Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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How might a lawyer defend me against a false drug possession charge?
Virginia 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.
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?
Even 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
- 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?
Murder 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?
The 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?
Swift 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?
Determining 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?
Simply 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.
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.
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 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?
According 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?
A 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?
First 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?
After 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?
In 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
What is contributory negligence?
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that 60% of cases involving personal injury stem from automobile accidents. However, in Virginia, whether an injury victim has the right to sue for her injuries depends heavily on contributory negligence law. If you’ve been in a car accident in Virginia, it’s important you understand what negligence is, what Virginia’s contributory negligence law is, how it affects your right to a claim, and how an attorney can help.
Legally, negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act,” according to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University. This means:
- Someone made a mistake or failed to act.
- Someone else would have acted differently in the same or similar situation.
- The mistake or failure to act resulted in damages.
Understanding Contributory Negligence
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits like car accidents, Virginia law says that if you contribute to your injury at all—even 1%—you do not have a legal right to sue for any damages or injuries resulting from the accident. Therefore, if the other side can prove that you were negligent or partially at fault, you will not be able to recover. Though this may seem harsh, it is the law.
You Need an Attorney After an Accident
As soon as you’re involved in an accident, it’s important you hire an attorney. Your recovery depends on it. When you hire an experienced lawyer, you put your case into the hands of someone who can:
- Gather evidence in your favor
- Prevent you from doing or saying things that could harm your case
- Negotiate a fair settlement, when the time comes
Contact Our Team of Respected Lawyers
If you’ve recently been involved in an accident, only an attorney can help you navigate the contributory negligence laws that could affect your case. The team at Tavss Fletcher can help you achieve a positive result in your case, so contact us today. Get started with an online chat on our website.
What Will a Car Accident Attorney Do to Resolve My Case?
The Virginia Highway Safety Office reports that 6,003,526 licensed Virginia drivers were on the road in 2015. If you were one of these drivers and have an upcoming legal battle after sustaining an injury and property damage in a car accident, you should know that an attorney’s experience, investigation strategies, and negotiation skills can increase the chance for success in your case.
The Role of a Car Accident Attorney
After complex car accidents, handling legal papers, communicating with insurance companies, and negotiating a settlement can become overwhelming. In these cases, it’s prudent to hire an attorney to handle the case so you can focus on your recovery. Specifically, an attorney offers the following services to a car accident client:
- Communicating with insurance companies, medical collection agents, the other driver’s legal team, and your insurance company about only pertinent case details—which protects your case and gives you a better chance for a fair recovery.
- Filing and writing all necessary documents with the court, including the lawsuit, evidentiary documents, and motions. These documents are essential to a successful case, and an attorney can file these properly and in a timely manner.
- Answering any questions you have during the course of your case. Again, car accident lawsuits can become convoluted, but a good attorney will take time to make sure you understand what’s going on during each stage of the recovery process.
- Investigating individually and with a team to gather relevant evidence. This includes collecting any evidence you, your passengers, or other witnesses to the car accident have. Additionally, an attorney and his team can conduct interviews, subpoena cell phone records, and gain access to surveillance recordings that might help your case.
- Negotiating a fair settlement, when the time comes. Because the cost of your medical bills, time off work, lost capacity to work, and property damages are at stake, you want a lawyer in the seat of negotiation. He can present evidence and arguments clearly and sternly to win you adequate compensation.
If You Need Representation, Chat With Us
Experiencing injury and property damage after a car accident can be frustrating, but the team at Tavss Fletcher wants to help you. We have over 100 combined years serving car accident victims in our community, and we’d like to review your case. To speak with us, start a live online chat on our website today.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and have begun researching lawyers who might be able to help with your case, it’s possible you’ve seen the phrase “contingency fee.” Many car accident attorneys will take cases on a contingency-fee basis, which makes legal help more accessible to those who can’t afford a retainer fee or an hourly rate, according to the Center for Justice and Democracy. But what is a contingency fee, and why do lawyers use them?
Understanding the Contingency Fee
Folks involved in car accidents who sustained serious injuries often experience growing medical bills and temporary loss of wages, so the financial burden can be stressful. Contingency fees provide the option of quality legal help to those without the ability to pay for an attorney up front. Under a contingency fee agreement:
- The attorney takes very little or no payment up front and begins work on the case right away
- The attorney is financially responsible for hiring investigators, expert witnesses, and any costs associated with gathering and documenting evidence
- If the case is successful, the attorney receives a portion of the settlement as payment
- If the case is unsuccessful, the attorney does not collect a payment
In other words, under this system, an attorney’s payment for his work is contingent upon him winning the case. However, it’s important to know that, if she loses her case, the injured victim is still responsible for paying court and filing fees.
Why Contingency Fees?
In short, lawyers offer contingency fees in order to help their clients. Though it’s risky for a lawyer to accept a case on a contingency fee, his client can be sure that he will:
- Work hard through the completion of the case. Since the attorney only gets paid at the end of a case, he will put every effort into making sure the case is strong and that it concludes as quickly as possible.
- Believe in the probability of a successful outcome. An attorney risks his time and money when he accepts a case under a contingency-fee agreement. However, if a lawyer takes your case and offers you a contingency fee, you can be certain he is optimistic about winning you a fair settlement.
Don’t Let Cost Deter You From Quality Legal Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need an advocate on your side, we want to hear your story. At Tavss Fletcher, we have over 100 combined years of helping injury victims just like you. To speak with a member of our team today, fill out the online contact form on our website.
What if I’m partially at fault for my car accident?
Virginia is a contributory negligence state, which, in short, means that any person who contributed to their own traffic-related injuries may not be able to recover compensation for them. In 2014, 63,384 people were injured in Virginia traffic accidents, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you were injured in an accident, it’s important to understand how contributory negligence could keep you from receiving compensation for your car accident injuries and what to do if you were partially at fault for your accident.
Understanding Contributory Negligence
Contributory negligence law in Virginia dictates that any person who is even partially responsible for his accident injuries cannot receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. To receive compensation for your property damages and bodily injuries, you must prove that you were not even 1% responsible for the accident, and that the other driver was 100% at fault. If you’re not able to prove both, you might not be entitled to compensation for:
- Property damages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering costs
- Lost wages
What to Do If You Were Partially Responsible
If you were in an accident and contributed to its cause, even very little, it would be in your best interest to call a lawyer. You may not be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages because of your contribution to the accident, but a few exceptions to the rule of contributory negligence exist. Your lawyer may be able to use these to defend you:
- The Last Clear Chance Doctrine. If you and the other driver both put yourselves in the situation of danger that caused the accident—either knowingly or unknowingly—but the other driver had a last clear chance to avoid the accident and didn’t, your lawyer might be able to argue for your appropriate compensation. It’s important to note that this is a special circumstance.
- Willful and Wanton Behavior. If the other driver was not only negligent, but also willfully and recklessly put other drivers in danger by driving aggressively or dangerously, your lawyer might be able to argue that the fault belongs to the other driver, 100%.
Find Answers from Experienced Voices
If you need a lawyer on your case, or you aren’t sure if you were partially responsible for your accident, we are here to help. The experienced legal team at Tavss Fletcher has advocated fiercely for our clients for over 30 years, and we are ready to talk with you about your case, too. To get started on your case, start an instant live chat on our website today.
What should I do if I’m hit by an uninsured driver?
An estimated 12.6% of motorists were uninsured in 2012—the most recent year available—according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). In many states, motorists are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance to operate a vehicle. However, in Virginia, motorists have the option to pay a fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to waive any insurance requirements. If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you have two main options: either sue the uninsured driver for bodily injury and property damages, or make a claim with your insurance, using your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage.
Who Is an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver?
Virginia does not require its motorists to purchase auto insurance. Instead, motorists can opt to pay the UM fee with the DMV to register as an uninsured driver, which is $500 per year. By paying the fee, these drivers agree to take personal and financial responsibility for any damages they cause in accidents. However, for those who choose to buy insurance, Virginia law requires a minimum of 25/50/20 coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and UM coverage, respectively. Therefore, an uninsured motorist could be any person who:
- Legally drives without insurance after paying the UM fee
- Illegally drives without insurance
- Illegally drives with insufficient coverage
- Causes an accident, then leaves (a hit-and-run driver)
What to Do After a Crash With an Uninsured Motorist
If you were in a wreck with an uninsured driver and have UM coverage on your auto insurance policy, file a claim with your insurance policy as soon as possible. Insurance companies often enforce strict deadlines for making such a claim. The process for filing a UM claim often includes your insurance company:
- Temporarily stepping in to provide a legal defense for the uninsured/underinsured driver
- Calculating how much compensation you need for your bodily injury and property damage
- Paying you for your damages from your own policy
If you do not have UM coverage on your auto policy, you might be able to sue the uninsured/underinsured driver for damages. Sometimes, this can be difficult, as many people forego carrying insurance due to lack of funds—which means they might not have the money to compensate you for damages and injuries, even after a court order.
We Want to Help You
If you’re left with damages after a crash with an uninsured motorist and have questions about filing a UM claim with your insurance, we’re here to help. The legal team at Tavss Fletcher has been serving Virginia for over 30 years, and we can help you with your case, too. Give us a toll-free call at 877.960.3441 to get started on your case today.
Is it legal to drive without car insurance in Virginia?
Here’s the short answer: if you are a Virginia resident, it is legal to drive your vehicle without purchasing auto insurance. However, it’s important to learn all the factors involved before making a decision. Driving without insurance can come with serious consequences.
Virginia Is a Fault State
When you purchase auto insurance and get into a wreck in a no-fault state—your fault or not—your insurance company is responsible for paying for damages. However, Virginia is a fault state, which means that your liability insurance carrier will pay only if the driver of your car was at fault. If you choose to forego auto insurance, you are required to:
- Pay the DMV a $500/year fee to waive insurance. When you choose to drive without insurance, the Virginia DMV requires that you pay $500 in addition to your typical registration fees every year to waive insurance. You may also choose to prorate this $500 fee if you need to go without insurance for only part of the year.
- Be 100% personally liable for any car accidents you cause. Think about what this means. If you cause a crash, you alone would be responsible for property damages, medical bills, and any lost wages. It might be a fender-bender, or it might be a fatal crash. Repairing a bumper might not be so bad, but even a few days in the ICU can cost upwards of $100,000.
Why It’s Better to Pay for Auto Insurance
Even though you’re not required to purchase auto insurance in Virginia, it’s important that you do. Unfortunately, the Virginia DMV reported 120,282 traffic crashes in 2014, so it’s not unlikely you’ll be involved in a crash. Even if you drive safely and responsibly, other drivers may not. Minimum car insurance coverages in Virginia follow a 25/50/20 rule:
- $25,000 coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people
- $20,000 for property damage
These coverages are the minimums for a reason. Serious car accidents need more coverage, so it’s important to buy the highest insurance coverages you can afford. Doing so will protect you, your family, and your property.
If you’ve been involved in a car wreck and need the help of an experienced lawyer to file a claim, the team at Tavss Fletcher is here to help. We have the skills and strategy necessary to help you build your case. Start a live chat on our website to get started on your case today.