Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek

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  • Who can file a wrongful death action in Virginia?

    wrongful-death-claimsUnder Virginia law, a wrongful death action can be brought when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of a person or corporation. If the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury action if he had survived, then a family member can file a wrongful death claim on his behalf. The right to file a wrongful death action is based on Virginia statutes. These laws give the right to sue for wrongful death due to many types of fatal accidents, including:

    • Car accidents
    • Truck accidents
    • Motorcycle accidents
    • Medical malpractice
    • Premises liability accidents like slip and fall or drowning
    • Other accidents caused by negligence

    Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

    Under Virginia law, only surviving family members defined as statutory beneficiaries are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The law has a very specific order of who can sue. In addition, the lawsuit is not filed in the name of the deceased person or filed by the statutory beneficiaries. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate files the lawsuit on behalf of the statutory beneficiaries. These beneficiaries are as follows:

    • Spouses and children have the first right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If their parent is deceased, grandchildren can file the suit.
    • If there is no spouse, and no children or grandchildren, then the parents, brothers, and sisters, and any other family member in the deceased person’s household who was dependent on him can file a wrongful death action.
    • If the deceased person left a spouse but no children or grandchildren, the spouse and the deceased person’s parents can file a wrongful death claim.
    • If the deceased person left no family members described above, other family members who would inherit under Virginia’s intestacy laws would have the right to file a wrongful death action.

    Determining who can file a wrongful death action and the proper form of the lawsuit is complicated. If you need to file a wrongful death claim, you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the process. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your case evaluation to discuss your situation.

  • Do I have a case against a manufacturer if my airbag didn’t deploy in a car accident?

    No matter whether you were the victim or the cause of an automobile crash, you expect your vehicle’s safety features, such as your seatbelts and airbags to keep your family safe. Unfortunately, airbags do not always work properly. If yours failed to deploy in a car accident, you could have suffered more catastrophic injuries, such as skull fractures, spinal injuries, internal organ damage, or death. You could have a claim against the manufacturer of the airbag as well as the negligent driver who caused your wreck.

    Are Airbags Always Supposed to Deploy?

    when-your-airbag-doesn't-deployFrontal airbags have been standard on all passenger vehicles since the model year 1998 and on SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans since 1999. Vehicles can also be equipped with side airbags. Airbags are designed to deploy in moderate to severe crashes to reduce the risk that occupants will hit hard objects like the dashboard in a crash. However, they are not supposed to deploy in these situations:

    • Minor frontal accidents
    • T-bone, rollover, and rear-end collisions where there is not much front to back deceleration
    • Accidents involving animals
    • Crashes where a curb, parking block, or sign is hit
    • Where the impact is with gravel, bumps, or potholes on roads

    What Claims Could You Have If Your Airbag Failed to Deploy?

    If your airbag failed to deploy in a moderate to severe crash, it may be due to a manufacturer defect. In addition, if your airbag deploys when it should not, such as in the Takata airbag recall situation, this could also be a manufacturer defect. These types of claim usually fall into one of the following product liability categories:

    • Design defects. In some cases, a product such as an airbag has a defective design that causes it to malfunction. This has been the problem with the Takata airbags that are deploying when they should not with fatal consequences for the victims.
    • Manufacturing defect. In other cases, the design of the product is safe, but it is not manufactured according to the design specifications. This can be an easier case to prove because you can show that the manufacturer did not follow the design requirements.
    • Marketing defects. If the airbag or any other product was not labeled properly or you were not provided with the proper warning labels or instructions, you could have a marketing defect claim.

    Product liability cases are very complex, and you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney and expert witnesses to prove your claim. If your airbag failed to deploy and you suffered injuries, call our office today to schedule a consultation to learn about your legal options.

  • When should I go to a doctor after an auto accident?

    See a doctor after a car crashOne of the biggest mistakes that car accident victims make is waiting too long to see a doctor. Sometimes adrenaline and the shock of the crash may mask the symptoms, or the person could try to “tough it out.” However, failing to obtain prompt medical care can not only jeopardize your health, but also hurt your ability to obtain the full value of your claim.

    Why Seeing a Doctor Right Away Is Important in Your Auto Collision Claim

    If you suffered obvious injuries in the accident, you should seek immediate medical care either by being transported to the hospital in an ambulance or by going to the emergency room. Your health should be your primary concern. Even if you are not certain that you are injured or suffered “minor” aches and pains, you want to schedule an appointment to be checked out by your doctor within approximately 72 hours. If you cannot get an appointment with your physician that quickly, you should see a doctor at a walk-in clinic.

    The reason you want to have a doctor examine you no matter how minor your injuries are is that some symptoms of what turns out to be serious medical conditions do not develop for days or weeks after the crash. Traumatic brain injury, back, spinal and neck injuries, and internal organ damage are just a few of the conditions where you may not realize that you are hurt right away. When you see your doctor, he may order diagnostic tests that could help him diagnose these conditions so that you receive prompt treatment. In addition, you avoid the danger of the symptoms becoming more severe or life-threatening when you do start experiencing them.

    Seeking prompt medical care is also important if you later discover that you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. When you delay seeing a doctor, you are giving the insurance company ammunition that they can use to deny or reduce your claim. Common arguments that the insurance adjuster could make if you do not seek medical care right away include:

    • The injury must not have been that serious or you would have sought medical treatment earlier.
    • The injury was caused by something other than the automobile accident.

    Another mistake that you do not want to make is to fail to follow-up with the medical treatments your doctor recommends. The negligent driver’s insurance adjuster can make similar arguments against paying your claim as if you did not seek prompt treatment when you fail to continue to receive the medical care you need for your injuries.

    Hiring an experienced car accident attorney is another important first step you should take. He can guide you through the process of filing your claim, give you advice so that you do not make inadvertent mistakes, and settle your claim for you. Call our office today to schedule a case evaluation with a member of the car accident legal team at Tavss Fletcher.

  • How does a wrongful death action work in Virginia?

    wrongful death actionIt is never easy to lose a loved one, but it can be especially heartbreaking if he died because of another person’s negligence. While it will never replace the loved one who has been lost, the family of an injury victim may be able to obtain compensation from the negligent party in a wrongful death action.

    What Is a Wrongful Death Action?

    Under Virginia law, the family of a person who died in an accident can file a claim for compensation in a wrongful death action if the death was caused by “the wrongful act, neglect, or default" of another party. The deceased person must have had a valid claim that he could have pursued if he had lived. Only certain family members can file this type of claim. They include the following:

    • Surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren of the deceased person
    • Surviving parents, siblings, or other relatives who shared a household with the victim and were his dependents
    • A surviving family member who is entitled to inherit from the deceased person’s estate under Virginia’s intestate laws.

    Compensation in Wrongful Death Actions

    In a wrongful death claim, the victim’s family may be entitled to damages which are slightly different from those that the deceased person could have received had he suffered injuries but lived. The family may receive compensation for:

    • Their pain and emotional trauma
    • Loss of the deceased person’s companionship, care, comfort, and advice
    • Loss of the value of the person’s wages and benefits, including future amounts that they would have received if he had lived
    • Medical bills from the victim’s last injuries and death
    • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
    • Punitive damages—awarded to punish the negligent party if his actions were especially negligent

    If a loved one died as a result of the negligence of another person or business, we are here to help you hold the negligent party responsible and to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to get you questions answered and learn about your legal options.

  • What does “reasonable doubt” mean, and how can my lawyer use it in my favor?

    creating reasonable doubtAnyone who has been charged with a crime or even watched a legal drama on television has heard about the concept of reasonable doubt. One cornerstone of the American justice system is that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and to be proven guilty, that guilt must be shown beyond reasonable doubt. Here, we explore reasonable doubt and explain how it can help protect those accused of a crime.

    What Is Meant by “Reasonable Doubt?”

    In a criminal trial, the innocence of the defendant is assumed, and it is up to the prosecutor to show that he is guilty of the crime. Reasonable doubt is the standard that the prosecutor must meet. It is the highest burden of proof in the American justice system, and it means that no other logical explanation can be drawn except that the defendant committed the crime. It asks jurors to consider if a rational, reasonable person would draw the same conclusion from the same facts.

    Reasonable doubt is a much stricter standard than those in other types of trials. Civil cases are decided by what is known as a preponderance of evidence, meaning that it only needs to be likely that the person is guilty.

    How Reasonable Doubt Can Help a Virginia Criminal Defendant

    Under a reasonable doubt burden of proof, it is not enough that a person probably committed a crime. The evidence must be so convincing as to lead to a logical conclusion of guilt, and there must be no other reasonable scenario in which another person could have committed the crime. The burden of meeting this standard, however, is on the prosecution. The person charged with the crime is not obligated to prove that he did not commit the crime; the prosecution must overcome the assumption of innocence to prove that he did. In theory, this puts the prosecution at a disadvantage.

    An experienced criminal defense attorney understands how this system works, and a knowledgeable legal team can help present evidence to create doubt. To do so, an effective legal team can:

    • Identify jurors who understand and will adhere to the principle of innocent until proven guilty
    • Pose questions left unanswered by the prosecution
    • Present reasonable alternative possibilities

    If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Virginia, experienced representation can help find evidence and present the factors that can create reasonable doubt. At Tavss Fletcher, our tenacious attorneys seek to mitigate the negative effects of a criminal charge for every client, and we may be able to help. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • How can I know who is responsible for my multiple-car crash?

    causes of highway pileup crashesPlacing liability after a multiple-vehicle crash, also known as a pile-up accident, means determining who was at the root cause of the larger, multi-collision accident. However, it’s also possible multiple drivers contributed to the cause (or causes) of the crash. If you were injured in a pile-up, it's important to understand what may have triggered it and how Virginia law could affect your eligibility to recover.

    Factors Contributing to Pile-Up Crashes

    Multi-car collisions can be deadly. In fact, 39% of vehicle accident deaths in Virginia can be attributed to multiple-vehicle accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Serious injuries requiring costly recoveries could also result, so placing liability is key after a pile-up crash. Knowing what factors commonly contribute to a multiple-car wreck can help you keep an eye out for warning signs on the road and avoid risky behaviors, including:

    • Driver distraction, such as using a cell phone, completing a morning hygiene routine, or eating breakfast.
    • Driver recklessness, which includes not only speeding, changing lanes rapidly, and tailgating, but it can also mean failing to drive safely enough for weather conditions.
    • Driver fatigue, which can be identified by drifting in and out of lanes, sudden slowing or speeding, or jerking motions while driving.
    • Driver impairment, including drugged or drunk driving, which results in swerving, random braking, and slowed reaction times.
    • Driver carelessness, which can happen when someone fails to check a blind spot adequately or use a signal light.

    Virginia’s Fault Laws Are Harsh

    Under Virginia law, if you’ve contributed to the cause of your own crash even 1%, you become legally ineligible to recover for financial losses through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Because multiple drivers—who may have made individual mistakes—are involved in a pileup, it’s important you have an attorney who can use solid evidence to prove both your innocence and the other drivers’ liability.

    Let a Skilled Attorney Handle Your Car Wreck Claim

    If you’ve been injured in a car crash with multiple vehicles and feel concerned about making on-time medical bill and car repair payments, it’s critical you speak with a lawyer. The trusted team at Tavss Fletcher can look at your situation, help you understand who may be liable, and work with you to recover the compensation you need to heal thoroughly. Get started today with a live online chat with one of our staff.

  • How might a lawyer defend me against a false drug possession charge?

    defending against a drug possession chargeVirginia takes drug possession offenses seriously; any person found in illegal possession of a Schedule I or II substance will face a Class 5 felony. However, a skilled attorney may be able to use Virginia state law and strategic defenses to get your charges or penalties reduced or dismissed. If you’ve been accused of drug possession, it’s important you understand what drug possession is and what defenses could apply to your case if you were wrongly accused.

    Defining Possession

    Although there are many different drug charges—from using to selling—Virginia law defines drug possession as “knowingly or intentionally” possessing a controlled substance. However, Virginia names one exception. A person may possess a controlled substance if he or she also has a prescription that:

    • Is valid
    • Was written by a licensed practitioner
    • Was provided during a doctor–patient interaction in a professional practice

    This defense is easy to prove; a copy of the valid prescription and a signed affidavit from the prescribing doctor will likely suffice. However, the wording in the legal definition of drug possession provides options for other more complicated defenses.

    A Closer Look at the Definition May Help Your Defense

    Virginia law explicitly states that a valid prescription should void drug possession charges. However, an even closer read of Virginia code can help your defense. For example, a few defenses hinge on certain phrases in the definition—depending on the details of a case—and these include:

    • “Knowingly and intentionally:” It’s possible that you have a controlled substance in your possession without knowing or intending to possess it. Even Virginia law says that the presence of a drug in a person’s car or residence does not mean that he was “knowingly and intentionally” in possession of the substance.
    • “Possess:” Your attorney can show that you had insufficient or no opportunity to be in possession of a drug—as is the case when many people are present in a house or vehicle containing the controlled substance. Your attorney may be able to argue you were not the one in possession.
    • “A controlled substance:” Perhaps what you had in your possession was not a drug at all. To prove this, your attorney may be able to use credible, careful lab testing

    Other defenses, such as police lab error and illegal search, may also work for you. Your attorney will be able to explain how those may apply to your case.

    Building a Solid Defense Calls for Legal Help

    Meeting with an attorney after being accused of drug possession is crucial to avoiding stiff penalties, including possible jail time, hefty fines, and the stigma of a drug conviction. The legal team at Tavss Fletcher can look at your case and the evidence against you and advise you on other defenses that may apply to your situation. To request your free case review, start a live online chat on our website today.

  • What is assisted delivery and is it dangerous?

    assisted birth injuries forcepsEven with careful fetal monitoring throughout the birthing process, a delivery can present a surprise or new challenge at any moment. Assisted delivery is one way doctors approach these challenges, but you may be worried that surgical tools could hurt your baby. It’s important you understand what assisted delivery is and what risks it poses to your baby.

    What Is Assisted Delivery?

    Childbirth can be a traumatic experience for both mother and child. However, when the birth becomes too challenging, the doctor must take swift action to protect the mother and the baby. In some deliveries, the doctor may elect to use medical tools to guide the baby through the birth canal. This is known as an assisted delivery, and the two tools used most often are the following:

    • Forceps are a tong-like tool with a large cup on each of the two tips. When a doctor uses this tool, he usually instructs the mother to push, fixes the cups around the sides of the baby’s head, and pulls gently.
    • Vacuum extraction (ventouse) is a technique involving a vacuum-like suction device with a cup attached to the end of its hose, which a doctor attaches to a baby’s head. When the suction is active, the mother pushes, and the doctor uses the suction to guide the child out.

    Your Baby Faces Some Risk

    It’s important to remember that not all doctors will make mistakes when using forceps or a vacuum. Even when doctors use these tools properly and safely, babies may experience some head or facial markings. However, you may have cause for concern over larger issues, which could include:

    • Facial bruising
    • Temporary facial palsy
    • Eye injury
    • Cranial or facial fractures
    • Minor cranial bleeding
    • Seizures
    • Brachial plexus injury

    Do You Have a Birth Injury Case?

    Doctors are human and they can make mistakes and hurt people if they fail to uphold a certain standard of care. If your baby is injured or suffered harm at the hands of a negligent doctor, it’s important you ask an attorney whether you have a case. The team at Tavss Fletcher would be happy to sit down with you, look at your documents, and answer any of your questions. If you’re ready to start a conversation, call our toll-free number today.

  • What are possible defenses to my murder charges?

    defenses to murder chargesMurder charges can end in serious jail time and, in Virginia, the death penalty—depending on what type of murder was committed. If you’ve been accused of murder, it’s important you look a few steps ahead and try to understand how an experienced attorney and a good legal defense may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.

    Murder Charges Are Defensible

    Murder charges may range from manslaughter to first-degree and capital murder. All are serious charges and can affect your career, your family, and your freedom. If you’re being accused of murder, get into contact with an attorney who can explain how the following defenses might apply and help your case:

    • Self-defense. This is one type of what’s called an affirmative defense—which includes the defendant (the accused) admitting that he committed the crime but had legal justification to do so. Self-defense is one such justification, which requires the defendant to say he feared for his own immediate safety.
    • Defense of others. This is another affirmative defense, in which the defendant admits he committed the crime—but to save the lives of others.
    • Evidence suppression. A good legal defense team builds a solid defense by also keeping the other side in check and refuting their claims. One way a good attorney can defend you is by motioning to suppress evidence from the prosecution, using complex legal code.
    • Reasonable doubt. A judge or jury voting guilty must believe the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if any reasonable doubt exists, the judge or jury cannot convict. A skilled defense team can use evidence and narrative to create this doubt.

    Murder Charges Need Legal Assistance

    As soon as possible after your arrest, it’s key you enlist the help of a skilled attorney who can help you understand the charges brought against you and any potential penalties. At Tavss Fletcher, we’ve been fighting murder charges in Virginia for decades, and we may be able to help you, too. To speak with a member of our team today, call our toll-free phone number.

  • How can an attorney determine liability in my truck accident?

    Liability in truck crashesThe cargo trucking industry is comprised of many different products and services, and it’s possible that any of the companies involved may have contributed to the cause of a truck crash. Without cargo loaders, drivers, parts manufacturers, mechanics, and cargo companies, the industry wouldn’t exist. However, it’s important you understand the complicated nature of truck accident liability in the event you are involved in a truck crash.

    Liability Can Become Complicated

    Because so many entities make the trucking industry function, determining liability after a truck crash can be difficult. A serious accident may be caused by a combination of many mistakes, which could include:

    • Poor maintenance. Trucks must be in good, working order to avoid an accident.
    • Incorrect loading. Because a truck must be balanced, improper cargo-loading could cause an accident.
    • Negligent driving. A driver (especially one who feels under pressure) may be more willing to speed or drive with less caution to meet deadlines.
    • Negligent hiring practices. With safety in mind, a trucking company must thoroughly vet applicants before placing drivers on the road.
    • Substandard parts manufacturing. It’s possible the accident was caused by a defective part, in which case the manufacturer would be responsible.

    Evidence Needed to Show Liability

    You are an integral part of your successful truck accident liability case. If you’re involved in an accident with a large truck, it’s important you gather as much information as you can, including,

    • Photos and videos of each vehicle’s position after the crash and damages, as well as each vehicle’s interior.
    • Notes about what you remember, including the event directly preceding the crash and any theories and evidence about its cause.
    • Recordings of witness testimony from those who may have seen what happened.

    You Need an Experienced Attorney

    If you’ve recently been involved in a car crash, it’s important you collect any evidence you have and contact an attorney. If you’re ready to begin an evaluation of your case, you should contact the team at Tavss Fletcher today. To get started, start a live chat online with a representative.

  • Should I get my speedometer calibrated after a reckless driving or speeding charge?

    Calibrating your speedometerSwift penalties may follow speeding or reckless driving charges—including fines, demerit points, license suspension, or a spotted criminal record. However, an attorney may be able to defend you, working to get your charges lowered or dismissed using a speedometer calibration report. So it’s important you understand what it is and how it may be helpful in your case.

    What Is a Speedometer Calibration?

    Though drivers rely on speedometers to regulate their speeds and obey limits, it’s possible the mechanism displays the incorrect speed—and a speedometer calibration can reveal any inaccuracies. This process involves assessing the exactness of your vehicle’s speedometer by checking its mechanical and electrical components.

    Any reputable mechanic who records results properly and can produce a valid report may run a speedometer calibration on your vehicle. Though it costs about $75 and lasts about an hour, obtaining a calibration report could help your defense.

    A Calibration Report Could Help or Hurt Your Case

    It’s not uncommon to learn that a speedometer is off by a few miles per hour (MPH). However, discovering that you have an inaccurate speedometer could either hurt or help your case—depending on if it’s high or low.

    When your speedometer is low, it could help you. Here’s a hypothetical example:

    • The driver is accused of traveling 57 MPH in a 35 MPH zone.
    • He obtains a speedometer calibration report showing it’s off by 5 MPH.
    • The judge on his case agrees to reduce the official speed to 52 MPH.

    Though, in this scenario, the driver will still face consequences for speeding, the penalties could be much less severe than what he would have faced on a reckless driving charge.

    When your speedometer is high, a calibration report could have the opposite effect. However, if you obtain a report showing your speedometer runs high, you are not required to use it in court. Additionally, a speedometer report could return results showing that your speedometer is virtually accurate. If you know that you weren’t speeding, these results may help you.

    More Questions? Speak With an Attorney Today

    If you’ve recently been hit with a speeding or reckless driving charge, you may have complicated questions. The legal team at Tavss Fletcher has answers for you, and we can review your case, advise you of your options and whether a calibration report could be helpful, and defend you against these charges. To get started and speak with a knowledgeable attorney, fill out the online contact form on our website today.

  • How can I prove my medical malpractice case?

    Building a successful medical malpractice case requires documenting evidence, making specific connections, and calculating an exact amount representing damages. Additionally, you must be able to file your lawsuit within two years of the inciting incident, and the case must go through a review board before the lawsuit can be filed. If you’re considering filing a med mal lawsuit, it’s important you understand all its necessary parts.

    Proving Medical Malpractice Is Complex

    In order for you to file a successful medical malpractice claim, you and your attorney must be able to show that:

    • A doctor-patient relationship existed. Though this fact usually goes undisputed, part of your case must show that your doctor met with you, diagnosed you, or treated you. This is also known as proximate cause.
    • The doctor was negligent. Doctors and other healthcare professionals must meet an expected standard of care. Legally, a doctor may be found negligent if another reasonable physician—meaning one with a similar skill set and in the same situation—would have made a different decision.
    • The patient was harmed. You must be able to show, with concrete evidence, that you experienced harm. Your word is not enough.
    • The direct link between the negligence and harm. It’s not enough to say that a doctor made a mistake and that you were harmed. With evidence, your attorney must demonstrate that a specific mistake directly led to patient harm.
    • The monetary amount of damages. It’s also critical to prove exactly what harm the doctor’s action (or inaction) caused you. It’s possible you needed further medical treatment or had to miss work because of the doctor’s negligence—and all of these losses are calculable.

    In building a case to prove that your doctor did not meet the expected standard of medical care, he may need specific pieces of evidence, including:

    • Medical records
    • Expert testimony
    • Witness statements
    • Photos or videos

    Get Trusted Legal Advice Today

    If you’ve been injured after a medical professional was negligent, you may have questions about a potential medical malpractice case. The experienced legal team at Tavss Fletcher invites you to come in for a free consultation where we can review your case, answer your questions, and advise you of your next steps. Fill out the online contact form on our website today to get started.

  • What evidence do I need for my truck accident claim?

    evidence to prove a truck crash caseDetermining liability in a truck crash can be difficult because many businesses and individuals are involved in getting a loaded truck on the road. However, evidence can help insurance agents, judges or juries, and attorneys fully understand the facts of the crash, which can help place liability. Ultimately, evidence helps you maximize your recovery after a crash with a truck, so it’s important to understand what evidence you’ll need.

    At the Scene of the Crash, Do Your Part

    Just as with a passenger vehicle crash, your actions right after an accident with a truck are important to recovering fully for your injuries and damages. You can protect your future claim by:

    • Jotting down some notes while the memory is fresh in your mind.
    • Taking photos and videos of the crash scene, making sure to include descriptions of what happened.
    • Calling law enforcement so an objective third party can step in, record information, and give directions as needed.
    • Talking to witnesses who may have unique information or had an important view of the crash.

    An Attorney Can Help Collect Other Evidence

    Other types of evidence may prove helpful for your case, but it’s smart to enlist the help of an attorney to gather these, which include:

    • Evidence from the truck’s interior, such as the “black box” recording device, any photos or videos of the cabin, dash camera footage, and data from the truck’s computer.
    • Evidence from the trucker and his employer, including hours of service logs, maintenance records, and driver history.
    • Evidence from security footage, which could shed light on the driver’s actions directly before the crash or the root cause of the accident.

    Let an Attorney Advocate for You

    If you’ve recently been involved in a crash with a large truck and feel confused about your next steps, get into contact with an experienced attorney. Truck accident litigation can be complex and confusing, but the team at Tavss Fletcher can provide you with answers and personalized service. To speak with a member of our firm, call our toll-free number today.

  • What’s the difference between a revocable and irrevocable trust?

    Understanding trustsSimply put, a trust is a financial agreement among three people: the grantor (who creates the trust), the trustee (who manages the trust), and the beneficiary (who receives what’s put in the trust). Trusts can either be revocable or irrevocable. An attorney can help you decide which will better fit with your estate-planning needs, but it’s important you understand what purpose each serves.

    Revocable Trusts

    As its name implies, a revocable living trust can be altered or revoked entirely after its creation. Additionally, property or financial assets that are put into a revocable trust:

    • Remain the property of the grantor, the individual who creates the trust
    • May be charged estate taxes

    A revocable trust provides flexibility for the grantor if he isn’t entirely certain what assets he wants kept in trust or wants to plan for a scenario in which he becomes mentally incapacitated. Another advantage of a revocable trust is that it avoids probate and public visibility after death. In short, the grantor can maintain control over his assets in a revocable trust while still reaping some benefits.

    Irrevocable Trusts

    An irrevocable trust is created with permanency in mind; after creation, an irrevocable trust cannot be altered. Additionally, revocable trusts will:

    • Transfer legal ownership of assets from the grantor to the trust itself
    • Avoid probate
    • Reduce estate taxes
    • Protect assets

    After the creator of an irrevocable trust passes away, the trustee oversees the transfer of ownership from the trust to its beneficiary. Because the grantor no longer legally owns assets put into an irrevocable trust, these assets are not calculated in the mass value of the deceased’s estate—which results in great tax savings, asset protection, and discretion.

    Find Personalized Estate-Planning Services

    If you’re considering how to build your estate plan and whether you should create a trust, consult with an attorney who can give you sound guidance. The legal team at Tavss Fletcher can review your estate with you, listen to your concerns, and help you build a plan that works for your estate. To get started, fill out the online contact form on our website today.

  • What should I do after being hurt by a medication error?

    Medication errors cause harmMedication errors are serious matters that can worsen a condition, create a new one, or injure a patient. If you’ve been harmed by a healthcare professional's mistake with your medication, it’s important you understand how they can happen and what your first steps should be.

    Understanding Medication Errors

    A medication error is a preventable mistake that can occur in a great number of scenarios by many different medical professionals, including when:

    • A pharmacist mislabels a medication
    • A doctor prescribes the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage
    • A nurse administers the wrong medication or incorrect dosage
    • A doctor fails to take drug interactions into account when prescribing a new medication
    • A doctor fails to review a patient’s allergies when prescribing a new medication
    • A medical professional fails to warn a patient of potential side effects when prescribing a new medication

    Additionally, it’s important to note that medication errors can occur throughout the time a patient is in the care of a medical professional and do not only occur with prescription drugs at home. Errors can also happen with chemotherapy drugs or other drug-related treatments.

    What to Do After a Medication Error

    There are steps you can take to help prevent a medication error, but it’s important you know that if a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other medical staff member does commit an error, you should do the following:

    • Call a lawyer. Whether you consider the error minor or major, it’s smart to get in contact with an attorney who can help you understand what just happened, give you the legal advice you need, and help you report to the proper authorities.
    • Seek medical attention. Drugs can be dangerous. Especially if the error has caused you further injury or worsened a condition, it’s important you find a doctor who can correct the issue.
    • Document evidence. Keep any medication bottles given to you, obtain copies of medical records and orders, and get a letter from your employer if you’ve had to miss work.

    Your Attorney Is Your Advocate

    If you suspect that your injury or illness is the result of a medication error, an attorney can help. The legal team at Tavss Fletcher can review the details of your case and explain your options. To get started, fill out the online contact form on our website today.

  • What should I do right after a motorcycle accident?

    Man riding motorcycleAccording to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 88,000 motorcyclists were injured on U.S. roads in 2015. These injuries can lead to complicated legal battles—and if you’re in a motorcycle accident, it’s important you know what steps to take in order to protect your future claim and potential recovery for injuries, damages, and pain and suffering.

    Your Actions After a Crash Matter

    Although the time right after a motorcycle crash can be filled with pandemonium, it’s important to stay calm, collected, and smart. The following steps are key to protecting the injury claim that may occur after your accident:

    • Watch your words. When you speak to the other person after the accident, do not say anything that could be misconstrued as taking responsibility for the accident—even partially. In fact, only say what is absolutely necessary to get his information and nothing more. Additionally, answer questions from law enforcement with only facts.
    • Document the evidence. If you’re physically able, it’s important you take photos and videos of the accident scene and damage to both vehicles after the crash. You should also speak with people who may have seen what happened and record their contact information, should law enforcement or your attorney wish to speak with them.
    • Seek medical help. If you feel mild pain at all after a crash or experienced some road rash, it’s essential to your claim that you seek medical attention. Not only does it show insurance agents and the other driver that you take the accident seriously, it may also help reveal more serious injuries that may remain latent for the first few days after an accident. Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments and obey your physician’s orders.
    • Call an attorney. Because motorcycle accident injuries can be severe—and because Virginia accident laws can complicate an injury claim—it’s important you find a trustworthy attorney who can advocate for you while you focus on your physical recovery.

    If You’re a Motorcyclist Who’s Hurt, We Want to Help

    Injuries from a motorcycle accident can lead to hefty medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced attorneys at Tavss Fletcher can advocate for you and earn you adequate compensation for your losses. To speak with a member of our team today, fill out the online contact form on our website.

  • What are no-zones and how can I avoid them?

    Semi truck in sideview mirrorA large truck is one that weighs 10,000 pounds or more, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. This creates a risk for smaller passenger vehicles. It’s important that Virginia drivers know what no-zones are, how to avoid them, and how a lawyer can help if an accident occurs.

    Accidents Are More Likely in No-Zones

    Because trucks are heavier and more difficult to maneuver than a traditional passenger vehicle, you must take extra caution when driving near them to prevent serious injuries. Specifically, you should avoid the no-zones, which are especially risky areas around a truck. These include:

    • The sides. Semi-trucks are so large and long that they have blind spots on both sides. However, visibility is especially limited on the trucker’s right side.
    • The rear. Truckers cannot see directly behind their trailers, but drivers who follow a truck closely also cannot see around the truck.
    • The front. Large trucks need more time to make safe stops, and having a passenger vehicle right in front of them creates a significant risk.

    You Can Avoid the No-Zones

    To protect yourself and your passengers, make sure you know how to share the road with large trucks appropriately. The following are some quick tips to help you stay safe:

    • If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you. Whether you are traveling on the side or rear of the truck, it’s important you use the truck’s mirrors to keep the driver’s face within your view. If you can see the driver, you’re most likely in the driver’s sights.
    • Don’t linger. When traveling in close proximity to a truck, make sure to exit the no-zones quickly. Do not linger in any of the no-zones for too long.
    • Pass safely. When passing, make sure to pass on the left—where a truck’s blind spot is smaller. Additionally, when you pass in front of a truck, give the truck plenty of room. In your side-view mirror, you should be able to see the whole front end of the truck before you cross into its lane.
    • Beware wide right turns. If you and a large truck are both about to make a right turn, keep in mind that trucks need more room than you. Keep your distance, and never try to squeeze through first while a truck is turning right. 

    If You’ve Been Injured, You Need Help

    Accidents with large trucks can become complicated quickly, so if you’ve been injured, it’s important you enlist the help of an experienced attorney. The team at Tavss Fletcher can help you gather evidence, present a sound argument, and work toward a positive outcome in your case. To get started with us, call our toll-free phone number: 877-960-3441.

  • What if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when my car accident occurred?

    Driver putting on seatbeltFirst things first: properly using a seat belt can save your life—but sometimes, drivers choose not to wear one. If you weren’t wearing a seat belt during an accident, you should know it’s still possible to recover for damages and injuries. However, it’s important you understand that Virginia seat belt and negligence laws may be important in your claim.

    A Seat Belt Violation Is a Secondary Offense in VA

    In the U.S., seat belt violations are codified as either primary or secondary offenses. In most states, not wearing a seat belt is considered a primary offense—meaning a police officer can pull a driver over for that reason alone. In Virginia, it is a secondary offense, so an officer must have pulled you over for another violation in order to ticket you or your adult passenger for not wearing a seat belt.

    However, it is a primary offense in Virginia for a minor to ride in a vehicle without a seat belt. So it’s lawful for an officer to ticket you if a child is unrestrained or improperly restrained in your vehicle.

    Fault Matters Most

    More importantly, Virginia is one of four states that operates under a pure contributory negligence rule—meaning that if you were even 10% at fault for your own injuries, you can’t sue for compensation. However, perhaps another driver (who was 100% at fault) injured you in an accident, but you weren’t wearing your seat belt. Is that driver allowed to argue that your decision to forego wearing a seat belt constitutes negligence on your part? The answer is no—because Virginia law officially says:

    • A violation of the seat belt law cannot be used against the injured party as evidence of negligence
    • The violation may not be used as an argument to decrease monetary compensation for injuries
    • The injured party was in no way responsible for the initial cause of the accident, even though not wearing a seat belt may have contributed to the severity of injuries

    However, it’s important to recognize that a seat belt violation may be used against you if you were in any way negligent in the cause of the accident.

    Ask an Attorney to Review Your Case

    If you are not sure whether you are eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, you should contact a trustworthy attorney. At Tavss Fletcher, we can review the details of your case and help you understand your options for recovery. Contact us today by starting a live online chat on our website.

  • What damages can I recover after my car accident?

    Man with injured arm in front of crashed carAfter suffering a car accident, you may be worried about how to pay for property damage and treatment for bodily injury sustained by you or your passengers. Though you may be eligible for financial compensation, the types of damages you can recover depend on your fault and the severity of your losses in the accident.

    You May Recover Economic or Non-Economic Damages

    In addition to your involvement in the accident, the extent of your property damages and injuries are important factors in determining what you can recover. Especially if there’s a chance you could be even 10% at fault for the accident—since Virginia’s pure contributory negligence law may bar you from compensation—it’s important you contact an attorney about how you may be able to recover for:

    • Medical costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital due to car crash injuries. And an accident victim may recover for any part of an injury—including ambulance rides, hospital stays, medical equipment, medications, follow-up appointments or treatments, and future medical costs. Even an injury as small as a cut may be covered by an injury victim’s recovery.
    • Property damages. It is common for an accident to result in damages to a crash victim’s vehicle. Filing an accident claim may return financial compensation to pay for either cosmetic or structural damages to a car. In addition, the victim may be able to recover for tow truck expenses and rental car costs during the vehicle repairs.
    • Wage losses. It’s possible a car accident injury is so severe that the victim is unable to work. Compensation may be able to cover the financial losses you experienced from taking days off work to recover and heal.
    • Pain and suffering. Sometimes, car accident injuries are more than skin deep. If an accident resulted in the death of a loved one, caused permanent disability, or caused a permanent disfigurement, the crash victim can recover for the economic losses associated with the crash—but he may also recover for the related non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship or consortium, reduced enjoyment of life, and lost earning capacity.

    Find a Lawyer You Can Trust

    If you’ve been involved in a car accident and need help filing a successful claim, you need an attorney. The experienced team at Tavss Fletcher can help you prepare evidence and negotiate recovery for all the damages—both monetary and non-monetary—you experienced after the accident. To get started on your case, start a live online chat on our website today.

  • What Should Be My First Steps After a Car Accident?

    Police at scene of car accidentIn 2015, there were over 8 million registered vehicles on Virginia roads, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Though many of these vehicles travel daily without incident, every driver should know what to do if he suddenly becomes involved in a car accident—especially one that involves injury. Following five simple steps can protect you and your claim after an accident.

    5 Important Steps After a Car Accident

    Car accident claims can become complicated—especially in Virginia, where receiving a fair recovery can depend on contributory negligence laws. After an accident, to protect your recovery for property damages, bodily injury, or both, it’s important that you:

    1. Contact law enforcement. Law enforcement maintains safety on the accident scene, but they also serve as an objective third party who can observe, take reports, and make notes about the scene. Calling them shows that you take the accident seriously and want to follow proper procedure.
    2. Seek medical attention. If you become injured in the accident, it’s important you take care of yourself. Often, police who arrive on the scene will arrive with or call emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Allow yourself to be examined and treated, and if the EMTs suggest you go to the hospital, follow their orders.
    3. Document the scene. If you are physically capable, take out your mobile phone (or the disposable camera you keep in your glove box for these situations), and take photos of the scene, your injuries, and damages to your vehicle. Additionally, take notes from any witnesses you can. Remember to write down contact information for anyone involved in the accident, noting who was the driver, passenger, or witness. These details will assist your attorney later.
    4. Put your health first. After the accident, it’s crucial you continue to show up on time to doctor visits, follow all instructions your doctor gives you, and take all medications prescribed to you. Later, this will show insurance companies you take your claim seriously.
    5. Contact a lawyer. Because Virginia car accident law can be complex, it’s important you don’t attempt to handle your case alone. An attorney has the experience and skill set necessary to file court documents properly on your behalf, gather meaningful evidence, and achieve success so you can recover adequately for your injuries, damages, and lost wages.

    Finding Valuable Legal Help Isn’t Difficult

    If you’ve been in a car accident and are worried about recovering for your losses, you need legal assistance. At Tavss Fletcher, we put our clients first, listening to their concerns and fighting for their fair recovery. To speak with a member of our team, call our toll-free phone number today: 877.960.3441.