How a Criminal Record Can Impact Your Personal Injury Claim

If you have a past criminal conviction, it does not preclude you from the right to receive fair compensation for damages you sustained due to another’s negligence. Your previous criminal record may not come out at all during your personal injury lawsuit. The opposing counsel can only reference your past directly if it is pertinent to the case at hand. For instance, a DUI conviction from 15 years ago is unlikely to be relevant if you have sustained injuries from a premises liability accident.

In case you have a prior conviction for any other offenses, the other side cannot ask any questions or discuss it in court. A judge or jury can only take into account the circumstances of the present case when deciding whether to award compensation for a car crash, and they cannot hold your previous driving record against you.

However, if you are on the witness stand giving your testimony, your past may be brought up in court. In such cases, the plaintiff’s past becomes more relevant as it may affect whether they are trustworthy as a witness. A skilled lawyer will do everything they can to keep your prior record out of court, but there are no assurances. A criminal record can damage you in some significant ways if it does come up during your case proceedings.

Perception and Credibility

The main threat a prior criminal record poses to your case is how it can make you look. This could be problematic if a jury is deciding your case. People often view criminal records of any type in an unflattering manner, and the defendant will use this to their benefit if they can.

The other side does reserve the right to consider your trustworthiness if you testify on your own behalf, and at this time, they may pull up previous criminal convictions and attempt to use them against you.

What to Do About It

It could be in your best interest for your trial to be heard by a judge instead of a jury. In general, a judge will be better able to remain dispassionate and make a decision based solely on the merits of the case. The emotional appeals from a skilled attorney on the other side could sway a jury.

Simply informing everyone about your criminal record right at the outset can also help you defend yourself. This does not allow the other side the possibility of “surprising” you with it later and can make the entire incident appear much less significant.

Impeachment

“Impeaching the witness” means catching a witness in a lie in the context of the courtroom. An attorney from the opposing side could use your criminal record to entrap you.

For example, you might think that your traffic ticket is not significant in a slip-and-fall case. Therefore, you may not suspect anything when an attorney questions you if you ever speed. However, if you testify that you do not speed and the attorney produces a speeding ticket, they have just caught you in a lie, and anything you say now is bound to be suspect.

What to Do About It

It is important to be mindful of the things that the opposing side could use against you. Your attorney can ensure that you do not miss something; and reviewing arrest records and conducting a background check on yourself can help anticipate everything that your adversaries will find about you.

Being forthright and honest about your past is an effective way to nip any problems in the bud. An experienced attorney can help you go over your testimony to prevent entrapment. In some cases, it may be possible to erase certain criminal convictions before going to trial. Don’t let a criminal record prevent you from seeking your rightful compensation for a personal injury.

Inform your Lawyer of your Criminal Record

It is vital to inform your attorney of any past criminal convictions at the beginning of your case when pursuing a personal injury claim. If your attorney is aware of any previous criminal convictions on your record, they can take pre-emptive steps to prevent it from being used against you by the other side.

Individuals who were convicted of a crime several years ago and have served out their sentences should not be further penalized as they have already served whatever penalties that the law deems suitable.

Therefore, you have the same legal rights as any other individual in matters not related to your conviction, which includes the right to seek and collect compensatory damages if you are injured due to the recklessness of others. A qualified lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected.

Strong Legal Support from a Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have sustained injuries in an accident, you must not assume that your past criminal convictions will affect the personal injury claim outcome. A seasoned attorney can help assess your case and review your criminal record to develop the best legal strategy for favorable results.

At the law offices of Olmstead and Olmstead, competent personal injury lawyers will evaluate your case in the light of Virginia’s civil and criminal records to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation, call today at (703) 361-1555.

 

Tips for Avoiding a Pedestrian Accident in Virginia

In any accident with a truck or car, a person walking beside the road or crossing an intersection on foot is susceptible to serious injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that pedestrians account for nearly 16 percent of all traffic deaths annually, translating into thousands of pedestrian deaths each year.

The following are some suggestions for avoiding a pedestrian accident in Virginia.

Tips for Motorists

When behind the wheel, you should be mindful of the following to avoid a pedestrian accident:

Reduce Speed in Pedestrian Areas

If you slow down when you see pedestrians, it can give you extra response time. The movement of pedestrians can be hard to predict, and even a nanosecond can make a huge difference when avoiding a collision with a pedestrian. Reducing your speed can provide you with extra time to see and respond to pedestrians on the road.

Exercise Patience with Seniors and Individuals with Physical Challenges

An older person may require extra time to navigate the street, and they may find it difficult to see you. A visually impaired person might also need more time and care. In the case of a blind person, it may be challenging for them to hear an oncoming electric car. It is best to provide extra distance and exercise patience to help those with special circumstances remain safe on the roads.

Make Eye Contact

It is helpful for pedestrians to know that you have seen them before they cross the road. By trying to make eye contact with pedestrians, you can communicate with each other regarding who is going where on the street. By making eye contact with each other, you can have clarity and avoid confusion that can potentially result in a devastating collision.

Observe School Crossing Signs and School Bus Rules

There are special rules for motorists in school zones or near school buses as children do not always look both ways or avoid stepping onto a busy street. It is important to follow a command given by a school crossing guard. Similarly, it can be challenging to see around school buses, and you should never disregard a school bus stop sign.
Do Not make Assumptions if the Vehicle Ahead of you Stops

If the car ahead of you halts suddenly, it can be tempting to maneuver and quickly drive around them. This can be a deadly mistake as there might be a pedestrian in front of the first car.

Tips for Pedestrians

Pedestrians can also take extra measures to prevent an accident. Some precautionary steps that pedestrians can take to avoid accidents are:

Walk Facing Oncoming Traffic

In case there is no sidewalk, and you must walk on the roadside, choose the side where you face oncoming traffic. Walking on the opposite side of the traffic allows pedestrians the best chance to view vehicles approaching closest to them and take evasive action when necessary.

Cross Safely

Before crossing any street, it is vital to look both ways. When at controlled intersections, it is best to cross only when the pedestrian crossing light indicates it safe to do so. Even then, motorists and bike riders may have a green signal to turn and will not expect you to be in the intersection. Despite obeying traffic rules and signals, it is important to remember that drivers and cyclists may not see you. Always remain conscious of your surroundings when crossing any street.

Ensure you are Visible

Pedestrians should wear bright-colored clothing in the daytime. If walking at night, it is best to wear light-colored clothes and reflective clothing or a reflective vest to be visible. Motorists are usually not expecting walkers to be out during nighttime. You need to offer them every opportunity to see you, even at street intersections with crossing signals.

Hang Up and Eyes Up

It is as dangerous to engage in distracted walking due to texting, speaking on the phone, or playing games such as Pokemon Go as it is to perform these activities while operating a vehicle. A distracted person is not as aware of their surroundings. Therefore, they are less likely to recognize traffic hazards, tripping dangers, or passing bikers and motorists.

Remain in the Safe Zones

It is safest to walk on sidewalks. But there are several areas without sidewalks and staying out of the roadway is an important thumb rule for pedestrians. However, it is not always possible, making it crucial for pedestrians to be mindful of their environment and watch out for motorists who may not see them. Furthermore, it is ill-advised to dart across the road from between vehicles.

Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Virginia

It can be traumatic to be involved in a pedestrian accident. The seasoned attorneys at Olmstead and Olmstead fight hard to ensure that accident victims collect the fair compensation that they deserve, including damages for medical bills and lost wages. Our lawyers will work tirelessly on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery. For a no-obligation consultation, call today at (703) 361-1555.

Are Courts More Likely to Grant Child Custody to Mothers Than to Fathers?

It hasn’t been that long since the prevailing attitude among family law judges was that children of divorcing parents should always remain with their mothers. The bias assumed that mothers were more nurturing, the primary caretaker, and that children had a deeper bond with them as opposed to their fathers. Although this has changed over the years to where judges now consider the best interests of the child, mothers still win custody more often than fathers do.

It’s true that gender roles and the responsibilities of each parent has changed significantly over the last few decades, but mothers still complete the bulk of childcare tasks. This is one reason why primary custody still goes to mothers the most often. However, it doesn’t mean that a dad who desires full or shared custody should give up that goal if he feels it’s in the best interests of his children. He should also understand the factors that family law judges consider when deciding on custody matters.

Which Parent Acts as the Primary Caregiver?

Judges in custody cases carefully review whether the mother or father has been each child’s primary caretaker until this point. Does he or she tend to go to one parent more than the other for comfort? Does one parent complete most of the tasks associated with raising a child, such as dressing, bathing, preparing meals, getting him or her ready for childcare or school, checking homework, and other similar duties? While some parents split these responsibilities equally, it’s more likely that women take on more of them. This is true even of mothers who work full-time outside of the home.

Fathers who have traditionally completed few childcare tasks should start taking on as much as possible before the divorce case reaches family court. Whether the children lives with the father full-time or only see him a few days a month, he will need to demonstrate that he can care for them on his own. Showing a willingness to take on more childcare responsibilities also casts a favorable light on dads who wish to have as much time as possible with their kids.

How Strong of a Bond Does the Child Have with Each Parent?

The younger the child, the more likely it is that he or she has a stronger bond with the mother. This is no fault of the father since mothers can breastfeed and often take more time off work or leave their jobs entirely to care for their infants. It’s good for fathers to take on as many of the traditionally nurturing roles as possible, such as feeding and bathing their children. They should also be able to prove to a family law judge that their children feel just as comfortable coming to them for help as their mother, if not more so.

Are Both Parents Willing to Help Foster a Relationship with the Other Parent?

Family courts like to see children have a meaningful relationship with both parents when possible. Therefore, the judge will seriously consider the willingness of each parent to set aside their own differences and encourage the children to spend time with and form a deep bond with the other parent.

A mother or father who continually speaks badly of the other parent or doesn’t allow the children to see their mom or dad will have a lot of explaining to do in family court and may just lose custody for this reason. Of course, the judge will also consider whether one parent is trying to protect the children from the violent temper, drug abuse, or other serious problem of the other parent. Parents in a custody battle should always remain respectful towards the other parent regardless of circumstances, especially in front of the children.

Get Help with Your Custody Case Today

No matter what your unique custody situation, it’s crucial to obtain experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., a law firm serving Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudon, Prince William, and Stafford, Virginia, invite you to contact us at 703-361-1555 to request a consultation. We will assess your custody case and discuss the best actions to take for a favorable outcome.

Do Pedestrian Accidents Increase in the Summer?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,000 pedestrians suffered fatal injuries in 2016. That’s one pedestrian death every two hours, and pedestrians also suffer minor to serious injuries once every seven minutes. Additionally, the agency reports that pedestrian deaths are up a staggering 25 percent in the five-year period from 2010 to 2015.

Summer can be an especially problematic time of the year for pedestrian accidents. It makes sense when you consider that more people spend time outdoors and walk for exercise. There’s also more tourists in Arlington, Fairfax, and the surrounding communities, which increases the likelihood of a collision between a person on foot and a motorized vehicle of any type. Other factors that affect pedestrian accidents in the summer include children being out of school and an overall increase in traffic.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Using a smartphone while driving is a leading cause of crashes between cars and people. Whether it’s sending a text, looking at social media, talking on the phone, or another common task, anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road for even a few seconds can create a deadly result. Did you know that a car can travel more than 100 yards when going 55 miles per hour in just three seconds? By the time a driver turns his or her attention back to the task at hand, it might already be too late.

Here are some other typical causes of pedestrian accidents:

  • Speeding through an intersection: Sometimes a driver doesn’t allow enough time to slow down when approaching an intersection and strikes someone trying to cross the street as a result.
  • Drinking or drug use: Having a toxic level of alcohol or chemicals in the body can affect the judgment of both drivers and pedestrians. A driver may not see a pedestrian or stop the vehicle in time due to slow reflexes. An impaired pedestrian may step out into traffic rather than cross at a light or crosswalk or even fall in the street. A driver may not be able to avoid a collision in any of these cases.
  • Confusion over unmarked crosswalks: When a crosswalk isn’t clearly marked, drivers and pedestrians may not know how to proceed through it safely. They may assume the intention of the other and end up colliding because of it.
  • Left-hand turns: The NHTSA reports that pedestrian accidents happen three times as often with drivers making left-hand turns as opposed to right-hand turns. One reason for this is that the two parties are looking in opposite directions. While pedestrians typically look straight ahead, drivers usually pay more attention to the intersection. This can cause them not to see one another.

While the pedestrian is always on the losing end of a crash with a motor vehicle, he or she sometimes shares the blame in causing it. The most typical behaviors by pedestrians involved in accidents with cars, trucks, or motorcycles include wearing dark-colored clothing, walking against traffic, intoxication, using a smartphone while crossing the street, and not hearing an approaching car due to listening to music through headphones.

Most Common Pedestrian Injuries

Sadly, pedestrians can sustain some very serious injuries when colliding with a motorized vehicle. They simply can’t withstand 2,000 pounds of metal striking their body. Some of the most typical non-fatal injuries incurred by pedestrians include:

  • Back, knee, and hip injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Permanent paralysis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury

It costs a lot of money to live with these significant injuries. When a pedestrian suffers the consequences of a driver’s negligence, he or she may choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to help defray medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses. An injured person can also sue for non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering.

Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. is Prepared to Represent You

If you are living with the aftermath of a serious pedestrian accident, we invite you to contact us at 703-361-1555 to discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.  You only pay a percentage of your monetary reward if we successfully argue your case.

Spinal Injuries: What You Need To Know

While no injury is insignificant, there is no doubt that some injuries are much more serious than are others. One of the most severe types of injuries is a spinal injury, which can leave a victim with permanent partial or complete paralysis.

If an accident occurs that results in the spine being impacted with force, a spinal injury is possible. Consider the following information about spinal and spinal cord injuries, as well as what to do if you or a loved one is the victim of a spinal injury in Virginia.

Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries

The spine is comprised of 33 vertebrae. Not only do the vertebrae allow for movement, but one of their primary functions is the protection of the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that runs the length of the spinal column, all the way from the cervical spine (base of the neck) to the lumbar spine (tailbone). The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting messages between the brain and the rest of the body, which allows for movement and sensation.

The spine and its vertebrae are strong; protection of the spinal cord is critical. With enough force, however, the spine may be harmed. A common spine injury is a fractured vertebra, which can happen when too much pressure is placed on a vertebra. Another injury is a vertebral dislocation, which happens when vertebrae come out of alignment due to surrounding ligaments or discs becoming stretched or torn.

The most serious type of spine injury, however, is an injury to the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury usually starts with a vertebral fracture or dislocation, causing the vertebra to damage to the spinal cord. There are two types of spinal cord injuries:

  • Complete – In a complete spinal cord injury, the cord is unable to send messages to the body below the site of injury. As such, a person will be completely paralyzed from the site of the injury downwards.
  • Incomplete – In an incomplete injury, some messages are still able to get through, despite the damage to the spinal cord. As such, an injured individual will still retain some sensation and movement.

Causes of Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries

Fractures and dislocations of the vertebrae are a result of large amounts of force. Enough force to cause a spine or spinal cord injury is often present in a variety of accident types, including car accidents, pedestrian and bicycle accident, motorcycle accidents, sports-related accidents, and even slips and fall accidents.

Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries

When a person’s spine is hit with a large amount of force, it is important that the injured individual seek medical care immediately; in some cases, immediately care may mitigate more severe effects of the injury. Depending upon the extent of the injury, treatment might include surgery, the use of a brace, prescription medications, and physical therapy.

Tragically, there is currently no cure for a spinal cord injury. While science and medicine are constantly progressing, today, it is assumed that a person who experiences a spinal cord injury will suffer partial or complete paralysis for life.

Living with a Spinal Injury and Seeking Recovery

Life after a spinal cord injury will likely be very different, and an injury victim may require intensive and around-the-clock medical care, will probably incur large medical bills and costs to redesign the home to accommodate for disability, may be unable to return to work or seek work in the future, and could suffer a diminished quality of life.

While there is nothing that can truly compensate a victim who has suffered a spinal cord injury at the hands of another, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be one way to recover the compensation that you deserve. At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our Virginia personal injury lawyers will aggressively fight for your right to recover the full value of your economic and noneconomic losses. Please do not hesitate to stop by our Manassas office today, send us a message telling us more about your accident and injury, or call us directly at 703-361-1555 to request your consultation.

Teen Drivers and Distracted Driving

No one is completely impervious to distractions. Indeed, even the safest of drivers may be distracted by their favorite song on the radio, adjusting the heat or volume, or a child within the vehicle. But for teens, the problem of distracted driving is particularly worrisome. In fact, in a single year, there were 263 teens killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the same year, there were 303 total people killed in distracted driving-related crashes where the teen was the distracted driver.

Facts About Teens and Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. And as mobile phones and hand-held devices have become more ubiquitous, the number of distracted driving-related traffic accidents has surged. TeenSafe.com, citing data from the NHTSA, reports that distracted driving causes 15 percent of all injury crashes.

One of the biggest sources of distraction for teens (and drivers of all ages) are cellphones. In fact, cellphone use accounted for 14 percent of all distracted driving-related collisions in a single year. Despite the fact that nearly all states in the nation prohibit texting while driving, many teens cannot resist the urge to look at their phones when behind the wheel.

It is important to note that teen crash rates are roughly four times higher than are adult crash rates, so we’re not just singling young people out randomly. Using a cellphone while behind the wheel only increase the risk that a teen will be involved in a crash.

Other Sources of Distractions that Affect Teens

While cellphone and other handheld devices, such as iPads, may be the most common sources of distractions for teens who are driving, they are by no means the only distractions. Other common distractions that teens face include:

  • Eating or drinking while driving;
  • Talking to other passengers (having friends in the car may increase the risk of an accident);
  • Listening to or attempting to change music;
  • Self-grooming, including applying makeup while driving; and
  • More.

Talking to Teens About Distracted Driving

As a parent of a teen, it is your responsibility to talk to your teen about safe driving, including the risks of driving while distracted. In addition to talking to your teen about driving hazards, it is also wise to put some guidelines and rules in place to help your teen make safe decisions. For example, parents may consider rules about how many passengers can be in the car at once, especially if the passengers are other teenagers. Parents can also use parental controls to block incoming text messages and calls on a teen’s phone while the teenager is operating a motor vehicle.

Liability for an Accident Caused by a Distracted Teen Driver

If a teen does cause a car accident as a result of distracted driving, it is important to know that that teens, or their parents, can be held liable for damages. Virginia is an at-fault car accident state, which means that the party who causes a crash is responsible for paying for any damages that result.

Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today

As new and inexperienced drivers, the risk of being involved in an accident is greater for teens, especially when distractions are present. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of a collision is to ensure that teens are driving distraction-free.

If a teen does cause a car accident, it is important to know your rights, whether you’re the teen, the teen’s parent, or the car accident victim. At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our Virginia car accident attorneys can answer any questions you have, and represent you if you’ve been harmed in a crash. Call us for your initial consultation at 703-361-1555, send us a message using the intake form on our website, or visit our Manassas office in person.

How to Avoid Accidents with Commercial Trucks in Virginia

It’s just common sense that semi-trucks and tractor trailers are going to cause more damage in an accident than another passenger vehicle. These massive trucks often travel at excessive speed and have drivers behind the wheel who are either fatigued or otherwise trying to make a deadline.

In 2018 alone, there have been several serious or deadly commercial truck accidents on Virginia’s roads. In March, two people were killed in Isle of Wight when a commercial truck swerved off the road and crossed the center line into a passenger car. The truck driver was charged with reckless driving. Another driver was seriously injured in April in an accident on I-81 near Harrisburg. The passenger car caused a crash when changing lanes into the pathway of a tractor-trailer.

In most accidents with semis and big rigs, no matter negligence or fault, the party that walks away from the crash with the least injuries is the truck driver. This can be a difficult fact to accept when statistics show that many of these accidents are due to truck driver negligence. Therefore is it is vital to be armed with the facts about trucking accidents and what you can do to avoid these dangerous and deadly crashes.

What You Need to Know About Trucking Accidents

There are over 15.5 million trucks in the United States and close to 13 percent of those are big rigs, semis, tractor tailors, and 18 wheelers. There are approximately 60.5 injuries and 2.3 deaths caused by big rigs for every 100 million miles driven on roadways in the U.S.

A commercial truck accident costs $59,150 on average. Those that result in injuries and fatalities can cost much more. Fatal big rig accidents cost this country over $20 billion annually, $13.1 billion of which is attributed to loss in the quality of life of accident victims.

Approximately 90 percent of commercial truck accidents are caused or made worse by human error, which can be on the part of the truck driver, drivers of other vehicles, passengers, or pedestrians. Since the results of semi-truck accidents can be so severe, it makes sense to do everything possible to avoid these crashes.

Tips for Avoiding Accidents with Big Rigs

Truck drivers are supposed to have specialized training to handle the large and complex vehicles that they operate, but you can’t rely on others to keep you safe on the road. This is particularly the case when those truck drivers could be in a hurry, tired, or otherwise not following the rules themselves.

Some trucking accidents aren’t the fault of the truck driver at all. When the driver of a passenger vehicle doesn’t take the right precautions or is reckless themselves, a dangerous situation can develop. Several ways that you can avoid accidents with big rigs include:

  • Don’t pass on the right. Commercial trucks have substantial blind spots on their right side. You risk getting caught when a truck turns right or changes lanes and doesn’t see you if you try to pass them this way.
  • Avoid tailgating. Big rigs can brake quickly, and you won’t be able to anticipate when this will happen if you are right behind them. Allow plenty of distance when following a large truck.
  • Understand other blind spots. Commercial trucks have several major blind spots that you should avoid staying in to ensure your safety.
  • Don’t cut off trucks. If you cut off a truck, it could lose control and cause a serious crash.
  • Drive slower in work zones. Always drive slower in work zones because these areas are the sites of many trucking accidents.

Get Experienced Truck Accident Crash Representation

If you are the victim of a trucking accident, you are likely seriously hurt. You may have also lost a family member to one of these catastrophic crashes. If the truck driver or their employer were negligent or acted recklessly in any way, you have a right to pursue full and fair compensation for your losses.

At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our experienced Virginia trucking accident crash attorneys will review your situation fully and take any steps necessary to protect your rights. If you have a case, you have the right to request payment for medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death. Contact us now at 703-361-1555 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.

 

Dangers of Speeding Trucks

Speeding in a passenger vehicle is inherently dangerous but, when a commercial truck barrels down the road at an excessive speed, they are creating a unique risk to other drivers, pedestrians, and even property owners.

The Dangers of Speeding Trucks

Speeding trucks are dangerous for several reasons. A commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more when it is fully loaded, which is no match for anything else that it meets on impact. These massive vehicles also take longer to stop than other vehicles, so truck drivers that have lost control could hurt more people before a crash is complete.

When a speeding commercial truck causes an accident, the results can be catastrophic. Drivers, passengers, and anyone else in their path are at risk of severe injury and even death when these tragedies occur. Truck drivers that speed are putting the lives of others at risk through their careless and reckless actions.

How a Speeding Truck Can Cause an Accident

Roughly 1,000 people are killed each year in the U.S. due to the actions of speeding commercial trucks. In 2015 alone, speed was listed as a contributing factor in 7.5 percent of all “large truck crashes”. The “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that 22.9 percent of large truck crashes involved excessive speed or traveling too fast for conditions.

Truck drivers speed for a variety of reasons, but it primarily comes down to money. Instead of being paid by the hour, a truck driver is paid by the mile or the load delivery. It is to their benefit to deliver goods as quickly as possible so that they can move on to the next job. This motivation underlies much of the problem. When a commercial truck drives too fast, some of the ways that they can cause an accident include:

  • Loss of Control. As with any vehicle, driving too fast can lead to a loss of control. But, with large trucks, this can lead to deadly multi-car accidents.
  • Inability to Stop. Trucks need longer to slow down and stop than passenger vehicles. This stopping time increases the more a truck is speeding. Any change in conditions on the road that require immediate slowing or stopping is a hazard when speeding trucks are present.
  • Curves. Speeding trucks and unexpected curves on the road don’t mix. Trucks should slow down when approaching curves. If they don’t, they risk a dangerous crash.
  • Loads. When a truck is overloaded or improperly loaded, this can contribute to speeding crashes. Loads can shift during transport or cause a truck to be less stable when turning, either of which can lead to jackknife or rollover accidents.
  • Weather. Trucks that continue to speed through snow, ice, fog, and rain are exhibiting reckless and negligent behavior. Even when not exceeding the speed limit, a truck driver has a duty to drive at a speed that is appropriate to the current conditions.

Will Speed Limiters Help Reduce Crashes?

Some commercial trucks now roll off the assembly line equipped with speed governors that will limit the vehicle’s speed. The problem with these is twofold. First, speed limiters are not required by law. Second, many trucking companies or drivers are disabling them so that they are useless in preventing accidents.

There has been discussion among safety advocates, insurance companies, and some in the federal government of requiring the use of speed limiters that are set at 68 mph. The rationale is that these limits would save countless lives. Unfortunately, speed limits on highways throughout the U.S. continue to rise, and there is no sign that these restraints will be put in place anytime soon.

Speak with a Qualified Virginia Truck Accident Attorney

It would be ideal if we could change the rules and convince truck drivers to slow down, but this isn’t likely to happen in the foreseeable future. If you or someone you care about has been injured because of a speeding truck, you have rights.

At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our Virginia truck accident attorneys advocate for the rights of victims of these tragic crashes. If a truck driver was negligent, you should not have to foot the bill for your losses and can make a claim for damages. Contact our Manassas office now at 703-361-1555 or reach us online to schedule a consultation.

Should I Seek Medical Attention after a Rear-end Collision?

Rear-end accidents may be the most common type of motor vehicle collision, but fortunately they usually cause the least amount of harm. Indeed, many people walk away from rear-end crashes unscathed, with little more to worry about than some minor damage to their vehicle.

But while rear-end collisions may seem, and often are, innocuous, writing them off as insignificant and failing to follow up on potential injuries and damages is unwise. In fact, there are a handful of injuries that are common in a rear-end crash, some of which may not show symptoms for hours or days later. At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., we recommend that you always seek medical attention after a rear-end collision, even if you don’t think that you’ve been injured. Here’s why.

  1. Rear-end Crashes Can Lead to Delayed Onset Injuries

Sometimes after a trauma, pain and other symptoms related to an injury will have a delayed onset, only developing after a prolonged interval of time. This can be true in rear-end car crashes, as a person may not recognize their injuries immediately due to adrenaline, or because the injuries themselves are subtle. For example, injuries that are common in a rear-end crash, and do not always have immediate side effects include:

  • Head and traumatic brain injuries;
  • Whiplash;
  • Soft tissue injuries; and
  • Disc herniation injuries.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list; it is possible to suffer another injury type and not recognize it immediately. Because some injuries are not immediately recognizable, seeking medical care should be a top priority after a crash.   

  1. Seeking Medical Care Establishes a Connection Between Injury and Accident

Another reason that you should seek medical care after a rear-end crash is if you have suffered an injury, want to file a claim for damages to help pay for that injury, but have not sought medical care and therefore don’t have evidence to substantiate your claim. If you do not seek medical care immediately following a rear-end crash, this could harm your claim. An insurance adjuster may question that validity and extent of your injury, or wonder whether the injury is even related to the car accident since you took so much time to seek care for it.

  1. You Have a Duty to Mitigate Your Damages

The duty to mitigate damages essentially means that a plaintiff in an injury claim has a duty to lessen or make less severe the extent of damages they have suffered. For example, if you suffer a broken leg and a doctor tells you to stay off the leg for two weeks to maximize healing, you have a duty to do this to avoid further injury. If you don’t follow a doctor’s orders and your leg fails to heal or suffers more harm, an insurance adjuster may use your failure to mitigate damages as a defense. The same is true for potential injuries in a rear-end crash; if you are hurt and want to recover compensation but did not seek medical care or did not do so in a timely manner, there may be an argument made by the defense that you breached your duty to mitigate your damages, and therefore their own liability should be reduced.

Seek Medical Care and Call Our Virginia Rear-end Accident Attorneys Today

Being involved in a car accident, even one that doesn’t result in severe or catastrophic damages, can be a stressful experience that yields numerous questions about what happens next. At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our experienced rear-end accident attorneys in Virginia can help you resolve your claim following a rear-end crash. However, it is imperative that you seek medical care as soon as you can after your accident – this can help to protect your health and improve the outcome of your claim. To schedule a consultation with our accident attorneys, please call us today at 703-361-1555, or stop by our Manassas office in person today!

Do I Have a Slip and Fall Case?

Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common types of injury, and in a retail store, where numerous hazardous exist that can contribute to a slip and fall, these accidents and lawsuits related to them are becoming almost ubiquitous. Indeed, a number of major retail stores, including Home Depot, Walmart, Walgreens, and Costco have all faced lawsuits related to slip and fall injuries in stores.

If you are harmed in a slip and fall accident in a retail store in Virginia, you may be wondering whether the retail store can be held responsible for your damages. Here’s what you need to know about common retail store slip and fall accidents, and the store’s duty to maintain a safe premise.

Common Retail Store Slip and Fall Accidents

Retail stores may be necessary places to visit for the purchase of many consumer goods, but there are often dozens of hazards that exists within these stores that make slip and fall accidents possible, if not inevitable. To be sure, some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents in retail stores include:

  • Spills of foods, beverages, cleaners, soaps, or other liquids;
  • Food and other debris on the floor, creating a hazard;
  • Collisions with shopping carts, other customers, or even a forklift;
  • Loose wires, cords, and other tripping hazards;
  • Icy, snowy, or otherwise hazardous parking lots and entryways; and
  • Defective, broken, or dangerous walkways.

A Retail Store’s Duty to Maintain a Safe Premises

A retail store (and all owners of property) has a duty to those who enter the store to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. When this duty is breached, and a retail store customer is involved in an accident and suffers an injury as a direct result, the retail store can be held liable for damages.

A retail store may breach its duty to maintain the property in a safe condition when it creates a hazard, or when it fails to remedy a known hazard. For example, a retail store may create a hazard if it decided to rearrange or remodel part of the store, leaving debris and items in walking areas in the process. On the other hand, it may fail to remedy a hazard if another party (i.e. another customer) spills a drink creating a risk of slip and fall, yet store employees know of and fail to clean up the spill.

Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Claim

To hold a store liable for injuries resulting from a slip and fall, an injured customer must prove several different elements. These include:

  • A dangerous condition existed within the retail store;
  • The retail store knew of the condition or should have knownof the condition;
  • The retail store failed to remedy the condition in a reasonable amount of time; and
  • The condition was the direct cause of the claimant’s accident and injuries.

The two hardest elements to prove are that the store knew or should have known of the condition, and that the amount of time that passed between knowledge of the condition and acting to remedy it/the injury occurred (whichever came first) was unreasonable. Evidence that may need to be collected to establish both might include employees’ testimonies, store security video footage, customers’ statements, and more.

Let Our Virginia Premises Liability Accident Attorneys Help You

It’s important to remember that most retail stores are large corporations with millions of dollars, which means that they have the power and resources to hire top lawyers to protect them if you try to bring forth a legal action to recover compensation after a slip and fall accident. While this can be intimidating, you can protect yourself and your right to recovery by arming yourself with an experienced and skilled lawyer of your own.

At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., we have experience representing clients involved in claims against retail stores and private companies. To learn more about recovering the compensation you deserve after a slip and fall, visit our office today, send us a message with a brief description of your case, or call us directly at 703-361-1555 to request a consultation.