Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is a manual distraction in distracted driving accidents?

    Any activity that causes a driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel is deemed a manual distraction. Examples include adjusting the heat, fiddling with the radio or CD player, or drinking from a cup while driving.

  • What is visual distraction in a distracted driving accident?

    Visual distraction is not just texting while driving. Anything that causes us to look away from the road for just seconds is considered a visual distraction. Whenever a driver looks away from the road, not only do they no longer see what is happening in front of them, but they also become unaware of how close other vehicles are and how fast they are driving.

  • I have a personal injury claim pending, but I’m having financial difficulties waiting for the case to settle. I see all of these fast cash ads. Are these companies legit?

    There are many personal injury lawsuit loan companies, but victims should avoid these types of financial transactions if possible. These loans have extremely high-interest rates which could result in a substantially less final settlement amount for you.

  • I am unable to work while I recover from my injuries. My phone rings nonstop every day with calls from creditors. What can I do?

    Although not all of your creditors will work with you, some of them will. Check with your credit card companies and auto loan company to see if you have a monthly protection plan that will pay your monthly obligation in the event you are injured or become seriously ill. Many consumers choose these options when they sign up and often forget about them. If you don’t have a protection plan in place, make sure to keep in touch with your creditors and see if they are willing to work out some type of arrangement.

  • I can’t work because of my injury and have no income. How can I alleviate some of the financial stress?

    If you cannot work while you recover from your injury, the loss of income can cause a financial hardship for your family. Although you will likely eventually be compensated for those lost wages through your accident claim, there are some steps you can take to help.

    Take a look at all of your monthly expenses and decide where you can cut. Eliminate luxury expenses like entertainment packages on your cable bill, club memberships, etc. Pause any subscription services you may have, such as newspaper and magazine subscriptions, streaming music and film services, etc.

  • When can a private autopsy be requested in Virginia?

    An authorized individual (primarily, a family member) can request a private autopsy at any time after a medical examiner who works for the Virginia Department of Health has completed a postmortem examination.

    Medical examiners work in each Virginia city and county. Section 321.-283 of the state code gives an ME discretion to perform a full autopsy on any person who dies

    • From trauma, injury, violence, poisoning or accident;
    • From suicide;
    • From homicide;
    • Suddenly when in apparent good health;
    • When unattended by a physician;
    • In jail, prison or some other correctional institution;
    • In police custody;
    • While receiving services in a state hospital or training center;
    • From burns or smoke inhalation in a fire;
    • Under any suspicious, unusual or unnatural manner; or
    • Suddenly as an apparently healthy infant.

    Other statutes require autopsies by ME in some of the listed scenarios. Families can request autopsy reports from MEs, and the conduct of an autopsy by an ME does not prevent a private postmortem examination.


  • Why would someone request a private autopsy in Virginia?

    Each person who dies does not receive an autopsy. When a hospital or medical examiner does perform a postmortem examination, the findings may be incomplete or in need of confirmation. Ordering a private autopsy allows a person who thinks that grounds for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit exist to gather evidence to support claims for compensation and monetary damages.

    Autopsies accomplish one of two things—and, often, both of those.

    First, an autopsy can reveal the cause of death. At the same time, an autopsy always rules out potential causes of death. Within the context of a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit, knowing why the victim died can make all the difference. Knowing what did not kill the victim is equally important.

    In medical malpractice cases, for instance, an autopsy will rule an overdose of medication in or out as the cause of death. Likewise, an autopsy following a suspected surgical error can reveal damage done by negligent use of scalpels or lasers.


  • Who can request a private autopsy in Virginia?

    After a person dies in Virginia, Section 54.1-2973 of the state code empowers the following individuals to “authorize and consent to a postmortem examination and autopsy on a decedent's body for the purpose of determining the cause of death of the decedent, for the advancement of medical or dental education and research, or for the general advancement of medical or dental science”:

    • The spouse,
    • An adult son or daughter,
    • A parent,
    • An adult brother or sister,
    • A person who acted as a guardian of the deceased person at the time of the person’s death, and
    • An individual who has legal authority to dispose of the body.

    This list is ranked. In other words, a wife or husband has more authority to request an autopsy than does a child; a child has more authority than a parent; and so forth. Also, higher-ranked individuals can overrule lower-ranked individuals on decisions regarding the performance of an autopsy.


  • How does a court decide whether a case should be a mass tort?

    Unlike individual actions, with a mass tort action, the same evidence can be used in multiple cases. Once the injury attorneys have developed sufficient evidence, it can be used to help many victims. This also means that the odds of being successful in recovery increase dramatically since this evidence was persuasive with other juries hearing similar cases.

  • How does a court decide whether a case should be a mass tort or not?

    In determining whether a mass tort action should proceed, the court will look at:

    • The number of victims who were injured
    • Whether the victims all have injuries which are the same or similar
    • Whether the cause of the injury was a common one among all the victims