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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What are the defenses an at-fault party may have in a spinal cord injury lawsuit?
When a spinal cord injury victim files a personal injury lawsuit against the party who caused the incident that injured them, the at-fault party may use the following as defense:
- Assumption of Risk: If the victim was involved in a high-risk activity at the time of the accident, the at-fault party may try to argue that since the victim chose to participate in the activity willingly, they were aware of the risk and therefore the at-fault party is not liable.
- Contributory and Comparative Negligence: The at-fault party may argue that the victim is partially to blame for the accident that injured them. Contributory negligence is when the victim was careless and that contributed to the accident and injury. Comparative negligence is when both the victim and the at-fault party were both negligent.
What damages is a spinal cord injury victim entitled to?
The purpose of a personal injury award is to “make the victim whole” as they were before the accident. For example, the at-fault party is liable for medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering. But a spinal cord injury victim often faces a permanent impact on their life. There is often medical equipment and ongoing medical care needed. They may also need modification to their home to make it wheel-chair accessible, as well as specially modified vehicles. These are all expenses that can be included in the final award or settlement the victim received.
What are the most common causes of spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury occurs when there is some type of blow or traumatic injury to the spine. The most common causes are:
- Vehicle accidents: 42 percent
- Falls: 26 percent
- Violent acts: 15 percent
- Recreational sporting activities: 8 percent
How can foodborne illnesses be prevented?
- It is critical to use proper care for hygiene and preparing food. Hands should always be washed with soap in warm water before handling food and again once the person had handled any raw meat or use the restroom.
- Food preparers should always wash fruits and vegetables to remove all chemicals.
- Refrigerators should be set a 40 degrees F and freezers at 0 degrees F.
What are the common causes of foodborne illnesses?
Viruses: These types of foodborne illnesses can be directly attributed to those who are already infected. If proper hygiene is not used by employees preparing food, viruses can be spread through the food. “Employees must wash hands” signs in restaurant bathrooms are present to remind employees that waste residue can give customers foodborne illnesses. Contaminated water used during the preparation process is also another common cause of such illnesses.
Parasites: Parasites can get attached to food through inadequate hygiene practices, just as viruses can. Both human and animal waste residue can cause these parasites to spread through water used in the food preparation process.
Chemicals: There are several sources of chemical poisoning that can occur. Unwashed fruits and vegetables often have high traces of pesticides that can be ingested. Toxins found in fish can cause illnesses for those who enjoy eating fish. Fish that feed on algae that produce toxins can create toxic chemicals that are then consumed. Fish not properly refrigerated can also produce toxins.
How common are foodborne illnesses?
According to national statistics, 48 million people get sick every year from foodborne illnesses. Almost 130,000 of those victims end up hospitalized and approximately 3,000 victims die from the illnesses. A victim can catch a foodborne illness from food purchased at a restaurant or in grocery stores. The elderly, children, pregnant women, and people suffering from medical conditions often have difficulty fighting the illness.
Does Virginia place a cap on personal injury damage awards for noneconomic losses?
Virginia joins most states in not limiting insurance settlements or jury awards for noneconomic damages for pain, mental anguish and disfigurement. The state does, however, impose a total cap of $2 million on awards for medical malpractice awards that covers economic, noneconomic and punitive damages.
Economic damages include medical bills and lost wages, while punitive damages are assessed as noncriminal fines for especially negligent, reckless or intentional acts. Note, too, that the cap is not a floor; most people who succeed with medical malpractice claims in Virginia receive far less than $2 million. A total award to a medical malpractice victim will reflect economic losses plus a multiplier for noneconomic damages. Few medical malpractice victims receive punitive damages.
What does “inconvenience” mean in the context of a Virginia personal injury lawsuit?
Courts and juries decide what constitutes a compensable inconvenience.
First, “compensable” means “worth paying a victim for.” For instance, unpaid medical bills following a personal injury are compensable because the person or organization that caused the victim’s injuries should pay the cost of required care.
Inconvenience is a noneconomic loss, meaning its cost cannot be precisely calculated. Despite that, the issues suffered by an injured person are certainly real and deserving of compensation.
Examples of inconvenience that have been ruled compensable include
- Needing to move or temporarily relocate in order to receive special medical care,
- Having to travel long distances for medical care,
- Needing to retrain for a different job as a result of a disability, and
- Using an assistive device like a cane, walker or wheelchair.
Personal injury victims do not have to claim damages for inconvenience specifically, as the issues can also be considered pain, suffering and mental anguish.
What noneconomic damages can a Virginia personal injury victim claim?
Virginia law recognizes that many of the losses suffered due to an injury from a car or truck crash, medical error, dog bite, defective product or a slip and fall can be given an exact price tag. As a result, personal injury victims can file insurance claims or civil lawsuits that include demands for compensation for
- Physical pain suffered from the time of their injury until the settlement or jury award, as well as pain in the future;
- Mental anguish;
- Disfigurement such as scarring or the loss of an arm or leg;
- Humiliation and embarrassment from the disfigurement; and
Consulting with an experienced and caring Virginia personal injury attorney will clarify what can be claimed depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, as well as the cause of the injuries.
Can I collect future medical expenses and lost wages because of a dog bite?
Any future medical treatments a victim may need should be included in a dog bite lawsuit. Your attorney will likely have a doctor testify to what those treatments may be. You may also suffer future lost wages. Any of these future losses should be included in the final award you receive.