Common Questions About Personal Injury, Family Law, and Criminal Defense in Virginia
Do you have questions about how Virginia laws apply to your situation or what you can do to reach your legal goals after an accident, arrest, or divorce? Our experienced attorneys in Fairfax answer some of the most frequently asked questions from clients here. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, or if you need more information about your rights, reach out to us today at 877-652-1553.
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Should I handle my dog bite personal injury claim without a lawyer?
If you are bitten by a dog in Virginia, you can handle the case without an attorney, but you shouldn’t. Having a personal injury attorney on your side can save you a lot of stress and help maximize your potential compensation.
Why You Need an Attorney
Although victims survive the vast majority of dog bites, many find themselves needing reconstructive surgery to repair the damage caused by the attack. Dog bite injuries include lacerations, puncture wounds, nerve damage, crushed bones, and torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Costs related to the injuries can add up—not only for medical treatment but for lost wages and pain and suffering.
If the dog that bit you belongs to a friend or family member, having an attorney is crucial to handle the negotiations. You might be worried that suing could ruin your relationship and could be financially devastating for them. If they have renter or homeowner insurance, their insurance company will likely cover the costs of your injury claim. However, their insurance premium will probably go up.
When you have lost a loved one because of a dog attack, you are likely struggling to come to terms with the loss and unsure of what to do. An attorney will be invaluable during this difficult time, helping you build a case against the owner of the dog, so they are held responsible for the devastating loss.
Contact a Virginia Dog Bite Attorney
If you were injured because of the negligence of a dog’s owner, you have legal options for recovering damages. A personal injury claim can cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs. Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation about your dog bite case, contact Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, in Fairfax, Virginia.
Can I recover compensation if I don’t remember the car accident?
When you are involved in a car accident, it’s not unusual to be unable to remember the crash or the moments leading up to it. This memory loss makes many accident victims wonder if they’ll be able to pursue a legal case. Chances are, you may still recover damages, although every situation is unique. Contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Causes of Memory Loss After an Accident
Although many believe memory loss occurs because an event may have been too traumatic and the mind wants to forget, the truth is that the brain’s focus is on survival rather than creating memories. This is what is known as the “survival response.”
Additionally, head injuries are a common cause of memory loss. A blow to the head can cause a concussion, edema, a skull fracture, and/or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many victims experience memory loss as a result.
Filing a Claim When You Cannot Remember the Accident
Although accident victims may not be able to remember the details of the crash, they still deserve to be compensated for their injuries. With the help of an experienced attorney who can conduct a full investigation into the negligence that caused the accident, there are ways to piece together the details of the crash by gathering the following evidence:
- Medical reports
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Videos from traffic or security cameras
- Photographs taken at the scene
Although the chaos that occurs after an accident can make it difficult to remember specific details about what happened, it’s helpful to write down whatever you can remember about the incident as soon as possible afterward.
Call Our Northern Virginia Car Accident Lawyers
If you suffered injuries because of the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation—even if you cannot remember the crash. An experienced attorney can provide assistance in helping you gather evidence to support your claim against the other driver. You may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Will my car accident compensation include chiropractic services?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you expect that your medical treatment will be paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. When your treatment includes chiropractic care, you will need to prove that it is essential to your recovery to have the costs covered under your claim.
How a Chiropractor May Help With Your Injuries
Anyone who is in a car accident should receive immediate medical attention—even if they don’t think they’ve suffered any injuries. Soft tissue injuries, including backaches, neck pain, stiffness, and soreness, often don’t show up until hours or days after the crash. If your physician is unable to do much in the way of treatment other than prescribe pain pills, you might decide to see a chiropractor for these types of injuries.
Chiropractic sessions might provide the following benefits to accident victims:
- Spinal adjustments to bring the spine back into alignment, which can increase neurotransmitters and hormone levels, positively impacting the central nervous system
- Breakdown of scar tissue that can cause stiffness and soreness after an accident
- Pain control and decreased need for prescription pain medication
- Range of motion restoration, which can help with the healing process
- Management of minor injuries, so they don’t become worse or chronic
Paying for Chiropractic Care After an Accident
Medical care may be needed for a full recovery following an accident, but you will have to prove that chiropractic care is an essential treatment. Document everything, including records from your physician, as well as the following:
- A list of all symptoms
- Treatment records from your chiropractor
- How treatment has helped with your injuries
Be sure not to delay getting treatment after your accident. Waiting too long could make it more difficult to prove that your injuries were the result of the car accident. Having an experienced attorney on your side, as well as the proper medical documentation, can help you get the settlement you deserve.
Get the Full and Fair Recovery You Deserve
If you've been injured in a car accident, you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call today to make an appointment for a free consultation.
Can I recover damages if I suffer road rash in a Virginia motorcycle accident?
If you experienced road rash injuries in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may have a case against the at-fault party for damages. Road rash is a common term for an injury that causes part of the skin to be rubbed off. When a collision throws a motorcycle rider onto the road surface, the abrasions can cause serious damage to the skin.
Different Degrees of Road Rash
There are different degrees of road rash, including:
- First-degree road rash. The most minor type of road rash gives skin the appearance of a bad sunburn. This type of abrasion usually doesn’t break the skin or cause more than minor scrapes.
- Second-degree road rash. This type of abrasion breaks the top layers of the skin, and debris such as dirt and rocks is often lodged in the wound. Although treatable with over-the-counter remedies, if the injured party gets proper medical attention, this can reduce the chances of permanent scarring.
- Third-degree road rash. When all five layers of the skin have been scraped off, you might be able to see tissue, muscle, fat, or bone. Immediate medical treatment is necessary. There is a high risk of infection with this type of road rash.
Consequences of a Road Rash Injury
When you have suffered road rash in a motorcycle accident, you will likely incur significant medical expenses. In addition to medical treatment, you may even require cosmetic surgery. You may lose income if you are unable to work while you recover. If you have severe disfigurement because of the road rash, you might be unable to return to work because of your altered appearance. This could mean reduced income earning potential in the future.
There are also non-economic damages to consider, including trauma and pain and suffering. These are more difficult to quantify, which is one reason it is so important to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Virginia Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys Offer Personalized Service
If you or a loved one suffered road rash or other injuries in a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Call us, so we can go over the details of your case.
What happens if I’m the victim of a road rage accident with an aggressive driver?
Most drivers have seen aggressive drivers on the road. Aggressive driving is any behavior that is intended to harass, intimidate, or injure another driver. Aggressive driving can become even more dangerous with the driver exhibits “road rage” which is considered a serious criminal matter because the driver who is overcome by road rage ultimately hurts someone else. That driver may wield a weapon, run into the other driver’s car, or try to corner the other driver by jumping out of his car to physically confront him.
If you suffer an injury in an accident with an aggressive driving or someone engaging in road rage, they may face criminal charges. You may also file a civil case against the driver to recover damages.
Behaviors That Constitute Reckless or Aggressive Driving in Virginia
Most people know the signs of reckless or aggressive driving. These include:
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Failing to stop or yield the right-of-way when appropriate
- Driving outside of marked lanes
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Cutting off other drivers or preventing them from entering the roadway
- Passing illegally
Aggressive driving with the intent to injure another driver is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. Penalties can include fines and jail time (no longer than 12 months). If no one is injured in an aggressive driving incident, the charge might be a Class 2 misdemeanor. Offenders may also be required to participate in an aggressive driving program.
Filing a Civil Claim After a Road Rage Accident
Whether or not the at-fault driver is been charged with a misdemeanor in an aggressive driving incident, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit if you suffered injuries during the accident. You will have to show that the other driver violated one or more of the offenses listed in the Virginia Code, and the driver had the intent to harass, intimidate, or injure another person.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Your chances of making a fair recovery of damages after a road rage accident is better with the help of an experienced lawyer. Your lawyer can help deal with the complexities of a complicated aggressive driving case, including police investigators, eyewitnesses, insurance companies, medical expenses, and in some cases, wrongful death.
Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and to discuss the details of your case.
Does Virginia place a cap on car accident damages?
If you are injured because of a car crash that involved someone else’s negligence, suing the other driver can help cover your costs for mounting medical bills and lost income. In the state of Virginia, however, a damage cap may place a limit on how much you can recover.
The Definition of a Damage Cap
When you sue someone after being injured in a car accident, you are usually seeking compensation for economic and non-economic damages. With a damage cap, this will limit the amount of money you’re awarded. Damage caps are put in place to avoid large-payout verdicts that jurors sometimes make based on emotion and negatively impact the economy.
In Virginia, certain damage caps may limit the amount of compensation you can recover in your case. If punitive damages are a consideration in your situation (which happens only in rare cases), this means the at-fault driver is found to have acted in a reckless or outrageous way that is deserving of punishment. Damages are capped at $350,000. If your accident involved a minor who damaged your property, you will only be able to collect $2,500 from their parents.
Types of Damages You Might Get in a Car Accident Case
Some of the economic damages you might be able to recover include:
- Cost for car repairs
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages can be tougher to estimate, and these can include pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
The best way to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your damages is to work with an experienced car accident attorney.
Our Fairfax Car Accident Lawyers Can Help With Your Injury Case
Virginia is one of a few states that applies a standard known as “contributory negligence.” This means that accident injury victims who are found to have contributed to the accident in any way—even if they are deemed just one percent at fault—they may not be able to recover damages. It’s crucial that you work with an attorney who has experience with this type of challenging case. Contact the law firm of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Will I owe federal taxes on my personal injury settlement or verdict?
If you receive a settlement for your personal injury lawsuit, it’s likely you won’t have to pay federal taxes on the amount. However, there are exceptions, and it’s important to know the factors that affect whether or not you’ll have to pay.
After You Get a Personal Injury Settlement
Once you get your settlement amount, your lawyer will deduct legal fees from the full amount, leaving you with the rest. In general, neither the federal government nor the state of Virginia will be able to collect any proceeds that you received in your personal injury lawsuit that compensate you for physical injuries. This includes damages that compensated you for lost income at work, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. These are called compensatory damages.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you received punitive damages, this amount will be taxable. In addition, if you have a claim for emotional distress or employment discrimination but did not suffer an actual physical injury as a result, this settlement amount will likely be taxable. Insurance companies typically cut one settlement check, which will not account for the different types of damages.
Work With a Tax Professional
When it comes to questions about taxes or dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, it’s always best to contact a tax professional. The federal government will have access to your settlement information, and the insurance company will likely submit a 1099 form to report the amount of compensation you received. Every personal injury settlement is different, so you will need to get advice on yours from a qualified tax professional to determine if any taxes will be due.
Call Us for Help
Have you been injured because of another person’s negligence? Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and to discuss the actions we can take on your behalf to recover the damages you deserve. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you won’t owe us any upfront legal fees. We don’t get paid until you do. To learn more, please contact us here.
How does a medical lien affect my car accident claim?
A lien is a security interest placed by one party against another party’s property. For example, if you borrow money to buy a car, the bank places a lien on the title until the loan is paid in full. This means, you cannot sell the car until you’ve paid off the loan and the bank releases the lien.
Medical liens are similar, but instead of loaning money, medical care providers treat an injured party without getting paid right away, retaining the right to be paid for those services with a lien. The lien in this case is against the settlement money from your personal injury case. A healthcare provider agrees to treat you in exchange for your agreement to pay the provider once your personal injury claim has been resolved.
Medical Liens Make Personal Injury Claims More Complicated
This type of a lien is often unavoidable because injured people need immediate treatment, and that treatment is often expensive. Incurring a lien on a personal injury claim makes resolving your personal injury claim a bit more complicated. The final lien amount has to be double-checked to ensure it covers only treatment that was related to the accident.
There may be room for negotiation of the final amount owed if the claim amount is insufficient to fully compensate you for your injuries. In most situations, a personal injury attorney will try to negotiate with healthcare providers to get them to accept less than the amount of the lien.
Call Us for Help
Lien law is extremely complicated, and most people will find it difficult to navigate without the assistance of an attorney. Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and to discuss the actions we can take on your behalf to protect the recovery you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis. This means, you won’t owe us any upfront legal fees, and we will be paid when your case is settled or resolved in court. To learn more, please call, or contact us through our website.
If I don’t have health insurance, can I get medical help after a pedestrian accident?
If you are a pedestrian injured in an accident and you have no health insurance, you may wonder how you can get the medical treatment you need and who will pay for it. You may also wonder why the person who was responsible for your injuries isn’t required to pay for your medical care. However, the only thing the law requires is that the at-fault party pay any damages you are owed as a result of a lawsuit.
Options for Covering Medical Bills
Even if you do not have health insurance, it’s crucial that you get medical treatment after you’ve been injured in a crash. This creates documentation of your injuries, which will be useful when filing auto insurance or other claims.
There may be options available for you to get at least some of your medical bills paid, including:
- Medicaid coverage. This is a federal health insurance program that provides insurance to low-income recipients. If you are injured in an accident and lose your job because of your injuries, you might qualify for Medicaid. Go to your state’s website to find out if you are eligible.
- A payment plan arranged with healthcare providers. Some doctors who treat accident victims with no health insurance are willing to work out a payment plan. Some providers might agree to treatment based on getting paid out of the victim’s settlement. The providers will have to sign a personal injury lien, which will be sent to the victim’s lawyer. The lawyer will pay the healthcare providers before the victim gets any money from the case.
- Your own automobile insurance. Even if you were not driving when the accident occurred, you might still be able to collect from your own automobile insurance policy.
- Filing a case against the negligent driver. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident and you believe that you were not at fault, you should meet with an experienced attorney to help build a strong case, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
To schedule your free initial consultation, contact us online. All personal injury cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. We collect no fee unless we secure compensation for you.
What biases do people have against motorcyclists?
Motorcyclists face unique challenges if they are involved in an accident while riding their cycles. One of those challenges is the bias people have about motorcyclists in general. Law enforcement, insurance companies, and those who witnessed the accident often stereotype bikers, assuming they behave in a careless manner, are reckless, and are irresponsible on the road. These prejudices can affect your claim and your ability to obtain fair compensation.
Reasons Behind Motorcyclist Bias in VA
There are certainly many factors that contribute to the bias against motorcyclists, but some of the most common include:
- Pop culture. In movies and tv shows, people on motorcycles are often considered “bad boys.” In the media, motorcyclists are typically portrayed as those who are wild and like to break the rules and push limits. No matter how untrue, these pervasive images have been shown to the public for a long time.
- Road ownership. Everyone likes to have their own personal space, and this can include space on the road. Other drivers can be irritated or even resentful when they see a motorcyclist near “their” space. Additionally, they may be intimidated by a group of motorcyclists riding together and taking up long stretches of road, even when these groups are abiding by the law and riding safely.
- Nervousness. Motorcycles can navigate the road much more easily than a car, especially when there is traffic congestion. Motorcyclists moving through stalled traffic can make other drivers feel nervous, especially if the driver is worried about visibility or has had a close call with a motorcycle in the past.
How Motorcyclist Bias Can Affect an Accident Claim
Bias against motorcyclists can have a negative impact on a motorcycle crash claim. The bias can make others quick to judge and blame the motorcyclist for a crash, even when it wasn’t the motorcyclist’s fault. Because other drivers, witnesses, and even law enforcement may view a motorcyclist as reckless, this bias can lead to:
- Added liability. In an accident claim, determining liability is extremely important. This is especially true in Virginia, which follows contributory negligence rules. This means, if a crash victim is to blame for an accident in any way, he will be unable to obtain any compensation. For motorcyclists, this can be a significant concern, as it is common for others to assume the biker played at least some role in causing the crash. Motorcyclists may find themselves facing blame that drivers of other types of vehicles would not.
- Lower settlement offers. Insurance companies know this bias exists, and they will use that knowledge to offer a low settlement. They may hope that the fear of this prejudice will keep motorcyclists away from pursuing a claim or from enlisting the help of an attorney.
- Reduced damages compensation. Similarly, it may be the case that a judge or jury awards a motorcyclist less compensation than deserved. They, too, may give in to false ideas of a motorcyclist’s careless, unsafe behavior.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty, & Joshi, PLLC will review your case and discuss how bias may influence it. Our legal team has helped many motorcyclists address this unfair prejudice to obtain the compensation they needed to recover as fully as possible after a crash. Call our Fairfax office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about how we may be able to help.