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 are the causes of most rear-end collisions?
Rear-end collisions are believed to constitute one-third of all motor vehicle accidents. While these crashes have a variety of causes, they all have the potential to inflict devastating and life-threatening injuries.
Rear-End Crashes: a Preventable Accident
Rear-end collisions are often referred to as minor accidents or “fender benders.” However, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), they result in approximately 500,000 injuries and 1,700 deaths each year. Rear-end crashes are very often the result of “preventable negligence,” and the at-fault driver is usually the one in the rear. Although rear-end car crashes usually occur in slow-moving city traffic, they can happen anywhere and at any time.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
- A reckless motorist. When motorists speed, display road rage, or otherwise violate the rules of the road, they put themselves and all other drivers at risk. Since higher rates of travel correlate with long braking distances, drivers exceeding posted speed limits may not be able to brake in time to avoid an unexpected obstacle.
- A distracted driver. Researchers have found that distracted driving is as unsafe as drunk driving. When people take their attention away from the road, whether to change radio stations or send a text message, they may fail to notice traffic issues ahead.
- An intoxicated operator. While drunk driving deaths are on the decline, driving under the influence remains one of the leading causes of preventable injury and death in the United States. Under most circumstances, an intoxicated motorist could be held liable for the costs of any resulting accident and injuries.
- A tired driver. Fatigued driving has been termed a silent epidemic. Studies have shown that fatigue is involved in up to 20% of all motor vehicle accidents.
- A mechanical failure. Mechanical failures, which could include faulty brakes, bald tires, or defective suspension systems, may impair a motorist’s ability to avert an accident. While many mechanical failures are the result of poor maintenance, others could be caused by manufacturer error and oversights.
Establishing Liability After a Rear-End Collision
Virginia law affords accident victims the right to file a claim for compensation against an at-fault motorist. However, securing a fair settlement after a rear-end collision could prove difficult—especially if the other driver, or their insurance company, tries to convince the court that your own negligence caused or contributed to the accident.
Since insurance companies are fundamentally for-profit enterprises, they will often seize any opportunity to reduce their financial liability. In many cases, they will use whatever means necessary to deny or delay compensation.
How Your Car Accident Attorney Can Help Prove Liability
- Analyzing physical evidence from the crash site, including photographs of the damage to both vehicles as well as pictures of your physical injuries
- Subpoenaing surveillance camera footage from nearby businesses and traffic safety systems
- Inspecting the at-fault motorist’s text message history, phone records, and recent financial transactions
- Interviewing potential eyewitnesses whose testimony could prove critical in insurance negotiations or in a jury trial
Depending on the circumstances of your Virginia rear-end collision, you could be entitled to file a claim against:
- The at-fault motorist
- The at-fault motorist’s insurance company
- A negligent business such as a semi-truck company or maintenance contractor
- A government agency
- A vehicle maker or automotive parts manufacturer
Your Potential Damages After a Virginia Car Crash
The Law Firm of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC is committed to defending the rights of Virginia automobile accident victims. We have successfully litigated high-profile collision cases, including:
- Securing an $80,000 jury verdict for a motorist injured in a rear-end car crash
- Obtaining $200,000 for a Virginia driver who developed degenerate disc disease after being injured in a collision
- Winning a $475,000 settlement after a semi-truck driver struck another vehicle from behind
Since Virginia law does not cap the compensation an accident victim can receive from a rear-end collision personal injury lawsuit, you could receive as much money as you need to begin the difficult task of reclaiming your independence and rebuilding your life.
However, you have to act fast. If you wait too long to take action, Virginia’s strict statute of limitations could preclude you from filing a claim. If the statute of limitations lapses, the court could automatically dismiss your lawsuit without further consideration.
Contact Us Today
A rear-end collision could have life-changing consequences. At Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, we advocate for our clients and know what it takes to overcome a vigorous defense. Please send us a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
Can I recover damages if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of my car crash?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for those aged 1 – 54. Over half of those deaths are due to vehicle occupants not wearing seat belts. These life-saving devices are sometimes ignored because passengers say they’re uncomfortable, and passengers also say that when traveling short distances, they simply forget to put them on. If you forget to buckle up or choose not to wear a seat belt, and you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it may be more difficult to receive compensation.
Virginia’s Seat Belt Laws for Adults and Children
Almost every state in the country requires that motorists wear seat belts whenever they are operating or sitting inside a moving vehicle. Virginia has its own strict seat belt laws, which require the following:
- Drivers and passengers age 16 or older must wear a seat belt if they are sitting in the front seat of a moving vehicle.
- Children under the age of 16 must wear a seat belt or be secured in a safety seat, irrespective of where they are sitting inside the vehicle.
There are some exceptions to these laws; however, most adults must buckle up when they occupy the front seat of a moving vehicle.
Contributory Negligence Laws in the Old Dominion
Virginia is one of very few states that adheres to a strict contributory negligence doctrine. Under most circumstances, whenever a motorist’s own misconduct contributes in any way to an accident or causes their car crash-related injuries, they cannot recover any damages from a personal injury lawsuit.
However, it’s important to remember that not wearing a seat belt does not constitute negligence.
The accident victim didn’t cause the crash because they chose not to wear a seat belt. However, the insurance company will want to prove that you contributed to your own injuries because you chose not to wear one.
Contributory Negligence and Recovering Damages
Defense attorneys will sometimes allege that an accident victim’s failure to wear a seat belt contributed to or caused their car crash-related injuries. Many studies, surveys, and academic analyses have shown that seat belt usage reduces the risk of sustaining serious and potentially life-threatening physical injuries.
However, state law explicitly prohibits these arguments in personal injury lawsuits. For example, Virginia Code § 46.2-1094 states that a violation of Virginia’s seat belt laws does not necessarily bar claimants from filing or pursuing a civil claim against an at-fault motorist.
Under most circumstances, a defense attorney cannot even admit an accident victim’s failure to wear a seat belt into evidence, unless the victim’s seat belt usage relates to another, more significant act of misconduct such as driving under the influence of alcohol or instigating a road rage incident.
Building a Compelling Personal Injury Case
While Virginia law may not bar accident victims from recovering damages if they failed to use their seat belts, securing a fair and equitable settlement could still be challenging. Since insurance companies are fundamentally for-profit enterprises, they will often seize any opportunity to deny or devalue a claimant’s compensation.
How an Experienced Virginia Car Crash Attorney Can Help
- Collecting and analyzing police reports
- Gathering evidence from the crash site
- Interviewing bystanders and potential eyewitnesses
- Reviewing your medical records to assess the totality of your recoverable damages
- Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, letting you focus on your physical recovery
Potential Damages After a Virginia Car Accident
- Your past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Lost income from work
- Exhausted vacation days and paid time off (PTO)
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Wrongful death
Virginia does not currently cap the damages available to car accident victims. However, it does have a strict statute of limitations. If you wait too long to file a claim, a Virginia court could dismiss your case without further consideration, leaving you responsible for the costs of an accident that was not your fault.
Contact a Virginia Attorney Today
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC has spent years advocating for the rights of Virginia automobile accident victims. Our firm believes that nobody should be forced to pay for another motorist’s mistake. Please send us a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to speak to a legal professional, and schedule your 100% free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
Who should I do if my child is hurt in a Virginia school bus accident?
Few parents think twice about sending their child to school on a community or district bus. While accidents do happen, they don’t occur often. In fact, some reports suggest that children are safer in school buses than they are in their parents’ cars.
However, the statistical safety of school buses does not mean that accidents never happen. Each year, thousands of Virginia parents learn that their children’s health and safety have been put at risk by a negligent school bus driver or a reckless motorist.
What to Do After a Virginia School Bus Accident
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, there are certain steps to take to help ensure they have the best chance for recovery and to hold the at-fault driver responsible.
The school bus driver is likely required to report any accident to the district, but that does not mean law enforcement will respond to the scene—especially if the driver does not believe any passengers have been injured.
However, if your child has been involved in an accident and is still at the scene of the crash, you should call 911 to report the collision immediately. While the police might not be able to determine fault without an intensive investigation, they can help arrange emergency medical transportation.
Additionally, the responding officer’s after-accident report could be used as critical evidence in a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
You should always take your child to the doctor after an accident, even if you don’t believe they’ve been seriously injured. Since young children often lack the words and experience needed to explain their injury-related symptoms, they may not be able to effectively communicate that they are in pain.
Seeing a doctor serves several purposes:
- An experienced physician can identify, diagnose, and treat injuries that your child had not recognized they sustained.
- The doctor can recommend follow-up care or effective home remedies to help your child recover as quickly as possible.
- Seeking medical care shows the insurance company that you had serious concerns about your child’s health and are not seeking to profit from an unfortunate accident.
Collect Evidence From the Accident Site
If you are in a position to reach the accident site and have ensured your child’s safety, consider collecting the following evidence to bolster any personal injury claim you might eventually file:
- Photographs of vehicular damage. If you can approach the crash site safely, try to take photographs of the damage to the school bus and any other vehicles involved in the accident.
- Pictures of your child’s injuries. Take pictures of your child’s visible wounds, such as bruises, lacerations, or any other noticeable injuries.
- Eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony can make or break a personal injury claim. If you believe that a bystander or another motorist may have witnessed the collision, ask them for their name, phone number, and other contact information.
Depending on the circumstances of your child’s accident, you may not be able to reach the crash site before the vehicles have been moved. If you cannot collect evidence, you should consider asking your child to document the crash to the best of their ability.
In many cases, your personal injury attorney could also dispatch an investigative team to the scene, ensuring that all available evidence remains intact and documented.
Take Fast, Decisive Action
Virginia law affords school bus accident victims the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if they have been injured in a crash that was not their fault. But your rights to a legal recovery could be compromised if you take too long to take action. The Old Dominion has a strict statute of limitations, and in most cases, accident victims have two years after the date of the incident to file a claim for compensation.
However, the statute of limitations for claims involving government entities is much shorter, ranging between six months and one year. If you wait too long to take action, your case could be dismissed by the court on a technicality.
Contact an Experienced School Bus Accident Attorney
Numerous studies have shown that families who hire experienced legal counsel are much more likely to secure a favorable settlement or receive damages in court than families who represent themselves.
However, hiring a lawyer has other benefits. An experienced Virginia school bus accident attorney can help you:
- Investigate the causes of your child’s school bus crash
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Communicate with adjusters on your behalf
- Evaluate your family’s maximum legal damages
- Collect, compile, and analyze the evidence needed to win your case in court
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Your family should not have to pay the price for a school bus driver’s negligence or another motorist’s recklessness. Please send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
What are the benefits of hiring a Virginia truck accident lawyer after a semi-truck crash?
Vehicle accidents are common; however, some collisions are more likely to end in serious injury than others. Semi-truck crashes are often especially devastating, leaving victims disfigured, disabled, and sometimes deceased.
Why Hire a Virginia Semi-Truck Attorney
Semi-truck accidents are different than other types of collisions. Not only are these crashes more likely to inflict serious, disabling injuries, they are also comparatively complex. Since the interstate transportation industry is regulated at the state and federal levels, trucking companies are held to a variety of rules and regulations. While these rules and regulations often work to the benefit of victims, they can be difficult to navigate without special legal training.
An experienced semi-truck accident attorney can help you bolster your chances of receiving a favorable settlement in many ways.
Investigating the Accident
Your semi-truck accident attorney can help you investigate the causes and circumstances of your accident by:
- Collecting evidence from the crash site
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Inspecting the damage to your vehicle and the damage to the semi-truck
- Examining the at-fault truck driver’s employment history, qualifications, and drug test results
- Reviewing the trucking company’s safety and violations records
In ordinary automobile accident claims, there is usually only one defendant: the at-fault driver.
However, semi-truck injury lawsuits typically investigate the potential wrongdoing of multiple parties. For example, the employing company could have contributed to the accident by pressuring the driver to remain on the road when they were tired. Consequently, your case could include several defendants, including:
- The semi-truck driver
- The trucking company
- A cargo shipper
- A vehicle manufacturer
- A vehicle parts maker
Your attorney will review the available evidence to identify potential defendants, doing everything in their power to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Negotiating a Settlement
Semi-truck companies are required by law to purchase and maintain large liability insurance policies. However, insurance companies are still for-profit enterprises that are typically more interested in increasing their profits than paying fair settlements.
Even if you have been seriously injured, the adjuster might try to devalue or deny your claim by:
- Asking you to provide a recorded statement, which they could scour for contradictions, hoping to use your own words against you
- Demanding that you consent to a so-called “independent medical examination,” which might be scheduled with a physician with a reputation for denying injury claims
- Refusing to negotiate in good faith
Insurance adjusters will often recommend that accident victims avoid hiring an attorney because they know that victims without representation are more likely to accept a lowball settlement.
Maximizing Your Compensation
Virginia does not currently cap the damages available to semi-truck accident victims. However, assessing the totality of your damages could be difficult, especially if you require continuing medical care or long-term assistance.
Your semi-truck accident attorney could help you claim damages for:
- Your past, present, and anticipated future medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prescription medication co-pays
- Lost income
- Diminished earning potential
- Wrongful death
While Virginia does not cap damages, it does have a strict statute of limitations. Under Virginia’s statute of limitations, accident victims have a limited timeframe to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you wait too long to take action, the court could dismiss your claim without giving you a chance to tell your side of the story.
Contact an Attorney Today
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi believe that nobody should have to pay the price for a trucking company’s poor policies. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia semi-truck accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to significant compensation. Please send us a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
How will I pay my car accident lawyer?
The aftermath of a serious automobile accident can challenge even the most robust insurance policies. If you’re injured in a crash, Virginia law affords car crash victims the right to file legal claims for damages, but hiring a competent, experienced attorney might seem like a financial impossibility.
However, Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC works on a contingency fee basis. We understand that money might be tight, so when we accept a new case, we never ask our clients to pay for representation upfront. Instead, we only accept payment as a percentage of your eventual settlement. If we cannot secure compensation, you will not owe us anything.
Contingency Fees Make Legal Representation Affordable
People often make the mistake of thinking that experienced legal counsel is a luxury only the wealthiest Virginians can afford. While this stereotype might be unfair, it has some basis in reality: many attorneys do charge sky-high fees, asking for premium payment in return for premium representation.
However, the practice of charging exorbitant fees is not universal—nor is it always standard. Most personal injury law firms work on a contingency fee basis. They will only charge clients after winning their case, taking a percentage of the eventual insurance settlement or court-ordered award. This charge is called a “contingency fee” because it is contingent upon a successful resolution. If they don’t win your case, they do not get paid.
Because personal injury attorneys work almost exclusively with people who have suffered serious, accident-related injuries, they understand that victims have to re-direct their income and savings to potentially life-saving treatment, and it would not be fair to ask that they risk their recovery for representation.
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC has spent decades aggressively advocating for the rights of Virginia car accident victims. Since our clients are often in pain, facing financial ruin, and struggling to reclaim their independence, we do not expect our clients to be able to pay for our services until their case is resolved.
How a Virginia Car Crash Lawyer Helps Secure a Fair Settlement
You do not need a lawyer to file a claim for compensation after being involved in a Virginia car crash that was not your fault. However, working with an experienced personal injury attorney has many benefits. Since automobile insurance companies are for-profit enterprises, they will often do everything in their power to devalue or deny claims. They might:
- Accuse you of exaggerating or faking your injuries
- Ask you to consent to an “independent” medical examination, hoping to blame your accident-related injuries on a pre-existing condition
- Ask you to provide a recorded statement, later using your own words against you
- Refuse to negotiate in good faith, demanding never-ending “evidence” to support your claim
How Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC Can Fight Underhanded Insurance Strategies
- We can investigate the causes and circumstances of the accident
- We can interview eyewitnesses
- We can subpoena traffic camera footage and surveillance recordings
- We can communicate with the insurance company on our clients’ behalf
Our attorneys take on the hard work of claim negotiations, letting our clients focus their energy on regaining their physical health and mental well-being.
A Virginia Lawyer Can Help You Obtain Potential Damages
- Your past, present, and future medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prescription medication co-pays
- Reconstructive surgery
- Lost income from work
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Virginia does not currently cap the damages that car accident victims could receive after filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, you need to act fast. While Virginia might not cap damages, it does have a strict statute of limitations. If you wait too long to take action, the court could automatically dismiss your claim, and you won’t be able to obtain compensation.
Contact a Virginia Attorney Today
If you were injured in a Virginia automobile accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to significant damages through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Please send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Can there be more than one defendant in a Virginia motor vehicle wrongful death case?
The loss of a loved one can be emotionally devastating. While no amount of money is sufficient compensation for losing someone you care about, a wrongful death lawsuit provides an opportunity to hold a wrongdoer accountable for their misconduct. However, wrongful death claims are not always straightforward. Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s motor vehicle accident, you may have to take action against multiple defendants.
Wrongful Death Claims in Virginia
If your loved one died due to another person’s negligence, you and your family could be entitled to significant compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While many people are reluctant to file wrongful death claims because they do not wish to profit from the loss of a loved one, wrongful death lawsuits are about much more than money.
Benefits of a Successful Claim
- Provide your family with the money needed to pay for your loved one’s funeral costs and burial expenses
- Hold a wrongdoer accountable in civil court
- Prevent other members of your community from suffering a similar loss
Although there are benefits to filing a wrongful death claim, these claims can be complex. Even if you have a seemingly open-and-shut case.
What You Must Prove in a Virginia Wrongful Death Case
- The person who caused the accident owed your loved one a “legal duty of care,” meaning they had an obligation to protect the safety of your loved one.
- The person who caused the accident violated their legal duty of care by acting negligently.
- The breach of the defendant’s duty of care caused your loved one’s accident.
- You and your family have suffered a significant loss that could be alleviated through the award of damages.
Identifying the Right Defendants in a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim
Since the plaintiffs in a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that another party’s wrongdoing caused their loss, identifying and pursuing the right defendants is critical to a successful case.
Possible Defendants in a VA Motor Vehicle Wrongful Death Claim
- The negligent driver
- The employer of the negligent driver, if they were on the clock and driving a vehicle for work-related purposes at the time of the accident
- The owner of the vehicle, if the vehicle was owned by a third party
- An automobile repair shop, if a faulty repair caused or contributed to the accident
- An automotive parts maker, if a defective part caused or contributed to the accident
- An automobile manufacturer, if a manufacturing defect caused or contributed to the accident
- A government entity, such as the Virginia Department of Transportation or a municipal infrastructure body, if the accident was caused or exacerbated by a dangerous road condition
Filing claims against more than one wrongdoer could increase a family’s chances to recover damages. However, plaintiffs must ensure they have sufficient evidence to file a claim against multiple parties.
If you name too many defendants—and cannot prove their liability—the court may be skeptical of your intent. In a worst-case scenario, the defendants could allege that you are seeking to monetize your loved one’s tragic Virginia car accident, causing the judge to dismiss your case before you ever get the chance to tell your story.
Speak to a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC have served clients across Fairfax and Northern Virginia for more than three decades. Our experienced attorneys know how to construct a compelling, evidence-based case to persuade an insurance company, a judge, or a jury that a wrongdoer should be held accountable for your loved one’s wrongful death.
However, you shouldn’t wait to take action. While Virginia does allow wrongful death plaintiffs to recover damages on behalf of a deceased family member, the state also has a strict statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations lapses, the court could automatically dismiss your claim on a technicality.
Do not lose your chance to get justice for your loved one. Please send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
What roads are the most dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists in Fairfax County?
Fairfax County, along with the rest of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, is among the most walkable regions in the entire United States. However, in spite of local governments’ heavy investment in a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly infrastructure, enjoying the outdoors is not without risks. Accidents can and do happen with alarming regularity.
In any collision between an automobile and an individual, the motor vehicle usually avoids damage and the driver avoids injury, while the walker, cyclist, or jogger sustains serious and even life-threatening injuries. Although local traffic safety advocates have aggressively campaigned for better-marked crosswalks and bicycle lanes, Fairfax County still has a number of dangerous roads and routes.
The Most Dangerous Roads in Fairfax County
Virginia tries to protect pedestrians and bicyclists by affording them the right of way over motor vehicles in all crosswalks and intersections, as well as granting bicyclists the same rights as automobiles on public roadways. However, even stringent laws cannot prevent every accident. Fairfax County has several areas that witness unusually high incidences of automobile collisions, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle crashes. While many accidents are caused by reckless motorists, sometimes a combination of poor driving, heavy traffic, and flawed road design can increase the risk of collisions, and there are many dangerous roads in Fairfax County, including:
- Route 7, especially between Baileys Crossroad and Seven Corners. This high-traffic commercial area adjoins several closed-access motorways but lacks numerous crosswalks and bicycle lanes.
- Route 1, between Alexandria and Dumfries. Similar to Route 7, this road passes through a number of high-traffic commercial areas.
- Route 29, between Centreville and Fairfax.
- Route 50, a heavily trafficked route that passes through commercial areas as well as densely settled residential neighborhoods.
- Backlick Road, a major multi-lane road plagued by fast-moving traffic and hazardous intersections.
- Telegraph Road, which receives heavy commuter and city bus traffic, despite passing through predominately suburban and semi-rural areas.
- Shreve Road at the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, a particularly hazardous blind turn across a popular suburban hiking trail and bicycle path.
- Old Keene Mill Road and Franconia Road, between Franconia and North Springfield.
- The Columbia Turnpike, especially the eastbound portion near the Virginia-Washington, D.C. border.
What to Do After a Virginia Pedestrian or Bicycle Accident
If you were injured in a Fairfax County pedestrian or bicycle accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to significant compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. However, proving that a motorist was at-fault could be difficult.
Building Your VA Legal Case if You Were Struck by a Vehicle
- Seek immediate medical attention. You should always visit a physician after a pedestrian or bicycle accident, even if you do not believe you sustained severe injuries. Some common, seemingly minor injuries, such as road rash, could become more serious if not properly treated. Additionally, seeing a doctor shows the insurance company that you have serious concerns about your physical well-being and are not simply trying to make money from a settlement.
- Call the police. While calling 911 after an accident might seem inconvenient, a police report can assist your attorney and the insurance adjuster in determining whether the motorist should be held liable for your injuries. Even if law enforcement cannot determine who or what caused the accident, their report could still be used as evidence in negotiations or at trial.
- Collect evidence. If you do not need emergency medical treatment, you could collect evidence from the accident site. You could take pictures of your visible injuries, your damaged bicycle, and any nearby crosswalks and traffic control signals.
- Speak to eyewitnesses. If another person witnessed your accident, ask them for their name, phone number, and other contact information. Their testimony could help you at trial.
- Contact an attorney. You stand your best chance at making a full legal recovery when you have an experienced attorney on your side. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC have years of experience fighting for the rights of pedestrian and bicycle accident victims in court. We can help you construct a compelling, evidence-based claim to help you get the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.
Contact Our Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today!
If you have been injured in a Fairfax County pedestrian or bicycle accident, send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online today, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Do I need a Virginia lawyer for my loved one’s wrongful death case?
Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one can be incredibly difficult, especially if their life was taken by another person’s negligence. You may feel heartbroken while still being expected to meet unforeseen responsibilities and expenses. Instead of focusing on your family, you might be forced to deal with funeral fees and burial costs.
While no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a relative, a wrongful death claim could help ease your family’s financial burden.
Deciding If a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Is Right for You
If you have recently lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else, you may be reluctant to file a wrongful death lawsuit, even if you are in desperate need of financial relief. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is about much more than money.
Reasons to File a Wrongful Death Claim
- Hold a wrongdoer accountable for this misconduct. Wrongful death cases do not always lead to criminal convictions. By filing a lawsuit, you could hold a negligent individual, business, or other entity accountable in civil court, establishing that their misconduct caused an unimaginable tragedy.
- Prevent similar tragedies. A wrongful death settlement might help make your community a better, safer place. Your attorney could help you negotiate a policy-oriented agreement, asking that a business, police department, or city change its operating procedures to prevent further deaths.
- Ease your family’s financial suffering. People often hesitate to file wrongful death lawsuits because they fear any legal action will be interpreted as a crass money-grab. However, you should not have to pay for a funeral, a casket, and other burial-related costs because of someone else’s negligence.
The Benefits of Working With a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney
Virginia law strives to provide everyone with equal access to its civil courts. You do not need a lawyer to initiate an insurance claim, file a wrongful death lawsuit, or appeal a judgment.
However, representing yourself has many risks. You might already be overwhelmed with grief and unable to give your case the attention it deserves. Even if you believe you have the time and energy to pursue a claim, you could be stonewalled by an uncooperative insurance company more intent on preserving its profit margins than compensating for a client’s misconduct.
How an Attorney Can Help
- By protecting your family’s rights. Wrongful death cases can be very complex, with insurance negotiations and award judgments all subject to local, state, and federal laws. If you are not intimately acquainted with Virginia’s legal expectations for claims, your case could be dismissed on a technicality, preventing you from pursuing justice for your loved one.
- By speaking to insurers. If you file a wrongful death claim, you may be forced to contend with a business or city’s insurer. Insurance companies aren’t interested in making things right and want to save their shareholders money. Instead of negotiating with you, an insurer might simply make you a low-ball offer, hoping you’ll accept it quickly. A Virginia wrongful death attorney could protect your family’s rights by standing up to the insurance company and forcing them to take your claim seriously.
- By assessing your damages. You may be entitled to damages beyond funeral fees and burial expenses, including lost income, loss of companionship, and emotional pain and suffering. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi regularly work with experts who could help investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death and assess the broader value of your claim.
- By giving you peace of mind. Hiring a Virginia wrongful death lawyer spares you the emotional and financial burden of speaking to insurance adjusters, responding to paperwork requests, and going to court.
Contact Us Today
If you want to file a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit, Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC could help you and your family get the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Please send us a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
Can I trust a VA insurance company after the wrongful death of my family member?
The loss of a loved one is always traumatic, especially if they died due to another person’s negligence. While you’re dealing with overwhelming grief, your family might be left with expensive medical bills and funeral costs. Under normal circumstances, you might expect the at-fault driver’s car insurance company to reimburse your financial losses. However, securing a fair settlement can be challenging even if you believe you have an open-and-shut case.
How Adjusters Try to Devalue and Deny Claims
If you lost a loved one in a Virginia car accident, the insurance adjuster might have a lot of genuine sympathy for your situation. But while they may feel sorry that their client’s wrongdoing cost an innocent life, their loyalty is to the insurance company—not you or your family. Insurance companies are most concerned about their bottom line, and they do not turn a profit if they pay every deserving family a fair settlement.
Insurance adjusters are not just investigators—they are trained negotiators who will do everything in their power to devalue or deny your claim, even when you are clearly entitled to compensation.
How Adjusters Try to Deny Claims
- Asking you trick questions when your mind and emotions are clouded by grief
- Asking you to make a recorded statement they will use against you
- Requesting your loved one’s medical history, so they can attribute incurred medical expenses to a pre-existing condition
Since speaking to an insurance adjuster is always risky, you should never agree to provide a recorded statement or sign a medical release form without first speaking to a qualified Virginia wrongful death attorney.
Never Rush to Accept a ‘Fair’ Settlement
If you have a clear-cut case, an adjuster might tell you the insurance company has all the evidence it needs and is willing to offer you a settlement. However, you should never accept an adjuster’s offer without first speaking to a Virginia wrongful death attorney. The other driver’s insurer might pay you enough money to reimburse your loved one’s medical costs or funeral expenses, but they likely will not account for other expenses.
Expenses the Insurance Company Will Ignore
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
- Long-term therapy
- Other injuries associated with an accident
How a Virginia Attorney Can Help Your Family Get Justice
People are sometimes reluctant to negotiate better settlements after a wrongful death because they do not want to profit off the loss of a loved one. But a wrongful death claim is about much more than money.
Other Reasons to File a Wrongful Death Claim
- Hold the at-fault motorist accountable for their wrongdoing, regardless of whether they face criminal charges
- Convince a negligent business, such as a semi-truck company, to change their policies, ensuring that nobody else has to suffer a similar loss
- Receive reimbursement for money you never expected to spend on a funeral
- Attain a sense of closure after successfully concluding legal proceedings
If You Lose a Loved One, You Need Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC believes that nobody should be forced to pay the price for another person’s negligence. Our highly skilled and experienced team of attorneys can help you get the compensation you need to recover after an unexpected and tragic loss. However, you need to act fast. While Virginia law does not cap the damages available in a wrongful death claim, it does have a strict statute of limitations that could prevent you from getting justice if you wait too long to take action. You stand your best chance at recovery by speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible.
You do not have to wait for the insurance company to offer you a fair deal after suffering the loss of a loved one. Send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 1-877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia?
If another person’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, you could be entitled to financial compensation under Virginia state law. While many people are reluctant to file a wrongful death lawsuit, any compensation you obtain could be used to cover your relative’s funeral costs, burial expenses, and unpaid medical bills. However, Virginia has a strict statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. If you wait too long to file, your case could be automatically dismissed by a court, forcing your family to bear both the financial and emotional burden of someone else’s terrible mistake.
The Virginia Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a special law that restricts how long a person or entity can wait to take a specific legal action. Every state has these statutes, and Virginia has them for both civil and criminal cases, including wrongful death claims. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is usually two years from the date of death.
If you wait more than two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss your case. Even if a judge is willing to hear it, the negligent party’s attorney will point out that you filed past the statute of limitations, making you ineligible to recover damages.
Exceptions to Virginia’s Statute of Limitations
Virginia courts rarely grant exceptions to the statute of limitations in wrongful death claims. However, you may be able to obtain an extension under exceptional circumstances. A judge could waive or extend the statute of limitations if:
- A family did not discover the death for days, weeks, or months. If so, they will have two years from the date of discovery of death to file a claim.
- A surviving child was under 18 at the time of their parent’s death. Once the surviving child turns 18, they have an additional two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the statute of limitations has already passed.
If a case is highly unusual, a judge might allow for another type of exception. However, the vast majority of claims are subject to Virginia’s two-year statute of limitations.
Making Sure You Don’t Miss the Cutoff
Unless you have an exceptional case, you must file your wrongful death claim within the state’s two-year statute of limitations, and it’s important to file as soon as possible. Waiting too long could still jeopardize your claim. This is because:
- Critical evidence could get lost, go missing, or get destroyed.
- Law enforcement reports might get misplaced.
- Eyewitnesses’ memories may fade.
- A defendant could move out of state or re-title their assets to shield themselves from legal action.
Get the Right Help in Your Wrongful Death Claim
Proving wrongful death can be difficult, even when you have a seemingly open-and-shut claim. The court will still require that you demonstrate, with compelling evidence:
- That you have legal standing to file a wrongful death claim
- Why the at-fault party had a legal duty to protect your loved one
- How the at-fault party’s negligence cost your relative their life
- How the at-fault party’s negligence caused you to suffer or sustain significant financial, emotional, or physical damages that are recoverable in court
While you are collecting evidence to support your claim, you will also be responsible for meeting other court deadlines and filing rules. If the at-fault party has an attorney, they could bury you in paperwork requests or make the process unnecessarily complicated.
When you lose a loved to another person’s negligence, you deserve your best chance at recovery. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC have years of experience fighting for the rights of our Virginia clients. We know what insurance companies, judges, and juries need to award damages for wrongful death. We have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in damages—money they and their families can use to pay off unforeseen costs and build back their lives. Please send us a message online to find out how we could help you.