Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What if a victim dies before their case is hard by a court?

    A wrongful death claim usually stems from the victim's death from an accident and is brought on behalf of a relative or loved one.

    For example, say someone is married with three children and becomes injured in a serious truck accident caused by the negligence of a trucker. If the victim is hospitalized and sues the person at fault, but before the victim's case is heard, they die from the injuries sustained in the truck wreck. The victim's spouse may proceed with the claim, after getting qualified as the personal representative of the estate, as a wrongful death matter against the person at fault.

    You also need to be aware of the "survival statute" which preserves a victim's cause of action against an at-fault individual after the victim passes away from some cause other than the accident. This enables the estate to take over the victim's cause of action against the at-fault party. The damages available in a survival action include all the damages for the injury that are available to the actual victim if the individual survived.

  • MY doctor says my injuries are from before the wreck but it never gave me problems before, does this mean my case is worth less?

    Many times, we have pre-existing conditions that we do not know about or just haven't bothered us too much.  A car wreck can irritate this condition and make it more bothersome and noticeable.  In Virginia like many states, you are legally entitled to compensation for aggravation of an existing injury.  It wouldn't be fair for the insurance company to say that because you suffered from an ailment before, they are not responsible for making it worse.  Often this scenario will make the case a little more difficult but a good lawyer knows how to handle this issue.  It is a matter of proving that the injury did not give you trouble before the wreck.  If we can prove that than the injury should not impact your case too severely. 

  • MY doctor says my injuries are from before the wreck but it never gave me problems before, does this mean my case is worth less?

    Many times, we have pre-existing conditions that we do not know about or just haven't bothered us too much.  A car wreck can irritate this condition and make it more bothersome and noticeable.  In Virginia like many states, you are legally entitled to compensation for aggravation of an existing injury.  It wouldn't be fair for the insurance company to say that because you suffered from an ailment before, they are not responsible for making it worse.  Often this scenario will make the case a little more difficult but a good lawyer knows how to handle this issue.  It is a matter of proving that the injury did not give you trouble before the wreck.  If we can prove that than the injury should not impact your case too severely. 

  • What am I entitled to if I'm involved in a car accident?

    According to the Virginia Model Jury Instructions for civil cases, you are entitled to receive "full and fair compensation" for any damages sustained because of the at-fault driver's negligence. These include any bodily injuries and effects on your health because of those injuries, any physical pain, any disfigurements or deformities, and any humiliation, inconvenience caused, medical expenses, lost earnings, and property damage.

    How do you obtain these monetary damages? The first step is to consult with a car accident injury lawyer so you can determine your legal options. The next step is to have your lawyer file a personal injury claim. Some cases will settle quickly while others may go all the way to trial.


  • What am I entitled to if I'm involved in a car accident?

    It depends on a variety of factors including: (1) the type of case you have, (2) the extent of your physical injuries, (3) whether you've missed time from work or had to retire early because of your injuries, (4) the amount of available insurance coverage, and so forht.

    How do you obtain these monetary damages? The first step is to consult with a car accident injury lawyer so you can determine your legal options. The next step is to have your lawyer file a personal injury claim. Some cases will settle quickly while others may go all the way to trial. 

     

  • If I am attacked and bitten by a dog, do I have the right to seek compensation for my injuries?

    It depends on the circumstances. Virginia, along with 19 other states, adheres to the "one bite rule," which generally prevents civil claims for monetary damages from being successful against an animal owner the first time one of their animals bites another person if the attack was unintentional. However, the dog owner may be held liable if a personal injury lawyer can prove the dog has a history of attacking and biting people or that the owner violated a local or state ordinance such a leash law and that failure to comply with rules and regulations regarding pet ownership led to the attack.

  • Why do some dogs attack and bite people?

    There are many reasons why dogs attack. A dog may bite out of fear or to protect their territory or to establish their dominance over a person. Some owners actually teach their dogs that biting is an acceptable form of play behavior. This plays a role in the continued increase in newborns suffering serious injuries or getting killed by dogs who view them as "prey." Because dog bites occur for a variety of reasons, dog owners should take the steps necessary to try and prevent bites such as proper socialization, supervision, training, and safe confinement. 

  • What are the Virginia leash laws?

    Virginia leash laws may require you, the dog owner - while on your property - to keep your dog under control. This means that your dog is confined to the house, a dog pen, on a secured leash, or under some form of immediate voice control. If you take your dog for a walk and off the property, you must put your dog on a leash or under immediate voice control. It is best to have the dog on a leash. The law does not automatically apply everywhere as the localities, city or county governments, must decide if the want to implement it. Some rural counties in VA do not choose to make all canines stay on leash which can lead to problems like dogs chasing cars or threatening pedestrians on public roads.

  • What is the Virginia "dangerous dog" law?

    If a dog has bitten a person or another dog, then the dog is deemed a "dangerous dog" and you may be required to list your dog in a "Dangerous Dog Registry". However, there are numerous exceptions. For example, if the dog bite is deemed "not serious" by a veterinarian, the law doesn't apply. If the bite takes place on the property of the dog owner, then the law doesn't apply.

  • I own numerous rental properties and one of my tenant's dogs bit another tenant on my property. Am I responsible for those dog bite injuries?

    The answer is usually no. The law in Virginia does not transfer liability to the owner of a rental property for a tenant's animal. However, it might be a good idea to require your renters to have get renters' insurance, which is like home owners' insurance, but for tenants. Then, the insurer will take care of paying and defending any claims for injury or death caused by pets at the apartment building or house.

    Furthermore, Virginia follows the law commonly referred to as the "one bite rule." This means the dog owner is shielded from civil liability the first time each of his or her animals attacks another individual, if the attack was not intentional or due to negligence. For example, if the owner caused the dog bite by breaking a leash law, then that person could be held legally liable. If the animal was known to have dangerous propensities, the owner can sometimes be held responsible for even the first time it breaks skin.