Broken bone set with screws due to a personal injury case.

Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

When you get injured due to an accident or other circumstance, it can be difficult to determine whether you have a personal injury case on your hands or not. There are certain requirements that a case must meet to be considered a personal injury case. Let’s take a look at the criteria.

What Incidents are Considered Personal Injury?

Some incidents are truly accidents. No one could prevent them from happening and unfortunately, you got hurt as a result. Then there are injuries that would have never happened had it not been for someone’s negligence.

When you are injured due to that kind of accident, you may have a personal injury case on your hands. Generally, personal injury lawyers can help if you are injured due to the following situations:

Car Accidents

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Side-swipe crashes
  • T-bone accidents
  • Left turn/right turn crashes
  • Intersection collisions
  • High-speed accidents

Truck Accidents

  • Rollover accidents
  • Jack-knife accidents
  • Head-on collisions
  • Underride accidents
  • Blind Spot accidents

Motorcycle Accidents

  • Distracted driving
  • Blindspot accidents
  • Speeding/reckless driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Vehicle defects

Burn Injuries

  • Thermal burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Electrical burns
  • Friction burns
  • Radiation burns
  • Laser burns

Pedestrian Accidents

  • Failing to stop/come to a complete stop at a traffic light, intersection, or stop sign
  • Performing a right or left-hand turn without checking to ensure that the road is clear
  • Speeding
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Driving while distracted
  • Failing to check rearview mirrors before reversing
  • Driving up onto the sidewalk

Dog Bites

Dog bites are a tricky injury in the state of Virginia. Virginia does not have a dog bite statute that holds owners liable if their dogs hurt someone. To receive compensation, you would need a personal injury attorney that can take a negligence-based approach to your case.

Virginia does have a “one-bite” law that states that if a dog has shown aggressive or vicious behavior in the past, the owner had a duty to prevent a bite or attack from happening again. If the owner failed to prevent the attack, then they acted negligently. A personal injury lawyer can take a closer look at your case to see if this applies.

If you are bitten by a dog and can prove that the owner should be held liable for your injuries, you can seek compensation for:

  • Lost wages
  • The value of psychological harm, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, you have suffered
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Medical expenses
  • All other economic and noneconomic losses

Slip and Fall

Slip and fall accidents can be dangerous and lead to serious injury. Statistics show that slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of death in older Americans. If you think that your slip and fall accident was the result of dangerous conditions that could have been prevented, you may have a personal injury case on your hands and may be able to seek compensation.

How Do I Prepare for a Personal Injury Case?

If your injury was due to one of the incidents above, that’s a good place to start to see if you have a personal injury case. But, just because you got hurt as a result of one of those incidents doesn’t mean that it was the other person’s fault.

In Virginia, you must prove that you had absolutely nothing to do with the incident that caused your injuries. Virginia is a contributory negligence state. This means that if the plaintiff contributed to their injuries in any way, they cannot seek damages from the at-fault party.

The defendant must argue that you contributed to your injuries and cannot seek compensation. This is why you want to hire a personal injury lawyer, especially in the state of Virginia.

To prepare for your case, it’s important to do the following:

Get all Medical Records Related to Your Injury

To claim you have a personal injury case, you must have gone to get medical attention after your incident. Ask for all medical records related to your injury. You’ll need to give these to your personal injury lawyer. Be sure to follow all medical advice from your doctor as well to show that you are cooperating.

Gather all Evidence

If you have photos from your incident, be sure to give them to your personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will get access to the police report, which may also include any witness statements that could help you.

Don’t Take Part in Activities That Could Damage Your Case

While you may be injured, you may feel pretty good one day and decide to take part in a physical activity and then post it on social media. Don’t do this. This can be used as evidence against you. You can’t claim that you can’t work because of a physical injury, and then be seen running around with your kids. If the defendant’s lawyer gets a hold of this, they will certainly use it to strengthen their case.

Also, be sure not to talk too much about your case to others. While you think you may have a trusted ear to lean on, you never know what that person may say to someone else. This could end up harming your case. Keep the details of your case to yourself.

Be Honest with Your Personal Injury Attorney

It’s important to be completely honest about your case with your attorney. They need to be aware of everything to make the best arguments for you. If you hide a detail or lie about something, it will eventually come out in court and harm your case.

Contact Us for Your Personal Injury Case

If you think you have a personal injury case on your hands, contact the offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. We can evaluate your situation and determine where you have a personal injury case.

Call us today at (703) 361-1555 to schedule your first appointment. We will review your case and answer any questions you may have. If you do have a personal injury case, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

10 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

10 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you’ve been injured and need the help of a personal injury lawyer, you want to be sure that you are handing your case to the right person. You want someone who will not only have your best interests in mind, but also someone who is experienced in your type of case. Personal injury lawyers can assist in the following cases:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Burn injuries
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Slip and Fall

If you’ve been hurt in any of those types of situations, it’s time to look for a personal injury lawyer.

What to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

Here are 10 questions to ask a personal injury lawyer so that you find the right person to handle your case:

  1. Have you tried any personal injury cases similar to mine?

While each case is unique, you still want to find a personal injury lawyer who has experience trying cases similar to yours. When you’re asking this you also want to know about their success rates. If a lawyer has tried dozens of cases like yours but hasn’t won any, you may want to reconsider.

  1. How much time can you devote to my case?

Although your lawyer will have other cases, you need to be sure that they have enough time to devote to your case. You want your case handled as quickly as possible. If a lawyer doesn’t have enough time to file paperwork and do what needs to be done, it will delay the process.

  1. What are your fees?

If you’ve been hurt you’re looking to claim money for your injury and medical bills. Ask what the fee policy is and whether the lawyer works on a contingency fee basis. This means they will take a percentage of the award if they win the case.

  1. What is my case worth?

While you’re on the topic of money, you also want to ask a personal injury lawyer what your case is worth. They should be able to give you an approximate amount. When you receive your estimate, do your homework. See if it seems realistic when you compare it to similar cases.

  1. Who will be handling my case?

Knowing who will be handling your case will make communication much easier. While there may be several people working on it, you should know who the main contact person is and how to best get in touch with them. If the lawyer hedges around this question, it may indicate that there isn’t enough staff to handle the case or the office is disorganized.

  1. How long have you been practicing personal injury law?

When you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer, you want someone who has experience in personal injury law. The lawyer you choose should not only have experience with your type of case, but also personal injury in general. This way they will be familiar with the particular laws. If you are choosing someone near where you live, the lawyer will also be familiar with the area and the courts nearby. Finding someone with experience gives you peace of mind knowing that your case has a better chance of being handled properly.

  1. Do you try to settle a case or do you always go to trial?

While you don’t want your case to drag out, you always want to get what you’re entitled to and not get cheated out of compensation. Some lawyers will settle cases to move them along quicker. This can sometimes result in lower settlement amounts versus going to court. The answer to this question will depend on the type of case and the specifics. It will also depend on how responsive the other party is. These are all factors to consider.

  1. Are you a member of any legal organizations?

Being a member of groups like the American Association for Justice and others can provide lawyers with continuing education in the area of personal injury law. These types of groups will often offer workshops and seminars. This continuing education can help lawyers keep track of any changing laws as well as give them access to refresher courses.

  1. How long does it take for cases like mine to resolve?

All cases are different so your lawyer will not be able to give you a concrete answer. But, they should be able to give you an approximation. It’s important to know this information so that you know what you’re in for. Be mindful that cases can take unexpected twists and turns. This can result in cases lasting longer than expected. Your lawyer wants to see your case resolved as quickly as you do. But, you don’t want to cut corners to get there and risk losing your compensation.

  1. Do you foresee any problems with my case?

Be sure to ask a personal injury lawyer whether they foresee any problems with your case.
Some situations may have glaring issues that your personal injury lawyer will notice. You want to hire someone who is honest about any problems so that you can prepare. While some problems may come up unexpectedly, it’s important to be aware of ones that are obvious from the beginning. This will help your lawyer navigate the best away around them or advise you that your case is not worth pursuing.

Contact Us if You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., we are here to answer all of your personal injury questions. We have a staff that is experienced and knowledgeable in a variety of personal injury cases. At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., we want to make sure the compensation you receive from your personal injury case is fair.

Call us today at (703) 361-1555 to schedule your first appointment so that we can learn more about your case. We will review it and advise you about the best road to take.

A teddy bear wrapped in bandages representing someone needing a personal injury attorney

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?

When it comes to personal injury, there are many types of incidents where a personal injury attorney can make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Personal injury goes far beyond car accidents or pedestrian accidents. Let’s take a look at several instances where you may seek the help of a personal injury attorney.

Incidents Where a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you’re not sure if your situation is one where a personal injury lawyer can help, see if it falls under one of the following categories:

Car Accidents

At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., we help car accident victims in many types of collisions such as:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Side-swipe crashes
  • T-bone accidents
  • Left turn/right turn crashes
  • Intersection collisions
  • High-speed accidents

A personal injury attorney can also help with accidents involving uninsured drivers. If you are injured in one of these accidents, you’ll want a personal injury attorney on your side to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Truck Accidents

If you are involved in a truck accident, you’ll want to have a personal injury lawyer represent you as well because many of the accidents involving trucks are serious. They can include:

  • Rollover accidents
  • Jack-knife accidents
  • Head-on collisions
  • Underride accidents
  • Blind Spot accidents

Serious injuries can result from truck accidents such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injury. Victims often need extended medical care, sometimes for a lifetime. A personal injury attorney can help you get medical compensation as well as compensation for lost wages due to the accident.

Motorcycle Accidents

Because motorcycles do not provide as much coverage as vehicles, the risk of serious injury can be greater. Riding on a motorcycle can be more dangerous and result in serious injury. Some common reasons for motorcycle accidents that people call a personal injury attorney include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Blindspot accidents
  • Speeding/reckless driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Vehicle defects

Any one of these types of motorcycle accidents in a variety of serious injuries such as:

  • Cuts, bruises, and skin abrasions
  • Fractures/broken bones
  • Head and facial injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Amputations/loss of limbs
  • Internal injuries
  • Burn injuries

If you receive any of those types of injuries due to a motorcycle accident you may be entitled to compensation that is either economic or non-economic.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries fall under the category of issues that a personal injury attorney can help with. Several types of burns can cause serious injury. These include:

  • Thermal burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Electrical burns
  • Friction burns
  • Radiation burns
  • Laser burns

Any of these burns can be classified as first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. First-degree burns are the least serious with third-degree burns being the most severe. Third-degree burns can often require long-term medical care that can be costly. Having a personal injury attorney can help you obtain that compensation.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents can also result in serious injury. Many pedestrian accidents are due to human error. Reasons for pedestrian accidents include:

  • Failing to stop/come to a complete stop at a traffic light, intersection, or stop sign
  • Performing a right or left-hand turn without checking to ensure that the road is clear
  • Speeding
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Driving while distracted
  • Failing to check rearview mirrors before reversing
  • Driving up onto the sidewalk

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, they can suffer serious injuries including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Fracture injuries
  • Crush and amputation injuries
  • Internal injuries

Pedestrians can also be at fault for accidents if they are walking while intoxicated or crossing the roadway illegally.

Dog Bites

If you are a victim of a dog bite in the state of Virginia it’s important to know that Virginia does not have a dog bite statute that holds owners liable if their dogs hurt someone. Pursuing compensation in dog bite cases requires a negligence-based case approach, one that requires a personal injury attorney.

Virginia does have a “one-bite” law that states that if a dog has shown aggressive or vicious behavior in the past, the owner had a duty to prevent a bite or attack from happening again. If the owner failed to prevent the attack, then they acted negligently. A personal injury lawyer can investigate the circumstances that lead to your injury to see if that was the case.

If you are bitten by a dog and can prove that the owner should be held liable for your injuries, you can seek compensation for:

  • Lost wages
  • The value of psychological harm, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, you have suffered
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Medical expenses
  • All other economic and noneconomic losses

While a personal injury attorney can help you in many dog bite cases it’s important to know that you may not be able to seek damages under certain circumstances such as:

  • Trespassing at the time of dog attack
  • Taunting or teasing the dog
  • Continuing to go towards the dog after being warned to stop
  • Carelessness near the dog

 If you have been injured by a dog, contact a personal injury attorney to see if your case may be eligible for compensation.

 Slip and Fall

While a slip and fall accident may seem harmless, injuries can be life-threatening. Statistics show that slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of death in older Americans. If you think that your slip and fall accident was the result of dangerous conditions that could have been prevented, contact a personal injury attorney so that your situation can be assessed and you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact Us if You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you need a personal injury lawyer, contact the offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C.  We can make sure the compensation you receive from your personal injury case is fair.

Call us today at (703) 361-1555 to schedule your first appointment. We will review your case and answer any questions you may have. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.

Woman in a car accident wondering if she should call a car accident lawyer

When Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

When you get into a car accident, your first instinct is to make sure you and anyone else involved are not seriously hurt. Then, many people assess the damage to their vehicle and what measures they need to take for repair and insurance. In the process, there also comes the determination of whether you need a car accident lawyer to represent you.

Not every fender bender is going to need a car accident lawyer. But, when the injuries and damage are more serious you’re going to want someone on your side to represent you and your best interests.

Situations to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

Getting into a car accident can not only be an inconvenience, but it can also lead to serious injury and expense. These are just two of the instances when you’ll want to hire a car accident lawyer. Here are several others:

  • Serious injury
  • Debilitating or permanent injury
  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Psychological harm
  • Involved with an uninsured driver
  • Involved with intoxicated or distracted drivers
  • To help determine who was at fault for the accident

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, you’ll want to have a lawyer on your side that is experienced in car insurance laws and can advise and represent you. This will give you a greater chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.

At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., we help car accident victims in many types of collisions such as:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Side-swipe crashes
  • T-bone accidents
  • Left turn/right turn crashes
  • Intersection collisions
  • High-speed accidents

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer to Determine Fault in an Auto Accident

When you’re in an accident and it isn’t immediately clear who was at fault, you should hire a car accident lawyer. Your lawyer can help to collect evidence and look at various sources to determine who was at fault. These pieces of evidence can include:

  • Witnesses’ testimonies
  • Police reports
  • Physical evidence at the scene
  • Angles of impact on vehicles
  • Video or camera footage

Many people aren’t going to have the time or the resources to gather this type of information on their own, especially if they are seriously injured. Hiring a car accident lawyer makes sense because they know how to get the evidence quickly and how to sort through it. Depending on the severity of the accident they may even hire accident reconstruction experts to help determine what happened. These types of resources are invaluable when it comes to determining who was at fault for your accident and getting the right compensation.

It’s important to note that Virginia is an at-fault car insurance state. This means that drivers are responsible for paying for the accidents they cause. This is usually done through bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. For an injured person to receive compensation for the accident, fault must first be established. This is another reason why you would want to hire a car accident lawyer.

Dealing with an Uninsured Driver

Although the state of Virginia requires drivers to carry both bodily insurance and property damage liability insurance as part of their auto insurance plan, some people still get behind the wheel without the proper insurance. When these people get into an accident it can be very difficult to get the compensation you deserve. Having a car accident lawyer on your side can help you look into all ways to get some type of compensation. Some people who are injured in these types of accidents turn to their own policies to cover some of the expenses. But, sometimes this is not enough. A car accident lawyer can help you look into different ways to receive compensation.

Filing a Lawsuit in an Accident

If you end up needing to file a lawsuit in a car accident, you will need an attorney on your side. Filing a lawsuit is usually not advised until all settlement opportunities have been exhausted. Your car accident lawyer will go through all of the proper steps of filing a lawsuit after the following process is completed and a settlement cannot be reached:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Filing a claim with the insurance company and corresponding about damages
  • Trying to negotiate a settlement

When the parties cannot reach a settlement, your lawyer will bring your case to the court. The court will ultimately decide if you are owed any compensation and if so, how much.

Contact Us if You Need a Car Accident Lawyer

If you need a car accident lawyer, contact the offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. We can help you get the compensation you deserve when it comes to personal injury cases resulting from car accidents. We represent people involved in all types of accidents including rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, side-swipe crashes, T-bone accidents, intersection collisions, high-speed accidents, and left turn/right turn crashes. If you have been involved in any of these types of accidents, call our office. We also help people who have been involved in accidents involving intoxicated or distracted drivers. We have a team of experienced lawyers who have earned a solid reputation in the legal community.

Call us today at (703) 361-1555 to schedule your first appointment. We will review your case and answer any questions you may have. During this time we can navigate which route will be the best to deal with your accident. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.

A vehicle's broken window while the owner wonders if they need a car accident lawyer

A Guide on When to Get a Car Accident Lawyer

Accidents happen. Following a car crash you may experience feelings of shock, anger, nervousness, and even fear. As you work through the mental stress, dealing with the aftermath of an accident can go on for days, months, or, in some cases, years. Between arranging to have your vehicle repaired or replaced, communicating with insurance companies, and possibly recovering from injuries, there are many tough decisions you will need to make. In some cases, you can handle the aftermath of the car accident yourself. If you need help getting through the process, a car accident attorney is the best resource for you.

WHEN SHOULD I GET A CAR CRASH LAWYER?

Car accidents can leave you with mental and emotional scars. But, as with any major decision, the most important thing is to keep a level head throughout the entire process. If you are unsure on whether you need an attorney following your accident, ask yourself these questions:

  • How Serious is my injury?

One of the first things you will do following an accident is determine if anyone has any injuries. If so, you’ll want to call 911 for help. Even if it was a minor accident, calling the police is a good idea. This way, you’ll have a report to hand over to the insurance company.

While visible injuries, like broken bones or cuts and bruises, heal with time and care, other injuries aren’t as obvious. So, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor in case there are any lasting effects from your accident. For more serious injuries that could take long-term care to heal or have life-altering affects, contact an accident attorney.

  • How did the accident affect my financial situation?

Depending on the severity of the injuries you received as a result of the crash, there may be medical costs associated with your treatment. Worrying about how to pay these bills only adds to the stress after an accident. If you feel like the insurance company is not offering enough to cover your care, you may want to contact a car crash attorney to help sort it out.

A car accident lawyer can also help if the injuries from your crash resulted in you having to miss work, by filing a claim to have the pay you missed paid to you through insurance.

  • Is the insurance company meeting my expectations?

Dealing with insurance companies following an accident can be a complicated process, and if you’re unfamiliar with it you may not realize you are not being compensated fairly. There are many factors that go into how much an insurance company will offer you. An accident attorney can help you navigate the steps you need to take, and the evidence required, while keeping your best interests in mind.

BENEFITS OF OBTAINING A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER

CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS HAVE LEGAL KNOWLEDGE.

Do you know how long you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver? Do you know all of the information you need have to prepare a case against an insurance company? If not, having a knowledgeable attorney can help prepare you for all the legal proceedings of a settlement or taking your case to trial.

CAR CRASH LAWYERS DO THE LEGWORK FOR YOU.

If you are seriously injured as a result of your accident, you may not have the strength to handle an insurance settlement on your own. Even if you are able, these negotiations can be time-consuming if you’re not familiar with navigating the process.

An experienced accident attorney is already familiar with the lay of the land and has knowledge of the information you will need to file a successful claim. If you are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, your attorney will help organize and prepare your case for trial.

YOUR ATTORNEY WILL BE AN ADVOCATE FOR YOU.

In any legal proceeding, having having an experienced advocate is key. An accident attorney will not only stand up for you in court, they can be sure that your side of the story is heard by all parties to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?

If you’ve been in an accident and made the decision to seek legal help, finding an experienced and reputable attorney is your next step. Before contacting an attorney, there are some things to keep in mind.

  • Experience: Your attorney should have a background working specifically in this kind of law.
  • Investment: Look for an attorney that will go over your case with you for free. Often, an attorney will meet with you to go over your case.
  • Attentiveness: When meeting with your attorney be mindful if your lawyer is listening to you and remembering the details of your case.
  • Understanding: Your attorney should be able to grasp the severity of your injury and take your claims and care seriously.

While you don’t always need a lawyer following an accident, obtaining one can make the process much smoother. With your car accident lawyer’s knowledge and experience in these matters, you can concentrate on the things that are most important to you – repairing any damages, recovering from any injuries, and staying connected with your friends and family.

Call Olmstead & Olmstead P.C. today at (703) 361-1555 for more information on hiring a car accident lawyer you can trust.

Personal Injury Law and Dog Bites

A Guide to Dog Bites and Personal Injury Law in Virginia

A Guide to Dog Bites and Personal Injury Law in Virginia

Most people interact with at least one dog almost every day. In the United States alone, more than 90 million people have a pet dog, making it highly unlikely that you could leave your house and not at least pass one by while taking a walk or getting into your car to go to work. Many of us are drawn to the neighborhood dogs. After all, they do share the moniker of “man’s best friend”. However, not all dogs are domesticated, and even those that are can suddenly become sick or agitated. When this happens, dogs may bite or injure in some other way. Before this happens to you, it’s important to be informed about personal injury law as it pertains to dog bites in Virginia.

What are the Dog Bite Laws in Virginia?

Virginia differs from many states in that they do not have any statutes or code specifically targeting dog bites or other harm caused from a dog. Instead, they have something called the “one bite rule”. What this essentially means is that owners are only held responsible for injuries caused from their animal if the victim can prove that the owner had previous knowledge of their dog biting, or otherwise causing injury, to another person on a previous occasion. This would imply that the owner should have taken proper precautions with his/her dog, as history had indicated there might be a problem.

This rule applies not just to bites but to any aggressive behaviors, such as snapping, jumping, lunging, etc. The owner of the dog can also potentially be held responsible for any additional injuries that are incurred by the victim. For instance, if a dog jumps on the victim and causes them to fall and hit their head, requiring stitches, the owner may be held liable, even if the dog did not actually bite. An attorney specializing in personal injury law would best be able to help you determine if your case fits within the necessary parameters.

How is Virginia’s Law Different From Other States?

Most other states have something called “strict liability” which means that the owner of a dog can potentially be held responsible for a dog’s aggressive behavior, even if that dog has not shown tendencies of that aggressive behavior in the past. This is substantially different from the “one bite rule” in Virginia, stipulating that the owner must have had prior evidence of the dog’s aggressive behavior before being held liable for any damages that might be pursued under personal injury law.

Am I Out of Luck if the One Bite Rule Doesn’t Apply in My Situation?

This can be a complicated question, and the short answer is—not necessarily. Regardless of whether the dog in question has ever bit or had other aggressive tendencies toward anyone before, if the owner can be proven negligent, they may still be held liable for the dog’s behavior. In a case such as this, it would have to be proven that the dog’s owner had a duty to restrain the dog, but for whatever reason, chose not to or did not.

Negligence “per se”, similar but not quite the same as plain negligence, can also be an avenue under which a dog owner can be held liable under Virginia personal injury law. Basically, if the dog’s owner is violating another law at the time of the dog’s attack, they could potentially be held responsible. For instance, if the owner is walking the dog in an area of a city that requires dogs to be on a leash, and the owner has violated that law, resulting in the dog having the ability to attack, then they may be held liable.

Are There Conditions Under Which the Dog Owner Might Not be Held Responsible?

Of course, any final outcomes would be determined by the court, but there are some general defenses a dog owner could present. One of the most common of these is something called contributory negligence, which contends that the victim contributed in some way to the attack. For instance, a person deliberately provoking a dog, or continuing to pet the animal even after the dog has growled or backed away, or the owner has repeatedly asked them to stop. If the person is determined to be responsible for their own injuries, it is highly unlikely they will be awarded any damages.

What Type of Damages Can I Expect to Receive If I Win?

Each winning case will differ in the amount and type of damages awarded, however the victim does have the ability to sue for a variety of damages, including lost wages. They can also sue for medical costs related to their injuries. This includes physical therapy, if needed. In addition, they can also sue for scarring and disfigurement, permanent disability, and emotional trauma caused by the attack. Remember, personal injury law is complex, and it is best to consult an attorney specializing in this area.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Personal Injury Law and Dog Bites in Virginia?

The old adage that “you don’t know what you don’t know” holds true in this case. There are many factors that impact your ability to successfully sue for damages if you suffer a dog bite. Why take a chance that you might miss an important deadline or risk making a mistake that could jeopardize your chances to be reimbursed in some way for the trauma you endured? Instead, consult an experienced personal injury law attorney that can provide the knowledge and advice you need to navigate the system.

If you are interested in learning more about hiring an experienced lawyer who is knowledgeable about personal injury law in Virginia, please contact Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. at (703) 361-1555 today. We can provide a comprehensive consultation as well as all the information you need to make the best decision for your personal injury law needs.

Call Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. at (703) 361-1555 to learn more about hiring an attorney experienced in Virginia personal injury law issues today!

truck accident

Drowsy Driving and Truck Accidents

Trucking is a very important industry that is often referred to as “the lifeblood of our economy”.  Big rig trucks transport millions of products in and out of Virginia and throughout the country each and every week. And without their ability to move these products, we would not be able to enjoy the standard of living we have. All that said, the trucking industry does not do nearly enough to ensure the safety of their workforce.

Truckers have very stressful jobs, which require them to put in long hours often during evenings and overnights. To make matters worse, they are frequently under pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines, which may force them to make a choice between staying on the road longer than they should (to keep their schedule) and stopping to get the rest that they need. Under such conditions, these drivers are more susceptible to drowsy driving, which can result in truck accidents.

What is Drowsy Driving?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes drowsy driving as “the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue”. This can obviously happen when someone is behind the wheel without getting enough sleep, but drowsy driving can also result from drinking alcohol or taking certain types of medications, untreated sleep disorders, and other factors.

Drowsy or fatigued driving can cause a motorist to fall asleep behind the wheel, which can obviously produce disastrous consequences. But even when a drowsy driver does not fall asleep, sleepiness or fatigue can still be dangerous, because it causes drivers to be less attentive, have slower reaction times, and generally make poorer driving decisions.

Just how bad is the problem of drowsy driving in the U.S.? The CDC says that an estimated one out of every 25 adult drivers report having fallen asleep at the wheel during the past 30 days. In addition, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that drowsy driving may be responsible for as many as 6,000 fatal accidents each year.

While anyone who does not get enough sleep may be susceptible to drowsy or fatigued driving, there are certain groups that the CDC says are more likely to drive while drowsy:

  • Commercial drivers (those who operate vehicles such as semi-trucks, tow trucks, and buses);
  • Shift workers (those who put in long shifts and/or work during the evening or overnight hours);
  • Drivers with sleep disorders that have not been treated (such as sleep apnea);
  • Drivers who use sleep-inducing medications.

Drowsy Driving in the Trucking Industry

Commercial truck drivers have a higher inherent risk of drowsy driving because of the nature of the job. One of the major reasons is that truckers typically fall into at least two of the high-risk groups, and sometimes three or four of them. As we mentioned earlier, semi-truck drivers typically drive for long hours with many of those hours after dark as they try to meet tight deadlines.

Sleep disorders are also prevalent in the trucking industry. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly one third of all commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea makes it very difficult for drivers to stay awake, focus their eyes, and react appropriately when adverse road conditions arise. This puts motorists with this condition at increased risk of a fatigue-related vehicle crash.

At this point, FMCSA regulations do not specifically address sleep apnea, and drivers with mild to severe sleep apnea can still be qualified to obtain a trucking job. However, the agency does prescribe that a driver with any medical condition that may interfere with their ability to drive safely cannot be medically qualified to operate a commercial vehicle. As such, motor carriers should not permit an individual to drive a commercial truck if that driver has any untreated condition (including sleep apnea) that may inhibit their ability to safely operate the vehicle.

Injured in a Drowsy Driving Accident in Virginia? Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney

Drowsy driving is the cause of thousands of serious and fatal accidents each year, and these types of accidents are more common within the trucking industry. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident that was caused by a drowsy or fatigued driver, you deserve to be fully compensated.

Truck accident cases can be especially complicated, because there are numerous regulations that govern the industry and multiple parties that may be at fault. For this reason, it is very important to obtain experienced legal counsel as early as possible, so your right to recover maximum compensation can be protected.

Contact the seasoned truck accident lawyers at Olmstead & Olmstead today to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. We will thoroughly analyze your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Call us today at 703-361-1555 or message us through our web contact form. You may also visit our Manassas, VA office in person at your convenience. 

Wrongful Death

Putting a Price on Human Life – What is a Wrongful Death Suit Worth in Virginia?

We all know that no amount of money can be placed on a human life. Death is final and irreversible, and nothing can bring back a loved one who lost their life because of the negligence or reckless actions of another person or party. No amount of money can ease the grief and heartbreak losing someone who was close to you.

All that being said, in the realm of personal injury and wrongful death claims, the best that can be done to right the wrong of the untimely death of a loved one is to provide financial compensation. But how much is a person’s life worth according to the law? The answer to that question is complex at best, and it depends on numerous factors. 

One thing that is nearly certain is that the insurance company for the party responsible for a wrongful death will do everything they can to pay out as little as possible. They will look for ways to diminish the value of the claim or even deny it all together. Or if there is overwhelming evidence that their client is clearly at fault, they may come to you early on with a lowball settlement offer, hoping you will want to take the quick money and put this tragic incident behind you.

If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s wrongdoing, it is important for you to fully understand your rights. Before dealing with the insurer for the responsible party, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to fully assess your case and review your legal options. This way, you can make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed.

What is a Wrongful Death Case Worth in Virginia?

While there is no set dollar amount that applies to all wrongful death cases and no attorney can guarantee that they will recover a certain amount, there are damages that are available in most cases to family members and the decedent’s estate that provide compensation for various types of losses:

  • Economic Damages: These are actual monetary losses that were incurred because of your loved one’s death. Examples include medical expenses related to the decedent’s final illness or injury, lost wages (including wages the decedent might reasonably have been expected to earn had they had lived), and funeral and burial costs.
  • Non-Economic Damages: These are intangible losses that are more difficult to assign a dollar figure to. Examples include sorrow and emotional distress, and loss of care, companionship, guidance, and comfort.
  • Punitive Damages: In rarer cases in which a wrongful death was the result of willful and wanton negligence on the part of the person or party responsible, punitive damages may be awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from similarly egregious actions in the future.

In Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000. Virginia also caps the total for the all damages in a medical malpractice case at $2 million. Even if actual losses far exceed this amount, the award will be reduced by the court to the $2 million cap.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia?

State law allows only “statutory beneficiaries” to file wrongful death claims, which would include immediate family members and dependents. Those are allowed to bring a claim include:

  • Surviving spouses;
  • Surviving children and grandchildren;
  • Surviving parents and siblings;
  • Dependent relatives who shared the same household as the decedent;
  • Surviving family members who are heirs to the decedent’s estate under Virginia’s intestacy laws.

The right of family members and dependents to file a wrongful death lawsuit follows a specific order. The first group with the right to file are surviving spouses, children and grandchildren. If there are no survivors in the first group, surviving parents, siblings, or dependents may file. If there are no survivors in the second group, then the right goes to the next heir under the state’s intestacy laws.

It is important to note that Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. If a surviving loved one does not bring a wrongful death claim within two years of the decedent’s death, the case will most likely be thrown out of court.

Speak with a Knowledgeable and Compassionate Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer

Putting a price on human life is a fool’s errand. And while nothing can replace the loss of someone who was close to you, financial compensation can help cushion the blow and allow you to more easily adjust to life without your lost loved one. At Olmstead & Olmstead, we are here to help provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. We work closely with our clients, and we fight hard to obtain the full and fair compensation our clients need and deserve. To schedule your free consultation with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys, call us today at 703-361-1555. You may also message us through our online contact form or visit our Manassas, VA office in person at your convenience.

motorcycle accident attorney in Virginia

Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accident fatalities have been increasing in recent years. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 107 deaths among motorcyclists on Virginia roads in 2017, a 50% increase from 2016, and the highest number of motorcycle-related fatalities in a decade.

Nationally, motorcycle-related fatalities were down 3% in 2017, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Still, the 5,172 deaths in 2017 was almost double the amount of fatalities recorded in any year during the 1990s, when the figures ranged from 2,000 to 3,000 annually.

Many experts believe that the disturbing upward trend in motorcycle fatalities is closely related to the growing problem of distracted driving. In Virginia, for example, distracted-driving related fatalities rose by almost 20% in 2017 alone.

Distracted Driving is Becoming an Epidemic

Distractions have always been a part of driving. Since automobiles were invented, motorists have had to deal with various distractions on the road, such as passengers talking to them, eating and drinking, putting on makeup, reading billboard ads, etc. When car phones came out a few decades ago, this presented another hazard which eventually had to be addressed. Today, a large number of states have laws that prohibit talking on cell phones while driving, unless the phone is in “hands free” mode. Virginia has still not adopted this type of law, although it has been proposed in the last couple legislative sessions.

The advent of smartphones in the late 2000s has taken the problem of distracted driving to a new and dangerous level. Today, smartphones are used for all types of electronic activity, and most commonly sending and receiving text messages. 

Most people agree that texting while driving is a bad idea. In fact, in various surveys, approximately 90% of respondents rate this practice as “unacceptable”. But in these same surveys, around one-third of those who say that texting while driving is unacceptable admit to having engaged in this practice.

Texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are especially common among teens and other inexperienced drivers. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distraction is a key factor in almost 60% of crashes involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 19.

Motorcycle Accidents and Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is dangerous for everyone on the road, but for motorcyclists, the hazards are even more pronounced. Bikers do not have a steel cage to protect them when they are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, and statistically, they are 28 times more likely to be killed in an auto accident than occupants of motor vehicles.

Because motorcycles have a smaller profile, they are more difficult to see than other vehicles. And although the “Start Seeing Motorcycles” public awareness campaigns have been around for decades, many motorists are still not giving motorcyclists the respect they deserve. When you add in the fact that a sizable percentage of motorists send and receive texts while driving (even though they know it is wrong and your legal), it is not hard to see why motorcyclists seem to be in greater danger these days.

Staying Safe During the Summer Driving Season

With school out and summer vacation in full swing, expect far more traffic on the roadways in the coming months. And with the increased risks of distracted driving and motorcycle accidents, it is important for everyone on the road to take proactive steps to stay safe.

For motorists, the task is simple; put your cell phone away when you are behind the wheel. It is not worth risking your life to read and respond to the latest text. In addition, speak with your teens about the dangers of distracted driving, and if necessary, put controls in place to keep them from engaging in this behavior.

For motorcyclists, make yourself visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing, keep your lights on even when you are riding during the day, and be on the lookout for signs of distracted driving, such as a vehicle that is weaving in and out of their lane or crossing the center line on a divided road.

Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident in Virginia? Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Even if you employ all the best safety practices, preventable accidents can still happen because of the negligent or reckless actions of another driver. If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver, you deserve to be compensated. Before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company, it is important to speak with a skilled Virginia auto accident lawyer, so you fully understand your legal rights and options.

Call Olmstead & Olmstead today at 703-361-1555 to schedule your free consultation. You may also message us through our online contact form or visit our office in Manassas, VA at your convenience. 

Wrongful Death

I was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident: Do I Need to Retain an Attorney?

There has been a sharp increase in motorcycle accidents both nationally and in Virginia in recent years. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 5172 individuals were killed in motorcycle accidents in the U.S. in 2017, more than double the number that were killed in 1997 (just two decades earlier). In Virginia alone, there were 107 motorcycle deaths and 2017, which was a 50% increase from 2016, and the highest number recorded in a decade.

The growing number of motorcycle accidents (and serious injuries and fatalities that result from them) in recent years is due largely to the problem of distracted driving. More and more drivers are participating in dangerous activities such as texting while driving when they are behind the wheel. When their focus is completely on their phone and not on the road where it should be, it is more difficult for drivers to see motorcyclists who are riding near them.

When someone gets hurt in a motorcycle crash, one of the first questions they often ask is whether or not they need to obtain legal counsel. A lawyer does take a percentage of any settlement obtained as their legal fee, so it is fair to ask if it would be worth it to retain an attorney after being injured in a motorcycle accident. The answer to this question depends largely on the specific circumstances of each case.

For example, if your injuries were fairly minor, the facts of the case are not in dispute, and you were given a settlement offer by the insurance company that you are happy with, you might not need to get an attorney involved. In a case like this, you may just want to take the settlement and put the whole incident behind you.

If, on the other hand, your injuries are moderate to severe and there are complications in the case such as more than two parties that were involved in the accident and disagreements over who was at-fault, you may not know the extent of your injuries yet, and a thorough investigation may be required to determine exactly what happened. In this type of situation, you cannot count on the insurance company to conduct a fair investigation.

It is important to remember that insurance adjusters, although they may be friendly with you and assure you that you will be “taken care of”, are not looking out for your best interests. They work for the insurance company, and the goal of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible for the accident injury claim, which of course is at odds with your goal of obtaining full and fair compensation for your injuries.

How an Attorney can Help in a Motorcycle Accident Injury Case

By retaining the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer after being hurt in a motorcycle crash, you gain an advocate who is working to protect your interests. A lawyer who has practiced for several years has an in-depth understanding of the law, and they will know the common tactics insurance companies typically use to diminish the value of a claim or deny it all together.

This is especially important in a state like Virginia, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from recovering compensation if they are found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident.  This is a high bar to clear, and you can be sure that the insurance company will use this against you by trying to get you to admit at least partial fault for the accident. Your lawyer will provide strong legal guidance to help ensure that you do not say or do anything that could jeopardize your right to recover compensation.

An attorney can help you in several other ways as well, such as:

  • Properly valuing your claim: If you have never been injured in a motor vehicle accident before, you might not be familiar with the types of compensation you may be entitled to.  This may include compensation not only for economic losses such as medical costs and lost wages, but also for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life.
  • Dealing directly with your insurer: Dealing with the insurance adjuster can be very stressful, especially when you are also trying to recover from an injury. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate directly with your insurance adjuster and handle all the other complex legal tasks, so you can focus on getting recovered and getting your life back on track.
  • Preparing for the possibility of litigation: When you retain an attorney, they will be ready to take the case to trial if the other side is not willing to negotiate in good faith. Oftentimes, just the potential for costly and protracted litigation is enough to compel the other side to make a reasonable settlement offer.

Speak with a Seasoned Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, it usually makes sense to at least speak with an attorney to review your case. At Olmstead & Olmstead, we can provide a free consultation and case assessment, so you will be fully advised of your legal rights and options and be able to make the most informed decision on whether or not you want to retain legal counsel. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 703-361-1555. You may also message us through our web contact form or visit our office in Manassas, VA at your convenience.