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.

  • Page 2
  • Can I be reimbursed for the paid time off I used after being injured in a car accident?

    Any car accident can be costly, especially if your injuries require that you take time off work to recover. Depending on your employer’s policies, you may have had to use your sick days or vacation time to protect your position while your body was still healing—effectively robbing you of a later vacation and taking away free time you worked hard to earn. 

    If you were hurt in accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, including the paid time off (PTO) you had to use during your recovery. Compensation for using PTO

    Claiming PTO After an Accident

    When you’re hurt in an accident by a negligent driver, you can usually file a personal injury claim to recover damages from the liable party or their insurance company. If you had to use your PTO after an accident, you may wonder if you can get back that time you were likely saving for a more pleasant occasion. 

    While a Virginia car crash lawyer cannot help you get back your vacation days—only your employer has the power to restore them—we can help you get compensated for the PTO you should have been able to use for your own personal reasons.

    You may be eligible for compensation for lost PTO if you used it for:

    How to Document Your PTO

    Your PTO has its own value, often based on how much money you earn. Usually, one day of PTO is worth as much as one day’s labor. So if you make $150 per day, then one day of PTO is worth $150.

    However, PTO has additional value: it’s time that most employees spend by themselves or with their families.

    Virginia’s courts recognize exhausted PTO as a form of damage and will let you file a claim for recovery—provided you have documentation of your loss.

    Most of the time, your employer can help you get the documentation you need. You should ask for a form or statement which:

    • Is printed on company letterhead
    • Lists your name, title, and salary
    • Details how much time you missed or how much PTO you had to use

    How an Attorney Can Help

    You should never have to bear the financial burden of another person’s negligence. Not only do you deserve compensation for your missing PTO, you should also be compensated for the money you’ve already spent on hospital bills and the money you’ll need for physical rehabilitation and follow-up appointments. A Virginia car crash lawyer will help you evaluate the sum of your damages, which may include:

    • Exhausted PTO
    • Car repairs 
    • Medical bills
    • Physical rehabilitation
    • Continued care
    • Crutches, wheelchair ramps, other medical accessories
    • Emotional pain and suffering
    • Loss of enjoyment
    • Disfigurement

    Virginia, unlike other states, does not have a cap on damages in car accident cases. So, your attorney will fight to get you all the financial assistance you need. In certain cases, you may even be able to request punitive damages—a special sort of financial penalty levied on people, entities, or organizations which were exceptionally negligent in causing your accident.

    Once you have decided to file a claim for damages, a lawyer will act as your advocate: collecting evidence needed to bolster your case, negotiating with the insurance company, and taking anyone who refuses to be fair to court.

    Contact Us Today

    If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi a message online today. Your initial consultation with us is free, and we handle our personal injury work on a contingency fee basis. That means, you pay no legal fees unless there is a financial recovery.


  • When is the right time to contact a car accident attorney?

    When you get hurt in an accident that was not your fault, you should never have to pay for damages. However, getting fair compensation can be challenging. If you try to handle the claim on your own, the insurance company may be reluctant to offer you a fair deal; however, an attorney can help maximize your claim, especially if you act fast. When you should hire a car crash attorney

    The Right Time to Contact a Car Crash Lawyer

    If you are recovering from a car accident and contemplating a personal injury claim, you may not know when or how to contact an experienced Virginia attorney. You might think it is best to negotiate directly with an insurance adjuster or accept a settlement that covers the costs of your immediate medical expenses.

    However, lawyers know that insurance companies will rarely offer a fair settlement to people who lack legal representation. Because insurance companies are for-profit businesses, they want to pay as little money as possible to help protect their bottom line. They will do everything they can to decrease the value of your claim.

    When you take quick action by calling an attorney, they will help guide you through the claims process by:

    • Collecting and preserving important evidence. Even if your case seems open and shut, the insurance company will still demand evidence of your damages, photographs of the crash site, repair estimates, and hospital bills. Lawyers know what evidence to gather for settlement negotiations or for court.
    • Speaking to the adjuster on your behalf. Many people do not know that speaking to an insurance adjuster can be very dangerous to their claim. Adjusters will use anything you say against you. If you have an attorney, they will help you avoid mistakes that could end up hurting your claim.
    • Advocating on your behalf. Insurance companies do not like it when claimants get legal help because they know lawyers are well aware of their tricks and won’t give in low-ball settlements. When you have an attorney, you have an advantage: someone who knows the insurance industry and is willing to do whatever it takes to get you the compensation you deserve.

    Since evidence can disappear and adjusters can be smooth talkers, you should always contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you call quickly enough, an attorney may be able to dispatch investigators to the scene of the accident. In some cases, a legal team can reach a crash site before police or other emergency services. The sooner you reach out, the better your chances are of a fair settlement.

    The Importance of Acting Fast

    You should never wait too long to file a personal injury claim. The insurance company will be working hard to de-value your case, and you must file within a certain timeframe.

    Virginia, like every other state, has a statute of limitation for how long someone has to file an injury claim, civil action, or lawsuit. In Virginia, most people have two years from the date of injury in a car accident to take action.

    Once the statute of limitations has passed, not even the best lawyer can help. If your case is not automatically dismissed by the courts, the insurance company will tell the judge that your complaint was filed too late, and it will be immediately dismissed.

    Contact Us Today

    The law firm of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi has years of experience handling Virginia car accident claims. We know that a crash can be expensive, which is why we never charge you anything up front. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if you do.

    Send us a message online to schedule your free consultation today.


  • When should I contact a personal injury attorney?

    Even when you’re involved in a minor fender bender, the experience can be overwhelming, especially if you were injured or given a major repair bill for your vehicle. You may not be sure if insurance will help you pay for the damages. While you may have already considered taking legal action against the at-fault driver, you might still be unsure if a lawyer’s intervention would really make a difference. You may also wonder whether it is simply too soon to call an attorney, especially if you are waiting for the insurance company to write a check or offer a settlement. When you need a personal injury attorney

    If you were injured in a car accident, obtaining legal representation is essential for making a fair recovery. A Virginia car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

    It’s Never Too Soon to Call an Attorney

    If ever you’re involved in an automobile accident, a personal injury attorney should be the first person you call. This is especially true if:

    • The crash resulted in significant physical injury or death
    • You aren’t sure who was at fault
    • The police report is inaccurate
    • You aren’t sure about your insurance coverages
    • Your insurance company offers an insufficient settlement
    • The other motorist’s insurance company will not take responsibility for your medical bills

    Your personal injury attorney will immediately initiate an investigation into the accident, its causes, and your potential compensation. If you call immediately after the crash, they may even be able to dispatch a quick-response team to the site. This team will begin collecting evidence, helping to ensure that no one—not the other motorist nor an insurer—can dispute the facts.

    Even if your personal injury attorney does not believe you should file a claim, they will still provide critical advice to minimize your liability and expedite your financial recovery.

    Why You Shouldn’t Wait Too Long

    While it is never too soon to call a personal injury attorney, it can be too late. If you want to file a personal injury claim in Virginia, you are expected to do so within a particular timeframe. This timeframe is called the “statute of limitations.” Every state, and even the federal government, has its own statute of limitations.

    In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a car crash claim or lawsuit is usually two years from the date of the accident or resultant injury. Although there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations—if, for instance, a victim does not discover an injury until later—the court will not usually offer extensions. This is why it is very important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

    How an Attorney Can Help

    A Virginia personal injury attorney can assist you in many ways. They can help:

    • Deal with the insurance company. While you may think your insurer is on your side, adjusters and other agents want to save their employer as much money as possible—even if it means paying out less than you deserve. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurer for the best settlement and take them to court, if necessary. Statistically, you are more likely to receive a larger settlement if you retain legal counsel.
    • Instruct you on collecting necessary documents. An attorney can explain which medical and other documents to collect and save that could be critical to your case.
    • Reduce uncertainty. An attorney can reduce any anxiety and uncertainty you may have about your claim/case and its outcome. Since your attorney will be invested in the results of your case, they will dedicate immense resources to investigating your accident, calculating your damages, and fighting for your maximum compensation.

    Your attorney’s end goal is your recovery. That means, your lawyer will do everything possible to ensure you do not have to pay anything out of pocket for an accident that was not your fault.

    Contact Us Today

    If you were injured in a car accident, it is never too soon to contact a Virginia car crash attorney. Send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi a message online today, and schedule your initial consultation.


  • How long does it take to get a car accident settlement check?

    If you have been injured in a Virginia car accident that was not your fault, you know you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for costly car repairs, medical expenses, and physical rehabilitation. So, you may wonder when you can expect your settlement check from the insurance company. While you may be fortunate to receive a payment check within a matter of months, the other driver’s insurer will be in no hurry to negotiate a settlement. In fact, they may be inclined to delay negotiations as long as possible. To accelerate the receipt of your check and possibly increase your compensation, you need a personal injury attorney working for you. Your car accident settlement check

    Reaching a Settlement After Your Accident

    After being involved in a Virginia car crash, you should immediately call a personal injury attorney. They will begin collecting evidence related to the accident and working to establish the other driver’s negligence. They will then begin the settlement process which consists of several steps, including:  

    • Filing a claim. Your attorney will cross-check the negligent driver’s insurance policy and then notify their carrier that you have decided to file a claim.
    • Starting an investigation. Once the initial claim has been filed, your attorney will continue the investigation. They may requisition police reports and medical documents, as well as interview eyewitnesses. The investigation will also incorporate evidence of your damages such as medical expenses and lost income.
    • Calculating your damages. Your attorney will not begin settlement negotiations until he knows the maximum amount you may recover. Often, this amount is not immediately obvious. While you may have a car repair estimate, a period of time with lost wages, and medical bills, you may require damages for future expenses, too. Your doctor may recommend corrective surgery, tell you take more time off work, or suggest extensive physical rehabilitation.
    • Sending a demand letter. After your attorney is confident they’ve collected all the necessary evidence and calculated your damages, they will send a demand letter to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company.
    • Initiating negotiations. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will almost certainly offer a lower settlement than what you deserve. Your attorney wants what is best for you, not the insurer, and will negotiate for a higher award.

    If the insurance company refuses to negotiate or pay a higher settlement, your attorney may decide the best course of action is to file a personal injury lawsuit.

    Your Timeline

    Often, the biggest obstacle to receiving an expedient settlement is the negotiations stage of a claim. Depending on the circumstances of your claim, you may have a check in-hand as early as three months. However, complicated cases often take longer to settle and could take years to fully resolve.

    Claims can take longer to settle if they involve:

    • Insufficient evidence
    • Wrongful death
    • Multiple defendants
    • Improper or poorly-calculated claims of damages
    • An uncertain medical recovery timeframe
    • Catastrophic injuries

    But once you, your attorney, and the insurance company agree on a settlement, you will rarely have to wait a month beyond the conclusion of a successful negation to see a check. Sometimes, it may come within a week.

    Getting Started With Your Settlement

    When you are physically injured, emotionally devastated, and in desperate need of assistance, you cannot afford to wait for the insurance company to take its time addressing your claim. The first step to getting paid is simple: contact a personal injury attorney immediately after your accident. Even if you are certain that the other driver was at fault, insurance companies are businesses that want to protect their profits. They may deny your claim on frivolous grounds, claim you caused the accident, or offer less money than you deserve and an amount that can’t possibly pay for your accident-related medical expenses.

    Contact Us Today

    The sooner you file a claim and initiate negotiations, the sooner you can get paid and start on the road to recovery. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help you get the settlement you deserve. If you or a loved suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, send us a message online to schedule your initial consultation.


  • 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 claimFiling 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. Why you need a car crash attorney

    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. Broken ribs after a car accident

    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
    • Medications
    • 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. When a child is involved in an accident

    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

    Various Sized Delivery TrucksIf 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. Calculating damages after an accident 

    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.