Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What do I need to have ready before I speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company?

    It is highly recommended that you do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company before speaking with a car accident attorney. And regardless of what the insurance adjuster may tell you, you do not ever want to agree to give them a recorded statement.

    Dealing with your own insurance company is different, especially if you need to pursue damages through your own policy because the other driver was uninsured or underinsured or it was a hit and run accident. You will want to have a copy of the police report, any photos from the crash, any medical expenses you have incurred, medical records, and an estimate of the repairs needed for your vehicle.

  • What driving precautions should I take if the weather is bad?

    The first thing you want to do is slow down, regardless of what the speed limit is. Ice and snow reduce traction, and this leaves your tires unable to grip the road. This puts you at a greater risk of sliding – and crashing.

    You also want to make sure to begin slowing down well in advance of when you need to come to a complete stop. Hitting your brakes too soon could also cause your vehicle to go into a slide.

    When you are driving in an area with hills, you do not want to accelerate as you are going up the hill. This will just cause your tires to spin. Try gaining speed before you begin the ascent.

  • How should I prepare for Virginia winter driving?

    There are certain steps you should take to make sure your vehicle is ready for any kind of weather you may encounter. This includes having an emergency kit in your vehicle that contains:

    • Basic toolkit
    • Blanket and warm clothes
    • Cell phone charger
    • Emergency flares
    • First Aid kit
    • Flashlight
    • Gallon of water (more if you are traveling distances)
    • Jumper cables
    • Kitty litter, sand, or road salt
    • Non-perishable food such as canned food, energy bars and nuts
    • Shovel, broom, and ice scraper

    You also want to make sure that your vehicle is mechanically ready for the winter, too. Have your mechanic check the following:

    • Antifreeze levels
    • Battery and ignition system
    • Brakes
    • Exhaust system
    • Fuel and air filters
    • Heater and defroster
    • Lights and flashing hazard lights
    • Oil
    • Thermostat
    • Windshield wiper equipment and washer fluid level

  • What are the dangers in winter weather driving in Virginia?

    Although Virginia’s winters may be considered mild compared to other parts of the country, we still get our fair share of freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. These conditions can make for some white-knuckle driving, especially when drivers do not make the necessary adjustments to how they are driving when the weather is bad. Black ice is particularly dangerous – and far too common – on the state’s roads during the winter months.

    The milder winters can actually present more dangers when the weather does turn bad because many motorists are unprepared for the bad weather. For example, since Virginia doesn’t get much snowfall, most vehicles do not have snow tires on them. This means on the occasions when it does snow, driving can be treacherous.

  • What are the risk factors for seniors and sexual abuse?

    Any resident of a nursing home is at risk; however, studies show the following factors causes that risk to spike:

    • Seniors who have no support system in place, such as family or friends
    • Seniors who suffer from dementia. Statistics reveal that almost 50 percent of dementia patients have suffered some form of abuse.
    • Seniors who have already experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, or other trauma in their past.
    • Seniors who are in poor health or are functionally impaired.

  • How common is sexual abuse of the elderly?

    All forms of elderly abuse are tragic, but sexual abuse of the elderly is far too common. According to an investigation conducted by CNN in 2017, there were more than 16,000 sexual abuse complaints filed on behalf of nursing home victims between 2013 and 2017. During that same time frame, more than 1,000 nursing homes were cited by the federal government for mishandling reports of sexual abuse or failing to prevent incidents. More than 100 facilities were cited multiple times.

  • How prevalent is elder abuse in the U.S.?

    As the baby boomer generation begins to reach retirement age, the number of seniors has significantly increased over the past few years. Unfortunately, this also means that the number of seniors who suffer abuse has also increased. According to statistics from the federal government, approximately five million elderly people are abused every year. It is estimated that at least 10 percent of seniors have experienced some type of abuse. Only one in every 14 cases is actually reported.

  • What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim?

    The specific damages that can be recovered depending upon the circumstances of the victim’s death, however, in general, family can pursue compensation for funeral expenses, loss of the victim’s income, and noneconomic losses such as loss of the victim’s companionship, care, guidance, assistance, affection, and protection.

    The victim’s family may also file a survival action in order to recover certain economic losses the victim’s estate suffered, including medical expenses, loss of income, and any other losses the victim may have been able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit had they recovered.

  • Who can file a wrongful death claim?

    Under Virginia law, survivors must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the victim’s death. Legally, survivors are considered the following (in order of who has the legal claim):

    • The surviving spouse and children of the victim
    • The surviving parents of the victim. If the parents are not alive, then the siblings of the victim may file.
    • Any relative who was financially dependent on the victim
    • Any relative who is entitled to inherit from the victim’s estate based on the intestacy laws of Virginia.

  • What is a wrongful death claim?

    Virginia law allows family members to pursue compensation if their loved one’s death was the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another party or parties. Examples of incidents that could justify a wrongful death claim include:

    • Defective or dangerous product
    • Fatal assault, battery, or because of other crime
    • Fatal vehicle accident cause by a driver who exhibited careless, drunk, or reckless behavior.
    • Medical malpractice
    • Nursing home abuse or negligence
    • Slip and fall or other premises liability accident on private property
    • Work-related death