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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Why should I file a wrongful death claim?
Losing a loved one is never easy. Often, it can be harder to overcome grief when a relative’s life was taken by another person’s negligence. You may have lost a wage-earning spouse or have to pay for a funeral that should have happened years in the future. No matter the circumstances, you may consider filing a wrongful death claim.
While taking another person to court is a profoundly personal decision, an attorney may be able to help you recover monetary losses to ensure your family’s financial stability. In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit can be a powerful force for change, with the potential to punish negligent parties and force reckless corporations to adopt safer policies.
Reasons to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are many reasons people are motivated to file a wrongful death claim; however, the most common are:
- To recover damages. When someone files a wrongful death lawsuit, they are typically not looking to capitalize on their loss for financial gain. However, the death of a loved one can be financially devastating. Monetary compensation can help provide important financial support and security for the family. This is especially critical if the deceased was the primary wage earner.
- To hold the negligent person accountable. Depending on the circumstances, a person whose negligence takes another person’s life may not face criminal charges. Filing a wrongful death claim can hold the negligent party accountable. Even though the person will not go to jail, they may be made to make monetary restitution to the family.
- To deter future acts of negligence. A wrongful death lawsuit can serve as a powerful agent for change. Critical settlements and/or court verdicts can occur, and word can spread through media coverage. This news can influence the behavior of others who might re-think their own behavior and act more carefully in the future, thus saving lives.
- To get closure. For people who suffer the death of a loved one, a successful wrongful death lawsuit can provide a sense of closure and justice for the one they lost.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia
Not everyone can bring a wrongful death claim in Virginia. Only a “statutory beneficiary” is allowed to file. This means, only those family members or dependents who can recover in a wrongful death claim can lawfully file. Section 8.01-53 of the Virginia Code prioritizes these family members in the following specific order:
- The surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren of the deceased
- The parents, brothers, or sisters of the deceased, or any relative who was primarily dependent on the deceased
- A surviving family member who can inherit the deceased’s estate
There is also has a deadline for when wrongful death claims can be filed. Virginia law requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years of the deceased person’s death. If a claim is not filed within those two years, the statute of limitations will prohibit the case from being heard by the court.
The Process of Filing a Complaint
If someone has standing to file a wrongful death claim and potentially benefit from its outcome, they and their attorney can bring a complaint before the court.
Before getting started, the family’s attorney will likely conduct an investigation into the fatal accident. Because you’ll need to prove that the at-fault party was negligent or responsible for the death of your loved one, your attorney will gather and evaluate evidence as it relates to your case.
Once the grounds for a case have been firmly established, your attorney will draft the complaint paperwork and determine the appropriate county in which to file the lawsuit. This is typically the county where your loved one lived, and the case must be brought to a court that has jurisdiction over the case.
Your lawyer will then serve formal notice of the complaint to any business or person that will be named as a defendant in the case. After they respond, the case will move forward.
You Don’t Have to Fight Alone
Filing a wrongful death claim does not have to be stressful. While initiating a complaint means filing a lot of paperwork and sending out notices, you do not have to do any of this yourself. An experienced Virginia wrongful death lawyer can help guide you through the process, saving you time, money, and stress. KFFJ Law has years of experience helping Virginians get justice for their loved ones, even when it seems out of reach.
You should contact an attorney if you have lost a loved one in a:
- Car accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Semi-truck accident
- Bus or train accident
- Boating accident
- Drunk driving accident
- Distracted driving accident
- Multiple-car accident
- Catastrophic injury accident
- Fatal injury accident
Contact Us Today
If you have lost a loved one to another person’s negligence, you do not have to go through it alone. KFFJ Law’s team of experienced attorneys knows and understands Virginia personal injury and wrongful death laws. We know what courts and insurers want to see, and we know how to get it. Send us a message online, or call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Why do I need a car accident lawyer if the crash wasn’t my fault?
If you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may not feel you need to hire an attorney. But before you file a personal injury claim on your own and negotiate directly with the liable person’s insurance company, it’s important to understand that insurance companies operate as a business. Their ultimate goal is to pay out as little money as possible for every claim. They do not have your best interests at heart but rather their bottom line, and they’ll use many types of underhanded tactics to make sure they reduce the amount you receive.
It can be tempting for accident victims to accept the very first offer an insurance company makes, but in most cases, this will never be the amount you deserve. Working with an attorney who is experienced with car accident settlements means victims will usually recover more in damages.
What You Can Recover After a Car Accident
If you’re injured by a negligent driver, working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that you receive all the compensation you are entitled to. It’s possible to receive damages for the following:
- Medical expenses for the treatment you’re receiving and care you might need in the future
- Lost wages if you were unable to work during your recovery
- Lost potential income if you suffered a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering for the mental, physical, and psychological pain you experienced
Call Us After a Car Accident
At Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, we work with personal injury clients on a contingency basis, so you can hire us without paying anything up front. We only collect fees when you are awarded damages. Our initial review of your case is completely free, and we are happy to come to the hospital or to your home to meet with you. Protect your rights, and call us today.
Should I contact a lawyer if I suffer a broken rib injury in a car crash?
Broken rib injuries are not uncommon in Virginia car accidents. On impact, the force of the steering wheel on the chest can be strong enough to damage ribs as well as internal organs such as the lungs or spleen. This type of injury can be scary since it can also interfere with the victim’s ability to breathe. Victims need an experienced car accident attorney to help ensure they get the compensation they deserve.
Symptoms and Complications of Broken Rib Injuries
The symptoms of a broken rib might include:
- Pain in the chest area
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Painful breathing
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
It is essential that victims who suspect they have a broken rib injury seek medical treatment immediately. Rib bones that are moved out of alignment because of the force of a crash can cause life-threatening punctures and damage to the lungs, blood vessels, soft tissues, and organs. Even with moderate trauma, lung bruising and swelling can develop, requiring emergency care. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to developing pneumonia because they cannot breathe deeply or cough due to the pain of their injury.
Treatment in mild cases usually focuses on managing the pain and limiting strenuous activity. In more serious cases, patients might need a chest tube or other surgery, a blood transfusion, or artificial ventilation.
Recovering Damages After a Broken Rib Injury
An experienced car accident attorney can help you recover damages from the party responsible for the accident, including:
- Medical treatment, including treatment for complications
- Physical therapy
- Lost income during your recovery
- Pain and suffering
Call an Experienced Virginia Car Accident Attorney
When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve a fair recovery, but you must act quickly. If you don’t seek compensation within the two-year statute of limitations, you will miss out on obtaining damages. Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and how we can help your situation.
Do I need a personal injury lawyer if my child is hurt in an accident?
There is no simple answer because every child accident case is different; however, if your child is injured in an accident, the best course of action is to make an appointment for a consultation with an experienced child injury attorney. They can evaluate your child's case and the potential value of your claim. Because personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, you have nothing to lose by making an appointment.
How Child Injury Accidents Happen
Some of the most common causes of injuries to children include:
- Car accidents. Kids can be injured while they are passengers in a vehicle or while they are crossing the street or riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard.
- Playground accidents. Kids frequently get hurt at playgrounds, especially when playground equipment is not properly maintained or if children are not supervised properly.
- Child abuse. Younger children and children with special needs are particularly vulnerable to child abuse injuries because they lack the ability to defend themselves.
- Other causes. Children can be injured in swimming pools, by accidental poisoning, in slip and falls, and from burns from stoves or open fires.
Recovering Damages on Behalf of Your Child
Children who are under the age of 18 are unable to file lawsuits on their own behalf, but Virginia law allows parents to sue for damages. Damages that may be recovered in a child injury claim may include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Loss of wages if parents have to take time off work to care for the injured child
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Disfigurement, scarring, or permanent limitations
- Property damage and other incidental expenses sustained due to the negligence
Contact a Fairfax Personal Injury Attorney
When your child is injured by the negligence or criminal acts of another, they have the right to recover damages. Call a child injury lawyer to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.
What should I do after being hit by a delivery truck?
When you’ve been injured in an accident with a delivery truck, obtaining a fair settlement requires different evidence and sometimes more aggressive litigation than if you were in a crash with a car. Drivers in accidents with commercial vehicles often suffer very serious injuries, and the insurance companies for the defendants are likely to lose a lot of money in a personal injury case. Thus, they will fight hard to save money.
What to Do After You’re Injured by a Delivery Truck
If you’re not seriously injured, there are important steps to take following a truck accident. After calling 911, you should:
- Take pictures and/or videos. If you can, photograph the accident, the cars involved and their damage, and the street area where the crash occurred. These pictures can provide significant evidence for your personal injury case. Also, take pictures of your injuries and any other evidence that could help prove the truck driver was at fault.
- Gather contact information. It’s important to collect contact information from the people involved in the crash, as well as from any bystanders and eyewitnesses. This includes names, addresses, and insurance information. If eyewitnesses are willing to be recorded, take a phone video of their conversation with you.
- Restrict your information. Don’t admit blame to the police or any insurance company adjusters who may be sent to the scene. Don’t give a recorded statement to anyone, and don’t talk about your injuries. For example, if you make a general comment such as “I’m okay,” it could harm your case later. And your assessment may simply not be true. You could have serious injuries that have not presented yet.
- Contact an experienced, skilled truck accident attorney. Truck accident cases are often very complex and involve many potential liable parties. It’s important to have a skilled truck accident attorney on your side to give you the best chance of obtaining fair compensation.
Contact Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC
If you were injured in an accident with a delivery truck, a personal injury case can be complex and require a great deal of evidence. Depending on the nature of your injuries, you could be disabled and out of work for a significant period of time. The attorneys at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help.
Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys will work to help you negotiate a fair truck crash settlement. Because we work on a contingency basis, you pay nothing up-front. We only get paid when you get paid.
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.