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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What’s the formula for determining the value of my car accident case?
Many people who are injured in a car accident want to know how much their case is worth. But there is no formula or calculator to determine the amount of damages you might receive. Instead, your compensation will be based on a number of factors, including the extent of your injuries, the quality of gathered evidence, and the expertise of your legal representation.
Understanding How Personal Injury Damages Are Determined
Some of the costs you have incurred because of your injury such as medical bills and lost income are relatively easy to prove as long as you have copies of bills and pay stubs. If you are unable to return to your job, you may receive compensation for potential income losses. These can be more difficult to prove, but it can be done with a well-presented case that includes expert witnesses.
Pain and suffering is often a significant part of your financial recovery, and the amount you receive is usually based on statistical data from the insurance company. An attorney can advocate for you by gathering relevant evidence to show how your injuries interfered with your daily life. This can include:
- Medical records
- Photographs of your injuries
- Pharmaceutical bills, particularly for painkillers
- Expert testimony from a physician about your injuries
- Testimony about changes in your behavior or ability to do everyday tasks
- Records about changes in your performance in school or work
- A journal recording when you experienced pain and mental discomfort
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney
Don’t navigate the legal system alone. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you have a better chance of receiving the damages you deserve if you work with an attorney. Give us a call, or fill out our confidential contact form.
What can I recover if I’m hurt at a WMATA station?
The Metrorail, which is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), is one of the busiest transit systems in the nation. The system serves commuters in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Even though officials are responsible for keeping commuters safe, WMATA often receives criticism for its oversight of safety measures. Metro accidents include serious collisions and derailments and personal injuries that happen to people in stations, waiting areas, and elevators.
Common reasons injuries occur at WMATA stations include:
- Poorly maintained stations and waiting areas that can cause slip and falls
- Falling objects
- Failure to accommodate people with disabilities
- Improperly maintained or serviced elevators
Compensation From WMATA Personal Injury Accidents
Being injured in a metro station accident takes a physical and financial toll on victims. Every personal injury case is unique, but typical compensation for personal injury accidents includes:
- Medical bills and hospital expenses
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages and potential reduced income
- Pain and suffering
Why You Need a Lawyer
Because WMATA is a tri-jurisdictional government agency, it can be tricky to bring a case against it. For a regular personal injury claim in Virginia, the statute of limitations is two years. But if you intend to take action against the WMATA, you must file within one year of the incident. You can improve your chances of having a successful case and receiving the maximum amount of damages by working with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Navigating the claims process and working with insurance companies without representation by an attorney can be a costly mistake.
If you were injured at a WMATA station, call us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys will go over the details of your case and gather evidence that may prove your injury happened because of negligence on the part of WMATA. You will pay no up-front legal feels. We work on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if you recover damages.
What should I do if I break my collarbone in a car accident in Virginia?
A collarbone fracture is a common car crash injury. It frequently happens when the seatbelt that saved your life by holding you in place pulls with so much force, your collarbone, also called a clavicle, simply snaps. The collarbone connects the upper part of the breastbone to the shoulder, so it is in a prime location for injury from the force of the seatbelt. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect yours is broken.
Diagnosis and Treatment of a Clavicle Break
If your shoulder is sagging downward and forward after a crash, and you cannot lift your arm because it’s too painful, you need to see a doctor. A physician will examine the injured area and take X-rays to identify a collarbone break.
Treatment of a broken collarbone includes:
- An arm sling
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Physical therapy as the bone heals
For more serious breaks, you might need surgery.
Your broken collarbone will likely keep you out of work for a while, but in most cases, treatment goes smoothly and you’ll be back to normal in just a few months. Sometimes, however, the following complications can prevent a smooth healing process:
- The area in the body where your collarbone is located contains many nerves and blood vessels. If you have numbness around the area, this could mean the jagged edges of the broken bone created some additional damage.
- If your bone broke through the skin in the crash, this could lead to the injury site becoming infected.
- As the collarbone fuses back together, there is sometimes a lump visible through the skin at the site. Although the lump often goes away over time, it is permanent for some people and can leave them feeling self-conscious.
Call a Virginia Car Accident Attorney
A collarbone fracture is a painful injury, but you may be able to recover damages for your medical bills, time missed from work, and other expenses. Talk to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. Schedule a free consultation today.
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.