Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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Should I sign an authorization to release my medical records to the negligent driver’s insurance company?
If you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a motorcycle accident, the negligent driver’s insurance company may ask you to sign a release to obtain your medical records. They may claim that they need them as part of the investigation of your claim.
While it is true that you will have to submit your medical records, having the adjuster get them directly is not a good idea. You could actually weaken your case. Here are three reasons that you should say no to this request.
#1: You Could Hurt Your Settlement
While the insurance company needs your medical records to settle your claim, they may also have other motives when asking you to sign a medical release. The insurance company’s authorization for medical records is most likely a blanket release that would allow access to all of your medical records.
The insurance adjuster could look through your entire medical history to see if you complained about or were treated for an injury to the same body part hurt in your motorcycle accident. They could argue that your current injuries were due to a prior incident and not your crash. They would use this tactic to try to deny your claim or force you to accept less than the full amount you deserve in your settlement.
#2: Your Privacy Would Be Invaded
Giving the insurance company access to your entire medical history would be an invasion of your privacy. There could be sensitive, private information about you that the insurance company does not need to know to settle your claim and that you have a right to keep private.
#3: Your Records Would Be Incomplete
Another reason that you do not want to let the insurance company obtain your medical records is that they would be incomplete so soon after your motorcycle collision. You could need months or longer of medical treatments before you fully recover or receive a final prognosis if you suffered permanent injuries. You do not want the insurance adjuster to base a decision on how much to offer you in a settlement on medical records that are not complete.
What Should You Do If the Insurance Company Asks You to Sign a Medical Authorization?
If the insurance adjuster asks you to sign their medical release, you should politely say no. Then you should retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately if you have not already done so. A lawyer will take over all communications with the insurance company, provide them with the medical records they truly need, and negotiate your settlement.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, call our office today to schedule a free consultation. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys will explain your options to you, answer your questions, and fight with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to.
Who could be liable if my roof collapsed in my car accident?
You could suffer devastating injuries if your auto rolls over and your roof collapses in a car accident. Unlike other collisions where only the negligent driver is responsible for compensating the victim, there can be multiple causes and liable parties in a roof collapse accident. It is important to pursue claims against any potentially negligent party if you want to receive all the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law.
Who Could Be Responsible to Compensate You If Your Car Roof Collapsed?
The liable parties in a roof collapse collision will depend on the cause of the crash. Determining this can be complicated. You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to identify why your auto roof collapsed and who the negligent parties are. They can include:
- Another driver. If a motorist’s negligence caused your car accident, they would face at least partial liability for compensating you for your injuries.
- Automobile manufacturer. Roof collapses are often caused by a defect in the manufacture or design of the roof. The pillars could have been too weak or situated improperly, or other vehicle parts may not have been strong enough to support the roof. If your roof collapsed for this reason, you can pursue a product liability claim against the auto manufacturer.
- Parts manufacturer. You could also file a claim with the parts manufacturer who designed or manufactured the defective part that caused your roof collapse, as well as the car manufacturer.
- Governmental agency. If a road defect or hazard caused your vehicle to roll over in the crash, you would need to file a claim with the governmental agency responsible for road maintenance. You may need to file your claim much quicker and follow other special rules when the negligent party is a city, county, or other governmental body.
Why Is it Important to File Claims With All Negligent Parties?
If you know that the other motorist’s negligence caused your accident, you may be tempted to just file a claim with their insurance company and not pursue claims against any other parties. This would be much easier and less time-consuming. However, you would be making a big mistake that could result in you not being fully compensated for your injuries.
The at-fault motorist would only be responsible for compensating you for their percentage of negligence in causing your collision. For example, if they were found 50 percent at fault, they only have to pay you half of the amount of compensation you deserve. In addition, they may not have enough insurance to pay you all the damages you deserve if they purchased the minimum coverage required under Virginia law.
If a manufacturing or road defect contributed to your roof collapse, you should file a claim with these liable parties’ insurance companies as well. They will have higher liability insurance coverage to pay you for your losses.
Did your roof collapse in a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our skilled legal team can identify why it happened and who is responsible for compensating you. To get started learning about your options, fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
Will I have to complete VASAP if I’m convicted of DUI?
If you are convicted of DUI in Virginia, you may be required to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program, which is also referred to as VASAP or ASAP. You will most likely need to successfully complete this program in order to complete the terms of a suspended sentence and to restore your ability to drive in our state.
How VASAP Works After a DUI Conviction
Under Virginia law, you are required to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program if you are convicted of a first or second DUI offense. VASAP is a government program that has the mission of reducing drunk driving crashes.
If you know that you will be convicted of DUI, you may want to take the class early. However, you need to obtain a court order referring you to this program before starting it. Here is what this program entails:
- Assessment. Your first appointment will be an intake meeting with a case manager. They will assess how dependent you are on alcohol and the number of classes you will need to attend.
- Classes. Your case manager will refer you to an approved treatment center or addiction program where you will enroll in the education program. You will most likely be required to attend 10 two-hour sessions, which are mandatory. You may also have to undergo drug and alcohol testing while taking this course.
- Probation. If this is your first or second DUI, you will probably be sentenced to unsupervised probation where you do not have to meet with a probation officer. However, if you violate any of the conditions of VASAP, your case manager could report this to the judge who sentenced you, and you could face harsher consequences.
How Much Does VASAP Cost?
It will cost you approximately $300 to enroll in VASAP, and you will also have to pay an $100 intervention fee. You are required to pay these costs when you enter the program. However, if you cannot afford to pay them upfront, you can work out a payment plan.
Were you arrested for DUI in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our experienced DUI lawyers are here to mount a strong defense, so the charges against you are dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. We will also explain the requirements of VASAP and any other punishments you could face if you are convicted. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you will need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Before you take this step, you want to know the value of your claim so that you understand what to expect. It will also help you decide whether it is worth the time and effort it will take to fight with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
How much your claim is worth will depend on the unique circumstances in your case. However, there are some common factors in these cases that can help you determine how much your claim is worth.
#1: Damages You Suffered
One crucial factor that will determine the value of your claim is the type of losses you suffered. In Virginia, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver who caused your motorcycle crash. Types of damages you can recover include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Property damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Wrongful death damages if a loved one was killed in the collision
#2: Liability of the Negligent Driver
In order to hold the motorist who struck your motorcycle responsible for compensating you, you must prove their negligence in causing your collision. If their fault is clear-cut, you will have a strong case against them that will make the value of your claim worth more.
However, if there are real disputes about their liability or you were found to be partially at fault, this could significantly weaken your case. Virginia has a harsh contributory negligence law that would prevent you from obtaining any damages if you were at all at fault—even if you were only one percent liable.
#3: Settlement vs. Trial Value
The value of your claim can also be affected by whether your case is settled out-of-court or through a jury trial. The trial value will most likely be higher than the settlement value.
Why is there a difference? When you take your case to trial, you ask for all the compensation you deserve. However, there is no guarantee on the outcome of a trial, and you may be awarded less damages.
If you settle your claim with the insurance company, you will most likely accept a little less than the full value of your case. You would most likely have to compromise for the certainty of receiving a settlement.
Were you or a family member hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver? Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can advise you on the value of your claim and fight so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. To learn more, call our office to schedule your free consultation today.
What documents should I bring to my first appointment with my slip and fall accident attorney?
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at someone’s property or a business, an experienced premises liability attorney can help you receive a fair settlement from the insurance company. In order to find a qualified lawyer that you believe you can trust to fight for your rights, you should take advantage of the free initial consultation that most lawyers offer. If you want to get the most out of your meeting, you should bring the right documents to your meeting.
Documents to Bring to Your Initial Consultation
You should be organized when you go to your first meeting with your lawyer. The purpose of this appointment is to get legal advice about your right to compensation for your injuries and to determine if you want to hire this attorney. They can give you better advice on your claim if you bring these documents with you:
- Accident report. Hopefully, you reported your slip and fall accident immediately to the property or business owner, and an accident report was prepared. It could include important details, such as how your fall occurred and witnesses to it, that can help you prove the cause of your accident and that you suffered injuries.
- Pictures and video. If you took pictures or videos that show the dangerous condition that caused your fall and injuries, they can help the lawyer understand more about how your accident happened and how the owner’s negligence caused it.
- Medical records. You should bring your medical records for any treatments you have received, along with your medical bills. This will document how serious your injuries were and the types of medical care you need.
- Wage loss documents. If you missed time off work due to your injuries, you are entitled to be compensated for your wage losses in your settlement. You should bring your pay stubs, documentation of the days you were off work, and your tax return to your appointment.
- Contact information. Bring the contact information for the property or business owner, their insurance company, and any witnesses to your slip and fall accident.
- Communications with the insurance company. If the insurance company for the owner has already contacted you, bring any written communication, such as letters and emails, to your appointment.
You should also have a list of questions prepared so that you can interview the lawyer about their experience handling slip and fall accident cases, how they will keep you informed about your claim, and how much it will cost to retain them.
Were you injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident in Norfolk? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with our premises liability accident lawyers to learn about our track record of success in helping clients like you and how we can assist you.
What types of compensation can I recover if a loved one died in a truck accident?
It is never easy to lose a family member. However, the grief can be even more intense when their death was caused by a preventable truck accident.
Fortunately, you may be able to file a wrongful death action to hold the negligent trucking company and trucker responsible for compensating you for your injuries. While money will not bring back the joy of having your loved one with you, it can help compensate you for your losses and help you move on with your life.
Compensation You Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Action
A wrongful death action is a type of claim that can be brought by a victim’s heirs when their loved one was killed in a truck accident caused by the trucker’s negligence. Only certain family members are allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Virginia. This includes the individual’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings.
The compensation awarded is slightly different than what a victim can recover if they had survived the truck accident. The damages are to compensate family members and the victim’s estate. Types of compensation that can be recovered include:
- Medical expenses. The cost of the deceased’s medical care for the injuries they suffered in the truck collision before their death can be recovered in a wrongful death claim.
- Funeral costs. Reasonable funeral and burial expenses should be included in the settlement.
- Pain and suffering. Family members are entitled to be compensated for the pain, suffering, and grief they suffered due to the loss of their loved one.
- Loss of income. Surviving family members who relied on the victim’s financial support are entitled to lost wages and benefits, which include the income and benefits the deceased would have earned if they had lived.
- Loss of care. Another type of compensation awarded in wrongful death actions is damages for the loss of the care, comfort, advice, and guidance of the victim.
- Punitive damages. While punitive damages are not awarded in all truck accident cases, this type of compensation can be recovered if the trucker’s or trucking company’s actions were especially reckless. They are awarded to punish them for their actions rather than to compensate the family of the victim.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck accident that was not their fault? Our compassionate and skilled truck accident lawyers are here to take over all the steps in filing and settling your claim for the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your grief and going on in life without your loved one. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free consultation.
What type of doctor should I see after a car accident?
No matter how extensive or minor the damage is to your vehicle, you could suffer serious injuries in an auto accident. If another driver caused your collision, you may be able to file a claim for compensation with their insurance company. Seeing the right doctors is essential to protecting your health and building a winning case so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Why You Always Need to See a Doctor After an Accident
Getting prompt medical care after an auto crash is crucial. You should be examined by a doctor within two days of your auto collision, even if you believe you are fine. Whiplash, back and spinal injuries, brain injuries, and internal bleeding are a few of the serious injuries you may not realize you suffered until days or longer after your crash since you may not experience symptoms right away.
You avoid an injury getting worse or turning into a life-threatening emergency by getting medical care right after your wreck. In addition, this helps you prove that your injuries were caused by the collision and that they are serious enough to entitle you to compensation.
In addition, you need to take these steps to protect your health and avoid disputes with the insurance company:
- Follow all of your physician’s instructions.
- Go to all of your appointments with your doctor, physical therapists, and others who are treating your injuries.
- Do not have any gaps in your medical treatment for your injuries.
Types of Physicians You May Need to See
The types of medical treatments and doctors you need will depend on what injuries you suffered and how serious they are. They could include:
- Emergency room doctor. If you suffered a life-threatening or apparent serious injury, you should be examined by an emergency room doctor immediately. You should either be transported there by ambulance or have someone drive you there.
- Urgent care. If you do not need to go to the emergency room, you should be examined at urgent care if you start experiencing symptoms in the hours or days after your crash or cannot be seen by your doctor right. The benefit of going to urgent care is that you do not need an appointment and can get fast treatment for your injuries.
- Primary physician. You should schedule an appointment with your primary doctor within a day or two of the wreck if you think your injuries can wait or do not believe you were hurt. However, you should be aware that some doctors do not want to see car accident victims because they do not bill to insurance companies or do not want to testify in court. Go to urgent care in this situation.
- Specialists. Your primary doctor will most likely refer you to a specialist, such as a surgeon, neurologist, or orthopedic physician, specializing in treating your injuries if you suffered a serious injury.
Were you or a loved one injured in an auto wreck caused by another driver? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced car accident legal team to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you in fighting for the compensation you deserve.
My spouse served me with divorce papers. What should I do?
Whether you have discussed divorce with your spouse or it is a complete surprise to you, getting served with divorce papers can be a traumatic experience. It is important to know what to do so your legal rights are protected.
Actions to Take If You Are Served With Divorce Papers in Virginia
If your spouse files for divorce, you would be served with a summons and complaint. Under Virginia law, they must be served upon you by a process server, local sheriff, or another appropriate person. Here is what you should do after you receive them.
Do Not Refuse Service of the Divorce Papers
You should not refuse to accept the service of the divorce papers. It will not delay the legal process to do this. If you refuse to be served, it could cost more to serve you, or you could be served in another way where you do not actually receive the court documents.
Read the Summons and Complaint
You should not ignore the legal documents you received. Your first step should be to read the summons and complaint. Here is what these documents are:
- Complaint. The complaint is the petition for divorce filed by your spouse. It will state the grounds for divorce that they are relying on and what they are requesting in the divorce, such as custody of any children, child support, spousal support, and property acquired during the marriage.
- Summons. The summons advises you that you must file a written answer to the complaint and the deadline to file it with the court. In Virginia, you have 21 days to file your answer. If you do not file it within this deadline, a default judgment could be entered against you giving your spouse what they are requesting in the complaint.
Retain a Lawyer
You should hire an experienced divorce attorney immediately after being served with the divorce papers so that they can file an answer on your behalf. Even if you and your partner are in basic agreement on the issues in your divorce, your interests are different. Your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that a custody agreement, child support obligations, and property settlement are fair to you. Were you served with divorce paperwork in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area? Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can assist you.
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company after my motorcycle accident?
No, you should not agree to give a recorded statement when you file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a motorcycle collision caused by a negligent driver. It could seriously weaken your case and give their insurance company reasons to deny your claim or offer you less money than you deserve in your settlement.
Why You Should Not Agree to a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement is a tape-recorded session where the insurance adjuster asks you questions that you answer. An adjuster may make it sound like a perfectly reasonable request and that they need as part of their investigation of your claim. However, here is why agreeing to give one is a bad idea.
You Don’t Have to Give a Recorded Statement
You are under no legal obligation to give a recorded statement. Although the insurance adjuster may claim otherwise, they can fully investigate your motorcycle accident and your injuries and settle your claim without a recorded statement from you.
You Could Make Inconsistent Statements
Even if you are trying to be completely honest, you could say something when giving a recorded statement that is inconsistent with what you told the police, your doctor, or others. One reason that the insurance adjuster wants to take your statement is to compare it with other statements you made. Inconsistent statements can be used to argue that you are not being truthful and are not a credible witness.
You Do Not Know How Serious Your Injuries Were
Because the majority of your claim is for compensation for the injuries you suffered in the motorcycle accident, the insurance adjuster would ask you questions about your injuries in your recorded statement. However, it is unlikely that you will understand how serious your injuries are so soon after your crash. The symptoms may not have developed fully, and you do not know yet if you will fully recover from your injuries.
Any statements you make in your recorded statement may not be accurate. However, the insurance adjuster could use what you say to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
Your Recorded Statement Could Be Used in Court
If you give a recorded statement to the insurance company, it would be transcribed into a written transcript. The insurance company could use your statements against you in settlement negotiations and at your jury trial.
How to Handle a Request for a Recorded Statement
Ideally, you should contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately after your crash and let them handle all communications with the insurance company. However, if you speak to the insurance adjuster before you do this and they ask you to give a recorded statement, politely say no to their request and inform them that you will have your lawyer contact them. Then hire an attorney right away.
Were you hurt in a motorcycle crash in Norfolk caused by another driver? Our knowledgeable motorcycle accident legal team is here to file your claim and go up against the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery allowed. To get started, fill out our convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
How long will it take me to get my check after I settle my truck accident claim?
You will most likely feel a huge sense of relief when you finally settle your truck accident claim after months or longer of arguing with the trucker’s and trucking company’s insurance company. Understandably, you want to receive your compensation from them as soon as possible.
However, there are a few more steps that must be completed before you are paid. It can take four to eight weeks to finish this process.
What Happens After You Agree to a Settlement?
It can help to understand what needs to get done before your attorney can call you to pick up your check or have it mailed to you. That way, you can be sure that things are moving as quickly as possible and avoid any delays. Here is what must happen:
- Sign release. You will need to sign a Release of All Claims form where you agree to accept the settlement amount and that this is a full and final settlement of your claim. It will be prepared by the insurance company or their lawyer. It could take longer for this document to be completed if your attorney finds objectionable clauses that need to be revised to protect your interests.
- Check sent. Once the insurance company receives your signed release, they will process your check and mail it to your attorney. Depending on the company’s procedures for writing this check, it could take two to three weeks to complete this step.
- Check deposited and bills paid. Your lawyer will deposit your check in a client trust account. Once the check clears, your lawyer will pay any debts owed, such as a medical lien placed on your proceeds by your health care provider.
- Attorney fees are deducted. After any bills are paid, your attorney will deduct any costs paid on your behalf, such as court filing fees, expert witness fees, and attorney fees from the remaining settlement proceeds.
- Your payment. After all of these steps are taken, your check will be issued. Congratulations! Your truck accident case is really finished, and you can move on with your life.
Do you need help negotiating your settlement after a truck accident in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area? Call our office to schedule a free case evaluation with our experienced truck accident lawyers to get your questions answered and learn about your options.
Should I hire an attorney in the state where my car accident happened?
You could be seriously injured in a car accident in Virginia that was not your fault while here on vacation or business. If you reside in a nearby state, you may be tempted to retain a lawyer where you live.
However, if you want to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries from the negligent driver’s insurance company, your best strategy is to retain a local experienced car accident attorney. Here are three reasons why this is important.
#1: License in Virginia
While your claim could be settled out-of-court with the insurance company, you will need to file a lawsuit in Virginia if they refuse to offer you a fair settlement or the time period—called the statute of limitations—will expire soon. Only a lawyer who is licensed in Virginia can file a civil complaint and litigate your case for you.
#2: Knowledge of Virginia Law
You need an attorney who understands the negligence laws of our state and what you need to prove to win your case. While a lawyer in a nearby state may be licensed to practice law in Virginia, they will not have as much knowledge about the statutes and case law in our commonwealth that could affect your claim. You have a better chance of obtaining the maximum recovery you are entitled to if you retain local counsel.
#3: Familiarity With Local Laws and Procedures
Courts in different counties may have their own special procedures that must be followed in civil cases. A local lawyer will have much more understanding of the local laws and procedures that must be complied with in your case.
In addition, there is another advantage to hiring local counsel. A local attorney is more likely to have relationships with court personal, lawyers for the insurance company, and insurance adjusters handling claims where your crash occurred. This can help them reach a settlement that fully compensates you and make the litigation process go smoothly and quickly.
Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers are here to help. Call our office to schedule your no-obligation initial consultation today.
Can a passenger sue both drivers in a car accident case?
If you were a passenger in an auto collision, you are entitled to be fully compensated for your injuries under Virginia law. You should pursue claims against any driver that was negligent in causing the crash. Depending on how the wreck happened, you may need to file a claim with the insurance companies for the driver of the vehicle you were in and another motorist involved in the accident.
Why it Is Important to Sue Both Drivers
In Virginia, a driver is only responsible for compensating injured passengers if they were negligent in causing the collision. In some car accidents, only one motorist is responsible for causing it, but this is not always the case.
In addition, drivers are only liable up to their percentage of fault in causing the crash. For example, if the driver of your vehicle were 50 percent to blame, they would only have to pay half of the total compensation you should receive.
You protect your rights by pursuing claims against both drivers if there is any possibility that their actions caused the collision. Here is why this is so important:
- Both drivers could point the finger at each other and claim the other one was the at-fault party. If you only sued one driver and they were found not to be negligent, you would not receive any compensation. If they were only found partially to blame, you would not receive all that you deserve from them.
- If more than one motorist was at fault, you could file a claim with both their insurance companies. This would increase the likelihood that you would receive the maximum recovery in your settlement because there would be more liability insurance coverage to pay you.
Why You Need an Auto Accident Attorney
If you were a passenger in a car accident, you have a strong case for compensation since it would be extremely unlikely that you would have been at all at fault in causing it. However, it can be complicated to determine the cause of the crash and who was the negligent party. You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights. To learn how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
What are Virginia’s motorcycle insurance requirements?
If you are riding a motorcycle in Virginia, you must comply with the commonwealth’s requirements for purchasing motorcycle liability insurance. In addition, having motorcycle insurance is important if you cause an accident or are the victim of one, and the negligent driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Virginia
You do not have to purchase motorcycle liability insurance if you pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee. However, you would have no liability insurance coverage and would be personally liable for any injuries to victims or property damages caused in the collision if you just paid this fee.
If you do not pay the UMV fee, you are required to purchase motorcycle liability insurance. The minimum liability requirements for this insurance coverage is:
- $25,000 coverage for one victim’s injuries or death per accident
- $50,000 coverage for bodily injury or death per accident
- $20,000 coverage for property damage per accident
Why You Need to Purchase Additional Insurance Coverage
Having the minimum amount of liability insurance will not sufficiently protect you if you cause a crash. You should consider purchasing additional liability coverage to be certain you do not face personal responsibility if a victim suffers serious injuries.
You should also buy additional insurance coverages to protect you if you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver. Types of insurance that you should consider purchasing include:
- Collision coverage. This would pay the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle if it were damaged in an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage would compensate you for damages caused due to fire, wind, water, theft, or vandalism.
- Uninsured/underinsured coverage. If you purchase uninsured coverage, this would protect you if the at-fault motorist had no auto insurance as required under Virginia law. Even if they have insurance, it may not be sufficient to fully compensate you if you suffer a serious injury—which is much more common in a motorcycle accident. You could file a claim with your own insurance company if you purchased uninsured motorist coverage.
Were you injured in a motorcycle crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are here to answer your questions and explain your options to you. Call our office to schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
How long will it take to settle my dog bite case?
It is not easy to know how long it will take to resolve your dog bite claim because every case is unique. However, there are some common factors in these cases that can make it take longer to settle your claim. Understanding what they are can give you a better sense of how long you may have to wait to receive your money.
Factors That Affect How Long it Will Take to Settle Your Dog Bite Claim
Under Virginia dog bite laws, you may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the dog’s owner. However, it may not be easy to reach a settlement for what you deserve with their insurance company. Here are some factors that can affect how long this process will take:
- Your recovery. It is important to wait until you fully recover from your injuries, or as much as you will, to settle your case. You cannot know how much you should receive in your settlement for your future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering until you reach this stage of your medical treatment.
- Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries, the value of your claim will be higher. You may need to fight longer and harder to convince the insurance company to pay you all the compensation you deserve than if you suffered a minor injury.
- Litigation. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations, which is the time period to sue, will expire soon, you will need to retain an experienced premises liability attorney to file a lawsuit against the dog owner. It can take longer to go through the litigation process, although it is still likely that your case will be settled before it goes to a jury trial.
If you suffered injuries in a dog attack, our skilled premises liability lawyers are here to explain your options to you and how long it could take to settle your case. To get started, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today.
Will the trucking company try to destroy evidence after my truck accident?
If you are injured in a truck accident, the trucking company could have the evidence you need to prove their negligence in causing your crash. Unfortunately, they could try to destroy documents you will need—and that they are required to keep under federal regulations—in an effort to weaken your case against them. However, you can take steps to stop them from doing this—if you act quickly.
Laws Prohibiting Trucking Companies From Getting Rid of Evidence
Both the truck driver and trucking company must follow federal regulations enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSA) designed to promote truck safely and prevent truck accidents. Under these regulations, trucking companies must retain documents for a certain length of time before destroying them. For example, trucking companies are prohibited from destroying truck driver log books, trip receipts and other records for six months. Other records, like the truck driver personnel records and truck maintenance records, must be maintained for much longer.
Although it is against the law to get rid of documents, the trucking company may do this anyway to prevent you from proving their liability to compensate you for your injuries. Another strategy they may employ is to drag out the settlement negotiations beyond the six months they are required to keep records so that they can legally dispose of them.
How to Stop the Trucking Company From Destroying Records You Need
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent the trucking company from destroying vital evidence. Your first step should be to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your truck collision. They can send the trucking company a spoliation letter to stop their illegal actions. Here is why sending this letter right away is so important:
- The spoliation letter puts the trucking company and trucker on notice that you have a claim for compensation against them. FMCSA regulations prohibit them from destroying evidence that could affect your case once they receive this letter.
- Your attorney will demand that the trucking company not destroy and turn over specific documents that could help you when filing your claim.
- If the trucking company gets rid of evidence after receiving your attorney’s letter, they could face harsh consequences. Once you file a lawsuit against them, the judge could rule that there is a presumption that the destroyed documents are helpful to your case.
Are you afraid that the trucking company will destroy evidence you need to prove their liability for your truck accident? Do you need help fighting with their insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.
Should I agree to a structured settlement in my car accident case?
In most auto collision cases, the victim agrees to accept their settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company in a lump sum payment. However, in certain situations, it may be better to accept payments over time in a structured settlement.
What Is a Structured Settlement?
A structured settlement is an agreement where the accident victim agrees to accept their settlement proceeds in payments over time. The terms of the agreement are negotiated and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the victim.
Individuals often receive an initial larger payment and then smaller payments that are paid monthly or at other set intervals. The payments can be paid over several years or for the victim’s entire life.
When You May Want to Accept a Structured Settlement
A structured settlement may be a good option for you if you suffered serious injuries and are receiving a large settlement from the insurance company. Here are some reasons why you may want to agree to one.
If you suffered permanent injuries that prevent you from working and will require expensive medical treatments in the future, you may want to accept a structured settlement. By spreading out the payments over time, you can ensure that you will have the money you need to replace your income, pay your medical bills, and get the personal care you may need throughout your life.
While much of a car accident settlement is not taxable income, some amounts, such as punitive damages and interest, could be taxed. You would spread out your tax liability by accepting your settlement proceeds over time.
Control Over Spending
If you are worried that you will not spend your settlement wisely if you get it in a lump sum, you may want to accept a structured settlement. You can work out an agreement so that you receive larger payments when you really need them, such as for expensive medical treatments, college expenses of your child, or other large expenses that you anticipate in the future.
Minor Children Settlement
If you are settling a car accident claim on behalf of your minor child, you most likely would want to accept the payments through a structured settlement. If your child needs medical care and income throughout their life, this can provide them with the regular income they need. The payments can also be designated for their future college expenses.
Do you have additional questions about whether a structured settlement is right for you? Do you need help negotiating your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation with our knowledgeable car accident lawyers today.
How can my spouse’s adultery affect our divorce?
If you discovered that your spouse committed adultery, it can be emotionally devastating. It could also have an impact on your divorce in Virginia. However, the financial implications may not be as major as you might think.
Adulty Is Grounds for Divorce in Virginia
It is considered adultery for a married person to have sexual intercourse with someone that is not their spouse. Adultery is grounds for an at-fault divorce in Virginia. In addition, there is no waiting period for filing the divorce when it is based on your spouse cheating on you.
How Adultery Impacts on Issues in a Divorce
Under Virginia’s divorce laws, the fact that your spouse cheated on you may not have much of an effect on the issues that must be decided in your divorce as you would wish. Your spouse will not be punished or be forced to give up many of their rights in the divorce. Here is how it could impact on the judge’s decisions.
The court must consider adultery in deciding how to split up marital property and debts. However, you will most likely not receive more assets than you would have been awarded if there was no cheating unless your spouse used marital assets in pursuing their secret relationship.
Child Custody, Support, and Visitation
Similarly, a spouse’s infidelity will have little impact on a judge’s decisions on who should have custody of your children and parenting time. The court must be guided by the best interests of the child in deciding custody and visitation issues, and adultery is not one of the factors that is to be considered. However, the court may not allow a new partner to be present during parenting time until the divorce is finalized.
Your child support also would not be impacted by your spouse’s cheating. A non-custodial parent’s child support payments are calculated using child support guidelines.
The one issue in a divorce that can be significantly affected by adultery is spousal support. In most cases, the cheating spouse is prohibited from receiving alimony. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the judge can consider these factors in awarding spousal support:
- Financial situation of each spouse
- Degree of fault of each party in the marriage
Do you suspect that your spouse is committing adultery? Are you considering filing for divorce for other reasons? Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Is lane splitting legal in Virginia?
Lane splitting is not legal in Virginia. However, lane sharing is permissible. Here’s what you need to know about lane splitting so that you can protect your right to compensation for your injuries if another driver causes your motorcycle accident.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rider rides between rows of motor vehicles going in the same direction as the motorcycle that are traveling at a slow speed or are stopped. Lane splitting is illegal in Virginia and is considered reckless driving. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense that is punished by a jail sentence and fines.
What Is Lane Sharing?
Lane sharing is the practice of motorcycle riders riding side-by-side with other motorcyclists in the same lane. Motorcycle riders are permitted to lane share with other motorcycles in our state.
It can be safer for motorcycle riders to lane share. They are more visible to other motorists when riding in a group in the same lane. In addition, drivers are more likely to keep a safer distance between their vehicles and motorcycles when there is more than one motorcycle in a nearby lane.
What Happens If You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident When Lane Splitting?
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident while lane splitting, you may have difficulty obtaining compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the collision. Under Virginia’s harsh contributory negligence laws, a motorcyclist who was at all at fault in causing a crash—even one percent—cannot recover any damages from another driver. However, the lane splitting must have been one of the causes of the crash for this rule to apply.
Contact Tavss Fletcher Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney who will fight for your rights and obtain the maximum recovery you deserve for your injuries. To learn how our legal team can help, call our Norfolk office or fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
Who could be liable when a dog bites someone?
Under Virginia dog bite laws, dog owners are liable to compensate victims if they knew or should have known their dog was dangerous or aggressive, failed to use reasonable care to control their dog, or violated a law or ordinance relating to the dog’s care. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a dog bite, other parties, in addition to the owner, could face liability. If you were injured in a dog attack, you need to identify all the responsible parties if you want to obtain the maximum recovery you are entitled to.
Parties Who May Liable in a Dog Bite Case
Even if you have a strong case against the dog owner, they may not have enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries fully. That is why it is so important to pursue claims against other liable parties if there are any. Who is liable will depend on the facts in your case. However, here are some parties who may face responsibility:
- Dog owner. In most cases, the dog owner would be partially or fully responsible if their dog bit you.
- Dog keeper. If someone was taking care of the dog at the time of the attack, they could face liability if they knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous tendencies or failed to reasonably control the dog, and this caused the victim’s dog bite. Violation of a local dog ordinance could be another way to hold them liable.
- Landlord. A landlord has a duty to protect against dangerous conditions on their property, which can include aggressive dogs. They also have a duty to regularly inspect for hazardous conditions and to take steps to protect others from these dangers. If they breach these duties, they can be liable to compensate a dog bite victim.
- Parents. If a child under 18 years old owned or was taking care of a dog who bit you, they might not be held responsible due to their age. However, their parents could be responsible depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack.
- Business. If the dog attack occurred on business property, the business owner might have breached their duty to protect against dangerous conditions and be an additional party to pursue a claim against.
Did you or a loved one suffer a dog bite in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our experienced premises liability attorneys can identify all the liable parties and pursue claims on your behalf. To learn how we will aggressively fight for your rights, fill out our convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
How long do I have to report a car accident?
It is always a good idea to contact the police at the scene of a car accident and obtain a copy of the police report to protect your legal right to compensation for your injuries. In addition, in some cases, you are required to report the crash under Virginia law.
When Are You Required to Report an Auto Collision in Virginia?
You are required to report most car crashes to law enforcement within 24 hours or as soon as possible if you are too injured to report it right away. When you report the collision, you must provide the officer with your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number. You are required to contact the police under these circumstances:
- An individual is injured or killed.
- The vehicle or other property is damaged.
In addition, individuals involved in an auto accident have the following duties under Virginia law:
- Stop as close to the collision scene as possible without obstructing traffic
- Provide reasonable assistance to any individuals injured in the crash
If the driver fails to notify the police of an accident, any passenger in the vehicle who is over 16 years old has a duty to report it to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Violation of this law can result in felony charges if a victim is injured or killed or the property damage is over $1,000. It would be a misdemeanor offense if there were no injuries or death and the property damage is less than $1,000.
Why You Should Always Contact the Police at the Accident Scene
Even if your vehicle suffered little damage and you believe that you suffered no injuries, you should call the police at the accident scene. The damage to your vehicle could be more extensive and expensive to fix than you thought. In addition, the symptoms of some serious injuries, like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage, can take days or longer to develop.
If you do not report your accident, you lose important evidence that can help you prove the other driver’s negligence and responsibility to compensate you for injuries. The officer at the scene would investigate the crash and provide information, such as how the collision occurred, who was at fault, contact information for witnesses, and any traffic citations issued, in their police report.
Providing a copy of the police report to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company can help you convince them of their liability to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, it can help avoid disputes about whether the accident occurred and whether it caused your injuries.
If you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company for your injuries in an auto collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area, our experienced car accident legal team is here to assist you. Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about your options.