Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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Will my car accident attorney deal with the insurance company for me?
Dealing with a negligent driver’s insurance company can be a frustrating experience if you suffer injuries and are handling your claim on your own. It is strongly preferable to retain an experienced car accident lawyer who will take over negotiations with the insurance company.
Reasons Not to Deal With the Insurance Company on Your Own
Even if you have a strong claim against the at-fault driver, you cannot count on the insurance company to treat you fairly. An insurance company will often do everything they can to weaken your case so they can deny your claim or force you to accept less damages in your settlement. Ways they do this if you do not have a lawyer include:
- Offer you a low-ball settlement offer
- Get you to make a statement that hurts your claim
- Ask you to sign documents that waive your rights
- Get you to give a recorded statement
- Drag out settlement negotiations in hopes that you will miss the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit
How Having an Attorney Communicate With the Insurance Company Can Help You
You should retain a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. Here is how having a lawyer take over communications with the insurance adjuster can help you:
- Avoid mistakes. Having an attorney talk to the insurance adjuster on your behalf will help you avoid costly mistakes, such as making an admission of guilt or signing a medical release, that can hurt your case.
- Collect evidence. Your lawyer will collect the evidence you need to prove the other motorist’s fault in causing your auto crash, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. This will strengthen your case and help convince the insurance company to offer you a fair settlement.
- Negotiate your settlement. Your attorney would negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. They will have strategies and evidence to defeat the adjuster’s bogus arguments to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve.
- Litigate your claim. If your lawyer determines that the insurance company is not being reasonable or the statute of limitations to file your complaint will expire soon, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your claim.
Were you injured in an auto collision in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our dedicated car accident lawyers are here to explain your options to you and take over all communications with the insurance company. Call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.
Should I hire a private attorney or use a public defender?
#1: Public Defenders Have High Caseloads
Public defenders are very knowledgeable in criminal defense law and are hardworking. However, they have high caseloads and are often overworked. Here is how it could affect their representation of you:
- They would have less time to devote to your case and defending you.
- They may make more mistakes in your case than a private lawyer.
- They may be more likely to recommend you take a plea agreement to resolve your case and reduce their caseload.
#2: You Can Choose Which Private Attorney to Hire
You have a constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer in a criminal case, and the court would appoint someone to represent you if you cannot afford to hire one. You would have no say in the public defender they would choose. However, if you hire your own attorney, you could select the one you believe is experienced in criminal defense and will look out for your best interests when defending you.
#3: A Private Attorney Has More Time and Resources to Devote to Your Case
Private criminal defense lawyers often have a smaller caseload than public defenders. They can give them more time to investigate the prosecutor’s case against you and mount an aggressive defense strategy. They will also likely have other staff to assist them in your defense.
#4: You Are Likely to Achieve a Better Outcome
You are much more likely to achieve a better outcome in your criminal case if you hire a private lawyer. They will often fight harder to get the charges dismissed or reduced through a favorable plea agreement.
Our skilled criminal defense lawyers are here to defend you if you are facing criminal charges in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas. Fill out our convenient online form or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more about how we can help you and what you can expect in your criminal case.
What factors could affect the value of my motorcycle accident claim?
Why is this true? It is because each case has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are the factors you need to know about that could affect the value of your claim.
#1: At-Fault Driver’s Actions
The negligent actions of the other motorist could have an impact on how much your claim is worth. If they were driving at an excessive speed, such as 90 or 100 miles per hour, or were drunk or high on drugs when they caused your crash, this could increase your claim’s value. You may even be entitled to punitive damages if their actions were especially egregious.
#2: Severity of Your Injuries
If you suffered a long-term injury, such as internal organ damage, spinal injuries, or a traumatic brain injury, you could need medical treatments for the rest of your life. You may need to take off work for an extended period of time—if you are not permanently disabled. This can significantly increase the value of your claim.
#3: Amount of Insurance Coverage
The amount of insurance coverage available to compensate you will have a direct bearing on the value of your claim. The negligent driver’s insurance company is only responsible for compensating you up to the motorist's insurance coverage limits.
If this is insufficient to compensate you fully, you may be able to file a claim under your own underinsured insurance coverage if you purchased it. However, your insurance company would also only have to pay you up to your insurance coverage limit. If there is not much insurance coverage, this will reduce the value of your claim.
#4: Your Own Fault
Another factor that profoundly impacts the value of your claim is your degree of fault in causing the motorcycle accident. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that would prohibit you from recovering any damages if you were even one percent to blame for the collision.
#5: Your Actions After the Motorcycle Accident
The actions you take right after your motorcycle crash will also affect the strength of your case. If you want to have a strong claim against the negligent driver, you should take these five actions right away:
- Contact the police at the scene and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Take pictures of the collision scene, damage to the other vehicle and your motorcycle, and your injuries.
- Get the contact information for the motorist, their insurance company, and eyewitnesses.
- Obtain prompt medical care within 72 hours even if you believe you were not hurt or that your injuries are minor.
- Retain a skilled motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
Were you injured in a motorcycle crash in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are here to fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
What does “open and obvious” mean in a premises liability case?
It can be difficult to prove your right to compensation for your injuries in a premises liability accident. You must show that the business or property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition to hold them liable.
Your claim can be even more complicated if the insurance company tries to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve in your settlement—which is common in these types of cases. The insurance company may try to do this by arguing that the hazardous condition was “open and obvious.”
What Is the Open and Obvious Defense?
If a dangerous condition is open and obvious, this means that the victim should have seen the hazard and avoided it. When raising this defense, the insurance company would be claiming that the victim was wholly or partially negligent in causing their injuries. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence rule that prohibits anyone from obtaining compensation if they were at fault—even just one percent to blame.
Whether a condition is open and obvious will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and what a reasonable person would do. The court would consider the dangerous condition and whether a person of reasonable intelligence would have noticed it and avoided it.
Even if the insurance company successfully argues that the condition was open and obvious, there may be exceptions where this defense would not apply.
Exceptions to the Open and Obvious Defense
- Negligence per se. In some cases, the business or property owner could be automatically negligent under the negligence per se doctrine. This exception would often apply in premises liability cases if the owner violated a building code.
- Distraction. If the owner should expect that individuals would be too distracted to discover an obvious danger, they could still face liability for a victim’s injuries.
- Expectation of harm. The owner can also be held responsible if they should reasonably expect that an open and obvious hazard could harm someone. In this situation, they would be required to promptly correct the problem or post a sign warning of the danger.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident and want to obtain all the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law, you need the help of an experienced premises liability attorney. To find out how we can assist you, contact us online or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
Does the attorney-client privilege protect me when filing a car accident claim?
If you were injured in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver in Virginia, you are much more likely to obtain all the compensation you deserve for your injuries if you hire a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to settle your claim. An added benefit of retaining an attorney is that the attorney-client privilege would protect your conversations with them.
What Is the Attorney-Client Privilege?
The attorney-client privilege protects your communications with your lawyer, and they are not allowed to share your conversations with them with other individuals. It protects your communications through in-person appointments, phone calls, texts, emails, and correspondence. For your communications to be protected, these requirements must be met:
- There must be an attorney-client relationship between you and your lawyer, and you both must understand that this relationship exists between you.
- Your attorney acted in their official capacity as your lawyer when you communicated with them.
- You were communicating with your attorney to obtain legal advice from them.
- You expected the communications to be confidential.
What Are the Benefits of the Attorney-Client Privilege?
When the attorney-client privilege protects your communications with your lawyer, it will give you the freedom to discuss any potential problems, questions, or concerns you have with them. This helps you learn how specific issues could affect your claim’s strength while knowing that what you say will not be disclosed to others, such as the insurance company.
This also helps your lawyer. They need to know everything about how your car accident occurred, your injuries, and potential problems in your case to effectively represent you. They will be better prepared to deal with an issue if the insurance adjuster raises it to try to deny your claim or reduce the compensation the insurance company pays you.
Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company for your injuries in an auto crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced car accident lawyers are here to explain your options to you and fight with the insurance company for all the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form.
What happens if the negligent driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate me?
How Much Liability Insurance Must Motorists Carry in Virginia?
Like other states, drivers in Virginia must purchase a certain amount of liability insurance coverage to compensate victims of a collision they cause. Drivers are required to carry these minimum limits:
- $30,000 for the injury or death of one person or $60,000 for the injury or death of more than one person per accident
- $20,000 in property damages per collision
Options for Recovering Damages Under Your Own Insurance Policy
If the negligent driver only had the minimum insurance required under Virginia law, it would be insufficient to compensate you for all your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering—even if you suffered a relatively minor injury. Depending on the motorcycle insurance optional coverages you purchased, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. Types of coverage that could help you include:
- Collision. Collision coverage would pay to repair or replace your motorcycle.
- Towing and labor. This insurance coverage could cover the costs of towing your motorcycle or fixing a minor repair, such as a flat tire, caused by the collision.
- Income loss. If you suffer serious injuries that require you to be off work, you can file a claim for your lost wages if you purchased income loss benefits.
- Underinsured coverage. One of the best options for recovering compensation would be to file a claim under your underinsurance coverage. This optional insurance would pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering not covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company up to the amount of coverage you purchased.
Can You Sue the Other Driver?
Another option is to file a lawsuit against the negligent motorist and obtain a judgment against them. However, it is unlikely that the driver would have sufficient assets to pay you the total amount they owe you. Depending on their financial situation, the judge could allow them to make small payments to you over time.
You need the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to determine all your options for recovering the damages you deserve if the negligent driver was underinsured. To find out how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
How much is my dog bite claim worth?
- The amount of compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law
- How certain factors could increase or decrease your claim’s value
Types of Compensation You Can Recover in a Dog Bite Case
If a dog bit you, you are entitled to your past and future damages. Compensation you should receive in your settlement includes:
- Medical expenses, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, and medications
- Lost wages, benefits, and perks of your job, and lost earning capacity damages if you are permanently disabled
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress damages
- Property damages
Factors That Can Affect Your Claim’s Value
Certain factors can strengthen your dog bite claim and make its value higher. Other ones can weaken your case and reduce its value. Here are factors you need to consider when valuing your claim:
- Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries that will require long-term care or are permanent, the value of your claim will be higher because you will be entitled to more compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Disputes with the insurance company. If the insurance company raises legitimate concerns about the dog owner’s liability or the seriousness of your injuries, this could reduce the value of your claim. However, you need to be wary when they raise issues because they may be using bogus arguments to deny your claim or try to get you to accept less in damages for your settlement.
- Your fault. If you were partially at fault for causing the dog to bite you, this could significantly weaken your case. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that would bar you from recovering any compensation if you were even one percent to blame for the attack.
Let Our Norfolk Attorneys Help You Value Your Claim
The best way to accurately determine how much your claim is worth is to hire an experienced dog bite attorney to value it for you. They will also collect the evidence you need to hold the dog owner and other liable parties responsible for compensating you and fight with their insurance company so that you receive what you are entitled to in your settlement. To find out how we can help, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.
I was in a truck accident that was not my fault. Can I file a claim with the trucker and trucking company’s insurance company if I didn’t have auto insurance?
What Are Your Options for Recovering Compensation?
Virginia is a fault state. This means that you must prove that the truck driver and trucking company were negligent in causing your truck collision to have a right to damages from them. Assuming that you can prove this, the fact that you did not have auto insurance at the time of your crash should not impact your right to seek the compensation you deserve. You have two ways to accomplish this:
- File a claim. Your first step would be to file a claim with their insurance company and negotiate a settlement with them. It is best to hire a skilled truck accident lawyer to file your claim and negotiate your settlement so you are not taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster and receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law.
- File a lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement or the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit will expire soon, you will need to file a civil complaint and litigate your claim. You will need an attorney licensed to practice law in Virginia to file your lawsuit for you.
If you had insurance, you might be able to file a claim with your own insurance company under collision, uninsured, or underinsured coverage if you did not receive a full recovery from the insurance company for the trucker and trucking company. Unfortunately, this would not be an option if you were uninsured.
Were you injured in a truck crash that was not your fault in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Was your car uninsured? Our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to collect the evidence you need to win your case and fight for your right to damages for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you by calling our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or filling out our convenient online form.
Who is liable for compensating me for my injuries in a car accident—the driver or the owner?
Your claim for compensation for your injuries is more complicated if the driver of the auto that struck yours was not its owner. In Virginia, the negligent motorist is responsible for compensating you if you were hurt in the car accident. However, you may also have a claim against the vehicle’s owner.
Which Insurance Company Should You File a Claim With If a Non-Owner Caused Your Auto Crash?
A car insurance policy attaches to a vehicle and its driver. This means that the owner’s insurance company would be primarily responsible for paying you the damages you deserve if they gave the driver permission to use their car. You could also file a claim with the driver’s insurance company if the owner’s coverage was insufficient to compensate you fully.
How to Hold the Owner Responsible for Your Injuries
Although the owner’s insurance policy would cover your auto wreck even if they were not in the vehicle, they would not be personally responsible for compensating you unless you could pursue a negligent entrustment claim against them. The owner could be liable if you can prove the following:
- The driver had the express or implied consent of the owner to use their vehicle.
- The owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to the driver. To establish this, you would need to show that they knew or should have known that allowing the driver to drive their car created an unreasonable risk of harm to others because the driver was unable to operate the motor vehicle safely.
- The negligent entrustment of the car was the direct cause of your injuries.
Were you injured in a car accident where the negligent driver was not the motor vehicle owner? You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who will identify all the negligent parties responsible for compensating you and fight with their insurance companies so you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement. If your collision was in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.
Should I hire a lawyer in the state where my slip and fall accident occurred?
However, it can be confusing to know whether to hire an attorney in the state where you live or in Virginia where your accident occurred. Here are four reasons you should retain a lawyer in our Commonwealth.
Why it Is Best to Retain a Local Attorney
There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer in the state where your slip and fall accident occurred. They include:
- Licensed in Virginia. While many slip and fall claims are settled out of court, not all are. Only a lawyer licensed to practice law in Virginia can file your lawsuit for you and litigate your claim.
- Knowledge of the law. Your right to compensation for your injuries will be governed by Virginia law. A local attorney will have a better understanding of the laws that apply to your case than a lawyer who practices law in another state.
- Understanding of local rules and practices. Even if an attorney in your home state is licensed to practice law in Virginia, they will not have as good of an understanding of the local court rules and practices where your lawsuit would be filed. An understanding of these procedures will make your case go smoother and be resolved quicker.
- Consistency in your claim. You may be considering hiring an attorney where you live to try to settle your claim and then retain a lawyer in Virginia if you have a lawsuit. However, this is not the best approach for your case. You are more likely to settle your case for all the damages you are entitled to if you retain one attorney to represent you. While trying to negotiate your settlement, they would also collect the evidence you need and develop a consistent strategy to win your case.
Were you injured in a slip and fall accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Do you live in another state? At Tavss Fletcher, we will make it as easy as possible for you to pursue your claim as an out-of-state resident. To learn more about how we can assist you and your rights under Virginia law, call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.
What should I expect to happen at a free initial consultation?
How to Prepare for Your Initial Appointment and What You Can Expect
An initial consultation would be your first meeting with a lawyer. There are a number of goals to accomplish at your appointment.
What Is the Purpose of an Initial Consultation?
- Determine if you have a claim against the negligent trucker and trucking company
- Get your questions answered
- Find out if the attorney has extensive experience handling truck collisions cases and whether they are the right lawyer for you
- How much they charge for their services
You should schedule a free initial case evaluation with the top two or three lawyers you are considering hiring. Your first appointment will typically be for 30 minutes to an hour. The time will go fast, so it is important to come to your meeting as prepared as possible.
How to Prepare for the First Appointment
- Collect the documents, such as the police report, your auto insurance policy, and medical bills. You should also collect photos of the crash scene and the truck driver, trucking company, and witness contact information.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask the attorney about their experience settling and litigating truck accident cases and what you can expect them to do for you if you retain them.
If you have never filed a personal injury claim before, you probably do not know what will happen at your initial free consultation.
What You Should Expect at Your Free Initial Meeting
- Details of your crash. The lawyer will want you to explain the details of how your truck wreck occurred and will briefly review the documents you bring to your appointment.
- Advice on your claim. Once the attorney obtains information about your truck crash, they will give you general advice on whether you have a claim and what you can expect to happen after you file it.
- Explanation of attorney fees. The lawyer should also explain how they would charge their attorney fees and costs if you decide to retain them. At Tavss Fletcher, we handle truck accident claims on a contingency fee basis, which means that you would not owe us any attorney fees until we settle your case.
- Interview of the lawyer. At the beginning of your appointment, you should tell the attorney that you have prepared questions for them to answer. It is important that you interview them because this will help you determine if you can trust them to look out for your best interests if you hire them.
Do you need to file an insurance claim for injuries you suffered in a truck accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Fill out our online form or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule a free initial consultation today to learn about our track record of success helping other truck collision victims and how we can assist you.
What should be included in the insurance company’s Release of All Claims form?
You should not sign the insurance company’s release or any other document without first consulting with a skilled truck accident lawyer. In addition, it is important that you understand the key provisions that you will be agreeing to before you sign it.
What Is a Release of All Claims Form?
A release is a legal document that states the terms of your settlement with the truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance company. It is a legally binding agreement. The release would relieve the insurance company from further liability in exchange for their payment to you.
Provisions Contained in a Release Form
There are a number of provisions that are typically in a release. It is important to understand what they are since they affect your right to compensation for your injuries caused in the truck collision. Your release should contain this information:
- Details of how your crash occurred
- Identification of all the parties to your settlement
- Your claims for compensation, such as for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damages
- Amount of your payment and how it will be paid
- Law that governs your agreement
Additional Provisions in a Release That Give Up Important Rights in Exchange for a Settlement
- Obligation to pay. By signing the release, you are agreeing that this is a final settlement of your claim and that you are waiving your right to receive future payments for your injuries. This means that you cannot pursue a new claim if you later discover that your injuries are more serious than you thought.
- Right to sue. You would also be waiving your right to file a lawsuit against the negligent truck driver, trucking company, and their insurance company.
- No admission of fault. The agreement will provide that no party is admitting fault for causing your truck accident. You are waiving your right to claim that the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence was the cause of your injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a truck collision that was not your fault, our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today to learn more about how we can help you.
How long do I have to file my lawsuit after a bicycle accident?
If you were injured in a bicycle collision caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. When pursuing your claim with their insurance company, it is important to understand the steps you need to take to build a strong case, mistakes to avoid, and important laws that apply to your claim.
One crucial law you need to know is the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, that applies in your case. If you fail to file your lawsuit under this time period, you could ruin your case.
What Is the Deadline to File the Bicycle Crash Lawsuit?
You have a short time to file your bicycle accident complaint in Virginia. The time period is slightly different for a claim for your personal injuries than a wrongful death lawsuit filed because a loved one died.
Time Periods to File a Civil Complaint After a Bicycle Accident
- Personal injuries. You have two years from the date of your bike crash to file a lawsuit for the injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Wrongful death. You have two years from the date of the death of your family member, which could be different than the date of their bicycle crash, to file a civil complaint.
- Property damage. You have a much longer time to file a property damage complaint. You would have five years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit.
What Happens If You Miss the Statute of Limitations to File Your Complaint?
If you miss the deadline to file your lawsuit, the consequences would be harsh. The insurance company would file a motion to dismiss your complaint. The judge would most likely grant their motion and dismiss your case. You would be barred from pursuing your right to compensation in court.
While there is no statute of limitations to filing a claim with the insurance company, the reality is that they would refuse to pay your claim if you file it or try to settle it after the statute of limitations expired. They would have no incentive to pay you because they would know that you could not successfully sue their insured.
Even if you have plenty of time to file a bicycle crash lawsuit, you should not wait to retain an experienced car accident attorney. They will have an easier time helping you settle your claim for the maximum amount you are entitled to if you contact them soon after your collision. To learn about your rights and how we can assist you, contact us online or call our office at 877-960-3441 today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Should I notify my insurance company of my truck accident if I didn’t cause it?
However, it would be a big mistake not to notify them of your truck collision. Here are some reasons it could hurt your case and result in you receiving less compensation than you deserve for your injuries.
#1: You Are Required to Notify Your Insurance Company
When you purchased auto insurance coverage, you entered into a contract with your insurance company. One of the requirements in your policy is that you notify the insurance company of any accidents within a certain time period. If you fail to comply with this requirement, the insurance company may deny a claim you later decide you need to file.
#2: You Are Not Filing a Claim
When you contact your own insurance company to inform them of your truck crash, you are not filing a claim. You are simply letting them know about the collision and are protecting your rights under your insurance contract with them.
#3: They Can Help You With Repairs to Your Vehicle
It could take you a long time to settle your property damage claim with the negligent trucker’s insurance company. However, you need your car repaired quickly so you can drive it.
If you purchased collision coverage, it may make more sense for you to file a claim with your own insurance company. They will help you to obtain immediate repairs to your vehicle.
#4: You May Need to File a Claim With Your Insurance Company
Even though the truck driver is fully responsible for compensating you, this does not mean that you will receive all the damages you deserve from them. Here are a few reasons you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company:
- If the trucker had no insurance, you would need to file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage.
- If the truck driver had insufficient coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries, you could file a claim under your underinsured motorist, MedPay, and collision coverage, depending on the coverages you purchased.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck accident? Even if you are filing a claim with your own insurance company, you need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer. They will file your claim for you and negotiate your settlement with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation to learn about your options and how we can assist you.
What is a third-party car insurance claim?
No matter how safe a driver you are, you could be involved in a car accident caused by another driver. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries you suffered in the crash under Virginia law. When deciding how to pursue your rights, you must understand the difference between a first-party and third-party auto collision claim.
Difference Between First- and Third-Party Auto Insurance Claims
Virginia is an at-fault state in regard to car accidents. This means that the negligent driver would be fully responsible for compensating you for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering. There are two types of claims you may need to file:
- Third-party claim. A third-party claim is a claim you would file with the at-fault motorist's insurance company. In order to be entitled to compensation, you would need to prove the other driver's negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of damages you should recover.
- First-party claim. A first-party claim is one filed with your own auto insurance company. The basis of your claim would be the contract between the insurance company and yourself. If you purchased collision or medical coverage, you may recover additional damages under these coverages.
How to Determine Whether to File a First- or Third-Party Insurance Car Crash Claim
It can be complicated to figure out whether you should file a first-party and/or third-party insurance claim and to reach a settlement with the insurance company on your own. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer to determine which claims you need to file and to go up against the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.
You might be tempted to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company on your own to save the cost of attorney fees. However, this would be a big mistake. Your own insurance company might not treat you fairly if the value of your claim is large—which is likely if you suffered serious injuries. They could use unfair tactics to deny your claim or to pay you less money, just like the negligent driver's insurance company would do.
At Tavss Fletcher, we handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you would not owe us any attorney fees until we settle your claim or win your case at a jury trial. Contact our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.
What does it mean to live separate and apart before filing for divorce in Virginia?
- Six months if there are no minor children of the marriage
- One year if you and your spouse have minor children together
What Does it Mean to Live Separate and Apart?
If you are filing a no-fault divorce, you will need to prove the date you separated from your spouse and that you lived separate and apart for the required time period. You must establish two things:
- Physical separation. In many divorces, partners become physically separated when one spouse moves out of the marital residence. However, it is possible to prove that you are physically separated from your partner even if you continue to live together if you meet certain requirements that show you are really living apart.
- Intent. You must also show that at least one of you decided that your marriage was over and that you wanted a divorce. While this is often communicated through a conversation, it is best to follow up with an email, text, or letter that confirms your decision.
Factors the Court Considers in Deciding the Date of Living Separate and Apart
You will need to present facts to the court that shows the date you and your partner began living separate and apart. If there is a dispute about when this began, or the judge has questions about it, they would consider the following:
- Whether there is a signed and dated separation agreement
- The date you and your spouse started identifying as being separated to friends and family members
- Whether you continue to go out or attend events together
- Whether you live in the same home and how you live apart if you do, such as having separate bedrooms
Do you have questions about how to prove you are living separate and apart from your spouse? Are you planning to file a divorce in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation to get your questions answered and learn how our experienced family law attorneys can help you every step of the way through your divorce.
When could my landlord be responsible for my slip and fall injuries?
A Landlord’s Duty to Maintain Rental Properties
In Virginia, landlords have a duty to maintain their rental properties in a reasonably safe condition and not allow hazardous conditions to exist on the property. When they breach this duty and a tenant, or their guest, is injured in a slip and fall accident, they may be responsible for compensating the victim for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are many ways that a landlord can breach their duties to tenants that cause slip and fall accidents. Common examples include:
- The landlord failed to fix broken lighting or provided inadequate lighting for the property.
- The landlord failed to repair leaking plumbing or a leaking roof.
- The landlord failed to replace cracked or broken flooring, or worn carpet.
- The landlord did not repair or replace a loose or broken handrail or damaged steps.
- The landlord allowed cracks and potholes to exist in the parking lot.
- The landlord failed to remove snow or ice from the parking lot, sidewalks, or entrances to the rental property.
Importance of Proving the Landlord Knew of the Dangerous Condition
Landlords are not always liable if a tenant falls at their rental property. In order to hold them responsible for their slip and fall accident, a tenant would need to prove that their landlord knew or should have known of the hazard and failed to correct the problem or post a warning sign of the danger within a reasonable amount of time.
Proving a landlord knew or should have known about an unsafe condition can be challenging. Some of the ways a tenant can establish this include:
- Their testimony that they told the landlord about the problem or sent them an email or letter informing them of it
- Testimony of other tenants who reported the hazardous condition to the landlord
- Landlord’s inspection records of the property
- Employee statements
- Photos of the dangerous condition
- Building inspection reports
- Other business records of the landlord
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident at a rental property, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney to prove your case and go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve. At Tavss Fletcher, we handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only owe us attorney fees when we settle your claim. Contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation to learn about your rights and how we can help you.
How can I find out what caused my truck accident?
How Will a Truck Investigation Help Prove How a Truck Crash Occurred?
You may not know the cause of your truck accident right after it happened. There could have been many contributing negligent actions of the truck driver, trucking company, shipper, and others that caused it. You will need to conduct a thorough investigation and collect evidence to prove your case.
Because truck accident claims are so complex, you should not try to conduct an investigation on your own. It is best to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer right away. Here are some of the ways a lawyer can help determine why your truck collision happened:
- Obtain a police report. Your attorney will review the police report because it can contain helpful information, such as the officer’s conclusions as to the cause of the crash, who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued. However, a knowledgeable lawyer will know this is only one step in the investigation.
- Investigate the collision scene. Your lawyer will review any pictures or videos taken at the accident scene and interview witnesses and obtain their statements. They may also want to look at the crash scene if it appears that the trucker’s negligent driving or a road condition caused your accident.
- Send spoliation letter. Even if the trucker was speeding, engaged in distracted driving, or driving unsafely in another way, lack of truck maintenance, violations of hours of service regulations, or other violations of federal regulations could have contributed to the crash. Your lawyer will send the trucking company a spoliation letter notifying them of your claim and not to destroy or modify documents that could help prove how the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence caused your wreck.
- Check for hours of service violations. Under federal hours of service rules, a truck driver is only allowed to drive for a certain number of hours before taking a break. Your lawyer will need to examine the log book, receipts for gas and food, and other documents to determine if these regulations were violated.
- Review trucker’s personnel file. Your lawyer would obtain a copy of the trucker’s personnel file from the trucking company. They would review it to determine if the driver was licensed to drive a truck, had medical conditions that affected their driving, or had a drug or alcohol problem. They would also inspect their driving record.
- Trucking company records. The trucking company is also required to conduct a background check of truckers, properly maintain the truck, and test drivers for drugs and alcohol use. A lawyer would review the trucking company records to determine if the trucking company’s negligence also caused your truck collision.
Were you injured in a truck accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Do you believe the trucker’s negligence caused it? Call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn how can investigate your claim and fight with the insurance company so that they fully compensate you in your settlement.
How much is my pedestrian accident claim worth?
You may have many questions if you were injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver. If you are like many of our clients, one of your biggest worries may be about the value of your claim.
Unfortunately, there is no set formula for valuing a pedestrian injury claim, and each case is unique. However, here’s what goes into determining a ballpark figure of how much you can expect to receive in your settlement with the insurance company.
Compensation You Can Recover in a Pedestrian Collision Case
The first thing that you need to determine to value your claim is how much compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. You should keep in mind that you should receive your future damages as well as your past damages if you have not fully recovered from your injuries or have sustained a permanent injury.
You are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, property damages, and pain and suffering. While it can be easy to determine the cost of your medical treatment, prior lost wages, and property damages, it can be complicated to figure out your future damages and what you should recover for your pain and suffering without the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Factors That Can Affect the Value of Your Claim
The value of your claim is also affected by certain factors that make your case stronger or weaker. Here are the top factors that can have an impact on your claim’s value:
- Your evidence. If you have strong evidence that proves the motorist’s negligence in causing your pedestrian accident and the seriousness of your injuries, this will strengthen your claim and increase its value.
- Disputes with the insurance company. If you have disputes with the insurance company over who caused your collision or how serious your injuries are, this could weaken your case and force you to accept less in your settlement. However, this only applies if the insurance company has legitimate arguments about their liability to pay you and not made-up ones to deny your claim.
- Your injuries. If your injuries are serious, you will have more medical expenses and lost wages. You will also experience more pain and suffering and a reduced quality of life. This can significantly increase the value of your case.
Were you or a family member injured in a pedestrian accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn how our skilled car accident legal team can assist you in obtaining justice and the compensation you deserve.
Will I lose my health insurance when I file for divorce?
Filing for divorce can be very stressful, especially if the divorce is contested. You will need to resolve complicated issues, such as how to divide property and debts, child custody, and child support.
One ramification of your divorce that you do not want to overlook is its effect on your health insurance coverage. Because health insurance costs are expensive, this can be a difficult issue if you do not have your own insurance coverage through your employer.
Health Insurance While Your Divorce Is Pending
You are entitled to continue with your current health insurance coverage while your divorce proceedings are pending. This is true whether you or your spouse filed for divorce.
If your partner tries to cut off your health coverage, you can take action to force them to reinstate your coverage. Under Virginia law, the judge in your case can order that your current health insurance plan continue until your divorce is finalized.
Your Options for Health Insurance After Your Divorce
Once your divorce is finalized, your spouse would not be able to keep you on their health insurance policy, even if they wanted to. Unless the court orders them to pay the cost of your health insurance as part of an alimony award to you, you will need to purchase your own health insurance coverage. Your options include:
- COBRA. Under COBRA laws, you have the right to keep your health insurance through your former spouse for 36 months if you pay for it. You would need to notify the administrator of the plan within 60 days of the finalization of your divorce.
- Your employer’s health insurance. You could sign up for health insurance coverage through your employer if you have this benefit. A divorce is a triggering event that permits you to obtain health insurance benefits even if you are not in the open enrollment period.
- Private insurance. If you do not have health insurance through your job and cannot afford to stay on your spouse’s policy under COBRA, you will need to purchase your own health insurance through a private company. You may be able to reduce the costs of your premiums through the Obamacare Marketplace.
Are you considering filing for divorce in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced family law lawyers are here to help. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free initial, no-obligation initial consultation today to learn about your options and to get your questions answered.