Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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What documents should I bring to my first appointment with my car accident attorney?
When you are meeting with car accident attorneys to determine which one to hire, you have two objectives. The first is to interview the lawyers to find out their experience handling these cases and whether you believe that they would be the right one for you. You also want to obtain legal advice about your claim against the negligent driver. Bringing relevant documents to your consultation can help the attorney evaluate your case.
Documents That You Should Bring to Your Initial Consultation With a Lawyer
While a lawyer will want you to give him a detailed statement about how your crash occurred and the injuries that you sustained, he will also need to review certain documents before giving you legal advice about your claim. Here are some helpful documents to bring:
- Police report
- Pictures of the crash scene and damage to the vehicles
- Medical bills and records
- Your insurance policy and declaration page
- Witness statements
- Paystubs and other documentation of your lost wages
- Any correspondence or documents that you received from the negligent driver’s insurance company
- Any other information that you believe will be helpful, such as contact information for the at-fault driver, his insurance company, witnesses, and your doctor
You also want to bring a list of questions to ask the attorney. Be certain to let him know at the beginning of your appointment that you have questions. That way he can leave time for them. Some questions that should be on your list include:
- How many car accident cases has he handled and how many has he won?
- What percentage of his practice is representing victims of car collisions?
- How many of these cases has he taken to trial? What was the outcome?
- How would the attorney handle your case?
- How long will your case take?
- What is the approximate value of your claim?
- Will this attorney handle your case? If not, who will, and can you meet him?
- How much would the attorney charge for his services in your case?
Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation Today
If you or a family member suffered injuries in a car accident in Norfolk, we are here to help. To learn about our years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims and how we can assist you, call us to schedule a free initial appointment.
Do I have to install an ignition interlock device on my vehicle if I am convicted of DUI?
Any person who is convicted of DUI in Virginia is required to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle in order to obtain a restricted license. Even if this is your first offense, you will need to have one installed for at least six months. You must obtain it from an installer approved by the court.
You will also be required to enroll in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), which would monitor compliance with the ignition interlock device requirements. During this time period, you would be prohibited from driving any vehicle that is not equipped with this system.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer test, but it is installed on your vehicle. Once installed, you must blow into the device so that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured before starting your engine. If your BAC is over 0.02 percent, the engine will not start.
The device can also require a retest every 20 to 30 minutes while the vehicle is being driven, and this is referred to as a “rolling test.” Its purpose is to ensure that you do not consume alcohol after starting the engine. If you fail the test, an alarm and flashing lights would go off until the engine is shut off.
The device will also contain an electronic log that records breathalyzer test results. You would be required to submit the printout from the electronic to your VASAP case manager.
Who Pays the Costs of an Ignition Interlock Device?
You would be required to pay the cost for installing and maintaining the ignition interlock device. It must be monitored and calibrated on a monthly basis. Currently, the court-approved companies are not charging an installation fee, but this could change. The monthly maintenance fees are between $60 and $80.
If you have been charged with DUI in Norfolk, you need an experienced DUI attorney on your side. To learn about our extensive experience helping clients charged with DUI and how we can assist you, fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.
What if I was partially at fault for my premises liability accident?
If you were injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you may have a claim for compensation for your injuries against the negligent business or property owner. However, if you were partially at fault in causing your injuries, you may be barred from pursuing a claim under Virginia’s contributory negligence laws.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
While all states have laws on how a victim’s own negligence affects their claim for compensation, Virginia is one of the few states that follow the contributory negligence law. Most other states follow a comparative negligence doctrine. Here is how each affects an individual’s right to damages:
- Comparative negligence. In states that follow comparative negligence, an injured person’s compensation would be reduced by his percentage of fault in causing his injuries. In some states, he would be barred from obtaining any compensation if he was found to be 50 or 51 percent at fault.
- Contributory negligence. Virginia’s contributory negligence law is harsh. It provides that if a victim is at all to blame—even by one percent—that he is not entitled to any compensation from the negligent party.
What Should You Do If You Believe That You Are Partially to Blame for Your Premises Liability Accident?
If you were hurt in a premises liability accident, it is crucial that you contact an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible. He will have an understanding of the negligence and contributory negligence laws in Virginia and can evaluate whether or not you really share any blame for your injuries. He will also know what evidence will be needed to establish that the negligent party was 100 percent responsible for your injuries.
At Tavss Fletcher, we offer a free initial consultation where you can discuss your case and learn about your legal options. To schedule yours, call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form today.
What factors can decrease a car accident settlement?
When you sustain injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you want to hold the negligent driver accountable for fully compensating you for your injuries. While this is possible in many cases, in some cases there are factors that can weaken a claim and make it impossible for even an experienced car accident attorney to settle a claim for its full value.
Reasons Your Auto Crash Settlement May Be Reduced
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when considering factors that might reduce the value of your claim. First, they may not apply at all in your case. In addition, just because the insurance adjuster for the negligent driver says that one of these issues is a problem, it does not mean that it is true. Insurance companies routinely raise disputes to deny or reduce claims. Finally, even if one of these issues is present in your case, you could still receive a substantial amount of compensation, but it may be a little less than you hoped for. Here are some common factors that may reduce your claim:
- Liability. You must prove the other driver’s negligence in causing your crash to be entitled to any proceeds. If there are serious disputes about this, the insurance company may not make an offer or may only be willing to settle your claim for less than its full value.
- Location of your collision. The location where you have to sue the negligent driver could reduce the value of your claim. If your lawsuit must be filed in a county where jury awards are lower, the insurance company may know this and not be willing to settle your case for as much as if you were in a bigger city.
- Contributory negligence. If you were partially at fault in causing your accident, this could have a significant impact on your claim. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence rule that bars you from receiving any money if you were at all negligent. However, in many cases, this is not a legitimate issue, but one raised to reduce or deny your claim by the insurance company.
- Reasonable medical expenses. You are only entitled to be compensated for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. It is important to be treated by a reputable physician and to discuss your treatment with your attorney to avoid disputes about whether you should be compensated for all of your medical bills.
- Policy limit. The policy limit of the negligent driver’s insurance company plays an important practical role in how much you receive. The insurance company is only obligated to pay you up to the policy limits no matter how serious your injuries are. This means that if your claim is worth $200,000 but the other driver only had $25,000 in liability coverage, the $25,000 is the most that you can receive from his insurance company.
You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to evaluate your claim and collect the evidence you need to achieve the best possible outcome. Our legal team is here to explain your legal options to you and to fight for the compensation that you deserve. Fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more.
What should you expect to happen at your first consultation with a car accident attorney?
When you are looking for an experienced car accident attorney to represent you, you should take advantage of the offer of a free initial consultation that most lawyers offer. This meeting will be very important, and you can use it to learn more about the lawyer’s experience and your legal rights to compensation for your injuries. It can help you to select the attorney that is right for you and can set the tone of your relationship with him throughout your case.
What Should Happen at a First Meeting With an Auto Accident Attorney
You should come to your appointment organized and have a list of questions that you want to ask the attorney. Be sure to let him know to leave time during your meetings for your questions. There is a lot to cover, and you do not want to run out of time to get the answers you need. Here is what you can generally expect to happen at your consultation:
- Discuss your case. The attorney will want to know the details of your accident so that he can determine if you have a strong case against the negligent driver. You should expect to answer questions about how the crash occurred, your injuries, treatment you have received, evidence you collected, and any conversations with the insurance company. It would be a good idea to bring a copy of the police report, witness contact information, photos, and any other information you collected for the lawyer to review.
- Provide legal advice. Your attorney will provide you with advice on possible parties who may be responsible for compensating you and the types of compensation available. He may also give you general advice on mistakes to avoid, such as agreeing to give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement, discussing your case on social media, and other errors that could hurt your claim.
- Explain the legal process. You should be given a general overview of what the process of settling your case or taking it to trial entails, the length of time it could take to complete, and the steps your attorney will need to take on your behalf.
- Discuss your role. You are a team member with your attorney, and he may discuss the ways that you can help strengthen your case. This can include going to all of your doctor’s appointments, providing requested information promptly, and being truthful with him.
- Talk about his experience. An attorney who handles many car accident cases will want to discuss his track record of success in these cases and the services that his law firm provides. You want to be certain to understand how much of his caseload is devoted to these cases and how many cases he has successfully taken to trial as well as settled out of court.
- Explain his fees. While the attorney’s cost is not your only consideration in hiring him, it is a factor. How much you will be charged and how the fees will be paid is something that should be explained at your first appointment. If you decide to retain the attorney, you should enter into a written retainer agreement.
If you were the victim of a car accident, take advantage of our free consultation to learn about our extensive experience in these cases and your legal options. Just call our office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your appointment today.
Can my spousal support be terminated if I remarry?
Spousal support or alimony, as it is often referred to, is awarded in divorces in Virginia to help the recipient spouse avoid financial hardships caused by the divorce. Alimony can be awarded in a lump sum or a variety of payment methods, such as monthly or other periodic payments, for a specific duration or for the supported spouse’s lifetime. If you are receiving spousal support for life, it can terminate if you remarry or cohabitate with another person if certain circumstances apply.
How Remarrying Could Affect Your Alimony Payment
In Virginia, spousal support is automatically terminated if the payee spouse remarries. However, there are a few exceptions when alimony can continue. Here are details on how this all works:
- The automatic termination rule only applies to periodic or monthly payments.
- Any required lump sum payment of alimony is not terminated upon remarriage or death.
- In limited circumstances, the judge can order that spousal support will continue after the recipient remarries if she has an unusual financial burden or need.
Cohabitation: Another Reason That Your Alimony Could Stop
If you cohabitate with another person for one year or more, your alimony may also be terminated. Cohabitation is a live-in relationship where the couple acts like they are married that continues for at least one year. Occasional sleepovers do not meet this requirement. In addition, the supporting spouse has the burden of proving that the parties are living together. Even then, the termination of support will not be granted if the divorce judgment provides that cohabitation does not stop the spousal support obligation or the supported person proves that terminating financial assistance would be unconscionable.
Do you have other questions about spousal support obligations or other family law matters in Virginia? Schedule your free consultation with our experienced family law attorneys to discuss your concerns and learn how we can help you protect your rights. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
How can the truck’s black box help in my truck accident case?
When you are injured in a truck accident in Norfolk, you must prove the truck driver’s and trucking company’s liability for causing it. The truck’s black box can record data before and during a collision that provides you with a wealth of information that can help you establish fault. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain black box information on your behalf before it is lost.
What Helpful Data Is Recorded by a Black Box?
The truck’s black box is similar to one on an airplane and is also referred to as the Electronic Control Module (ECM). Almost all trucks manufactured since the 1990’s come equipped with an ECM. In some cases, an accident reconstruction expert can use this data to create a reenactment of a truck accident. Here is some of the crucial information that it collects that can help you prove the trucker’s negligence:
- Overall average speed
- Highest speed
- How long the truck was driven
- Amount of time the truck was traveling at 65 miles per hour or faster
- Average revolutions per minute
- Seat belt usage
- Airbag performance
- Idling time
- Tire pressure
- GPS information
How Quickly Do You Need to Obtain Data From the Truck’s Black Box?
An electronic control module usually records data for 30 days before it tapes over it. This means that you must obtain this information as soon as possible after your crash. Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that the trucking company will voluntarily turn it over to you. You need to retain an experienced truck accident attorney quickly to assist you with this. He can send the trucking company a spoliation letter immediately to advise them of your claim and that the data from the black box is required for litigation. Once the company receives this letter, it is prohibited from destroying or altering the data.
Were you injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver? Our experienced truck accident attorneys can obtain the black box data and other evidence you need to hold the trucker and trucking company responsible for compensating you for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free initial consultation.
How much will it cost me to hire an attorney in my truck accident case?
When you must file a claim with the trucker’s and trucking company’s insurance company for injuries suffered in a truck accident, you may quickly realize that you are at a serious disadvantage trying to handle negotiation on your own. However, worries about the attorney fees you would owe may stop you from retaining an experienced truck accident attorney. Fortunately, you can lay these concerns to rest because most lawyers who handle these cases do not charge their fees up front.
How a Contingency Fee Agreement Works
In most personal injury cases, including truck accident injury cases, attorneys charge their fees on a contingency fee basis. Here is how these fee arrangements work:
- You do not owe the attorney any attorney fees at the beginning of your case.
- Your attorney would agree to accept an agreed-upon percentage of the amount that you receive in a settlement or at trial as his fee. You would only owe this amount if you win your case and receive money from the insurance company.
- When your case is settled, your lawyer would deduct what you owe for his services from the settlement proceeds before you receive your payment.
- If you lose your case, you do not owe any money to your lawyer.
Additional Costs Associated With Your Case That You May Owe
There are other expenses besides attorney fees that you may incur in pursuing a truck accident claim. It is important to understand what they are and how they will be paid when you hire your attorney. Some lawyers require clients to pay these costs before they are incurred, while others will pay them and then deduct them from the settlement proceeds. Additional expenses in truck accident cases may include:
- Investigator fees
- Expert witness costs
- Costs of copying medical records and other documents
- Filing fee and other costs for filing a civil lawsuit
- Deposition costs
Your attorney should explain his fees and costs before you hire him. When deciding on an attorney, it is important to consider his experience in truck accident cases, track record of success, and communication skills as well as the cost. You want a lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights and is someone that you can trust.
Our skilled legal team would be happy to discuss your legal options, our experience in these cases, and our contingency fees with you. Call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re here to help!
How should I help my attorney in my car accident case?
If you have retained an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company, you have taken an important step toward receiving the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. However, once you have researched, interviewed, and hired this person, your job is not done. You are working as a team with your lawyer, and you need to do your part to reach your goal of obtaining a fair settlement.
Your Duties to Your Lawyer in Your Car Accident Case
Both your lawyer and you have certain duties to each other in your attorney-client relationship. Your attorney’s responsibilities include advising you on your legal rights, keeping you informed on his progress in your case, and letting you make the important decisions regarding your claim. Here are some of what your attorney can expect of you as a client:
- Follow your agreement. Your written retainer agreement with your attorney is a contract between you, and you should abide by its terms.
- Gather information promptly. When your attorney requests evidence or other documents from you, he needs the information to move your case along or because it is required as part of the litigation process. You help him assist you by providing him with what he asks for promptly.
- Provide new evidence. If you discover any new evidence that may affect your car accident case, you should give it to your attorney—even if you think it is harmful.
- Follow-up on medical treatment. It is important that you follow your doctor’s advice on your medical treatment and keep your attorney informed on your progress. When there are gaps in your medical care or you are not obtaining needed treatments, you jeopardize your health and make it harder for your attorney to prove the seriousness of your injuries.
- Be respectful of attorney’s time. While it is important to stay informed of the status of your case and to get your questions answered, you need to be respectful that your lawyer has other clients and responsibilities.
- Inform your attorney about court hearings. You may be required to attend court hearings in your case. If you must miss a proceeding, it is crucial that you inform your attorney immediately so that he can seek permission from the judge to reschedule it.
- Pay your bills. You should pay any bills that you owe on time.
- Tell the truth. One of the worst ways that you can hurt your relationship with your attorney and your case is to lie to him. You weaken his bargaining position in negotiations if he discovers that some of what you told him about the accident or your injuries is not true.
- Be professional. You need to keep your relationship with your attorney professional.
When you follow these guidelines, you strengthen your relationship with your lawyer and your claim. Do you need assistance with negotiating your settlement following a car accident that was not your fault? Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free consultation.
What types of evidence do I need in my reckless driving case?
When you face reckless driving charges, you need to mount a strong defense to the charges you face. A strong defense can help reduce the chances that you will be convicted of a misdemeanor offense that carries serious penalties that often result in a permanent criminal record. This is done through the presentation of evidence that supports your defenses. To present effective defenses that get you results, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Evidence That Can Help Fight Reckless Driving Charges
A lawyer can help identify the evidence that is needed and collect it. Here are some common types of evidence that may be beneficial:
- Calibration. When your reckless driving charges are based on speeding, a speedometer calibration can help you prove what speed you were going. If you were charged with traveling at close to 80 miles per hour, or 20 miles over the speed limit, GPS data along with a speedometer calibration can raise serious doubts that you were driving recklessly.
- Witness testimony. There are many different grounds for reckless driving charges in Virginia. Depending on the specific charge that you face, the testimony of witnesses—especially neutral bystanders—can help show that you were not driving recklessly.
- Problems with signs. You can only be expected to travel at a speed that is posted. If a sign is missing, damaged, or obscured, photographs of this can help establish that you legitimately did not realize that you were speeding.
- Traffic camera footage. In some cases—such as if you were not the driver or are accused of passing a stopped school bus near an intersection—traffic camera footage can help you prove that you did nothing wrong.
How Your Commitment to Safe Driving Can Help
While not a defense per se, showing your commitment to safe driving through a clean driving record up to the time of your reckless driving charges can be used when asking the judge to be lenient during a plea agreement or sentencing. Even if you have some problems with your driving record, successfully completing a driver improvement class can help.
Let Us Build a Strong Defense to the Charges You Face
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to assist you in building a strong defense to the reckless driving charges that you face. To learn more about effective defenses and the evidence you will need, call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free initial consultation.
How much is my truck accident case worth?
While how much your truck wreck claim is worth may be one of your burning questions, not even an experienced truck accident attorney cannot give you a precise number. That is because each crash is unique, and many factors can affect the value of your case.
Factors That May Influence the Value of Your Truck Crash Settlement
You can get a sense of how much you will receive from the trucker and trucking company by understanding factors that can affect your claim’s value. Your lawyer will most likely use these factors to give you an idea of what you can expect to receive. Here are some of what influences how much your case is worth:
- Your damages. The amount of compensation that you may be entitled to will have a large effect on the value of your claim. In Virginia, you should be compensated for your past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other out-of-pocket expenses. The amount that you are owed may be substantial because the injuries caused by commercial truck accidents versus those just involving passenger vehicles tend to be so severe.
- Liability. You have the burden of proving the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence in causing your injuries in order to be entitled to any compensation. When your evidence of negligence is strong, this will increase the value of your claim because it will be harder for the insurance company to dispute the liability of its insured.
- Your negligence. Your partial negligence in causing the accident can have a dramatic effect on your claim’s value. Virginia has a harsh contributory negligence law that prevents you from obtaining any compensation if you were at all to blame for your injuries. Legitimate disputes about your fault can reduce the strength and value of your case. However, an attorney who has handled many of these cases will have strategies to deal with issues of your own fault.
- Severity of your injuries. If you suffered more serious injuries or one that caused a permanent disability, this can increase the value of your claim because your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages will be more. If you suffered a catastrophic injury, such as traumatic brain injury, amputation, or paralysis, you may be entitled to damages to compensate you throughout your life. Unfortunately, long-term injuries are common in these cases.
What Should You Do to Ensure That You Receive What You Deserve in Your Truck Collision Case?
Retaining an experienced truck accident attorney soon after your collision is the best way to be certain that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to from the at-fault truck driver and trucking company. To learn of our track record of success in these cases and how these factors influence the value of your claim, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Can I sue an out-of-state driver who caused my auto crash in Virginia?
If you are injured in a car accident in Virginia, it can be overwhelming to determine how to obtain the compensation that you deserve from the negligent driver. Your claim can be even more complex if the at-fault driver does not live in Virginia. Here, we discuss how this could impact on your claim.
Virginia Is an At-Fault State No Matter Where the Negligent Driver Lives
Virginia is an at-fault state, and the negligent driver who caused your auto crash is responsible for compensating you for your injuries. The good news is that this is true whether or not the driver lives in Virginia or another state. Out-of-state drivers are required to drive in a safe manner and obey Virginia traffic laws while in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Can You Sue an Out-of-State Negligent Driver in Virginia?
In order to sue a driver who caused your accident but lives in another state, the court in Virginia must have personal jurisdiction over this individual. What is personal jurisdiction? It is the authority of the court to make a decision about a person in a specific situation. For example, a court in Virginia may not have personal jurisdiction over a person in New York who never entered Virginia or had anything else to do with anyone in Virginia. However, a driver’s act of driving in our state would most likely give a Virginia court personal jurisdiction over him if he caused your car accident. This means that you most likely can sue him in Virginia rather than the state where he lives.
You Need an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Norfolk
If you were injured in an auto collision caused by an out-of-state driver, you need an experienced car accident attorney in Norfolk and not the state where the other motorist resides. A local attorney will understand the Virginia laws that apply to your case, including whether there is personal jurisdiction over this person. He can thoroughly investigate your crash and negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. To learn about our extensive experience fighting for the rights of accident victims and your legal options, fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.
Will my reckless driving conviction affect my ability to obtain a green card?
If you are applying for a green card in an attempt to become a U.S. citizen, you may be worried if you are charged with reckless driving. While a reckless driving conviction may not automatically preclude you from obtaining a green card, it can be a problem. That is why it is crucial to retain an experienced reckless driving attorney to help you avoid the harsh penalties associated with a reckless driving conviction and its effect on your application for a green card.
How a Reckless Driving Conviction May Impact Your Green Card Application
Some people are under the mistaken impression that reckless driving is a traffic ticket. However, reckless driving can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia. On the application for a green card, you will be asked if you were "arrested, charged, indicted, convicted, fined, or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance, excluding traffic violations." This means that you would need to disclose a reckless driving conviction on your application whereas you would not be required to do so if you received a traffic ticket, such as for speeding.
Certain criminal convictions would automatically disqualify you for a green card. They are serious crimes that include the following:
- Sexual abuse of a minor
- Drug or gun trafficking
- Child pornography
Fortunately, you are not automatically disqualified from getting a green card if you are convicted of reckless driving. Its effect on your application will depend on the circumstances surrounding the charges you face. If you seriously injured another person, this was a second or subsequent offense, or drugs were involved in your reckless driving, a conviction could be a serious concern. However, when this was your first offense and you otherwise have a clean criminal record, it may not impact as much on your application.
Contact Our Firm for Assistance
Our experienced reckless driving attorneys can help you build a strong defense to the reckless driving charges you face that may result in their dismissal or reduction to a less serious offense, such as a speeding ticket. When you are applying for a green card, this may allow you to complete the application without having to disclose a reckless driving conviction. To learn more about how we can help, call our Fairfax office to schedule your free initial consultation.
Is my car accident settlement taxable?
When you reach the settlement stage of your car accident claim and receive your compensation, you will probably feel a sense of relief—thankful that this part of the ordeal is finally over. However, there is one more issue that you need to consider: whether you owe income taxes on your settlement. Unfortunately, this can be more complicated than you might expect.
Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Your Auto Crash Settlement?
If you are like many accident victims, you were most likely entitled to and received compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering in your settlement or award at trial. It is important to know how much of your settlement was for each type of damage since this will impact on whether or not you owe income taxes. Here is how the taxability of each type of damages works:
- Medical expenses. You generally will not owe any income taxes on the medical expenses portion of your settlement. However, if you took a deduction for medical expenses on a prior tax return, that portion that was reimbursed to you in your settlement is most likely taxable.
- Lost wages. Your lost wages proceeds are paid to you to reimburse you for wages that you lost or will lose due to your injuries. Like your wages, the lost wages portion of your claim is taxable.
- Pain and suffering. It is more complicated to determine if you owe taxes on compensation for your pain and suffering. The portion you receive for your pain and suffering is not taxed, but the amount for your emotional distress would be taxable. In many cases, the pain and suffering and emotional distress damages are lumped together under pain and suffering, which may mean that you don’t owe any taxes.
- Property damages. You are not taxed on the proceeds that you receive to reimburse you for the costs to repair or replace your vehicle or property in it and rent a car while yours is in the shop.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded when the negligent driver’s actions are especially outrageous. If you do receive punitive damages, they are taxable.
If you were injured in a car accident, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement so that you receive what you deserve. To learn about our extensive experience fighting for the rights of car accident victims and how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation.
Who is at fault in a rear-end collision?
Whenever you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you must prove the other driver’s fault in causing the crash. Fortunately, it may be easier for you to prove the driver’s liability in a rear-end collision. However, without the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney, it may be difficult to establish fault and receive fair compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
Who Is Liable in a Rear-End Collision in Norfolk?
In Virginia, all drivers are required to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them so that they can slow or stop quickly if necessary. Because of this, the driver in the rear will almost always be presumed to be the at-fault driver. In some cases, the negligent driver’s insurance company will not argue about liability, but this does not mean that the insurance adjuster will not dispute the seriousness of a victim’s injuries.
There are some exceptions to the general rule that the driver in the rear was negligent. The driver in the front could be found partially or completely liable in these situations:
- He reversed suddenly.
- He started to turn but failed to complete the turn and went forward instead.
- He put on his signal to merge into another lane and started to merge but suddenly changed his mind.
- His brake lights did not work properly.
- He had a flat tire or other maintenance problem with his vehicle but did not pull over.
Multi-Vehicle Rear-End Collisions
In some cases, a rear-end collision will cause a multi-vehicle accident involving three or more vehicles. In this type of crash, the driver who initially caused the crash may be liable to all of the accident victims if the driver in the middle was stopped at a light or was otherwise driving safely. Determining the negligent parties and negotiating a settlement with the insurance company when there are multiple victims can be complex. You want to retain a lawyer right away if you were hurt in one of these accidents.
Contact an Experienced Norfolk Car Accident Attorney Today
Do you need to file a claim for compensation following a rear-end collision? You can schedule a free consultation with a member of our skilled legal team to get your questions answered and learn more about your legal options. Fill out our online form to schedule your appointment today.
How can social media posts hurt my DUI case?
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia, you are facing some very serious penalties, including a possible jail sentence, fine, driver’s license suspension, and a permanent criminal record. You will want to do everything you can to build a strong defense to the charges that you face. Unfortunately, one way that you can do the opposite and hurt your case is by posting on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Ways That Your Social Media Posts Can Be Used Against You When You Face DUI Charges
Your posts on social media sites can be used as evidence against you in your DUI criminal proceedings. Because of the popularity of social media sites, the police will frequently search a person’s social media sites for evidence that they can use against him. In some cases, the police may create a fake profile and try to friend a person who they have arrested or are investigating. You want to be very careful who you friend if you have been arrested for DUI so that you don’t give law enforcement easier access to your posts.
While you may already know not to discuss your DUI case or your arrest on your social media sites, you may not realize that your earlier posts prior to your arrest could also be used against you. Here are some of the ways these posts can be harmful:
- Posts and pictures. Many people like to post about fun activities that they are doing with friends and family or share a photograph. If you were at a bar or friend’s house consuming alcohol before your arrest and posted a picture of yourself holding a beer or glass of wine, this information can be retrieved by the police. It can be used as evidence to prove that you were consuming alcohol before you drove.
- Timeline. Facebook and other social media sites often timestamp a person’s posts and pictures with the time. In addition, the location can also be identified by the post or picture. The police can use this information to establish a timeline of where you were and what you were doing prior to your arrest. In addition, this information could lead the police to witnesses who could testify against you, such as the waitress at the restaurant who served you alcohol.
- Privacy settings. Even if you have set your social media post settings to private, this does not mean that your posts are as private as you think. If you have tagged a friend or family member in your post or picture, they could repost your post to their own social media sites, which may be public and can be discovered by the police. In addition, just because you set your settings to private does not mean that your posts cannot be admitted as evidence against you in court.
- Deleted posts. After your arrest, you may realize that you have some incriminating posts on a social media site and delete them. Unfortunately, the police may be able to obtain a subpoena and retrieve them. In addition, the fact that you deleted the posts can cause additional damage to your case.
Contact Us for Help in Building a Strong Defense to Your DUI Charges
Are you worried about potentially damaging social media posts that could hurt your DUI case? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you minimize the damage and build a strong defense to the charges that you face. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.
What is an attractive nuisance that could subject a property owner to liability for a child’s injuries?
Keeping children safe can be challenging since they often do not understand when they face a dangerous situation. In some cases, a child becomes injured due to inherent dangers of an object on another’s property. He may even trespass on an individual’s or business’ property because he is drawn to the dangerous item. If a child suffers injuries, the property or business owner could face liability in Virginia under the attractive nuisance doctrine—even if the child was trespassing.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
Attractive nuisances are features of a property, or objects on a property, that pose risks to young children who are unable to understand the dangers they face. In many cases, the object or property feature is something intended for children to use and can be used safely under adult supervision. Common attractive nuisances that result in children suffering injuries include:
- Swimming pools
- Playground equipment
- Abandoned vehicles and appliances
- Tool sheds
- Construction sites
- Man-made ponds and fountains
What Is a Property and Business Owner’s Duty to Protect Children From Attractive Nuisances?
Property and business owners have a duty to protect children who may enter their property—even if the children are uninvited—from attractive nuisances on the property. In order to be liable, the following is usually required:
- The owner knew or should have known that children might trespass onto the property.
- A condition on the property could result in a child suffering an injury or death.
- A child who suffered the injury on the property was too young to understand the danger.
- The cost of repairing or maintaining the attractive nuisance so that it is safe is small in comparison to the potential injury to the child.
- The owner failed to take reasonable steps to keep children from suffering injuries from the attractive nuisance. This can include installing a fence, locks, or posting warning signs.
Did your child suffer injuries on another property? He may be entitled to compensation from the business or property owner for his injuries. For help pursuing his legal rights, call our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.
What is the statute of limitations to file my truck accident lawsuit in Virginia?
While some truck accident victims are able to settle their claims with the negligent truck driver, trucking company, and other liable parties without the need for litigation, others must file a lawsuit and litigate their claim for compensation. If you must file a claim for your injuries in a truck wreck, you need to be prepared for this possibility. One key deadline that you need to know and follow is the statute of limitations.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing Your Complaint in Virginia?
The statute of limitations is the time period that you have for filing a civil lawsuit in your truck accident case. This deadline is usually strict, and the penalty for failing to file it is that you are barred from filing a complaint. Every state has its own statute of limitations for the filing of truck accident and other personal injury complaints. In Virginia, the time period you have to file your lawsuit is:
- Two years from the date of the accident for personal injuries
- Five years from the date of the crash for property damage
- Two years from the date of the victim’s death if he died due to injuries caused in the truck wreck
If your truck accident happened recently, you may feel like you have a lot of time to retain an experienced truck accident attorney and pursue your claim. However, this would be a big mistake. Important evidence could be lost and you could make other mistakes that weaken your claim and make it harder for your attorney to negotiate a settlement for what your claim is really worth.
Do you need to file a claim for compensation following a truck accident? We urge you to contact our office as soon as possible so that we can begin a thorough investigation of your crash. Call our office or fill out our online form to get started and to schedule your free initial consultation.
How can the car’s black box help in my car accident case?
When the negligent driver’s insurance company disputes the cause of your auto crash, you must prove the other driver was at fault in order to receive the compensation that you deserve. Pictures of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles, eyewitness testimony, and an accident reconstruction expert’s report are some of the ways that you can do this. Another key piece of evidence that may help you convince the insurance adjuster to settle your claim is data from the black boxes in the vehicles that were involved in the wreck.
How Can Black Box Data Help Prove Liability in a Car Accident Claim?
You may not realize that your vehicle contains a black box—also known as an electronic recording device (EDR). However, these data recording devices are required to be installed in vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2014, and were installed in some vehicles manufactured prior to that date. These black boxes do not record all the same data as an airplane’s black box, such as audio and video footage inside the vehicle, but still can provide a wealth of useful information.
EDRs in autos will store data in two situations. If the airbag deployed in a crash, the black box will permanently store all of the information in the seconds leading up to and after the accident. When an airbag does not deploy, the data will only be stored for a shorter period of time before it is recorded over. Helpful information that an EDR provides includes:
- Vehicle’s speed prior to the impact
- Vehicle’s speed at the time of the actual collision
- Steering angle when the crash occurred
- Whether the vehicle’s occupants were using their seat belts
- Whether the driver used his brakes before the impact
- Whether the airbags were deployed
- Number of crashes and the time period between them, which can be useful in a multi-vehicle crash
You will need to act quickly to obtain this data before it is destroyed or taped over. Retaining an experienced car accident attorney right after your wreck is crucial if you want to obtain this and other evidence that could be lost if you wait too long.
If you need assistance filing a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, our skilled legal team is here to collect the evidence you will need and to negotiate your settlement for you. To get started, fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
How should I handle being stopped at a DUI checkpoint?
In Virginia, the police are permitted to set up a DUI checkpoint to check for drunk drivers as long as certain rules are followed. These include publicizing the checkpoint before it is set up and using a mathematical formula, such as every fifth vehicle, in deciding which ones to stop. If you have not consumed any alcohol before driving, you may not be worried about being stopped. But what should you do if you know that you had been drinking?
Take These Steps to Protect Yourself at a DUI Checkpoint
The actions that you take if you are stopped at a checkpoint can have ramifications on what happens to you and the strength of your DUI defense if you are arrested. Here are ways that you should handle being stopped:
- Remain calm. Just because you were stopped does not mean that the police suspect you of doing anything illegal. The officer will be observing your behavior, so try to remain calm and polite.
- Do not avoid the checkpoint. Do not engage in suspicious behavior—such as turning around—to avoid the checkpoint. The police may perceive this as suspicious.
- Cooperate. It is important to cooperate with the police and supply the information requested, such as your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.
- Do not volunteer information. You want to say as little as possible during the checkpoint stop and not offer information. Remember that any statements you make can be used against you.
- Do not agree to a field sobriety test. You do not have to agree to submit to a field sobriety test, and agreeing to one could give the police probable cause to believe that you are intoxicated—even if you are not.
Do you have further questions about your rights at a DUI checkpoint? Were you stopped and arrested for DUI at a checkpoint? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to aggressively fight the charges that you face. Call our office today to learn more about what you can expect in your criminal case and the defenses that you may be able to raise.