Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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What factors influence how much my dog bite claim is worth?
If you have been bitten by a dog in Norfolk, you may wonder how much compensation you could receive for your injuries. You need to keep in mind that every dog bite case is unique, and your claim’s value will depend on various factors. However, an experienced premises liability attorney can assist you in determining the approximate value of your claim based on the types of compensation awarded under Virginia’s dog bite laws and factors that can influence how much your case is worth.
Four Factors That Can Affect the Value of Your Claim
Your attorney would first determine the amount of compensation you could recover if you win your case. In Virginia, you can recover your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in dog bite cases.
Your lawyer would also weigh several factors that can make your case stronger or weaker and might significantly affect your claim’s worth. Some factors they would consider include the following:
- Severity of your injuries. The severity of your dog bite injuries will significantly impact the potential value of your claim. More severe injuries requiring extensive, future medical treatment and resulting in long-term or permanent disabilities are generally associated with higher compensation amounts.
- Disputes with the insurance company. The dog owner’s insurance company may try to downplay the severity of your injuries, the reasonableness of your medical treatments, or their insured’s liability to try to deny your claim or pay you less money in your settlement. If any disputes are valid, this could weaken your case and the overall value of your claim.
- Your partial fault. Virginia follows the contributory negligence rule, which means that if you are found even slightly responsible for the dog bite incident, you may be barred from recovering any compensation. However, an attorney can analyze the circumstances of your case and help present a strong argument to minimize any potential fault attributed to you.
- Mistakes. If you made mistakes when filing your claim, such as delaying obtaining medical care, posting about your dog bite on social media, or agreeing to give a recorded statement, this could hurt your case. While your lawyer will have arguments to defeat the insurance adjuster’s disputes, you may have to accept less damages to settle your claim.
What can I do if my slip and fall accident claim is denied?
If you suffer any injuries in a slip and fall accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent property or business owner. However, insurance companies often deny or lowball slip and fall claims.
If your claim is denied, you should hire an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible. They can explain your options and go up against the insurance adjuster for the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law.
Reasons Why Your Slip and Fall Accident Claim May Be Denied
There are many reasons that the insurance company could deny your claim. While some may be legitimate, others are unfair tactics used to save the company money. Here are common reasons slip and fall accident claims are denied:
The insurance company may dispute your claim if you do not provide enough evidence, such as medical records, witnesses, or photographs, to support your claim.
Denial Without Proper Investigation
The insurance company could deny your claim without conducting a proper investigation. They may fail to interview witnesses, review documents, or inspect the accident scene.
Disputes About Liability and Injuries
The insurance company could deny your claim if they dispute who is liable for the accident or the cause of your injuries. They may raise these arguments even if you have a solid claim against their insured.
Misrepresentation of Insurance Coverage
Unfortunately, the insurance company may misrepresent the terms of their insurance coverage as an excuse to not settle your claim.
Options if Your Slip and Fall Accident Claim Is Denied
You should not give up if the insurance company denies your claim. You still may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You have several options:
Your first step should be to ask the insurance adjuster to explain their denial of your claim in writing. You can provide them with evidence to refute their arguments and try negotiating with them to get your claim approved. You have a better chance of success if you retain a skilled premises liability lawyer to negotiate your settlement.
Pursue a Claim With Another Party
If your claim was denied for a legitimate reason or the property or business owner did not have insurance coverage, you may be able to pursue your claim against another party, such as the contractor who installed the dangerous condition.
File a Lawsuit
If you cannot resolve your claim through negotiations, you may have to file a lawsuit against the property owner or another responsible party. Litigating your claim can be complex and time-consuming, so hiring a knowledgeable premises liability attorney is essential.
Do most slip and fall accident cases go to trial?
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident caused by a negligent business or property owner in Virginia, you may have a hard time obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The insurance company could use unfair tactics to deny your claim or try to pay you less damages.
However, your case will likely be decided in an out-of-court settlement rather than a trial. An experienced premises liability attorney can advise you on whether the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair or whether it is in your best interests to go to trial.
Reasons Most Slip and Fall Accident Cases Do Not Go to Trial in Virginia
Most slip and fall accident claims are settled out of court in Virginia. Even if you must file a lawsuit because the insurance company will not offer you the damages you are entitled to or the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit will expire soon, you will most likely settle your case before the scheduled trial date. Here are reasons why these cases rarely go to trial:
- Jury trials are costly. Jury trials can be very expensive. The cost of going to trial includes attorney fees, court fees, expert witness fees, and other related expenses. The insurance company will most likely agree to settle your claim to save money at some point in the litigation process.
- Juries are unpredictable. No matter how strong a claim is, there is no way to know how a jury will react or what their decision will be. Additionally, jurors may be swayed by emotions or personal biases, which can impact the outcome of the case. Accident victims and insurance companies often prefer to reach a settlement rather than risk the uncertainty of a jury verdict.
- Litigating a case is a lengthy process. Litigating a slip and fall accident case can take a long time. The discovery process, where both sides exchange evidence and information, can be time-consuming. Additionally, scheduling court appearances, depositions, and other related events can cause delays in the process. This can be frustrating for clients looking to resolve their cases faster and may make settling a claim a better option.
Should I talk to an attorney before I file my premises liability claim?
Benefits of Retaining a Lawyer Before Filing Your Norfolk Premises Liability Claim
When you contact a skilled premises liability attorney, they should have your best interests at heart when advising you. The same is not true for the negligent business or property owner’s insurance company. Their goal is most likely to deny your claim or try to force you to accept less compensation than you deserve. Here are other benefits of hiring an attorney first:
- Evaluate your claim. Your lawyer would evaluate the facts surrounding your premises liability accident and the evidence you have collected. They would then advise you whether or not you have a valid case against the business or property owner.
- Value your claim. Your attorney can give you a general idea of how much you can expect to receive in your settlement with the insurance company. Remember that their valuation of your case may change after they thoroughly investigate the cause of your accident and the seriousness of your injuries.
- Give you advice. A lawyer can advise you what to expect when they file your claim and negotiate your settlement. They can also tell you ways that you can strengthen your case, like staying off social media and following your doctor’s treatment plan.
- Avoid mistakes. You could make mistakes that might weaken your premises liability case if you contact the insurance company before speaking to a lawyer, such as making incriminating statements that they can use against you or agreeing to give a recorded statement.
- Weigh a settlement offer. You should never accept a settlement offer from the insurance company without first consulting with an attorney. They can advise you if the offer is fair and can go up against the insurance company if they are trying to get you to accept less compensation than you deserve under Virginia law.
Is there a leash law in Virginia?
Does Norfolk Have a Leash Law?
Yes, there is a leash ordinance in Norfolk. It is unlawful for an owner or person in control of a dog to allow the dog to be at large within city limits. A dog is considered at large if they are roaming, running, flying, or self-hunting off the owner’s property when not leashed or secured in an animal carrier. A first violation of this law is a Class 4 misdemeanor.
Does Virginia Beach Have a Leash Law?
Virginia Beach also has a law that requires dogs to be on a leash in public in most circumstances. Under the rule, it is unlawful for an owner or custodian of a dog to allow the dog to go on a park, public street, sidewalk, or right-of-way without being leashed. However, dogs are permitted to run free without being on a leash at designated parks, such as:
- Bayville Farms Park
- Red Wing Park
- Salem Woods Park
- Marshview Park
What Happens if a Dog Bites Someone When Not on a Leash?
Under Virginia’s dog bite laws, a dog bite victim must prove that the dog bit someone in the past or that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous to be entitled to compensation for their injuries. However, if the dog was not on a leash as required by a local ordinance, the victim may have a claim against the dog’s owner or custodian based on their negligence in allowing the animal to roam unleashed.
Did you suffer injuries from a dog bite in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced premises liability lawyers can explain your options and can go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia Law. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Do I have a right to sue someone if I was bitten by a dog?
What Is the Legal Standing to Litigate a Claim?
To have the standing, you must have the legal authority to sue the dog owner and any other negligent parties. If you file a lawsuit without standing, the insurance company will raise this as a defense. The judge could dismiss your case, and you would not be able to pursue your claim for compensation for your injuries.
Who Has Standing to Sue in a Dog Bite Case in Virginia?
You should consult with a knowledgeable dog bite attorney who can advise you on whether you have standing to sue and can file your lawsuit on your behalf. In general, here is who has standing to sue in a dog bite case:
- Individuals over 18 years old. If you are a dog bite victim and are 18 years old or older, you have standing to file a lawsuit against the dog owner and any other negligent parties.
- Minor child. Minor children under 18 years old do not have standing to file a lawsuit in Virginia. However, litigation can be filed through a “next friend.” The “next friend” must be an adult. They are usually the child’s parent or legal guardian.
- Adult with a guardian. If an individual 18 years old or older has a legal guardian, the legal guardian would have the standing to file a dog bite lawsuit for them.
- Deceased individual. If a dog bite victim died due to their injuries, certain family members could file a wrongful death action. The deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren would have standing to sue. However, if they were under 18, their “next friend” would have to file the lawsuit on their behalf.
If you or a family member were bitten by a dog in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, our experienced premises liability attorneys can file your claim and go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more about your rights and how we can assist you.
Can I reject the insurance company’s settlement offer?
You would need the compensation you deserve for your injuries if you were hurt in a premises liability accident in Virginia to pay for your medical expenses, replace your lost wages, and help you move on with your life. However, the insurance company may make you a settlement offer that you do not believe fairly compensates you.
You should never settle your claim without first consulting with an experienced premises liability attorney. You also need to know what your rights are to reject the insurance company’s offer and how to proceed if you decide to turn it down.
Can You Reject the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer?
Yes, you have a right to reject a settlement offer. The insurance adjuster may make it sound like it is their only offer. However, this is likely not true, especially if this is the insurance company’s first offer.
Accepting the insurance adjuster’s initial settlement offer is rarely in your best interests. Insurance companies often offer to settle a claim quickly for far less money than a victim deserves to save the company money. You do not want to be taken advantage of like this.
What Are Your Options if You Decide to Reject a Settlement Offer?
It can be difficult not to succumb to the insurance company’s threats and pressures to accept their offer on your own. You should let your lawyer communicate your rejection of their offer to the insurance adjuster. They can also take these steps for you:
- Make a counteroffer. Your attorney will most likely reject the offer in writing. They will outline their liability to compensate you, the seriousness of your injuries, and your damages in a demand letter. Then they will make a counteroffer.
- Negotiate your settlement. The insurance company will most likely reject your first counteroffer. Your lawyer could go through several offers and counteroffers before obtaining a fair settlement. If the insurance company raises disputes, your attorney may need to collect additional evidence and hire expert witnesses to refute their claims.
- File a lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, will expire soon, your attorney can file a civil complaint and litigate your case. You will most likely settle your claim before it goes to a jury trial.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, our dedicated premises liability lawyers can fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our online form today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Can I represent myself in my slip and fall accident case?
Yes, you have the right to represent yourself when negotiating a slip and fall accident settlement with the insurance company or litigating your case in court in Virginia. However, you would not be making a good decision if you made this choice. You are much more likely to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries if you retain an experienced premises liability accident attorney.
Reasons Why It Would Be a Mistake to Represent Yourself in a Slip and Fall Accident Case
There are many reasons why you should not represent yourself when filing a claim with a negligent business or property owner’s insurance company. Here are the top reasons why hiring a knowledgeable lawyer is in your best interests:
- Preserving evidence. You will need evidence to prove the business or property owner’s negligence caused your fall, the seriousness of your injuries, and the compensation you are entitled to. A lawyer handling slip and fall cases will know what evidence you need and how to obtain it.
- Valuing your claim. You are entitled to recover your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in your settlement with the insurance company. It would be extremely difficult for you to determine your future damages and how much the pain and suffering portion of your claim is worth without the help of an attorney.
- Negotiating your settlement. The insurance adjuster could try to take advantage of you if you try to negotiate your settlement on your own. They could get you to agree to give a recorded statement, provide them with access to all your medical records, or accept a lowball settlement offer. Your lawyer would fight for your rights and have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s arguments to deny, delay, or devalue your claim.
- Understanding of the law. Your attorney would understand the Virginia laws that apply to your case, including the statute of limitations, which is the deadline to file your lawsuit.
- Litigating your case. It would be very challenging to represent yourself if you had to file a lawsuit and litigate your claim. A lawyer would know the laws and court procedures that must be followed and how to try your case at a jury trial if necessary.
Do you need to file a claim for injuries you suffered in a slip and fall accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our dedicated premises liability attorneys will aggressively fight for your right to compensation and are not afraid to take your case to trial if this is in your best interests. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our online form today.
What happens if my injury worsens after I settle my premises liability claim?
Unfortunately, you may not have any options if you discover that your injuries are more severe than you thought when you settled your premises liability claim. That is one of many reasons you should retain an experienced premises liability lawyer before reaching a settlement with the insurance company.
What Happens If You Have Settled Your Claim Before Discovering Your Injuries Have Gotten Worse?
If you agreed to settle your claim and signed a Release of Claims form, which you would have to sign before the insurance company sent you your check, you would have agreed that your settlement is a final resolution of your claim. You could not reopen your case and file a claim for additional compensation if you later discovered that your injuries had worsened.
When Can You Reopen a Premises Liability Claim?
There are a few situations where you may be able to obtain additional compensation after settling a claim:
- No signed agreement. If you agreed to settle your claim but have not signed the release of claims form, you may be able to get out of your agreement with the insurance company.
- Breach by the insurance company. You may also be able to seek additional compensation if the insurance company failed to perform their obligations to pay you under the terms of your settlement.
- Other liable parties. If there are other liable parties, you may be able to pursue a claim against them. For example, if the business where you fell was renting their commercial space, you may also have a claim against the property owner.
Were you hurt in a premises liability accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our dedicated premises liability lawyers can collect the evidence you need to win your case and fight with the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries under Virginia law. Contact our Norfolk office at 757.625.1214 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
What is the difference between a premises liability claim and a lawsuit?
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, a premises liability claim and lawsuit are different in Virginia. It is essential to understand their differences, so you know how to best pursue your rights to obtain the compensation you deserve for injuries you suffered in a premises liability accident.
What Is a Claim?
If you were hurt in a premises liability accident, your first step to seek the damages you are entitled to would be to file a claim with the negligent property or business owner’s insurance company. This is an out-of-court process of trying to settle your case.
The best way to file your claim is to retain a knowledgeable premises liability lawyer to file it for you. They would send the insurance company a demand letter explaining their liability to pay you, your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are seeking. The insurance adjuster would investigate your accident and injuries before responding to the demand letter. They would most likely begin by offering you a lowball settlement offer you should not accept. Your attorney and the insurance adjuster could go through a series of offers and counteroffers before your claim is settled.
What Is a Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit involves having your case decided through the court system. You would need to file a civil complaint if the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit is expiring soon, or the insurance company denied your claim or refused to offer you a fair settlement. Here are the basic steps in litigating your case:
- Complaint. Your lawyer would file a complaint explaining your premises liability accident, how the owner’s negligence caused it, your injuries, and the damages requested.
- Answer. After being served with the lawsuit, the home or property owner, referred to as the defendant, would file an answer to it, admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint.
- Discovery. Discovery is the phase of your case where the defendant’s attorney and your attorney obtain documents, testimony, and other information from each other and third parties. Common types of discovery include interrogatories, which are written questions to be answered, requests to produce documents, subpoenas for documents or additional information, and depositions.
- Mediation. Some courts require civil cases to go through court-ordered mediation before scheduling a jury trial date. In addition, your lawyer will enter into settlement negotiations with the defendant’s attorney, which would most likely result in a settlement of your case at some point in the litigation process.
- Trial. If your case is not settled, it would be decided at a jury trial.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today.
How long will it take to get my check after I settle my premises liability case?
Once you settle your premises liability claim, you will be anxious to get your settlement check and move on with your life. Unfortunately, you will not receive your payment immediately. Here’s what you need to know about the steps you will need to complete before you can get your check.
How Long Will It Take to Get Your Settlement Check?
It will take approximately four to six weeks to receive your money from the insurance company. It could take slightly longer if the insurance company tries to delay paying you or the steps in finalizing your settlement take longer to complete.
What Steps Must Be Completed Before You Receive Your Settlement Check?
You will need to complete a number of steps after you reach a settlement with the insurance company. They include:
- Signing a release. You will need to sign a release of all claims form where you agree that this is a final settlement of your claim. It could take a few weeks for the insurance company to draft this agreement and your premises liability attorney to review it.
- Issuing a check. The insurance company will issue your check after they receive your signed release. Depending on their procedures, it could take them a week or two to send your check.
- Depositing your check. Your check will be sent to your lawyer. They will deposit it in a client trust account.
- Paying liens. If you have any liens on the settlement, such as a medical lien, your attorney will pay these out of your settlement proceeds. They may negotiate settlements to reduce what you owe first. While this can take time, it can be highly beneficial to you.
- Deducting attorney fees. Your lawyer will deduct the attorney fees and litigation costs you owe them next.
- Issuing your check. Once all of these steps are completed, your attorney will send you your check. This completes the settlement of your claim.
Were you or a loved one injured in a premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Our experienced premises liability lawyers are here to explain your options and go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today.
How do I pay my medical bills after a dog bite?
Ways to Get Your Medical Expenses Paid After a Dog Bite
Under Virginia’s dog bite laws, you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries caused by a dog attack if you can show that the dog owner knew or should have known that their dog is aggressive or dangerous. If you can prove this, you have several options to recover reimbursement of your medical bills, such as:
- Homeowner’s insurance. If the dog’s owner has a homeowner insurance policy, it would most likely cover injuries caused by the dog’s owner. However, some policies will exclude coverage if the dog is a dangerous breed or has aggressive tendencies.
- Animal liability insurance. If the dog’s owner purchased animal liability insurance, you could file a claim with this insurance company for reimbursement of your medical bills. They would be responsible for compensating you up to the policy’s insurance limits.
- Car insurance. You may be able to file a claim with the owner’s car insurance company if the dog attacked you while you were in the dog owner’s vehicle or the dog jumped out of the window and bit you
- Dog owner. If the dog’s owner had no insurance or insufficient insurance to fully pay your medical bills, you could still hold them responsible for compensating you. However, you need to realize that they may not have the financial resources to pay you all the damages you are entitled to or may have to pay you in small monthly payments.
Should You Submit Your Medical Bills to Your Health Insurance Provider?
Even if the dog’s owner has insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries, settling your claim with their insurance company could take a long time. In the meantime, you still owe your medical bills to your health care providers. You do not want them to refer your account to a collection agency, report the bills on your credit report, or sue you.
The best way to avoid these problems is to submit your bills to your health insurance provider if you have health insurance coverage so that your medical bills are paid. However, they may place a lien on your settlement that must be paid when you receive your payment from the dog owner’s insurance company.
Were you bitten by a dog in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Do you have other questions about paying your medical bills? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today with our experienced premises liability attorneys to learn how we can assist you.
Do I need a premises liability attorney if I was bitten by a dog?
How Can a Lawyer Help Settle a Dog Bite Claim?
Under Virginia’s dog bite laws, you may be entitled to compensation if a dog bit or attacked you and you suffered injuries. However, getting the insurance company to offer you a fair settlement can be difficult—even if the dog’s owner is clearly liable. Here is how a skilled premises liability attorney can help you:
- Investigate. A lawyer will investigate the circumstances surrounding your dog bite and collect the evidence you need to win your claim.
- Identify liable parties. An attorney will determine the dog’s owner and any other negligent parties responsible for compensating you. Identifying all the responsible parties increases the likelihood that you will receive the maximum recovery you deserve in your settlement.
- Hire expert witnesses. Depending on the disputes the insurance company raises when you file your claim, you may need to retain an expert witness to resolve the issue or prove your case at a jury trial. A skilled lawyer will know which expert witnesses you need and have a network of qualified ones to choose from.
- Negotiate your settlement. Your lawyer will take over communications with the insurance company and negotiate your settlement with them. They will have strategies to defeat the insurance adjuster’s arguments as to why your claim should be denied or why you should not receive as much money as you are requesting.
- File a lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations to sue will expire soon, you need a lawyer licensed to practice law in Virginia to file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your claim.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney Today
If you or a family member suffered injuries from a dog bite in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, our dedicated premises liability lawyers are here to answer your questions, file your claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. To find out more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
What does “open and obvious” mean in a premises liability case?
It can be difficult to prove your right to compensation for your injuries in a premises liability accident. You must show that the business or property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition to hold them liable.
Your claim can be even more complicated if the insurance company tries to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve in your settlement—which is common in these types of cases. The insurance company may try to do this by arguing that the hazardous condition was “open and obvious.”
What Is the Open and Obvious Defense?
If a dangerous condition is open and obvious, this means that the victim should have seen the hazard and avoided it. When raising this defense, the insurance company would be claiming that the victim was wholly or partially negligent in causing their injuries. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence rule that prohibits anyone from obtaining compensation if they were at fault—even just one percent to blame.
Whether a condition is open and obvious will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and what a reasonable person would do. The court would consider the dangerous condition and whether a person of reasonable intelligence would have noticed it and avoided it.
Even if the insurance company successfully argues that the condition was open and obvious, there may be exceptions where this defense would not apply.
Exceptions to the Open and Obvious Defense
- Negligence per se. In some cases, the business or property owner could be automatically negligent under the negligence per se doctrine. This exception would often apply in premises liability cases if the owner violated a building code.
- Distraction. If the owner should expect that individuals would be too distracted to discover an obvious danger, they could still face liability for a victim’s injuries.
- Expectation of harm. The owner can also be held responsible if they should reasonably expect that an open and obvious hazard could harm someone. In this situation, they would be required to promptly correct the problem or post a sign warning of the danger.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident and want to obtain all the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law, you need the help of an experienced premises liability attorney. To find out how we can assist you, contact us online or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
How much is my dog bite claim worth?
- The amount of compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law
- How certain factors could increase or decrease your claim’s value
Types of Compensation You Can Recover in a Dog Bite Case
If a dog bit you, you are entitled to your past and future damages. Compensation you should receive in your settlement includes:
- Medical expenses, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, and medications
- Lost wages, benefits, and perks of your job, and lost earning capacity damages if you are permanently disabled
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress damages
- Property damages
Factors That Can Affect Your Claim’s Value
Certain factors can strengthen your dog bite claim and make its value higher. Other ones can weaken your case and reduce its value. Here are factors you need to consider when valuing your claim:
- Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries that will require long-term care or are permanent, the value of your claim will be higher because you will be entitled to more compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Disputes with the insurance company. If the insurance company raises legitimate concerns about the dog owner’s liability or the seriousness of your injuries, this could reduce the value of your claim. However, you need to be wary when they raise issues because they may be using bogus arguments to deny your claim or try to get you to accept less in damages for your settlement.
- Your fault. If you were partially at fault for causing the dog to bite you, this could significantly weaken your case. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that would bar you from recovering any compensation if you were even one percent to blame for the attack.
Let Our Norfolk Attorneys Help You Value Your Claim
The best way to accurately determine how much your claim is worth is to hire an experienced dog bite attorney to value it for you. They will also collect the evidence you need to hold the dog owner and other liable parties responsible for compensating you and fight with their insurance company so that you receive what you are entitled to in your settlement. To find out how we can help, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.
Should I hire a lawyer in the state where my slip and fall accident occurred?
However, it can be confusing to know whether to hire an attorney in the state where you live or in Virginia where your accident occurred. Here are four reasons you should retain a lawyer in our Commonwealth.
Why it Is Best to Retain a Local Attorney
There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer in the state where your slip and fall accident occurred. They include:
- Licensed in Virginia. While many slip and fall claims are settled out of court, not all are. Only a lawyer licensed to practice law in Virginia can file your lawsuit for you and litigate your claim.
- Knowledge of the law. Your right to compensation for your injuries will be governed by Virginia law. A local attorney will have a better understanding of the laws that apply to your case than a lawyer who practices law in another state.
- Understanding of local rules and practices. Even if an attorney in your home state is licensed to practice law in Virginia, they will not have as good of an understanding of the local court rules and practices where your lawsuit would be filed. An understanding of these procedures will make your case go smoother and be resolved quicker.
- Consistency in your claim. You may be considering hiring an attorney where you live to try to settle your claim and then retain a lawyer in Virginia if you have a lawsuit. However, this is not the best approach for your case. You are more likely to settle your case for all the damages you are entitled to if you retain one attorney to represent you. While trying to negotiate your settlement, they would also collect the evidence you need and develop a consistent strategy to win your case.
Were you injured in a slip and fall accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Do you live in another state? At Tavss Fletcher, we will make it as easy as possible for you to pursue your claim as an out-of-state resident. To learn more about how we can assist you and your rights under Virginia law, call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.
When could my landlord be responsible for my slip and fall injuries?
A Landlord’s Duty to Maintain Rental Properties
In Virginia, landlords have a duty to maintain their rental properties in a reasonably safe condition and not allow hazardous conditions to exist on the property. When they breach this duty and a tenant, or their guest, is injured in a slip and fall accident, they may be responsible for compensating the victim for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are many ways that a landlord can breach their duties to tenants that cause slip and fall accidents. Common examples include:
- The landlord failed to fix broken lighting or provided inadequate lighting for the property.
- The landlord failed to repair leaking plumbing or a leaking roof.
- The landlord failed to replace cracked or broken flooring, or worn carpet.
- The landlord did not repair or replace a loose or broken handrail or damaged steps.
- The landlord allowed cracks and potholes to exist in the parking lot.
- The landlord failed to remove snow or ice from the parking lot, sidewalks, or entrances to the rental property.
Importance of Proving the Landlord Knew of the Dangerous Condition
Landlords are not always liable if a tenant falls at their rental property. In order to hold them responsible for their slip and fall accident, a tenant would need to prove that their landlord knew or should have known of the hazard and failed to correct the problem or post a warning sign of the danger within a reasonable amount of time.
Proving a landlord knew or should have known about an unsafe condition can be challenging. Some of the ways a tenant can establish this include:
- Their testimony that they told the landlord about the problem or sent them an email or letter informing them of it
- Testimony of other tenants who reported the hazardous condition to the landlord
- Landlord’s inspection records of the property
- Employee statements
- Photos of the dangerous condition
- Building inspection reports
- Other business records of the landlord
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident at a rental property, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney to prove your case and go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve. At Tavss Fletcher, we handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only owe us attorney fees when we settle your claim. Contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation to learn about your rights and how we can help you.
What are the most common causes of slip and fall accidents?
You could suffer serious injuries, such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries, in a slip and fall accident at any time and place. If you are like many victims, you might blame yourself for your fall.
However, most slip and fall accidents are caused by dangerous conditions on the property. If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident at a business or on private property, you need to know the common negligent actions that may have caused your injuries and may entitle you to compensation from the business or property owner.
Leading Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
In order to hold the owner responsible for compensating you for your injuries, you must prove that they knew, or should have known, about a dangerous condition on their property and failed to correct it. Common ways that a property owner or business causes slip and fall accidents include:
- Wet surfaces and spills. Owners have a duty to clean wet surfaces, such as wet and icy entrances, sidewalks, parking lots, and spills on floors. When they fail to do so, an unsuspecting guest could slip and fall.
- Defects in flooring. One of the most common causes of falls is when a property owner or business fails to maintain its flooring properly. Bulging and torn carpeting and cracked and uneven flooring can create a fall hazard if not repaired or replaced.
- Debris and other hazards. Debris and trash left strewn on floors and electrical cords running along areas where people must walk can be an unsafe tripping hazard.
- Inadequate lighting. When the lighting is poor in a parking lot or inside a building, it can be impossible for a victim to see a pothole, wet surface, dangerous handrail or stairs, or other hazards to avoid a fall.
- Stairs. Stairways can become very dangerous if the stairs are broken and worn, or there are missing or loose handrails. An individual can suffer life-altering injuries in a fall on stairs.
- Inadequate training. Business owners have a duty to train their employees on how to properly maintain the property and correct hazardous conditions when they arise. If they breach this duty, the dangerous conditions discussed above can be allowed to remain on the property and result in patrons being injured due to a fall.
- Lack of warnings. If an owner cannot correct a hazardous condition immediately, they must post a warning to alert guests to avoid the danger. When they fail to do this, they can be responsible for compensating a victim who suffered injuries.
How to Know If Your Injuries Were Caused by Negligence
It can be difficult to determine if you fell at a business or someone’s property due to their negligence. You need the help of an experienced premises liability lawyer who can investigate the cause of your fall and collect the evidence you need to win your case. Fill out our convenient online form or call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.
What is the difference between a slip and fall and a premises liability accident?
If you suffered injuries on a property or business owner’s property, you may be wondering what type of claim you have to be compensated for your injuries. Do you have a slip and fall or premises liability claim? What’s the difference between the two?
A slip and fall accident is a type of premises liability case where the victim suffers injuries caused by slipping, falling, or tripping due to a hazardous condition. You are entitled to the same types of compensation as in other premises liability accidents.
Types of Premises Claims
A premises liability claim arises when a business or property owner fails to maintain their property in a safe condition and someone is injured. A slip and fall accident is the best-known type of premises liability case. However, other injury claims that fall under the umbrella of premises liability, such as:
- Negligent security. A property or business owner could be held liable for negligent security if they failed to provide adequate security and a victim was assaulted, robbed, or attacked in another way.
- Dog bite. If a dog bites or attacks someone, their owner could be liable to compensate the victim under Virginia’s dog bite laws.
- Toxic chemical exposure. If the negligence of a property or business owner causes individuals to be exposed to toxic chemicals, they may be liable to compensate those who suffered injuries due to the exposure.
- Swimming pool. Individuals may need to pursue a premises liability claim if they suffer injuries in a slip and fall, drowning, or other accident at a swimming pool.
- Elevators and Escalators. Victims can suffer catastrophic injuries or death in an elevator or escalator accident if the elevator or escalator is not properly maintained or repaired.
How to Prove Negligence in a Premises Liability Accident
If you were injured in a slip and fall or other type of premises liability accident, you must prove that the owner’s negligence caused your accident and injuries. To establish negligence, you must show the following:
- The property or business owner owed a duty to you. The owner has a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner, correct dangerous conditions promptly, and post warning signs if they are unable to remove a hazard quickly under Virginia law.
- The owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and breached their duty of care to you by failing to rectify the problem or post a warning sign.
- The breach of the owner’s duty caused your injuries.
- You suffered injuries and are entitled to damages.
Were you injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident? Our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to answer your questions, collect the evidence you need to prove the property or business owner’s negligence, and fight with their insurance company to obtain all the compensation you deserve. To get started, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Why won’t my primary care doctor treat my injuries?
If you were hurt in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, one of your first steps should be to seek prompt medical treatment. This protects your health and avoids disputes with the insurance company for the property owner about what caused your injuries and how serious they are.
However, it can be distressing to find out that your primary care doctor does not want to treat the injuries caused by your accident. Here are some common reasons physicians make this decision.
Why Your Physician May Not Treat Your Injuries
The reasons your doctor may tell you that they will not see you often have nothing to do with you. This is a common response of many primary care doctors when their patients are a victim of a premises liability or car accident.
Primary care doctors have many reasons for this decision. Here are a few of the most common reasons:
- Specialist. You could suffer serious injuries in a premises liability accident, such as traumatic brain injuries, fractures, back injuries, or spinal cord injuries. Your doctor may not be qualified to treat your injuries and may refer you to a specialist.
- Insurance company. It can be more complicated to submit bills for injuries caused in a premises liability accident to the insurance company than to a health insurance provider. Your physician may not want to go through the hassle of dealing with the insurance company or waiting to receive their payment, which is common in these cases.
- Litigation. Your doctor may not want to be involved in a lawsuit if you are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company. They may not want to take the time it would take to give a deposition or testify at your jury trial.
- Lien. Your physician may have to wait to be paid out of your settlement proceeds. They may not want to agree to have a lien on your settlement and wait months or longer for your bills to be paid.
What You Should Do If Your Doctor Does Not Want to Treat You
Getting the medical care you need for your injuries strengthens your claim and will help you obtain all the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. If your physician refuses to see you, you will need to find another doctor. Here are ways to do this:
- Ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a specialist or another physician who deals with injuries caused in premises liability accidents.
- Ask your family, friends, and co-workers for recommendations of doctors who will treat your injuries.
- Retain an experienced premises liability attorney. They may have a network of qualified physicians who see accident victims and can refer you to one.
Were you or a family member hurt in a premises liability accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today to learn how our dedicated legal team can assist you.