations implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) designed to promote truck safety and prevent accidents. The FMCSA has detailed rules on when drug tests administered by the trucking company are required after a crash. A trucker must take a test in the following situations:
- Fatality. If someone was killed in the truck crash, a drug test is required whether or not the trucker was issued a citation.
- Injury. A truck driver must take a drug test if they received a traffic ticket and someone was injured in the wreck and received immediate medical treatment somewhere other than the crash scene.
- Disabling damage. If a motor vehicle was damaged enough that it had to be towed away, a trucker would be required to take a drug test if the police ticketed them for a traffic law violation.
When a police officer at the scene suspected that the trucker was intoxicated due to drug or alcohol use, they could administer field sobriety, breathalyzer, and other tests. If the trucker failed these tests, the police could detain them and require them to take a drug test at the police station.
When Else Is a Truck Driver Required to Undergo Drug Testing?
The FMCA also mandates other times when an employer must require a trucker to take a drug test. They include:
- Pre-employment. A trucker must test negative for drugs before being hired by a trucking company to operate a truck.
- Random. Truckers must undergo random drug tests administered by the trucking company throughout the year.
- Reasonable suspicion. If the trucking company suspects that a trucker is under the influence of drugs, they must order the truck driver to undergo an immediate drug test.
- Return-to-duty. A trucker who tested positive for drugs must successfully complete the return-to-duty process with an authorized substance abuse professional and test negative for drug use before returning to work. The trucker must also undergo at least six additional drug tests within a 12-month period and test negative.
If you were injured in a truck accident, our experienced truck accident lawyers in Norfolk can help you determine whether drug use or other negligent actions of the trucker and trucking company caused your crash. We will fight hard so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To learn more about how we can help, fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation.
Is my premises liability settlement taxable?
When you settle your premises liability claim, it is important to understand whether you will owe taxes on your proceeds so that you do not get into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Unfortunately, it can be complicated to figure this out because some parts of your settlement may be taxable, while others are not. Here is what you need to know so you can plan ahead for any taxes you may owe.
Compensatory Damages That Are Not Taxed in Premises Liability Cases
In general, settlements in personal injury cases for injuries suffered by the victim are not taxable. You will not owe taxes on the portion of the compensation you receive that is to pay you for the physical injuries you suffered in the premises liability accident. The following amounts would be tax-free:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Property repairs or replacement
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress related to your physical injuries
- Wrongful death damages
- Legal fees
Compensation That Could Be Taxable in Your Settlement
There are some types of damages awarded in premises liability cases that could be taxable. They include:
- Interest. If you are awarded interest on your settlement amount, the interest would be taxable income.
- Lost wages. You are entitled to recover your lost wages and lost earning capacity if you must make a career change or are unable to work due to your injuries. The IRS considers these types of damages as income and would require you to pay taxes on them.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the negligent party when their actions were grossly negligent. They are rarely awarded in premises liability cases. However, if you receive them, you should expect to pay taxes on this portion of your settlement.
- Pain and suffering with no injuries. Although damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distress are generally not taxed, they are taxable if you did not suffer any physical injuries.
Were you or a family member injured in a premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Our experienced premises liability lawyers are dedicated to helping you recover all the compensation you are entitled to in your settlement with the negligent property or business owner’s insurance company. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
I was temporarily unemployed at the time of my auto accident. Can I still recover lost income in a car crash case?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from their insurance company. This includes receiving damages for the past and future wages you cannot earn while you are off work recovering from your injuries, your medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Your claim could be more complicated if you were temporarily unemployed at the time of your auto crash. However, you still can receive your lost wages in your settlement if you can prove the other driver’s negligence caused your collision and the amount of compensation you should receive.
Types of Lost Wages Recoverable in a Car Accident Case
In an auto crash case, a victim is entitled to their past and future wage losses for the period they cannot work due to their injuries under Virginia law. A lost wage claim can include the following:
- Past and future wages, bonuses, and commissions
- Past and future lost sick and vacation time
- Past and future perks of their job
- Lost earning capacity if they must make a career change due to their injuries or are permanently disabled
How to Prove Your Lost Wages Claim If You Are Temporarily Unemployed
If you are unemployed at the time of your accident, you will need to prove that your unemployment is temporary. This will be easier to establish if your loss of job was recent or was not your choice, such as a layoff by your employer. You may have to obtain documentation of when you lost your job and your efforts to seek future employment. Showing the types of work you are seeking and their salary range can also help you establish your future wage loss claim.
You will also need to prove the wages that you lost and will lose in the future. This can be more challenging to show when you are temporarily unemployed. If you are looking for work in the same profession, you may be able to use paystubs from your old job to help prove the amount of wages you are losing. Your income tax returns for prior years can also help establish what you earn when you work.
You may also need to hire an expert witness, such as an occupational and economic expert. An expert can testify to how your injuries have affected your ability to find employment and the salary you can expect to receive in the jobs you can now perform—if you can return to work at all.
The best way to prove your right to lost wages if you are temporarily unemployed is to retain an experienced car accident lawyer. They can help you collect the evidence you need and will have a network of qualified experts you can hire if this is necessary.
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.
Will I need to sign a release of claims form when I settle my premises liability claim?
When you and the negligent property or business owner’s insurance company agree on the amount of compensation you will receive for your injuries in your premises liability accident, you will need to go through a few more steps before you get your check. One important document you will need to sign is a release of all claims form.
What Is a Release of All Claims Form?
A release of all claims form is a document prepared by the insurance company that absolves the parties of liability after a premises liability accident. When you sign the document, you are dismissing your claim and agreeing that you cannot file a claim for your injuries in the future. The negligent party’s insurance company will require you to sign this legal document before they will release the settlement proceeds to you.
What Information Is Contained in a Release of All Claims Form?
While every insurance company will use their own release of claims form, there is some common information in most of them. The release of claims form you will be asked to sign will most likely include the following:
- Details of your premises liability accident
- Your claim for your injuries and any property damages
- Identification of the parties to the settlement
- Amount of money you are receiving
- What law governs
In addition, you are waiving important legal rights in the release of claims form in exchange for the settlement proceeds that the insurance company will pay you. You are releasing the insurance company and the negligent party from:
- Obligation to pay. By signing the release, you are giving up the right to receive future damages for your injuries. If you later discovered your injuries were more serious than you thought, you would not be able to reopen your claim to obtain more money.
- Right to file a lawsuit. You are also waiving your right to file a lawsuit against the negligent property owner or business responsible for your accident.
- Non-admission of fault. The release of claims forms will provide that no party is agreeing that they are liable for your injuries. You are releasing them from liability by signing the document.
You should never agree to a settlement or to sign a release of all claims form or other document from the insurance company without first consulting with an experienced premises liability attorney.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident, we’re here to help. Call our office or fill out our convenient contact form to schedule your free consultation today.
What should I do if the insurance company offers me a quick settlement of my claim?
If a truck driver caused your injuries in a truck accident, you will often receive a quick offer to settle your claim from their insurance company. You may consider taking it because you need the money to replace your lost income while you are off work recovering from your injuries and to pay your expensive medical bills.
However, accepting the first offer from the insurance company would not be in your best interests if you want to receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law. Here are three reasons why you should say no to the insurance adjuster’s offer.
#1: The Offer Is Too Low
The insurance company knows that you probably need the money right away and is trying to take advantage of this fact to entice you to settle your claim quickly. However, their first offer will most likely be for far less than you deserve. They are offering it to you because they know that they face liability to pay you and will save money if you accept their first offer.
#2: Your Settlement Will Be Final
Another reason not to accept the first amount offered by the insurance company is that your settlement will be final once you complete it. The insurance adjuster would require you to sign a Release of All Claims form where you would agree that the settlement would be a complete resolution of your claim before sending you your check.
This means that if you later discovered that you needed more medical treatments or had to be off work for longer than you thought, that you would not receive any additional compensation for these losses. You would not be able to reopen your claim or file a new one.
#3: It’s Too Early to Know How Seriously You Were Injured
You should not accept any settlement from the insurance company until you reach your maximum medical improvement. This is one of the following stages in your recovery:
- You fully recovered from your injuries.
- You recovered as much as you can from your injuries, and your doctor can give you a final prognosis on the medical treatments you will need in the future. They will also be able to advise you on how your injuries will impact your ability to return to your current or another job.
It could take you months or longer to reach this stage of your medical care, especially if you suffered more than one injury. However, it is crucial not to settle your claim before then so that all of your future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are included in your settlement.
In addition, you should never accept any offer from the insurance company without first consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer. They will be able to accurately value your claim and will fight the insurance company to ensure that you receive the maximum recovery.
Do you need help negotiating your settlement with the trucking company’s and trucker’s insurance company? Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free initial consultation to learn about your options and how we can assist you.
What is subrogation and how could it affect my car accident claim?
If you were hurt in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver in Virginia, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, your medical insurance provider could place a lien or subrogation claim on your settlement proceeds. This could significantly reduce the amount of money you receive in your settlement.
How Subrogation and Liens Work in Car Accident Cases in Virginia
Subrogation and liens are different but can have the same practical effect in your auto crash case. A lien is a claim on your settlement award that would entitle your health insurance provider to be reimbursed for the medical expenses they paid on your behalf. If they claim a right to subrogation, the health insurance company would take your place in filing a claim against the negligent motorist for the medical bills they paid and demand that the payment be made directly to them.
The laws on subrogation and liens are complicated in our state. Unlike other states, Virginia has laws that prohibit health insurance contracts issued in our commonwealth from having a subrogation clause in their contract. Liens are also often not permitted to be placed on a victim’s car accident or other personal injury award.
However, there are exceptions to these laws. The anti-subrogation and lien laws would not apply in these situations:
- Contracts issued out-of-state
- Insurance policies issued to federal employees under the Federal Employee Health Benefit Act
- Self-funded health benefit plans by employers who are compliant with the Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Federal health insurance providers, like Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare
- Workers’ compensation plans
How Can You Know If a Lien or Subrogation Claim Will Reduce Your Car Crash Compensation?
The best way to determine if your health insurance provider can make a subrogation claim or place a lien on your award is to retain an experienced car accident attorney. An attorney can review your health insurance policy and the medical expenses your provider claims reimbursement for to determine if they are valid.
If your lawyer determines that your health insurer has a valid claim against your award, they can negotiate the amount to be paid to the insurance company. However, these negotiations must be completed before the settlement of your car accident claim.
Were you injured in an auto collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Call our office to schedule your free case evaluation to learn how our knowledgeable and dedicated car accident legal team can assist you.
Should I accept a quick settlement of my premises liability accident claim?
If the insurance company for the negligent property or business owner offers to settle your premises liability case soon after you file your claim, you may be tempted to accept their offer in order to pay your medical bills and replace your lost wages. However, it is rarely a good idea to accept a quick settlement. Here are three reasons why you should say no to the first offer you receive.
Reason #1: You Don’t Know How Much Compensation You Should Receive
Soon after your accident, you cannot know the compensation you should receive for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can only determine this once you reach your maximum medical recovery. This is the stage in your medical treatment where you have fully recovered or recovered as much as you can, and your doctor can tell you what future medical care you will need and whether you can return to work.
Reason #2: The Offer Will Be Too Low
The insurance company is most likely trying to get you to settle your case quickly so that they can pay you much less than the compensation you deserve for your injuries under Virginia law. Once you settle your claim, your settlement would be a final resolution of your claim. You could not reopen your case if you later found out that your injuries were more serious than you originally thought.
Reason #3: There May Be Disputed Issues
If the insurance company disputes their liability to pay you or the seriousness of your injuries, they may make a low-ball settlement offer. However, if you hire an experienced premises liability lawyer, they can provide the insurance company with additional evidence to resolve the dispute and convince them of their obligation to pay you all the damages you are entitled to.
What Should You Do If the Insurance Company Offers to Settle Your Claim?
You should never accept a settlement offer from the insurance adjuster or sign any documents until you consult with a knowledgeable premises liability attorney. They will be able to accurately value your claim and be certain that you do not waive important legal rights by settling your case or signing insurance company documents.
If you suffered injuries in a premises liability accident, our skilled and compassionate lawyers are here to help. To get started, call our Norfolk office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
What can I do to help my attorney win my case?
If you were injured in a truck crash caused by a negligent truck driver, you need to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. This will dramatically increase the likelihood that you will receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
While you are hiring an attorney to help you, you should not forget that you are a team working on the common goal of settling your claim. You can and should take steps to make your lawyer's job easier and help them build a winning case. Here are five important ways that you can help them.
Respond to Your Attorney's Requests Quickly
Just like you want your lawyer to contact you quickly if you have a question or want an update on your case's status, you need to respond right away if they call or email you. They may have an important question that they need answered or need you to collect additional documents in order to move forward in resolving your claim with the insurance company.
Follow Up on Medical Treatment
One of the most important ways that you can build a strong case against the trucker and trucking company is to seek prompt medical care after your crash and follow your doctor's advice on your medical treatments for your injuries. You should also attend all of your appointments, so there are no gaps in your medical care.
If you fail to do this, you could make it harder for your attorney to settle your claim for its full value. You would be giving the insurance company ammunition to deny your claim or argue that you should receive less than you are asking for in your settlement. They could make these arguments:
- Another incident caused your injuries.
- Your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
- You made your injuries worse by not following your doctor's orders and not getting all the medical care you need.
Cooperate With the Discovery Process
Your attorney may need to file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not offer you a fair settlement or the deadline to sue, referred to as the statute of limitations, will expire soon. You will need to cooperate with them during the discovery phase of your case. You may have to answer written interrogatories, produce documents, and attend a deposition where the insurance company's lawyer asks you questions about the truck accident and your injuries.
Stay Off Social Media
Ideally, you should stay off Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites while the claim is being resolved. If you do continue to post on these sites, avoid discussing your truck collision or your injuries. You should also be careful not to post pictures of you being at locations, such as on a hiking vacation, or doing activities that you should not be able to do because of your injuries.
Follow Your Lawyer's Advice
Another crucial way that you can help your attorney is to follow their advice and be patient while they work to resolve your case. They have your best interests at heart and know what you need to receive the maximum recovery from the insurance company.
If you must file a claim with the insurance company after a truck crash, our knowledgeable and compassionate truck accident lawyers are here to help. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
What is a free initial consultation?
It can be a traumatic experience to suffer injuries in an auto collision that was not your fault. One of your first steps after getting the medical treatment you need should be to retain an experienced car accident attorney.
However, it can be difficult to find a knowledgeable lawyer that will fight so that you receive all the compensation you deserve from the negligent driver who caused your crash. One way to find the right attorney for you is to take advantage of most car accident attorneys’ offer of a free initial consultation.
What Can You Expect at a Free Initial Consultation?
A free initial consultation is a short meeting that you would have with a lawyer to discuss your case and determine if you can work together to settle your claim. Your appointment would last for about 30 minutes to an hour. You would not be charged for this initial consultation—even if you decide not to hire them.
At this meeting, you would tell the attorney about how your accident occurred and the injuries you suffered. You should expect to learn the following from this meeting:
- Whether you have a claim. After you describe the details of your auto collision, the lawyer should be able to advise you whether you have a valid claim against the negligent driver and other liable parties and the types of compensation you should be able to recover from their insurance company.
- Whether you need an attorney. They should inform you whether you should retain a lawyer or whether you can settle your claim on your own. If you suffered any injuries, it is almost always in your best interest to hire an attorney to negotiate your settlement.
- Whether this is the right lawyer. Your initial consultation is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the attorney and their track record of success in settling and litigating claims for car accident victims like you. This can help you decide whether this is the right lawyer for you.
- What your next steps are. If you decide to retain the attorney, they should tell you the next steps that they need to take in your case. They will also advise you of what you need to do to help them build a winning case against the negligent driver.
How to Prepare for Your Free Initial Consultation
You need to prepare for your appointment so that you get the most benefit from it. You should organize the documents, such as the police report, pictures, and your medical reports, to show the lawyer. You should also prepare a list of questions to ask them. You need to know how much of their practice is devoted to car accident cases, their track record of success, how much they charge for their services, and how they will keep you updated on the status of your claim.
Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Take advantage of our free consultation offer to learn how our dedicated car accident lawyers can help you. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
Should I sign an authorization to release my medical records to the negligent driver’s insurance company?
If you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a motorcycle accident, the negligent driver’s insurance company may ask you to sign a release to obtain your medical records. They may claim that they need them as part of the investigation of your claim.
While it is true that you will have to submit your medical records, having the adjuster get them directly is not a good idea. You could actually weaken your case. Here are three reasons that you should say no to this request.
#1: You Could Hurt Your Settlement
While the insurance company needs your medical records to settle your claim, they may also have other motives when asking you to sign a medical release. The insurance company’s authorization for medical records is most likely a blanket release that would allow access to all of your medical records.
The insurance adjuster could look through your entire medical history to see if you complained about or were treated for an injury to the same body part hurt in your motorcycle accident. They could argue that your current injuries were due to a prior incident and not your crash. They would use this tactic to try to deny your claim or force you to accept less than the full amount you deserve in your settlement.
#2: Your Privacy Would Be Invaded
Giving the insurance company access to your entire medical history would be an invasion of your privacy. There could be sensitive, private information about you that the insurance company does not need to know to settle your claim and that you have a right to keep private.
#3: Your Records Would Be Incomplete
Another reason that you do not want to let the insurance company obtain your medical records is that they would be incomplete so soon after your motorcycle collision. You could need months or longer of medical treatments before you fully recover or receive a final prognosis if you suffered permanent injuries. You do not want the insurance adjuster to base a decision on how much to offer you in a settlement on medical records that are not complete.
What Should You Do If the Insurance Company Asks You to Sign a Medical Authorization?
If the insurance adjuster asks you to sign their medical release, you should politely say no. Then you should retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately if you have not already done so. A lawyer will take over all communications with the insurance company, provide them with the medical records they truly need, and negotiate your settlement.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, call our office today to schedule a free consultation. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys will explain your options to you, answer your questions, and fight with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to.
Who could be liable if my roof collapsed in my car accident?
You could suffer devastating injuries if your auto rolls over and your roof collapses in a car accident. Unlike other collisions where only the negligent driver is responsible for compensating the victim, there can be multiple causes and liable parties in a roof collapse accident. It is important to pursue claims against any potentially negligent party if you want to receive all the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law.
Who Could Be Responsible to Compensate You If Your Car Roof Collapsed?
The liable parties in a roof collapse collision will depend on the cause of the crash. Determining this can be complicated. You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to identify why your auto roof collapsed and who the negligent parties are. They can include:
- Another driver. If a motorist’s negligence caused your car accident, they would face at least partial liability for compensating you for your injuries.
- Automobile manufacturer. Roof collapses are often caused by a defect in the manufacture or design of the roof. The pillars could have been too weak or situated improperly, or other vehicle parts may not have been strong enough to support the roof. If your roof collapsed for this reason, you can pursue a product liability claim against the auto manufacturer.
- Parts manufacturer. You could also file a claim with the parts manufacturer who designed or manufactured the defective part that caused your roof collapse, as well as the car manufacturer.
- Governmental agency. If a road defect or hazard caused your vehicle to roll over in the crash, you would need to file a claim with the governmental agency responsible for road maintenance. You may need to file your claim much quicker and follow other special rules when the negligent party is a city, county, or other governmental body.
Why Is it Important to File Claims With All Negligent Parties?
If you know that the other motorist’s negligence caused your accident, you may be tempted to just file a claim with their insurance company and not pursue claims against any other parties. This would be much easier and less time-consuming. However, you would be making a big mistake that could result in you not being fully compensated for your injuries.
The at-fault motorist would only be responsible for compensating you for their percentage of negligence in causing your collision. For example, if they were found 50 percent at fault, they only have to pay you half of the amount of compensation you deserve. In addition, they may not have enough insurance to pay you all the damages you deserve if they purchased the minimum coverage required under Virginia law.
If a manufacturing or road defect contributed to your roof collapse, you should file a claim with these liable parties’ insurance companies as well. They will have higher liability insurance coverage to pay you for your losses.
Did your roof collapse in a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our skilled legal team can identify why it happened and who is responsible for compensating you. To get started learning about your options, fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
Will I have to complete VASAP if I’m convicted of DUI?
If you are convicted of DUI in Virginia, you may be required to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program, which is also referred to as VASAP or ASAP. You will most likely need to successfully complete this program in order to complete the terms of a suspended sentence and to restore your ability to drive in our state.
How VASAP Works After a DUI Conviction
Under Virginia law, you are required to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program if you are convicted of a first or second DUI offense. VASAP is a government program that has the mission of reducing drunk driving crashes.
If you know that you will be convicted of DUI, you may want to take the class early. However, you need to obtain a court order referring you to this program before starting it. Here is what this program entails:
- Assessment. Your first appointment will be an intake meeting with a case manager. They will assess how dependent you are on alcohol and the number of classes you will need to attend.
- Classes. Your case manager will refer you to an approved treatment center or addiction program where you will enroll in the education program. You will most likely be required to attend 10 two-hour sessions, which are mandatory. You may also have to undergo drug and alcohol testing while taking this course.
- Probation. If this is your first or second DUI, you will probably be sentenced to unsupervised probation where you do not have to meet with a probation officer. However, if you violate any of the conditions of VASAP, your case manager could report this to the judge who sentenced you, and you could face harsher consequences.
How Much Does VASAP Cost?
It will cost you approximately $300 to enroll in VASAP, and you will also have to pay an $100 intervention fee. You are required to pay these costs when you enter the program. However, if you cannot afford to pay them upfront, you can work out a payment plan.
Were you arrested for DUI in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our experienced DUI lawyers are here to mount a strong defense, so the charges against you are dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. We will also explain the requirements of VASAP and any other punishments you could face if you are convicted. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you will need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Before you take this step, you want to know the value of your claim so that you understand what to expect. It will also help you decide whether it is worth the time and effort it will take to fight with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
How much your claim is worth will depend on the unique circumstances in your case. However, there are some common factors in these cases that can help you determine how much your claim is worth.
#1: Damages You Suffered
One crucial factor that will determine the value of your claim is the type of losses you suffered. In Virginia, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver who caused your motorcycle crash. Types of damages you can recover include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Property damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Wrongful death damages if a loved one was killed in the collision
#2: Liability of the Negligent Driver
In order to hold the motorist who struck your motorcycle responsible for compensating you, you must prove their negligence in causing your collision. If their fault is clear-cut, you will have a strong case against them that will make the value of your claim worth more.
However, if there are real disputes about their liability or you were found to be partially at fault, this could significantly weaken your case. Virginia has a harsh contributory negligence law that would prevent you from obtaining any damages if you were at all at fault—even if you were only one percent liable.
#3: Settlement vs. Trial Value
The value of your claim can also be affected by whether your case is settled out-of-court or through a jury trial. The trial value will most likely be higher than the settlement value.
Why is there a difference? When you take your case to trial, you ask for all the compensation you deserve. However, there is no guarantee on the outcome of a trial, and you may be awarded less damages.
If you settle your claim with the insurance company, you will most likely accept a little less than the full value of your case. You would most likely have to compromise for the certainty of receiving a settlement.
Were you or a family member hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver? Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can advise you on the value of your claim and fight so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. To learn more, call our office to schedule your free consultation today.
What documents should I bring to my first appointment with my slip and fall accident attorney?
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at someone’s property or a business, an experienced premises liability attorney can help you receive a fair settlement from the insurance company. In order to find a qualified lawyer that you believe you can trust to fight for your rights, you should take advantage of the free initial consultation that most lawyers offer. If you want to get the most out of your meeting, you should bring the right documents to your meeting.
Documents to Bring to Your Initial Consultation
You should be organized when you go to your first meeting with your lawyer. The purpose of this appointment is to get legal advice about your right to compensation for your injuries and to determine if you want to hire this attorney. They can give you better advice on your claim if you bring these documents with you:
- Accident report. Hopefully, you reported your slip and fall accident immediately to the property or business owner, and an accident report was prepared. It could include important details, such as how your fall occurred and witnesses to it, that can help you prove the cause of your accident and that you suffered injuries.
- Pictures and video. If you took pictures or videos that show the dangerous condition that caused your fall and injuries, they can help the lawyer understand more about how your accident happened and how the owner’s negligence caused it.
- Medical records. You should bring your medical records for any treatments you have received, along with your medical bills. This will document how serious your injuries were and the types of medical care you need.
- Wage loss documents. If you missed time off work due to your injuries, you are entitled to be compensated for your wage losses in your settlement. You should bring your pay stubs, documentation of the days you were off work, and your tax return to your appointment.
- Contact information. Bring the contact information for the property or business owner, their insurance company, and any witnesses to your slip and fall accident.
- Communications with the insurance company. If the insurance company for the owner has already contacted you, bring any written communication, such as letters and emails, to your appointment.
You should also have a list of questions prepared so that you can interview the lawyer about their experience handling slip and fall accident cases, how they will keep you informed about your claim, and how much it will cost to retain them.
Were you injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident in Norfolk? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with our premises liability accident lawyers to learn about our track record of success in helping clients like you and how we can assist you.
What types of compensation can I recover if a loved one died in a truck accident?
It is never easy to lose a family member. However, the grief can be even more intense when their death was caused by a preventable truck accident.
Fortunately, you may be able to file a wrongful death action to hold the negligent trucking company and trucker responsible for compensating you for your injuries. While money will not bring back the joy of having your loved one with you, it can help compensate you for your losses and help you move on with your life.
Compensation You Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Action
A wrongful death action is a type of claim that can be brought by a victim’s heirs when their loved one was killed in a truck accident caused by the trucker’s negligence. Only certain family members are allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Virginia. This includes the individual’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings.
The compensation awarded is slightly different than what a victim can recover if they had survived the truck accident. The damages are to compensate family members and the victim’s estate. Types of compensation that can be recovered include:
- Medical expenses. The cost of the deceased’s medical care for the injuries they suffered in the truck collision before their death can be recovered in a wrongful death claim.
- Funeral costs. Reasonable funeral and burial expenses should be included in the settlement.
- Pain and suffering. Family members are entitled to be compensated for the pain, suffering, and grief they suffered due to the loss of their loved one.
- Loss of income. Surviving family members who relied on the victim’s financial support are entitled to lost wages and benefits, which include the income and benefits the deceased would have earned if they had lived.
- Loss of care. Another type of compensation awarded in wrongful death actions is damages for the loss of the care, comfort, advice, and guidance of the victim.
- Punitive damages. While punitive damages are not awarded in all truck accident cases, this type of compensation can be recovered if the trucker’s or trucking company’s actions were especially reckless. They are awarded to punish them for their actions rather than to compensate the family of the victim.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck accident that was not their fault? Our compassionate and skilled truck accident lawyers are here to take over all the steps in filing and settling your claim for the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your grief and going on in life without your loved one. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free consultation.