Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek

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  • Should I report my auto accident to my own insurance company if I was not at fault?

    Reporting Car Wrecks to the Insurance CompanyIn Virginia, the negligent driver who caused your auto crash is liable for fully compensating you for your losses, and you should file a claim with his insurance company. However, this does not mean that you should not report your accident to your own insurance company. By notifying your insurance company, you are preserving your rights to obtain additional sources of compensation if you need it.

    Why Reporting Your Wreck to Your Insurance Company Is Important

    Many people are under the misconception that they do not have to report their wreck to their auto insurance company if they plan to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company or that doing so will increase their insurance rates. Reporting an accident is different than filing a claim. You are simply notifying the insurance company of what happened. Here are reasons why you should do so:

    • Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company, and it most likely requires you to notify them of any accidents.
    • Promptly informing the company of your wreck is a requirement for filing a claim under the policy. You preserve your right to take this step if you later discover that you need to do so.

    Why You May Want to File a Claim Under Your Own Insurance Policy

    Even if you were not the at-fault driver, you may want to file a claim under your own policy. Here are some types of coverage that you may need to use:

    • Collision. Getting your vehicle repaired quickly will most likely be a priority. If there are disputes with the negligent driver’s insurance company about your claim, which is often the case, you may want to use your collision insurance coverage, if you purchased it, to get your vehicle repaired quickly. You may also need to use your own insurance coverage to pay for car rental or towing costs.
    • Uninsured motorist coverage. In Virginia, you are required to purchase at least $20,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as part of the minimum auto liability insurance you must have to drive a vehicle. If the other driver had no insurance, you would need to file a claim under this coverage.
    • Underinsured motorist coverage. If the negligent driver had the minimum amount of liability coverage of $25,000 for injuries to one person or $50,000 for injuries to more than one person per accident, this may be insufficient to fully compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can file a claim under your own underinsured motorist coverage for the amount that you are owed not covered by the other driver’s insurance policy.

    Filing a claim for compensation following a car accident can be complicated, and there are many decisions that you will need to make during the settlement process. Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of pursuing your claim and fighting for the compensation that you deserve. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.


  • Can I file a dram shop or social host claim against the business or person who served alcohol to the drunk driver who caused my accident?

    If a drunk driver caused you to suffer injuries in a drunk driving accident, you can file a civil lawsuit against him for compensation for your injuries. In many states, you can also file an action against other parties who served the intoxicated person alcohol. Do you have a right to pursue these claims in Virginia?

    Dram Shop and Social Host Laws in Virginia

    A dram shop law allows a victim of a drunk driving wreck to pursue a claim against the bar, restaurant, or retail business that sold alcohol to the driver when they knew, or should have knownDram Shop Laws in Virginia , that the person was intoxicated. Many state laws allow accident victims to pursue these claims. Unfortunately, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that these civil claims cannot be filed against a vendor of alcohol in our state.

    Social host laws permit claims against social hosts who serve alcohol to intoxicated persons at parties, their homes, or other locations who then drive and cause an accident. As with dram shop laws, these claims are not permitted in Virginia. However, a social host who provides alcohol to a minor under 21 years of age can face criminal charges for doing so.

    Who Is Liable for Compensating You in a Drunk Driving Accident?

    While it is harsh that Virginia does not allow accident victims to sue those that serve alcohol when they should not, the drunk driver who caused your accident is fully responsible for your injuries if you can prove that his intoxication caused your wreck. Drinking after driving can impair driving in many ways that can lead to a driver to cause a wreck including:

    • Reduced vision
    • Slowed reaction times
    • Inability to properly judge distances
    • Impaired judgment, which can lead drivers to engage in reckless driving behaviors
    • Drowsiness

    You could suffer catastrophic injuries in a drunk driving accident, such as traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, burns, and paralysis, which could require you to be off work for long periods of time or cause permanent disability. You can hold the drunk driver accountable for compensating you for your medical bills, lost wages, and more—with the help of an experienced car accident attorney. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn about your legal options and how our experienced legal team will fight for the settlement that you deserve.


  • How can I obtain a protective order if I am the victim of abuse?

    Types of Protective Orders in VirginiaIn Virginia, you can obtain an immediate protective order to protect you against acts of domestic abuse, which is defined as family abuse if the person abusing you is a family or household member. Under the law, domestic abuse can include acts of violence, force, or threats that put you in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. If you are a victim of abuse and need to obtain a restraining order, our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you get the immediate help that you need to stop the abuse, remove the abuser from your home, and prevent him from contacting you.

    What Types of Protective Orders Are Available in Virginia?

    There are three types of protective orders that you can obtain in Virginia, and they are all civil court orders. They include the following:

    • Emergency Protective Order. An emergency protective order is an immediate order that is issued without a court hearing and can be obtained any day or night, even when the court is closed. It expires at the end of the third day after it was issued.
    • Preliminary Protective Order. A preliminary protective order is the first step in obtaining a permanent protective order and can be issued if you suffered recent abuse or are in imminent danger of family abuse. The order is effective for 15 days but can be extended for up to six months.
    • Permanent Protective Order. A permanent protective order will only be granted after a full hearing where both you and the abuser are present and testify as to what occurred. These orders can protect you for up to two years.

    How Do You Obtain a Protective Order?

    It is always best to retain an experienced family law attorney to obtain a protective order so that it is done properly, you obtain the full protections that you need, and you obtain it as fast as possible. However, it can be useful in understanding the basic steps in obtaining a protective order:

    • File a petition. You can obtain the forms at the court where you live or download the forms through the Virginia Judicial System website. If you are in immediate danger and the court is closed, you may be able to obtain an emergency protective order by going to your police department. There is no filing fee to file this petition.
    • Filling out the form. If you are completing the form yourself, you should understand that you are the “Petitioner” and your abuser is the “Respondent.” You should describe recent incidents of violence and use descriptive language to describe what was done to you. Sign the petition in front of the clerk.
    • Bring ID and abuser information. You will need to bring your driver’s license or other type of identification as well as a photo, home and work address, and other information about the abuser.
    • Review of order. Once you have filed the petition, the clerk will take it to the judge. He may have questions for you when he reviews it and decides whether to issue an order. A hearing will be scheduled before you can obtain a permanent protective order.
    • Serve the papers. If the judge signs your order, you will need to arrange to serve the abuser with the order and any notice of hearing. Often, you can arrange to pay the sheriff or police to serve him.
    • Hearing. A hearing will most likely be scheduled in your case if you are asking for more than an emergency order. This hearing could be scheduled within 15 days after you file your petition. You will be required to attend this hearing, and it is in your best interest to have an attorney represent you at this hearing. Other court hearings may be scheduled as necessary.

    If you need a protective order to stop family abuse, contact our office immediately for assistance in obtaining it. Call our office to schedule your free consultation and be sure to let us know that you need immediate help.


  • Will homeowners insurance cover my premises liability accident claim?

    Homeowners Insurance and Premises Liability CasesNot all premises liability accidents occur at restaurants, malls, grocery stores, or other business property. In some cases, a person can suffer long-term injuries in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident at someone’s home. If you suffered injuries at a private residence, you may be able to file a claim with the person’s homeowners insurance company to obtain compensation for your injuries.

    What Are Common Causes of Premises Liability Claims at Private Residences?

    In order to hold a homeowner responsible for compensating you for your injuries, you must prove that he was negligent. To prove this, you must show that an unsafe condition existed on the property that he knew or should have known about and that he failed to correct the problem or warn you of the danger. Common causes of slip and fall accidents at a residence include:

    • Water or other spills
    • Cracked or worn flooring
    • Torn or frayed carpeting
    • Flooring that is not level
    • Leaking roof
    • Stairways with shallow steps, defective handrails, or no handrails
    • Sidewalks with cracks or holes
    • Sidewalks that are slippery due to snow and ice

    Not all claims against a homeowner arise out of a slip and fall accident. A few other types of claims that can be paid by homeowners insurance include:

    • Dog bites
    • Swimming pool accidents
    • Negligent supervision of a child claims against a homeowner when a child is injured at his home

    Types of Homeowners Insurance Coverage

    If the property owner was negligent in causing your injuries, you will need to determine whether the owner purchased homeowners insurance coverage. Slip and fall and other premises liability accidents are generally covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. You may be entitled to compensation under the following coverages that are typically offered in these policies:

    • Liability coverage. Liability coverage will cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering up to the insurance policy limits if the homeowner was negligent in causing your injury.
    • Medical coverage. This is no-fault medical coverage, which is also known as med pay. It can pay some of your medical bills regardless of the homeowner’s fault in covering your injuries. In most cases, medical coverage is often much less than liability coverage, such as in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.

    If you suffered an injury in a premises liability accident at a residence, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney to file your claim and negotiate your settlement. Learn about your legal options and our years of experience in handling these cases by starting an online chat to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.


  • How can I help my attorney in my premises liability case?

    Helping Your Premises Liability CaseRetaining an experienced premises liability attorney is essential if you want to obtain the compensation that you deserve from the negligent property or business owner that caused your injuries. However, your work is not done once you have researched and selected your lawyer. You are on a team, and there are things that you can do to make it easier for your lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement for you.

    Ways You Can Help Your Attorney Strengthen Your Case

    The actions that you take—or do not take—will have a direct bearing on how strong a case you have against the negligent party that caused your injuries. Here are some of the ways that you can do your part to help your attorney help you:

    • Be honest. You need to be honest with your attorney and not hide information from him—even if you think it will hurt your claim. Anything you tell your attorney is protected by attorney-client privilege. Your attorney can develop strategies to handle facts that may be used by the insurance company to deny or reduce your claim—but only if he knows about them. He will be at a serious disadvantage if he discovers the damaging information from the other party’s insurance adjuster.
    • Follow-up medical care. Because you are trying to obtain compensation for your injuries, your medical treatment is important to the strength of your claim. When you go to all of your doctor appointments and follow your doctor’s advice, this helps your case. Doing this avoids some arguments about how serious your injuries are.
    • Stay off social media. You avoid the problem of the insurance company finding postings that suggest that you are less injured than you claim if you stay off social media while your claim is pending. At a minimum, do not say or post anything about the accident or your injuries.
    • Provide information promptly. When your attorney requests documents and other information, he needs it to move your case along toward settlement. Help him do this by providing the information as soon as possible.
    • Follow your attorney’s advice. One of the best ways to help your attorney is to follow his advice. He has years of experience handling cases like yours and is only asking you to do things that will make your case stronger.

    Did you suffer injuries in a premises liability accident? Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced premises liability attorneys.


  • How can I spot a drunk driver to avoid a car accident?

    Spotting Drunk Drivers on the RoadWhile you can control your own actions and not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, you cannot control what other motorists do. Unfortunately, many make the wrong decision of driving when intoxicated, which can significantly reduce their ability to drive safely. Slowed reaction time, poor judgment, inability to concentrate on more than one task, and reduced vision are some of the ways that drunk driving affects driving abilities and leads to catastrophic accidents. However, you can take steps to keep you and your family safe.

    Top Signs That a Driver Is Drunk

    You need to be aware of the signs that a driver is intoxicated so that you can watch for them when you are on the road. If you spot a driver exhibiting these warning signs, you should keep a safe distance from him and contact the police. In this way, you protect others on the road as well as yourself. Here are ways that you can identify a drunk driver:

    • Veering into other lanes. Because of problems judging distances and drowsy driving, a drunk driver can veer into another traffic lane—sometimes causing a head-on collision. This can also lead the driver to suddenly overcorrect, which can cause an accident.
    • Colliding with objects. Some drunk drivers will not see traffic signs, mailboxes, and other objects and crash into them because of reduced vision.
    • Wide turns. The inability to judge distances can cause a drunk driver to make wide turns, which can lead to a head-on or side-impact wreck.
    • Straddling a lane divider. To avoid crossing into another lane or veering off the road, drunk drivers often drive too close to the center lane line or other lane dividers.
    • Driving under the speed limit. Some drunk drivers will compensate for their intoxication by driving too slowly—10 miles or more below the speed limit.
    • Tailgating. Being drunk can impair a person’s judgment, which can cause him to speed and tailgate other drivers. This can be even more dangerous due to slowed reaction times and inability to judge distances.
    • Headlights. Some drivers are so intoxicated that they do not realize that their headlights are not on, making it more challenging for them to see and to be seen by other drivers.
    • Turn signals. If a driver is intoxicated, he may use the wrong turn signal, not use it at all, or forget to turn it off, making it more difficult for you to determine whether the driver intends to turn.

    No matter how hard you try to avoid drunk drivers on the road, you could suffer injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver. However, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the drunk driver. To learn about your legal options, schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.


  • What is the sudden medical emergency defense in an auto accident case?

    Medical Emergency Defense While DrivingIf you pursue a claim for compensation for injuries following a motor vehicle accident, the negligent driver has the right to raise any defenses as to why he is not responsible for compensating you. A common defense the driver could raise is that you were partially or completely at fault for causing the wreck. A rarer defense—but one that is important to understand—that may be used to deny your claim is the sudden medical emergency defense.

    What Must Be Proven to Establish the Medical Emergency Defense?

    While most car accidents are caused by speeding, texting, not following traffic laws, or other driver error, in some cases, the crash will be the result of the driver’s medical condition. In rare cases, a driver may experience a sudden medical emergency, such as a stroke, seizure, or heart attack, without any prior notice. In order to establish the sudden medical emergency defense, the driver would need to prove the following:

    • He suffered a physical incapacity.
    • The physical incapacity was not foreseeable.
    • The incapacity caused the driver to be unable to control his vehicle.
    • The crash was in fact caused by the sudden physical incapacity.

    How Can You Fight a Medical Emergency Defense?

    If the negligent driver claims a medical emergency caused your crash, you should not take his statements at face value. Your first step should be to retain an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate your accident and obtain the driver’s medical records. In many cases, the negligent driver had warnings of the medical condition but did not seek treatment or had contacted a doctor about it. You need an experienced lawyer who can review the medical records and hire any necessary experts to refute this defense.

    Were you or a family member injured in an auto wreck? Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of investigating your accident and negotiating a settlement with all liable parties. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out our online form.


  • What are common grounds to suppress evidence in criminal cases?

    Common Grounds to Suppress Evidence When you face criminal charges, filing a motion to suppress evidence could be extremely useful in your defense. This is true even if you are guilty of the crime that you are charged with committing. By filing a motion to suppress evidence, you increase the chances that the charges against you will be dismissed or reduced to less serious offenses.

    What Are Common Grounds to Suppress Evidence That Could Help in Your Defense?

    If a motion to suppress evidence is granted, the evidence cannot be used against you by the police and prosecutor. Some evidence that is suppressed could be vital to proving the criminal charges against you, and the prosecutor may be forced to dismiss the charges. In other cases, the criminal case would go on, but the suppression of the evidence could significantly weaken the prosecutor’s case.

    In order to file a motion to suppress evidence, you must have grounds to file the motion. Here are some common reasons why your attorney might file this motion:

    • Unlawful search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, you are protected from unlawful searches and seizures of yourself, your home, your property. The police must have a valid search warrant or probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed to search and collect evidence. If your constitutional rights are violated, the evidence that is found may be suppressed.
    • Miranda rights. You have a constitutional right to be read your Miranda rights by the police if you are taken into custody before they question or interrogate you. This includes informing you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If you were not properly given your Miranda rights, your statements could be excluded.
    • Chain of custody. Chain of custody refers to the proper handling and storage of evidence from the moment it is collected by the police until it is presented as evidence at your trial. If the evidence was not handled or stored properly, a motion to suppress its use against you may be granted.

    Have you been charged with committing a crime? We offer a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to discuss your situation and how we can help you build a strong defense. To take advantage of this offer, call our office today.


  • How does a premises liability case work?

    Premises Liability Case and StepsOne frustrating aspect of filing a premises liability claim is the length of time that it can take to resolve your claim. Unfortunately, you may have to fight for a long time if you want to receive the compensation that you deserve. Knowing how premises liability cases work can help you to better understand why it is taking your experienced premises liability attorney longer than you may like to resolve your claim.

    Steps in a Premises Liability Case

    Whether you have a slip and fall, negligent security, dog bite, or other premises liability claim, there is a certain progression of steps that your case will take until you settle with the insurance company. Here is how a premises liability case works once you retain an attorney:

    • Investigation. The first steps in your case will be for your attorney to investigate your accident. He will also obtain evidence proving the other party’s negligence, and collect your medical records, medical bills, wage loss documentation, and other proof of your damages. This will help him to evaluate the strength of your claim and how much your claim is worth.
    • Maximum medical improvement. Your maximum medical improvement is the stage in your medical treatment where you have recovered as fully as possible. You need to reach this stage before moving on with the settlement of your claim to be certain that you know your prognosis and what future medical and wage loss damages you will incur. This is so that these amounts are included in the settlement.
    • Demand package. Your attorney will send a demand package to the insurance adjuster outlining the other party’s negligence, your injuries, your medical treatment, and the amount you are entitled to in settlement. Then there will be a period of negotiation where your lawyer would try to settle your claim without the need for litigation.
    • Litigation. If your attorney is unable to settle your claim or the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is about to expire, he will file a complaint and litigate your case. Once the answer to the complaint is filed, your attorney will engage in a lengthy discovery phase where written questions are answered, documents are provided pursuant to requests for production of documents, and depositions are taken. He will also try to settle your case at various times, and at some point it will most likely be resolved. If not, your case would be decided at trial.

    Do you need to file a premises liability claim? Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how filing your claim would work and the possible value of your claim.


  • Should I sign a medical authorization for the negligent driver’s insurance company?

    Insurance Company’s Medical Authorization FormIf you must file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company following an auto accident, the insurance adjuster could contact you to sign a medical authorization for release of your medical records to the insurance company. Should you sign the medical authorization? Here, we discuss why you should not sign the insurance company’s release and how doing so could damage your claim for compensation.

    Why You Should Refuse to Sign the Insurance Company’s Medical Authorization

    While it is true that the insurance adjuster will need to review your medical records pertaining to your injuries caused by the accident, there are safer ways for you to provide this information to him without signing a release. Here are reasons why you do not want to sign this legal document:

    • Blanket authorization. The medical authorization that the insurance company wants you to sign is a broad release that would allow the adjuster to obtain all of your medical records. Much of this information is unnecessary to the settlement of your claim. By giving the adjuster a blanket authorization, you increase the risk that he will find something in your prior records that he can use to deny or reduce your claim. Many times this is not for legitimate reasons.
    • Pre-existing injuries. If you suffered a pre-existing injury to the same body part, you will have to disclose it to the insurance company. A better strategy would be to retain an experienced car accident attorney and let him disclose your pre-existing condition and provide the medical records that the adjuster truly needs.
    • Invasion of privacy. Providing the insurance company with all of your medical records is an invasion of your privacy and could result in giving the insurance company irrelevant and sensitive medical information about you.

    How Should You Provide Medical Records to the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company?

    Signing a medical authorization for the insurance company without first consulting with an attorney is one of many mistakes in filing a car accident claim that you want to avoid. You should have an attorney review any documents before you sign them to be certain that it is in your interests to sign and you are not waiving important legal rights. Your attorney can investigate your accident, collect the necessary medical records for your claim, and send them to the insurance adjuster for you—without the need for you to sign an authorization.

    Is the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster asking you to sign a medical release? Our experienced car accident attorneys are happy to discuss your situation with you and review the document for you. To schedule your free consultation, call our Norfolk office today.


  • What happens if my auto accident is caused by a negligent driver’s medical condition?

    In some cases, a driver could cause a car accident not due to negligence, but because of a medical condition. Seizures, diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes are a few of the medical problems that a person could experience when causing a wreck. Who compensates the victims who suffer catastrophic injuries or death in these situations?

    Is a Negligent Driver Liable to Accident Victims If He Causes an Accident Due to a Medical Condition?

    A person experiencing a seizure, heart attack, stroke, or other medical condition while driving could lose consciousness or be unable to focus on his driving due to the symptoms he experiences. Even the side effects of medications can affect a person’s reasoning ability and reaction time when driving. These guidelines apply when determining whether or not the driver would be considered negligent and responsible for compensating an accident victim:

    • The determination as to whether the condition caused the accident will be based in part on the type of impairment the driver suffers with. A minor impairment, such as high blood pressure or a sinus infection, may not be a contributing factor in the crash—despite the negligent driver’s claims that it caused the wreck. However, having a seizure, stroke, or heart attack could.
    • If a driver knew or should have known about his medical condition at the time of the crash, he could be found negligent if his medical condition caused or contributed to the wreck. He may be considered negligent for failing to take necessary precautions to prevent an accident or driving when he knew or should have known that it was not safe to do so. For example, he may not be permitted to drive if he suffers from epilepsy.
    • In limited circumstances when the driver truly had no knowledge of his medical condition and it was not foreseeable, he may be able to raise the emergency medical condition defense to avoid liability.

    Is the negligent driver who caused your injuries claiming that a medical condition he suffers from caused your accident? An experienced car accident attorney can help you refute this claim or show that he failed to take necessary safety precautions. To discuss your situation and your legal options, fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.


  • Should I file a police report following an auto accident if I suffered no obvious injuries?

    Importance of a Police Report After a Car WreckWhile you may know the importance of filing a police report if there was significant damage to the vehicles involved in the car accident or someone was injured, you may not want to bother when the property damage was minor and there were no apparent injuries. You may think that you can handle the situation yourself or work something out directly with the at-fault driver instead of involving the police or any insurance companies. However, this could be a bad decision that you later regret if you find you need to file a claim for compensation.

    Reasons to Always File a Police Report After a Car Crash

    While the police may decline to come to the accident scene in a minor collision, you always want to call them and report the accident. Here is why it would be a big mistake not to have the police investigate your crash:

    • Additional injuries or damage to the vehicle. You could discover that your vehicle suffered more serious damage that will require expensive repairs or that you suffered injuries that were not immediately apparent. Back and spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and internal organ damage are just a few medical conditions that victims do not realize they suffered until symptoms appear days or weeks after the accident. If you failed to contact the police, you may lose important information that would have been in the police report that you will need when filing your claim.
    • Denial of liability. If the driver admitted liability and agreed to pay you for your minor losses at the accident scene, he could change his story later and claim you were the negligent driver. This can be more difficult for a driver to do if the police were contacted and the officer included the driver’s statements as to how the accident occurred in the police report.
    • False information. When you exchange contact information with the negligent driver, he could give you false information regarding himself and his insurance company. If so, you may have no ability to file a claim for compensation if you discover you suffered injuries. When you call the police, the driver would be less likely to provide misleading information.

    Were you injured in a car accident caused by another driver? Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of investigating your accident, filing your claim, and negotiating your settlement so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn more about the value of your claim. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.


  • What happens if a friend or family member borrows my auto and gets into an accident?

    Borrowed Vehicle AccidentsWhen you let a friend or family member borrow your car and he gets into a wreck, who is responsible for paying for the damage to your vehicle and for the injuries that victims suffer can be complicated. In addition, insurance coverage may not be clear-cut either. Here, we discuss what you need to know about these accidents.

    Who Is Liable in a Borrowed Vehicle Accident?

    If a friend or family caused a wreck in your vehicle, you could be liable for compensating victims if you gave the person permission to drive your vehicle. However, whether you have insurance coverage may not be as clear-cut. If the other driver was the at-fault driver, he would be responsible for compensating your friend or family member for any injuries and the damage to your vehicle. You would need to file a claim with his insurance company for your losses.

    What Factors Influence Whether You Have Insurance Coverage When You Lend Out Your Car?

    You may assume that your own auto insurance policy will provide coverage for the accident when you lend your car to someone. However, this is not necessarily true. These factors could influence whether you have coverage:

    • Permission. If you gave the family member or friend permission to drive your vehicle, most likely your insurance policy will provide you with coverage if this person caused the accident. You should also have coverage for the damage to your vehicle if you chose to file a claim under your policy instead of the negligent driver’s insurance policy.
    • Household status. Did the friend or family member who was involved in the accident live with you? If so, he may be covered under your insurance policy as someone in your household. However, some insurance companies require you to specifically add these people as insured drivers in order for them to have any coverage under your policy—even if you permitted them to use your car. You will need to read your insurance policy to determine if this is required.
    • Exclusions. If a person is specifically excluded from coverage under your insurance policy, you would not have any insurance coverage if you lent your vehicle to him and he was involved in a crash.

    Figuring out your liability and insurance coverage is especially important if your friend or family member was at-fault in causing the crash since you may be responsible for compensating the victim. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to determine this. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can help you understand your liabilities and insurance coverage in this situation.


  • Can my spouse stop me from getting a divorce in Virginia?

    Delaying a Divorce in VirginiaIf you want a divorce in Virginia, your spouse cannot stop you from obtaining one. However, he can make the process more difficult. In addition, you would need to prove one of the grounds for divorce in Virginia before you could become divorced. However, this is possible whether or not your spouse will cooperate in the divorce.

    What Grounds for Divorce Must You Prove?

    In Virginia, there are two categories of grounds of divorces: those that allow an immediate divorce and those that require a waiting period. Whether you file for an immediate divorce or a divorce with a waiting period, your spouse could delay the process by disputing the grounds for divorce. To obtain an immediate divorce, you would need to prove one of the following:

    • Your spouse engaged in adultery, buggery, or sodomy—which are difficult to prove. You also cannot have resided with your spouse after he committed one of these acts.
    • Your spouse was convicted of a felony and incarcerated for one year or more. You cannot have lived with him after his release from prison.

    If you cannot meet the grounds for an immediate divorce, you can obtain one based on grounds that require a one-year waiting period. Your spouse could still delay the divorce by disputing at least some of the grounds in this category. These are the grounds for this type of divorce:

    • Your spouse engaged in physical cruelty.
    • Your spouse deserted you without a good reason.
    • Your spouse forced you to leave by his actions.
    • You have been separated from your spouse for at least one year and have had no sexual relations during this time period.

    Are There Other Ways That My Spouse Can Delay the Divorce?

    Your spouse can also delay your divorce by raising other disputes in the proceedings. This could require your divorce attorney to engage in discovery, file motions, and attend additional hearings for your case—making your divorce take longer. Your spouse could dispute these issues in your divorce:

    • Division of property
    • Custody and parenting time with the children
    • Child support
    • Alimony

    Any issues that you are unable to agree on with your spouse will require a decision by the judge in your divorce case after a hearing is held. If you want to file for divorce and your spouse will not agree to it, our experienced divorce attorneys can guide you through the process of obtaining a divorce. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.


  • What happens if I suffer injuries in a car accident while traveling out of state?

    Car Accidents That Occur When Visiting Another StateAny car accident that causes the victim to suffer injuries can be complicated and leave the injured person feeling overwhelmed by the claim filing process. The stress and worries can become magnified if the victim is injured in a wreck caused by a negligent driver while traveling in another state. Let’s look at what you need to know if you get into an accident out of state.

    What Happens If Your Auto Crash Happens in Another State?

    The good news is that you will have insurance coverage and options for compensation if you are involved in a car accident in another state. Here is what happens in this type of accident:

    • Your insurance company will most likely provide you with insurance coverage as if you were injured in your home state. This means that if you purchased additional coverages, such as medical payments, collision, and underinsured and uninsured coverages, that you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company.
    • Your claim is governed by the laws of the state where your accident occurred. Each state has its own laws that apply to car accident cases, and it is important to understand relevant laws, such as the statute of limitations, for where you were hurt. In addition, you would most likely need to file any lawsuit against the negligent driver in the state where the crash happened.
    • You need an experienced local car accident attorney. He will understand important state laws, have a network of qualified local experts, and have a working relationship with other local attorneys and judges involved in these cases.

    Are you an out-of-state resident who was injured in a car accident in Virginia? Our experienced car accident attorneys are happy to any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation, start an online chat today.


  • Should I agree to give a recorded statement in my car accident claim?

    Recorded Statements and Insurance AgentsIf you are filing a claim for compensation for your injuries after a car accident, you may be surprised at how quickly the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster contacts you after the accident. One of the first requests may be that you give a recorded statement. Some accident victims make the mistake of agreeing to give one, thinking that they have nothing to hide. Even when the other driver was 100 percent at fault in causing your injuries, it is never a good idea to agree to give a recorded statement.

    Reasons That You Do Not Want to Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Adjuster

    A recorded statement is a tape-recorded question and answer session between you and the insurance adjuster. This recording is then transcribed into a written version that can be used—often against you—at your trial and other court hearings. Here are reasons why you do not want to agree to give a recorded statement:

    • Not required. In Virginia, you are not required to give a recorded statement to receive a settlement from the negligent driver’s insurance company following an accident. If you agree to give one, you could inadvertently hurt your claim for compensation.
    • Inconsistent statements. The insurance adjuster for the negligent driver has a duty to investigate your claim before agreeing to a settlement and to raise any disputes that can be used to deny or reduce your claim. If you give a recorded statement, the adjuster will be looking for any inconsistent statements you make that can be used to reduce your credibility as a witness. If you are a less credible witness, what you say regarding how the accident occurred and the seriousness of your injuries may be questioned, which in turn weakens your claim.
    • Misunderstood questions. You could easily misunderstand a question that the adjuster asks and give an answer that you did not mean and that weakens your claim. In addition, the adjuster could ask you questions that results in you answering in a way that hurt your case—sometimes without you even realizing it.

    You should always consult with an experienced car accident attorney before agreeing to give a recorded statement. Your best strategy is to hire a lawyer right away and let him handle all the communications with the insurance adjuster so that you do not make this or other mistakes.

    If you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, let our experienced legal team file your claim and negotiate your settlement for you. We are committed to thoroughly investigating your claim, building a strong case against the negligent driver, and aggressively fighting to obtain the compensation that you deserve. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

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  • What is the statute of limitation to file a lawsuit in my premises liability case?

    Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability CasesOne of the most important laws that you need to understand in relation to any personal injury case is the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. This is a critical law to comply with if you suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident at a swimming pool or amusement park, or in any other type of premises liability accident. Waiting beyond this time limit could have dire consequences for your claim.

    What Is the Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases?

    The statute of limitations is the time period you have to file a lawsuit. Every state has its own laws regarding the statute of limitations for different types of lawsuits. For example, the statute of limitations for filing a breach of contract lawsuit could be very different than for filing a slip and fall accident case. In North Carolina, the following statute of limitations rules will apply to premises liability cases:

    • You must file your lawsuit in a premises liability case within three years.
    • This three-year time period begins on the date of the accident that caused your injury.

    What Happens If You Wait Longer Than Three Years to File Your Premises Liability Lawsuit?

    If you fail to file your civil complaint before the statute of limitations expires, the consequences are severe. You lose your right to file your lawsuit. If you did file a complaint more than three years after your accident, it would most likely be dismissed by the judge. While your right to file a claim with an insurance company is not affected by this law, practically speaking, you would not be very successful in resolving your claim after this time period to sue ended. The claims adjuster would know that the statute of limitations had expired and would not be willing to settle your claim.

    Even if the statute of limitations is years away in your premises liability case, you do not want to wait to contact an experienced premises liability attorney. Your attorney can complete a much more thorough investigation of your claim and build your case against the negligent party if you retain him soon after your accident.

    If you or a family were hurt on another party’s property, the experienced premises liability attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to help you file your claim. To learn what your first steps are, call our office to schedule your free consultation.


  • What happens if I am in an auto accident that is not my fault and I do not have insurance?

    In Virginia, like other states, you are required to have a certain minimum amount of insurance coverage in order to drive a vehicle. You must have the following insurance amounts:

    • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance coverage
    • $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
    • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist insurance coverage for bodily injury
    • $20,000 per accident in uninsured motorist property damage coverage with a $200 deductible for a hit and run accident

    Here, we discuss your options for compensation if you suffered injuries in a crash that was not your fault, but you did not have this required insurance.

    Your Options for Compensation When You Had No Insurance But Were Not at Fault

    Options for Compensation When You Have No Insurance If you are in a wreck caused by another driver and did not have the required insurance, he may claim that he is not responsible for compensating you. However, this is not true. Virginia is an at-fault state, which means the driver at fault is responsible for fully compensating victims for their injuries. You have these options for obtaining compensation:

    • You can file a claim for compensation for your injuries and damage to your car with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
    • You can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver for any compensation that you are entitled to that is over the amount of his insurance coverage or for the full amount if he had no insurance. However, most people do not have sufficient cash or other assets to pay an accident victim the damages that he is owed, so you may not receive much money.

    Even with these avenues for obtaining damages, you are limiting your options if you do not have required auto insurance as well as being in violation of Virginia law. For example, if the negligent driver’s insurance company is taking too long to settle your vehicle damage claim and you have your own insurance coverage, you could decide to file a claim with your own insurance company to get your auto repaired quickly. In addition, if the driver had no insurance, you could file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage. You could also pursue a claim for additional compensation under underinsured motorist coverage if you purchased this additional insurance and the driver’s policy was not enough to adequately compensate you.

    If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, let the experienced car accident attorneys at Tavss Fletcher explain your legal options to you, file your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, and negotiate your settlement. To get the process started, call our office or fill out our online form today to schedule your free consultation.


  • What are my rights if I am a suspect in a police investigation in Virginia?

    If the police are questioning you about where you were or your actions in association with a criminal investigation, you should consider yourself a suspect whether the police admit this or not. You need to be very careful with what you say and do so that you do not sound guilty or have your statements lead to criminal charges. You have important protections under our U.S. Constitution that you need to understand and use in this situation.

    Important Rights to Exercise If the Police Suspect You Committed a Crime

    Even if you know that you are innocent and have nothing to hide, you cannot assume that your problems will be over if you cooperate with the police. The reality is that you could find yourself charged with a crime that you did not commit. If the police are contacting you about a criminal investigation, you want to exercise these important rights:

    • Right to leave. If you are not under arrest and have not been given your Miranda rights under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you can leave. If the police stop you, the problem may be that you may not be certain if you are being arrested or simply questioned. The best strategy is to ask the officer. If he says that you are not under arrest, you should leave and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to help determine your next steps.
    • Right to privacy. Your right to privacy under the 4th Amendment to the Constitution gives you the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizes of your property and yourself. Unless the police have a search warrant, you have a right to refuse to allow them to search your home, car, other property, or you.
    • Right to remain silent. You have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself under the 5th Amendment. If the police are questioning you, you should invoke this right and remain silent. You should also advise the officer that you want your attorney present.
    • Right to an attorney. Under the 6th Amendment to the Constitution, you have a right to an attorney. If you are a suspect or are even worried that you are, you want to exercise this right and retain an attorney. Hiring an attorney immediately may help you avoid criminal charges.

    Are you a suspect in a criminal investigation? Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorneys to get your questions answered and help in dealing with the police investigation.


  • Who could be liable for compensating me in my premises liability claim?

    Who Is Liable for a Premises Liability Injury?If you suffered a slip and fall, assault on another’s property, swimming pool accident, or other premises liability accident, it may be more complicated than you think to determine the parties liable for compensating you. In some cases, the business may rent and not own the property where you hurt yourself, and another party could be responsible for maintaining the hazardous condition that caused your injury. Identifying the proper party is vital when you need to make a claim for compensation for your injuries.

    Common Liable Parties in Premises Liability Cases

    When deciding which party to pursue, you want to be certain to identify all the possible parties. Why? More parties mean more insurance companies to file claims with and more money to pay you what you deserve. Common negligent parties in premises liability cases include:

    • Property owner. An owner of a residence, business property, commercial property, or any other property would be one of the most likely parties responsible for compensating you. If a business also owns the property where it conducts its business, its responsibility for your injuries would be fairly clear cut.
    • Renters. If an owner leases out the building or other property to a tenant, the lease agreement may be needed to determine who was responsible for the dangerous condition that caused your injury. In some cases, such as a retail store, the business renting the store space could be responsible for keeping debris out of the aisles, cleaning up spills, and certain maintenance items. However, the owner could be responsible for the upkeep of other areas, such as a common area shared with other businesses, the business grounds, and the parking lot. Even in the rental of residential property, some tenants are responsible for the upkeep of the property and not the owner. Where you injured yourself and the cause of your accident will be important factors in sorting out which party is liable.
    • Property managers. Some owners will hire a management company to perform many duties for the owner, such as leasing apartments, commercial retail and office space, or other properties, and keeping the property free of hazards and in good repair. In this situation, you may need to review the contract between the property manager and owner to determine who should be sued.
    • Business owners. When a business leases property and is responsible for the condition of the property where it conducts business, such as a restaurant or a store in the mall, the business owner rather than the property owner could be the party you should file a claim with.
    • Security company. If you suffered an assault on property where the owner hired a security company, you may have a claim against this company if its employees’ negligent security was the cause of your attack.

    An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to identify the proper parties to pursue and build your case for compensation. Review our testimonials to see how we have helped other clients. Then call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn the next steps you should take to pursue your claim.