child custody

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.

pedestrian accident

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 cord injury attorney in Manassas VA

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.

distracted driving

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

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.

rear end collision

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!

slip and fall

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.

 

divorce lawyer in virginia

Grounds For Divorce in Virginia

Getting a divorce in Virginia is complicated. Indeed, not only is divorce in itself an emotional and frustrating thing to pursue, but the state of Virginia recognizes two distinct types of divorce and maintains “grounds” for divorce as well. This means that to get a divorce in the state, a divorce-seeking party must give grounds, or reasons, for why the divorce should occur. The following reviews the two types of divorce in Virginia, as well as different grounds on which divorce may be sought.

Two Types of Divorce in Virginia

The two types of legal divorce from one’s spouse in Virginia include a divorce from bed and board, and a divorce from the bond of matrimony. As explained by the Virginia State Bar – An Agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the former, a divorce from bed and board, is only a partial divorce. When a party seeks a divorce from bed and board and said divorce type is granted, they will be legally separated, but not permitted to remarry. If a party wishes to remarry, it is important that they have a divorce from the bond of matrimony, which is a complete divorce. If a divorce from bed and board is sought, parties may seek a divorce from the bond of matrimony later; the transition can be made after one year has passed from the original date of separation.

Grounds for Divorce in Virginia

The state recognizes different grounds depending upon the type of divorce that is being sought. For a divorce from bed and board, grounds include:

  • Abandonment or willful desertion. When parties separate because of mutual agreement, the grounds for abandonment or willful desertion have not been satisfied; instead, a party must leave the other spouse, and have an “intent to desert.”
  • Cruelty. If a party has reasonable grounds to believe that they are at risk of bodily harm because of an action of their spouse, or if they are a victim of cruelty, which is conduct that endangers the mental or physical health or a divorce-seeking spouse, a divorce from bed and board may be granted.

To be granted a divorce from the bond of matrimony, there are separate grounds that must be satisfied. These grounds are:

  • No-fault grounds and separation. If a married couple has lived separate and apart for a timeframe of not less than one year, then a divorce from the bond of matrimony will be granted based on this separation period alone. This is called a “no-fault” divorce, as neither party is alleging a specific grounds, like cruelty, for the divorce. A divorce can also be granted in as little as six months’ time if the couple does not have children, and if they agree about how property should be divided.
  • Adultery. A spouse may also seek a divorce since their partner has committed an act of adultery (or sodomy or buggery). To seek divorce based on adultery, the divorce-seeking spouse must have evidence of the adultery.
  • Felony conviction. Finally, a divorce may be sought when one party in the marriage is convicted of a felony and sentenced to an incarceration period of at least one year or more. In order for divorce to be granted on this ground, the non-convicted spouse cannot resume cohabitation with the felony-convicted spouse after knowledge of incarceration.

Work with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

Most couples who are seeking a divorce in Virginia choose to pursue the divorce on no-fault grounds, although there are times where a divorce may be necessary, such as if cruelty is occurring, and the one-year or six-month separation period has not been satisfied. At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our experienced Virginia divorce attorneys can help you to determine what grounds make sense for your divorce, and assist you in putting the process in motion. For a consultation with our legal team, please call us at 703-361-1555, visit our office in person, or contact us online using the intake form on our website.

restraining order in Manassas, VA

My Spouse Violated a Protective Order or Temporary Injunction

Being the victim of violence or threat of violence can be terrifying. To protect those who are being abused, or who are the potential victims of violent acts, the state of Virginia offers several types of protective orders which are available to any party who is alleged to be a victim of any act involving violence or the threat of violence. While protective orders are designed to prevent the alleged abusive party from causing harm or threatening the victim, sometimes, these orders are violated. Here’s what you need to know about what to do if your spouse violates a protective order, or a temporary injunction, in Virginia:

What Does a Protective Order Do?

The three types of protective orders that may be issued by a Virginia court include an emergency protective order, a preliminary protective order, and a protective order. The first only lasts for three days, and then can be transitioned into a different protective order type, while a preliminary protective order lasts for 15 days or until a full hearing, and a final protective order can last up to two years.

protective order can prohibit the abusive party from contacting you or your family members, prohibit any acts of violence, grant the temporary possession of a shared house or vehicle to you, prohibit the offending party to carry a firearm, and more.

What’s a Temporary Injunction?

A temporary injunction is a court order that either requires or prevents a party from doing something. In a divorce or domestic violence case, for example, a temporary restraining order/protective order is a type of injunction. Another example of a temporary injunction may be an order that requires a party to make temporary spousal support or child support payments.

What Happens if a Protective Order or Temporary Injunction Is Violated by My Spouse?

Violation of a court order, whatever that order may be, is a serious offense that can carry penalties. In fact, Virginia Code Section 18.2-60.4 reads that any person who violates the provisions of a protective order is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, and if a subsequent violation occurs within five years, the offending party will face a minimum of 60 days in jail. A third offense is considered a Class 6 felony charge, which carries a mandatory minimum term confinement of six months. While a person cannot be held in contempt of court and face criminal penalties for a violation of a protective order, they may be held in contempt for the violation of a separate temporary injunction, or be found in contempt if criminal charges are brought forth.

What You Should Do if Your Protective Order Is Breached

If you have a protective order against your spouse, the breach of that order could be a very scary thing; you may even fear for your safety or your life. If the protective order is breached, it is very important that you act to protect yourself. Steps you should take (but not necessarily in this order) include:

  • Call the police. If your spouse violates a protective order, the police should be notified immediately. Be specific with the police about exactly what happened and ask what remedy will be taken.
  • Get to a safe place. If you are worried about your safety or the safety of anyone else in your home, get to a place where you are safe, and your spouse cannot cause you harm immediately. This might include the home of a friend or a family member, an address that is unknown to your spouse, or even a safe house.
  • Call your attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you take action against your spouse to ensure enforcement of a court order if one is breached, or to pursue further actions against your spouse. If you have not already filed for a divorce, your attorney can help you to initiate this proceeding as well.

Our Experienced Attorneys Can Help

The attorneys at the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. recognize how serious domestic disputes involving domestic violence are, and the importance of protective orders and other temporary injunctions. If your spouse violates a court order, do not hesitate to notify the police and call our law offices for a consultation. You can reach us at 703-361-1555, or by sending us a brief message describing your case using the online form on our contact page. You’re also welcome to drop by our office in person at your convenience.