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 the most common injuries suffered by pedestrian accident victims?

    • Brain injuries: Brain injuries can leave the victim with life-altering disabilities that can affect cognitive abilities, vision, and hearing.
    • Fractured bones: These include broken arms, legs, ribs that occurs upon impact with the vehicle.
    • Spinal cord injuries: The impact of being hit by a vehicle can rupture, move, or destroy discs in the spinal cord or cause even more severe injury, resulting in paralysis.

  • What are the most common causes of Virginia pedestrian accidents?

    • Reverse crashes: These types of pedestrian accidents most often occur in parking lots, driveways, and alleyways when a driver fails to see the pedestrian as the driver their vehicle in reverse.
    • Crosswalk (or intersection) accidents: This type of pedestrian accident occurs when the driver of a vehicle fails to use caution as they are driving towards, at or through a crosswalk, intersection, or driveway.
    • Failure to stop or yield: This type of pedestrian accident happens when a vehicle driver fails to stop or yield for a pedestrian who is at a crosswalk or intersection and has the right of way.

  • Where are the most common locations that pedestrian accidents occur at?

    The most common locations that pedestrian accidents occur are the ones that you would think they would be the safest, however, statistics show that isn’t the case. Marked crosswalks, crossing intersections controlled by stop lights and stop signs, and even on sidewalks are the most common locations of pedestrian accidents.

  • Where do spinal cord injuries occur?

    There are three areas of the spinal column where a spinal cord injury can occur:

    • Cervical spinal cord: When the eight vertebrae (C1 – C8) in this area are injured, the impact can be on the motor and organ functions, as well as the sensory nerves below the top of the rib cage are affected, resulting in quadriplegia.
    • Thoracic spinal cord: When the 12 vertebrae (T1 – T12) in this area are injured, the impact can be on the trunk of the body and movement in the lower part of the body.
    • Lumbar spinal cord: When the five vertebrae (L1 – L5) in this area are injured, the impact can be on the sensations of the lower body, affecting bladder control, bowel control, and sexual function.  

  • What are the two categories of spinal cord injuries?

    Spinal cord injuries are categorized medically as either complete or incomplete. A complete injury is one that completely severs the spinal cord and eliminates nerve functions below the site of the injury. An incomplete spinal injury is one that has partially severed or damaged the spinal column. Six out of every 10 spinal cord injuries are classified as incomplete.

  • What causes a spinal cord injury?

    Spinal cord injuries occur when there is traumatic damage to the victim’s spinal column, spinal cord, or nerve roots. This damage results in temporary or permanent loss of autonomic function, motor function, and sensory function.

  • Is there a cap on punitive damages in Virginia?

    Virginia statute § 8.01-38.1 places a cap of $350,000 on punitive damages courts may award to punish the at-fault party. If the jury awards the victim punitive damages that exceed that amount, the judge is required by law to reduce the amount to the maximum allowed under the law.

  • What is the difference between simple, gross, and willful negligence under Virginia law?

    Simple negligence: The failure to exercise the duty of care a reasonable person would exercise in a similar situation.

    Gross negligence: The disregard of the duty of care a reasonable person would exercise in a similar situation.

    Willful negligence: The conscious disregard of the duty of care, with reckless indifference to the probable consequences, and knowledge that his or her actions will likely cause injury to someone.

  • What are punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit?

    Punitive damages are only awarded to a victim if there are clear circumstances that the actions of the at-fault party are deemed so egregious by the court (either the judge or jury) that punishment is justified.  In Virginia, punitive damages can be awarded if the at-fault party’s actions were, “wantonly, oppressively, or with such malice as to evince a spirit of malice or criminal indifference to civil obligations.

    Criminal punishment is only allowed to be imposed in criminal cases, not civil cases. Punitive damages are the court’s way of implementing a “civil fine” that the at-fault party must pay the victim.

  • What steps should a dog bite victim take?

    If a person is bitten by a dog, they should keep the area elevated and cover it with a clean cloth, applying pressure to stop the bleeding. The bite should be washed with soap and water, followed by an antibiotic ointment and sterile bandage. If the bite will not stop bleeding, is deep, begins discharging or becomes red, the victim should seek medical attention immediately.

    There are other reasons to seek medical attention immediately, as well, even if the bite appears to be a minor one. The victim may need to get a tetanus shot to fight infection. Also, if there is a question as to whether the dog that bit them is current on their rabies vaccine, medical attention is critical.

    After a victim's medical needs have been addressed, they should then contact a Virginia dog bite attorney.