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Shapiro & Appleton

The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.

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  • I felt something in my back while I was doing a work task several days ago and one of my co-workers knows about it. I didn't file an accident report but now my doctor says I may need to get an MRI. Is it too late for me to make a work-related claim or file an accident report?

    It's definitely not too late because the federal law governing worker claims for on‑the‑job injuries does not require an accident report ever have been filed.  Also, a railroad cannot fire you for simply making a report at the point where your problem manifests into a serious injury.  Consult with an experienced railroad accident injury attorney at our firm if this is a situation you find yourself in.

  • I've been diagnosed with a lung disease, and I don't know when it really started. Do I have to fill out an accident report for a disease that I think has been caused by something at the railroad?

    The federal law governing worker claims against their railroad employer is called the Federal Employers Liability Act.  There is no mandatory requirement for any written accident report.  Consult with an experienced Virginia railroad worker injury attorney as to whether you should demand that one be filed for a disease that does not have a clear original date it began.

  • I got hurt, but didn't realize how bad it was. I didn't file an accident report and days have gone by. Is it too late to file one now?

    No, the federal law that governs railroad worker injury claims on the job, has no requirement that an accident report ever have been filed. There is a three-year statute of limitations for worker injury claims against railroads.  While you can suffer some adverse work consequences with a late filing, there is no accident report filing necessary in order to present a valid claim.  If your injury is significant, ask to file the accident report, since a railroad is not permitted to retaliate against a worker for exercising rights under the FELA (Federal Employer’s Liability Act).

  • What if the defendant was negligent, but I was also contributorily negligent?

    You won't like the answer - in Virginia, if a jury finds that both you and the defendant were negligent, you are barred from recovering against the defendant. So, for example, if you were crossing the street when you didn't have the right of way and were hit by a drunk driver, you might be barred from recovering against the drunk driver if a jury determines you contributed to the accident. It's not fair, it's not right, but it's Virginai law. 

  • How Do I Recognize Whether My Loved One Suffered a Traumatic Brain injury (TBI)?

    Noticing a brain injury isn't very easy. The signs of a traumatic brain injury are, quite often, subtle and vary from person to person. To matters more diffucult, the symptoms may not appear right away and can surface weeks or months after an accidnet. The following are common symptoms of a TBI that you should be on the look out for:

    • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions;
    • Difficulty in forming thoughts, speaking, acting, or reading;
    • Getting easily confused or forgetting certain locations (e.g. your home, your place of employment, etc.);
    • Changes in mood (e.g., suddenly feeling depressed or angry);
    • Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions;
    • Blurred vision; and
    • Ringing in the ears.

     

  • How much will I have to pay your firm when my case is over?

    The fee our firm is paid is based on a percentage of the total recovery we obtain on your behalf, whether through settlement or verdict. If we recover nothing, you owe us nothing. This is called a "contingency fee" agreement. Most personal injury law firms operate on such agreements. We will explain the fee structure in detail at our first confidential consultation.

  • What should I do if the other driver’s insurance company contacts me?

    You should not speak to the other driver’s insurance company for any reason. Claims adjusters have extensive training and a set of questions that are designed to illicit responses from an injured victim that often hurts the victim’s claim against the insurance company. In fact, your claim could ultimately be denied because of the way you inadvertently answered the adjustor’s questions. 
     
    You should never grant an insurance company access to any of your medical records, and never agree to a recorded statement. This is why it is critical to retain a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will handle any and all communication with the other driver’s insurance company. 
     
    Remember, the insurance company is not looking out for your best interest – they are looking out for theirs. The company is seeking to pay as little out in damages as possible and to settle as quickly as possible, despite what your injuries may be. According to insurance company statistics, when an injured victim hires an attorney, the value of the victim’s claim increases. 

  • How long after a car accident should I contact an attorney?

    If you’re injured in a car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney sooner rather than later. Why? Because time is of the essence in terms of preserving vital evidence. If too much time goes by, evidence that proves the other driver’s negligence could potentially be lost, and in many personal injury cases, the statute of limitations for filing your claim is only two years from the date of the accident. 
     
    It’s important to contact an attorney right away in order for the attorney to:
    • Collect evidence, such as obtaining photographs of car damage and/or hazards in the road at the scene of the accident which may or may not have contributed to the incident. 
    • Track down and interview any and all witnesses to the accident. The sooner this is done, the clearer and more reliable witnesses’ memories are. 
    • Intervene on your behalf with the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to pressure victims into settling for much less than what they are entitled to for their injuries and/or property damage. 

  • What should I do if I’m in an auto accident?

    One of the first things to do is to obtain medical help for yourself and any passengers in your vehicle. If you are physically able, you should then collect the following information from the other driver:
    • Their name, address, phone number, and date of birth; 
    • Their driver’s license number, along with the expiration date;
    • Their auto insurance carrier;
    • The make, model, and license plate number and expiration. If possible, you should also obtain the vehicle identification number (VIN). All of this information can usually be found on the vehicle’s registration; 
    • The name, addresses, and phone numbers of any passengers in the other vehicle;
    • Try to obtain the names of any and all witnesses to the accident. If a witness will not identify themselves, you can write down their license plate number, which can be traced if their testimony is needed later on; and
    • If you have a camera on your cell phone, take photos of the scene, as well as any damage done to all vehicles involved;
    • Write down as many details as you can, such as weather conditions, road conditions or construction, etc.  

  • What kind of damages can I seek for truck accident injuries?

    There are two different types of damages you can receive when you are injured in a truck accident. These are economic damages and non-economic damages. 
     
    Economic damages are those that cost you money out of your own pocket. These can include immediate medical expenses, such as emergency room and hospital bills, and can also include long-term medical expenses, such as physical and occupational therapy, medications and other ongoing medical treatment. Lost income because of time missed from work because of injuries, or lost earning capacity, also falls under economic damages. Damage to property, such as a vehicle replacement, would as well. 
     
    Noneconomic damages are for those losses which are not tangible ones. A truck accident victim can seek damages for the pain they suffered and may continue to suffer from; the emotional impact the accident may have had on the victim, as well as the mental anguish the victim may still struggle with.

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