Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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If I am self-employed, how are my lost wages determined in a car accident case?
If a negligent driver caused your injuries in an auto collision, you are entitled to compensation from him, including reimbursement of your lost wages. This amount can be easier to calculate if you receive a regular paycheck. However, it can be more complicated to determine how much you should receive if you are self-employed.
Who Is Considered Self-Employed?
You are generally considered self-employed if you are a freelancer, independent contractor, consultant, or sole proprietor of a business. You decide your own hours of work and whom you will work for. This is in contrast to an employee who works for an employer who dictates his wages, hours of work, and job duties.
How Are Self-Employment Wages Determined?
If you are self-employed, the first step in knowing how much you should receive is to understand the types of damages you can request. Your wage loss claim may include:
- Lost income
- Loss of your earning capacity if you are disabled or unable to work in your profession
- Lost profits
- Business opportunities you lost
Lost income claims can be more complicated to calculate because income and lost profits tend to vary month to month and year to year for some people who are self-employed. Here are documents that can help you figure this out and prove this portion of your claim:
- Independent contractors. If you are a consultant or independent contractor, you most likely receive a form 1099 at the end of the year from the clients you work for, which can be used to establish your lost income. However, you may need additional documentation of your monthly income if it is seasonal or is not the same every month. Tax returns can also be helpful if your income is different each year.
- Small businesses. You may need monthly profit-and-loss statements, receipts for expenses, and payroll and account records to figure out how much lost income, profits, and other damages you deserve. Your tax returns and schedules may also be helpful, but these other documents can help paint a more accurate picture of your income.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you identify the documents you need and can calculate the amount of wage loss damages to request in your settlement. If your situation is complicated, he may recommend that you also hire an economic expert.
At Tavss Fletcher, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of victims of car accidents. We understand the steps you need to take to obtain a fair settlement and are here to handle all aspects of filing your claim for you. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Whom should I choose as an executor of my will?
When you are creating a will or updating an existing one, one decision you will need to make is whom to name as the executor of your will. This person performs an important job for you after your death, so it is important to pick the right person.
What Is an Executor?
An executor of your estate is the person you appoint to distribute your assets according to your wishes that are stated in your will and to take care of your other financial responsibilities. An executor is also referred to as the personal representative. Some of the duties this person must perform include:
- Distributing your assets according to the terms of your will
- Paying bills for your estate
- Maintaining property until it is transferred
- Paying real estate taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments on real estate
- Selling real estate and other assets
- Keeping detailed records of assets and expenses of the estate
- Attending court hearings
Tips on Whom to Pick as an Executor of Your Estate
Most people pick family members, such as spouses or adult children to be the personal representative of their estate. This can be a good choice as long as they can perform the required duties and will honor your wishes. Here are some tips on whom to select:
- Pick a responsible person. You should select a person who is responsible, can communicate with other heirs, and can make hard decisions if necessary. While he does not need to be an expert in finances, he should be financially responsible and understand the importance of attention to detail. If you do not have a family member or friend that you feel comfortable appointing, you can select a lawyer or financial institution. Keep in mind that they would charge a fee for their services.
- Select an alternate. It is a good idea to appoint an alternate person who can step in as executor if your first choice dies before you or is unable to assume these duties. If possible, pick someone younger as the alternate.
- Consider the location of your executor. While it is not essential to pick someone who lives near you as your executor, it can be more convenient if you do so. A local person would be better able to maintain your property and have an easier time attending required court hearings than someone who lives out of state.
Do you need help drafting a will? Our experienced estate planning attorneys can create a will and other estate planning documents you need that are tailor-made to your family situation and your concerns. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
How can I prove that the truck driver who caused my truck accident was speeding?
Speeding is one of the most common causes of truck collisions and can result in victims suffering catastrophic injuries or death. If you believe that the truck driver who caused your crash was speeding, you cannot assume that the insurance company for the trucker and trucking company will agree with you. You will have to prove this in order to receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Types of Evidence You Can Use to Establish That the Trucker Was Speeding
You need evidence to prove your case. Here are types of evidence that can help you show that the trucker’s speeding caused your injuries:
- Police report. If the police officer who investigated your crash determined the trucker was speeding, he would include this conclusion in the police report. He may also have ticketed the trucker for speeding, which can be compelling evidence that you are right.
- Black box. The truck’s black box may contain data regarding the truck’s speed at the time of your wreck. You need the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer to obtain this data from the trucking company before it is destroyed.
- Witnesses. Witnesses to your crash can corroborate that the truck driver was speeding. If this person is an eyewitness you do not know and who has no stake in your claim, his testimony may be especially compelling.
- Accident reconstruction expert. You may need to hire an accident reconstruction expert who can create a reenactment of how your collision occurred to prove that the trucker’s excessive speed caused it.
- Logbook. Truck drivers are required to keep detailed logbooks on their trips of driving time, rest breaks, and other information under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. Your attorney may be able to use the logbook to help establish that the trucker must have been exceeding the speed limit.
The skilled truck accident lawyers at Tavss Fletcher will conduct a thorough investigation of the cause of your truck accident and collect the evidence you need to prove the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free confidential consultation today.
How much lost income can I recover after a car accident?
If another driver caused your auto crash, you are entitled to compensation for the wages you lost while you were off work recovering from your injuries, as well as your medical expenses and pain and suffering under Virginia law. Your lost income claim may include much more than just your wages.
Types of Lost Income Damages You Should Receive in Your Car Accident Settlement
You may be entitled to lost wages not only if you work full-time at a regular job, but also if you are a part-time worker, contract worker, seasonal worker, or are self-employed. Here are the types of lost income compensation you may be able to receive:
- Lost Wages. You are entitled to your past and future lost wages as part of your settlement.
- Lost sick and vacation time. You should be reimbursed for any sick time or vacation time you used at your job while you recovered from your injuries. Like lost wages, you can ask for past and future time that is lost.
- Lost perks and opportunities. If you are paid commissions, bonuses, or other perks of your job that you lost due to your car crash, you should receive these amounts in your settlement. You may also be compensated for lost opportunities, such as a promotion or raise at work.
- Lost earning capacity. If your injuries are serious enough, you may have to find a different type of job that pays less or may not be able to work at all. In this situation, you may be entitled to your lost earning capacity. Determining the value of this part of your claim can be extremely complicated, and you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to calculate this.
Documenting Your Lost Wage Claim
You will have the burden of proving the amount of lost income you should receive. Some of the evidence that can help you do this includes:
- Copies of your paystubs
- Copies of your income tax returns
- Letter or testimony by your employer
- Expert witness testimony, such as from an economic expert or physician
If a negligent driver caused your car accident in Norfolk, our skilled and dedicated lawyers can determine all the compensation you should receive in your settlement and fight to ensure that you receive it. To get started, fill out the online form on our website to schedule your free confidential consultation.
Will it help me to attend traffic school before my reckless driving hearing?
It may help you to avoid the harsh consequences you face if you attend traffic school before your court hearing in your reckless driving case. However, whether this will be beneficial will depend on your driving record and why you were charged with reckless driving.
What Is a Driving Improvement Course?
In a driver improvement class, you are taught defensive driving techniques that can help you avoid causing an accident. These courses are approximately eight hours, and they can be taken in a classroom or online. You must take an exam at the end of the class.
The cost of attending traffic school varies, but is generally less than $100. If you decide to enroll in a class before your reckless driving hearing, it is important to pick one on the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle’s list of approved clinics.
Ways That Attending a Driver Improvement Clinic Can Help You
An experienced traffic ticket lawyer can help you decide whether taking a driver improvement course before your reckless driving hearing is a good idea. Here are ways that it may help you:
- Reduced charges. The charges against you may be reduced or dismissed if you attend traffic school if you have no speeding tickets and this is your first reckless driving charge. In more serious cases, such as if you have a poor driving record, were driving at an excessive speed, or risked injuring someone, taking a driving improvement course can show the judge that you take your actions seriously.
- Reduce your DMV points. Successfully completing a traffic school class will result in a five point reduction in your DMV points. This will improve your DMV record and may help you when you are sentenced in your reckless driving case.
- Lower your insurance rates. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to reduce your auto insurance costs by attending a driver improvement class.
Have you been charged with reckless driving or another traffic offense in Norfolk? Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a member of our reckless driving legal team to learn about what you can expect in your criminal case and how we can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
What is the time period to sue in my motorcycle accident case?
The deadline to sue in a motorcycle accident case is also referred to as the statute of limitations and is a very important date to know when you are filing a claim for compensation against a negligent driver. This is more complicated in motorcycle crash cases because there are three time periods that you must understand and follow.
Deadline to File Your Lawsuit in Your Motorcycle Collision Case
You start your lawsuit against the at-fault motorist who caused your accident by filing a civil complaint in court. The time period you have to do this will depend on the type of compensation you are seeking. Here are the statute of limitations rules that you must comply with:
- Personal injuries. The deadline to file your lawsuit for personal injuries is two years from the date of your collision.
- Property damage. You have five years from the date of the accident to sue the other driver for property damage to your motorcycle and any other damaged property.
- Wrongful death. You must file a wrongful death action if a family member died in the motorcycle crash. You have two years from the date of your loved one’s death—not the accident date—to file your lawsuit.
What Happens If You Sue After the Time Period Has Expired?
You waive your right to sue if you miss the deadline to do so under Virginia law. If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the insurance company for the negligent driver would raise this as a defense and ask that your case be dismissed. The judge most likely would grant the motion and dismiss your lawsuit.
Why You Don’t Want to Wait to Retain an Attorney Following a Motorcycle Crash
Even if you have plenty of time before the time period to sue expires, one of your first steps should be to retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. If you wait to hire him, you make it more difficult for him to thoroughly investigate the cause of your crash. For example, witnesses may have disappeared or their memories could have faded. In addition, you may make mistakes that hurt your case if you do not have an attorney advising you right away.
At Tavss Fletcher, our skilled legal team has decades of experience helping victims of motorcycle accidents in Norfolk. We are committed to fighting so that you are fully compensated for your injuries. Call our office to schedule a free consultation today.
The insurance company is offering me a quick settlement of my car accident claim. Should I take it?
You may be surprised at how quickly the negligent driver’s insurance company contacts you after your car accident—maybe even before you leave the hospital. If the insurance adjuster seems concerned about your health and offers you a quick settlement, you may be tempted to accept it. However, this is rarely in your best interests.
Three Reasons Not to Accept a Quick Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company
While some insurance companies will try to treat accident victims fairly, many insurance adjusters offer quick settlements to save money for the insurance company. Here are the reasons why you should not accept it:
#1: You Don’t Know the Seriousness of Your Injuries
You are entitled to be compensated for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in your settlement. Right after your car accident, it is impossible to know how serious your injuries are, the treatments you will need, and your long-term prognosis. It is best to wait until you have recovered fully, or as much as possible, to settle your claim so that all your future damages are included in your settlement.
#2: The Settlement Offer May Be Too Low
When an insurance company offers you a fast settlement, they are most likely offering you less than you deserve and are hoping that you will just accept it without first consulting with an experienced car accident attorney. However, it is never a good idea to agree to a settlement with the insurance company without first consulting with a lawyer to ensure that you receive all that you are entitled to.
#3: Settlements Are Final
Once you agree to settle your claim with the insurance company, your settlement is final. If you later discover that your injuries are more serious than you thought or that you suffered permanent disabilities that prevent you from returning to work, you cannot reopen your settlement and ask for more money.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, resist the temptation to try to settle your claim on your own or to accept the insurance company’s first offer without consulting with a lawyer. Our skilled car accident legal team is here to protect your interests and will fight to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
How do I change my name after a divorce?
In Virginia, you can change your name, both in your divorce proceedings and afterward, to your maiden or another name that you used prior to your marriage. You do not need to get your spouse’s consent to change your name.
Changing Your Name in Your Divorce
As part of your divorce proceedings, you can request that your name be changed. You must request this in your initial divorce pleadings or orally at your final hearing on your judgement of divorce. The judge can change your name back to a name you used prior to your marriage.
How to Change Your Name After Your Divorce Is Finalized
If you decide to change your name after your divorce has been completed, you can still do this without your ex-spouse’s permission. You must have lived in Virginia for six months to qualify. You would need to follow these steps:
- Complete Virginia’s “Application for Name Change” form.
- Have your signature on the form notarized.
- Gather the required documents that support your application. This includes your marriage certificate, birth certificate, and divorce judgment.
- File your application and supporting documents in the Virginia Circuit Court near where you live. You will also have to pay a filing fee.
- The court may grant your application automatically if the judge is satisfied that you met the requirements for a name change. However, you could be required to attend a hearing before your application is approved.
What to Do After your Name Change Is Completed
Once your name has legally been changed, you can begin using it. You will also need to notify others of your new name. Some parties that you should be sure to inform include:
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Social Security Administration
- Your bank
- Your retirement and other investment accounts
- Your credit card company
- Your health, auto, and home insurance companies
- Your utility companies, such as electric, phone, water, and cable
Do you have questions about changing your name or other aspects of your divorce? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our family law legal team.
How do I get access to video footage that shows my slip and fall accident?
Many grocery stores, malls, restaurants, parking lots, and other properties use surveillance cameras. Security camera footage can be strong evidence that can help you prove the owner’s negligence in causing your slip and fall or other premises liability accident. It can also assist you in refuting arguments by the insurance company that you were at fault in causing your injuries. However, you need to act quickly to collect this important evidence.
How to Get Surveillance Video Footage
Unfortunately, the business or property owner most likely will not voluntarily give you the surveillance tape if you ask for it, especially if they know that you were injured in an accident. Here is what you need to do to get it:
- Retain an attorney. You should hire an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible after your accident. He can send the negligent owner a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and demanding a copy of the video footage. He will also advise them not to destroy the video in his letter.
- File a lawsuit. Unfortunately, some managers and property owners will ignore a spoliation letter and refuse to turn over the footage or destroy it. In this situation, you would need to file a lawsuit quickly and ask the court to issue a subpoena ordering the negligent party to provide you with the surveillance footage. If it has been destroyed, the owner could face harsh consequences, such as a finding that they were negligent in causing your accident.
How Long Is Surveillance Footage Kept?
There is no law dictating how long a business or property owner must keep video footage. Many security cameras are digital and run on a loop, which means that old footage is recorded over after a period of time. The re-recording can occur daily or every few days or weeks depending on the system used.
Because of this, you should report your accident right after it occurs to put the owner on notice of your accident and claim. You also need to retain a lawyer as soon as possible to take steps to preserve this evidence on your behalf.
The experienced premises liability lawyers at Tavss Fletcher understand the importance of conducting a thorough investigation and preserving evidence, such as surveillance footage. To learn about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Can the insurance company for the trucking company spy on me if I file a claim for compensation following a truck accident?
When you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a truck accident, you expect the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company to treat you fairly, settle your claim promptly, and pay you what you deserve in your settlement. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will do the opposite and try to deny or reduce your claim. One of the tactics they may employ to fight your claim is to spy on you.
Reasons Insurance Companies Engage in Surveillance
The insurance company may engage in surveillance on their own or could hire a private investigator to do this for them. Reasons that they may have you watched include:
- They want to verify the seriousness of your injuries.
- They want to catch you doing an activity that you should not be able to do given your injuries.
- They want to find statements that you have made that are inconsistent with what you told them about the accident. They are also looking for statements you made admitting fault in causing the accident or that show that your injuries are less serious than you claim.
Types of Surveillance Used by Insurance Companies
The insurance company could engage in surveillance at any time while your claim is being resolved. Times when it may be more likely is right before your deposition or jury trial or when you go to doctor appointments. However, you should always be prepared for the company to spy on you.
There are a number of ways that the insurance company may surveil you. Here are some common ways:
- Videotape and photographs. The insurance company can hire a private investigator to follow you around in public places and photograph or videotape you. The investigator may use a surveillance team and different vehicles to try to hide the fact that they are spying on you.
- Social media sites. The insurance adjuster could conduct a search of your social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, at various times while your claim is being resolved. He may be looking for photographs, your location, and information you share with friends and family to use against you when deciding your claim.
- Internet. The insurance company may do a general Internet search to find articles about you, your blog or website, and comments that you make on other individual’s blogs or websites that weakens your claim.
- Background check. The insurance adjuster, their attorney, or their private investigator may conduct a thorough background check to try to find damaging information about you. This can include where you live, your vehicles, property you own, your criminal record, and driving record and offenses.
What Should You Do If You Suspect That the Insurance Company Is Spying on You?
If you believe that the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company is surveilling you, you should watch what you say, what you do, and where you go. You should also not post anything about your accident or your injuries to any social media sites while your claim is pending. Be careful about sharing anything about yourself that could be misconstrued.
If you have retained an experienced truck accident attorney, you should discuss your concerns with him and obtain advice on what you can do to protect yourself. If you have not hired a lawyer, you should do so immediately. To learn how we can help you, call our Norfolk office today to take advantage of our free, no-obligation consultation.
Do I need to call the police after a car accident even if I don’t think anyone was injured?
In almost every auto crash, it is best to call the police at the scene of the accident. The only time when you can consider not taking this important step is if your collision was a minor fender bender where no one suffered any injuries and your vehicle needs no repairs. In any other situation, you should call 911 to protect your legal rights down the road.
When Does Virginia Law Require You to Stop and Call the Police After a Crash?
Under Virginia law, motorists have certain duties when involved in an auto wreck if it resulted in an injury or death or damage to a vehicle or other property. These obligations include:
- Stopping immediately as close to the collision scene without blocking traffic
- Providing reasonable medical care to anyone injured in the accident
- Reporting the crash to the State Police or the local law enforcement agency
- Exchanging contact information, such as names, addresses, driver’s licenses number, and registration number with the other motorist involved in the wreck
Three Reasons to Call the Police Even If You Did Not Suffer Injuries
There are a number of ways that contacting the police can be useful if you later discover that you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s or your insurance company. Here is why it is best to call 911:
You May Suffer Hidden Injuries or Discover More Damage to Your Vehicle
The symptoms of some injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, back injuries, and internal organ damage, may not become apparent for days or longer after your collision. In addition, you may plan not to file a claim for the repair costs to your vehicle only to discover that the bill will be much higher than you thought. If either of these situations arises, you will have a stronger claim if you call 911 right after your crash.
You Need the Police Report If You File an Insurance Claim
If you later decide to file a claim with your insurance company or the negligent driver’s insurance company, the claims adjuster will want a copy of the police report to review as part of the investigation of your claim. While you still can recover compensation for your injuries and property damage without it, you avoid potential disputes that can weaken your case by contacting law enforcement at the accident scene.
You Preserve Important Evidence
When you call the police, they will investigate the accident scene and write a police report. This can provide you with crucial evidence you can use to prove the other driver’s negligence in causing your accident, such as:
- Other motorist’s statement to the police
- Witness contact information and statements
- Narration of how the collision occurred
- Officer’s conclusions as to who caused the accident
- Any traffic citations issued
- Diagrams of the accident scene
- Pictures of the scene, damage to the vehicles, and more
Do you or a family member need to file a claim for compensation following an auto collision? The experienced car accident attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to file your claim, collect the evidence you need, and negotiate your settlement so that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to get started.
How soon after my truck accident should I see a doctor?
You should be examined by a physician soon after your truck collision. You need to do this even if you believe that you sustained no or minor injuries. There are three very important reasons why this is so important.
Reason #1: You Protect Your Health
If you suffered obvious injuries, you hopefully know to seek immediate medical care. However, you may not realize that you suffered injuries for days or longer after your accident.
Adrenaline can mask the symptoms of injuries. In addition, the symptoms of some injuries, such as spinal injuries, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, can take days, weeks, or longer to develop. You protect your health and avoid a possible medical emergency by being examined by a doctor right away.
Reason #2: You Document Your Injuries
When you are examined by your doctor or in the emergency room, medical records will be created. You can use them to document that you were injured in your truck accident. In addition, if you seek prompt medical care, it can be easier for you to prove the connection between your crash and your injuries.
Reason #3: You Avoid Disputes With the Insurance Company
One of the biggest mistakes that truck accident victims make is to delay seeking medical care. The insurance company for the trucker and trucking company may use this fact to deny or reduce your claim. Here are two common arguments the insurance adjuster could make:
- Your injuries were caused by another incident and not the truck accident.
- Your injuries are really not that serious or you would have been treated by a doctor sooner.
How Soon Is Soon Enough to Seek Medical Care?
If you did not suffer apparent injuries that require immediate care, you should be seen by a physician within a reasonable amount of time after your crash. Insurance companies often consider 72 hours to be reasonable. Avoid jeopardizing your health or your claim for compensation by seeing a doctor no later than 72 hours after your collision if at all possible.
Pursing a claim for compensation following a truck accident is complicated. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will aggressively fight for the compensation that you deserve from the negligent trucker and trucking company. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your legal rights.
What is a release of all claims form in my car accident claim?
After you reach a settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company, they will not just write you a check for what you are owed. You will need to complete a number of steps to finalize your settlement. An important step in the process is for you to sign a release.
What You Need to Know About Signing a Release of All Claims Form
The insurance adjuster will send you a release form to sign before issuing your check. This is a legal document where you agree to accept the settlement amount. In exchange for your payment, you agree not to pursue any other legal action against the insurance company or the negligent driver for damages associated with your car accident.
Each insurance company will use its own release of all claims form. However, there are some basic clauses in most releases. Here are four important clauses that you need to understand:
- Waiving right to future payments. When signing the release, you are releasing the insurance company and negligent driver from the obligation to pay you additional compensation for your injuries. This means that if your injuries later worsen that you cannot pursue an additional claim for damage.
- Giving up the right to sue. By signing the release, you are waiving the right to sue the at-fault driver and his insurance company for injuries you sustained in this accident.
- Not admitting of fault. Another common clause in a release of claims form provides that the insurance company and negligent driver are not admitting any fault by settling your claim. This will not affect the amount of your settlement.
- The entire agreement. At the end of the release form, there is often a clause that the release is the entire agreement between the parties. This means that you agree that the insurance company did not make any other promises to you that are not contained in the release.
It is crucial to read the release carefully and have it reviewed by an experienced car accident attorney before signing it to protect your legal rights.
If you were injured in a car accident in Norfolk, let the skilled and dedicated lawyers at Tavss Fletcher file your claim and negotiate your settlement so that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free consultation.
Can I be charged with reckless driving in Virginia if I live in another state?
Unfortunately, you can be charged with reckless driving in Virginia even if you are an out-of-state resident driving in our commonwealth. Whether you’re here on business, vacation, or commuting to your job—reckless driving is a serious offense in Virginia that is aggressively prosecuted and carries stiff penalties upon conviction. If you live in another state and are charged with this offense, it is crucial to retain an experienced reckless driving attorney in Virginia as soon as possible.
Why You Need to Take Reckless Driving Charges Seriously If You’re an Out-of-State Resident
There are at least 15 separate violations that are considered reckless driving in the Commonwealth of Virginia. While some involve speeding over 80 miles per hour or 20 miles over the posted speed limit, others are for offenses that are often minor traffic infractions in other states, such as failing to yield the right away or not using a turn signal.
If you have been charged with reckless driving and live in another state, you still need to take these charges seriously. Here are some important reasons why:
- Misdemeanor offense. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense. You will have a permanent criminal record if convicted that can affect your employment prospects, security clearance, ability to obtain a loan, and more.
- Harsh penalties. If convicted, you could be sentenced up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Your driver’s license may also be suspended for up to six months, and six demerit points would be added to your driving record, which could increase your auto insurance costs for many years.
- Required court hearing. Reckless driving is not like a traffic ticket where you can just plead guilty and pay a fine. In Virginia, you must attend a court hearing when charged with this offense. However, if you retain an experienced reckless driving attorney, he may be able to attend the hearing on your behalf.
- Interstate compact. Most states participate in the Interstate Driver License Compact where they share information about traffic offenses and treat traffic violation convictions and punishments the same as if they occurred in their state. Virginia is part of this compact and would forward information about your reckless driving offense to the state where you live.
We Represent Out-of-State Residents Facing Reckless Driving Charges
If you live in another state and have been charged with reckless driving in Norfolk, the experienced reckless driving attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to mount a strong defense to the charges you face so that you achieve the best possible outcome. To learn more about your options, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
What factors affect the value of my premises liability claim?
If you were injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you are entitled to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the negligent business or property owner. However, determining the value of your claim and what you can realistically expect to receive in a settlement or at a jury trial is more complicated than adding up the amount of your damages.
Factors That Can Increase or Decrease the Amount of Your Settlement
Every premises liability case is different, and a claim’s value will be based on the unique circumstances surrounding the accident and the victim’s injuries. However, there are common factors that can increase or decrease the value of a claim. Here are some top factors that may affect the amount of compensation you receive in your settlement.
The Liability of the Negligent Party
You must prove the business or property owner’s negligence in causing your accident in order to be entitled to compensation for your injuries. When you have strong proof that they were at fault, this will increase the value of the claim. If there are legitimate disputes about liability, this may weaken your claim and the amount you can realistically expect to receive in your settlement.
The Seriousness of Your Injuries
If you suffered a more severe or permanent injury, such as traumatic brain injury, back injury, spinal injury, or paralysis, you will need more long-term, expensive medical treatments, be off work for longer—if you can return at all—and have more serious limitations in your day-to-day life. This can increase the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to and increase the overall value of your case.
The Percentage of Fault for the Accident
If you were partially at fault in causing your accident, this may significantly reduce what you can receive in your settlement. Virginia follows the harsh contributory negligence doctrine that bars an accident victim who was at all at fault from receiving any compensation.
However, just because the insurance company claims that you were partially to blame for your injuries does not mean that it is true. This is a common insurance tactic used to deny or reduce legitimate claims for compensation.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident in Norfolk, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the true value of your claim and to fight the negligent party’s insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Take advantage of our free consultation to learn how we can assist you. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your appointment.
When can a shipper and broker be liable in a truck accident?
If you were injured in a truck collision, there may be additional parties responsible for compensating you in addition to the negligent truck driver and trucking company. Pursuing claims against all negligent parties increases the likelihood that you will receive the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. Two important parties that you do not want to overlook are the shipper and broker.
When Could a Broker Be Liable to Compensate You?
A broker is a middle man that works with the commercial trucking company and the shipper to arrange for the transportation of the goods. Brokers have a duty to review the safety record of the trucking company and truckers they are contracting with. If they failed to do so in your case, you may have a negligent hiring claim against them.
When Can a Shipper Be Found Negligent?
Like a broker, the shipper has a duty to screen the trucking company and truck drivers they contract with to transport their goods. However, they are often looking for the least expensive way to ship their products so they may select cheaper commercial fleets who cut corners on safety or overlook safety violations in an effort to save money. This may be one way the shipper was negligent in causing your truck accident.
In addition, the shipper may have been directly involved in the loading process. Ways that their negligence may have caused your accident include:
- Providing improper instructions to the carrier or the truck driver on how to secure or load the goods
- Improperly loading the goods
- Failing to properly secure the load
If you were injured in a truck crash that was caused by a negligent truck driver, our experienced truck accident attorneys can thoroughly investigate its cause and identify all liable parties. To find out more about how we can help and your right to compensation for your injuries, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free case evaluation today.
How long will it take to receive my check after I settle my car accident claim?
Once the negligent driver’s insurance company finally agrees to settle your claim, you are most likely anxious to receive your payment and get on with your life. However, the final settlement process is not as simple as the insurance company mailing your check to your lawyer or you. Understanding how it really works can help you be patient while the final steps in your case are being completed.
Final Stages in Completing Your Settlement
It will generally take four to six weeks to finalize your settlement. Here are some of the steps you will need to go through before you receive your check:
- Release. Before the insurance company will send you a check, they will require you to sign a release form. In the release, you waive your right to pursue any other legal action against the negligent driver and his insurance company in exchange for your payment. Your attorney will review this document carefully and may negotiate certain terms in it to protect your legal rights.
- Issuance of the check. Once the insurance company receives your signed release, the adjuster will request that your check be issued. Depending on the company’s policies, it could take a week or more before your check is written and mailed to your attorney.
- Deposit in a client trust account. Your lawyer will deposit the settlement check into a client trust account. He will need to wait for the check to clear before proceeding.
- Payment of liens. Before sending you what you are owed, your attorney will pay any medical liens and other bills owed. He may negotiate settlements to reduce what you owe before making any payments, which can take time—but clearly benefits you.
- Attorney fees and costs. Your lawyer will also deduct any litigation costs, such as medical record copies, expert witness fees, and depositions, and his attorney fees from your settlement proceeds. Once this has been completed, he will issue a check out of the client trust account for what you are owed. Your case is now officially completed.
You should not agree to a settlement or go through the process of completing the settlement process without the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney. To learn how we can help, fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation today.
How long will a DUI conviction stay on my criminal record in Virginia?
DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia depending on the circumstances of your arrest and whether this a first or subsequent offense. If convicted, your DUI would be on your criminal record and could be discovered by employers, landlords, lenders, and others conducting a criminal background check. Unlike other states, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be very long-term in Virginia.
How Long a DUI Remains on Your Criminal Record
A DUI conviction in the Commonwealth of Virginia can affect two types of records: your criminal record and your driving record. Unfortunately, a DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record permanently. The ability to obtain an expungement, which is the removal of an offense from your criminal record, is very limited. You may only be entitled to an expungement in these situations:
- The charges were dropped.
- The DUI case against you was dismissed.
- You were found not guilty of DUI.
How Long Does a DUI Conviction Stay on Your DMV Record?
A DUI conviction will also have long-term consequences on your driving record. You will have your conviction on your DMV record for 11 years and will have six points added on your driving record. This can result in a substantial increase in your auto insurance rates for many years after you complete your sentence.
Our Experienced DUI Defense Attorneys Can Help
If you have been charged with DUI in Norfolk, you cannot afford just to plead guilty and accept your punishment given the long-term consequences of a conviction. You may have defenses to the charges you face—even if you know you are guilty.
Our experienced DUI defense lawyers can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face so that they are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you and what you can expect in your case. Call our office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule an appointment today.
What parties could be responsible if I injured myself in a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk?
If you suffered injuries in a fall on a sidewalk in Norfolk, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, you will need to identify the party responsible for the sidewalk’s maintenance, which can be complicated if you do not have the assistance of an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer.
Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall on a Sidewalk?
All property owners and businesses have a duty to maintain their properties—and their sidewalks—in a safe condition and to post warning signs of hazardous conditions. In some cities and municipalities, a local ordinance will place additional duties—such as to remove snow and ice from sidewalks within a certain time—on the owner of the property that may have been breached in a slip and fall accident. In other situations, public sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the local government.
Because of this, there are a number of parties who may face liability when a slip and fall accident occurs on a sidewalk. They include:
- Property owner or business. When a property owner or business has a duty to maintain the sidewalk, they can face liability if repairs are not made, snow and ice are not removed promptly, or other hazards are not taken care of. This can be true even if the sidewalk is on public property if a city or municipal ordinance places additional duties on the owner.
- Lessee. If a business leases their commercial space, the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance may be on the business instead of the owner. Landlords may also include a provision in their apartment and home leases requiring the tenant to maintain the sidewalk in some fashion. Whenever a property is leased, the lease will need to be reviewed in order to determine whether the owner or lessee is the negligent party.
- Homeowner’s association. In some residential neighborhoods, a homeowner’s association is responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in the subdivision. In this situation, a claim would need to be filed against their insurance company if their breach of duty caused your fall.
- Government. If a city or municipality was responsible for sidewalk maintenance and repair where you fell, your claim will be more complicated. There are special notice and other procedural rules that must be followed when pursuing a claim against a local government.
Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a fall on a sidewalk in Norfolk? Our experienced slip and fall accident attorneys can help you determine who is liable for compensating you and will fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your legal options, fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Should I sign a medical authorization in my truck accident case?
When you file a claim for compensation following a truck accident, the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company will request your medical records when evaluating your claim. The adjuster may ask you to sign a medical authorization for release of information to obtain these records. However, this request is anything but innocent and signing this document could significantly hurt your claim.
Three Reasons You Should Not Sign an Insurance Company’s Medical Release
A medical authorization form gives the insurance company permission to obtain and review your medical records. The problem with the medical release form that insurance companies use is that they are blanket authorizations that often give them access to ALL of your medical records when they truly only need those that pertain to your injuries from your accident. Here’s how allowing them this unlimited access can hurt your case:
- Provides ammunition. By giving the insurance company all your medical records, you give them ammunition to try to deny or reduce your claim. For example, the insurance company may use records regarding pre-existing injuries to the same body part to argue that your current injuries were caused by your prior ones and not the truck accident.
- Invades your privacy. A blanket medical release gives the insurance adjuster access to sensitive, private information about you that has no bearing on your claim. You are not required to allow the insurance adjuster to invade your privacy in order to receive the compensation that you deserve.
- Gives incomplete information. If the insurance adjuster has you sign a release soon after your accident, the medical records that he obtains will be incomplete. You are just beginning your medical treatment for your injuries and do not yet know how serious they are, the treatments you will need, and whether you will make a full recovery. It is better to wait until you have fully recovered or recovered as much as you will to provide necessary medical records and settle your case to ensure that you receive what you deserve.
How to Handle the Insurance Company’s Request for a Medical Release
Ideally, you will have already retained an experienced truck accident attorney. If not, you should immediately hire a lawyer. He can contact the insurance company on your behalf and provide them with the medical records they need without you signing this form. To get the legal assistance you need in filing a claim for compensation after your truck accident, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free case evaluation.