Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How Does FELA Protect Railroad Workers?

    The Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, gives railroad employees who get injured on the job or develop occupational illnesses to hold rail companies accountable for failing to protect them. Families of railroad employees who die in work-related accidents or succumb to occupational illnesses like cancer, lung disease or mesothelioma also have rights to file wrongful death claims under FELA.

    FELA is often compared to workers’ compensation, but the claims process works much differently. Rail companies are only held liable to pay compensation and damages if evidence exists that their executives or managers acted negligently. FELA claims often go to trial, so railroad workers or their family members can benefit from partnering with a personal injury or wrongful death attorney who has experience handling FELA cases.


  • What about dog bites and child injuries?

    Dog bites are the most common type of animal attack in the US. Five million people are bitten by dogs every year. A dog bit on a child can be especially dangerous. If your child has been bitten by a dog and has injuries, talk to a personal injury attorney in Virginia immediately.

  • How common are fall injuries with children?

    National statistics show that one million children go to the hospital due to injuries suffered in falls. Falls are the top cause of nonfatal injuries for children in America. Many of these accidents are due to property owner negligence.

  • What is a common type of accident involving children that results in many personal injury lawsuits?

    Car accidents are the #1 cause of death for children in the US. Every year, at least 700 children die in car accidents and thousands more are injured. If your child has been hurt in a car accident cause by another driver, you should be certain to talk to a Virginia personal injury attorney right away.

  • What is the doctrine of sovereign immunity in Virginia?

    Law school textbooks describe sovereign immunity as evolving from the ancient concept that the king can do no wrong. As applied under modern Virginia law, sovereign immunity protects government agencies and government employees from personal and wrongful death lawsuits unless very specific conditions exist.

    Generally, a government employee who acts within the scope of his or her job duties cannot be sued by the victim of an accident caused by that government employee. Similarly, government officials, departments and agencies are immune from personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits when the employee who caused an accident was working within the scope of the law.

    Sovereign immunity can be waived (i.e., removed by a court) when evidence exists that a government employee was acting recklessly or doing something blatantly illegal. For instance, a city bus driver who was driving drunk could not claim sovereign immunity.


  • A Virginia Beach Public Schools bus hit and injured me. Can I sue?

    Virginia law requires all public school districts and private schools to carry insurance on their bus drivers. You will have grounds for filing insurance claims or pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if you can produce evidence that the public school bus driver caused the crash by acting negligently or recklessly. This is the same rule for liability that is used in crashes cause by car and truck drivers.


  • An HRT bus hit and injured me. Can I sue?

    Virginia law grants public transit agencies sovereign immunity. This means that drivers, pedestrians and passengers on public buses generally cannot file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits following a crash.

    The sovereign immunity protection goes away, however, when a bus driver causes a crash by acting in a way that Virginia state statutes describe as “gross negligence.” Examples of gross negligence could include driving without a valid license, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or crashing with the intent of causing injuries or deaths.


  • How is pain and suffering proven?

    Some of the information that a personal injury attorney will use to prove their client’s pain and suffering includes:

    • Medical Records: If the medical records show the seriousness of the injury, this would be a good way to document the presence of pain and suffering the victim endured.
    • Medical Experts: Using medical experts to testify during a trial is another way to prove pain and suffering. The witness can explain to the jury what kind of physical pain is likely from the types of injuries the victim suffered.
    • Therapist Testimony: If the victim is working with a therapist after the accident, the therapist can testify any emotional issues the victim is having, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD.  
    • Family and Friends: Family and friends can also testify about a victim’s emotional state and any lifestyle changes their injuries have caused. They can also confirm any emotional and/or physical changes the victim went through after they were injured.
    Photos, Videos, and Journals: An attorney can also use photos, videos, and social media accounts to show the difference in the victim before and after they were injured. It is also a good idea for victims to keep a journal and write in it daily as to what their pain level is and any emotional issues they felt that day.

  • How much will a victim receive for pain and suffering damages?

    Pain and suffering are not immediately quantifiable the way economic damages – like medical expenses and lost wages – are. This type of damage is a subjective one and will vary with each victim and each case. In order to get full compensation, a victim’s personal injury attorney must provide evidence that will determine the value of their pain and suffering.

  • What is pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit?

    Pain and suffering in a Virginia accident case is one type of damage that a victim can receive financial compensation for from the party who is deemed liable for the incident or accident that cause the victim’s injury. Pain and suffering include both the physical and emotional suffering the victim endures. The purpose of pain and suffering damages is to compensate the victim for any of the ways their injuries have caused them to suffer.

    The physical pain an injury causes may be obvious. For example, if a victim suffers a broken leg in an accident, there is often much physical pain to endure. The emotional pain the victim may not be as obvious but may still be there, such as the stress of being not being able to physically do the things they need to do, such as a parent taking care of their child or household duties.