December 16, 2020
Who Is Liable in a Nursing Home Injury or Abuse Case in Virginia
Deciding how to best care for your elderly loved ones is not an easy choice. You want to make sure you can find a nursing home or assisted living facility you can trust to take care of an important member of your family.
You expect the nurses and employees to treat your elderly family with respect and the utmost of care. They also need to maintain their health by giving them their proper medication and responding to medical emergencies. The most common issues with patients who are improperly cared for are bed sores, cuts or bruises, dehydration, urinary tract infections and weight loss.
When a staff member of the facility fails to do their job, your loved one could be injured, or worse, lose their life. In this case, you will want to hold the assisted living facility accountable. But, it can be daunting to know everything you need to build a strong case.
In this blog post, we’ll go over how to determine who is liable in a nursing home abuse case in the state of Virginia.
What Counts as Negligence or Abuse?
When you and your loved ones sign up to join a nursing home, that facility is contractually agreeing to offer proper care and medical attention. These services are their “duty of care” and include:
- Food & Water
- Medical care
- Physical activity
- Repositioning movement for the bedridden
Our elderly are entitled to reasonable care from nursing home facilities and caretakers. If these basic needs are not met, or a patient is directly abused, then the facility and staff needs to be held accountable.
The difficulty comes from determining specifically what is “reasonable care,” as it changes from case to case. Every patient has different needs that need to be established and clearly defined. Therefore, each case involves defining reasonable care for the victim, and then determining who is responsible for that lack of care.
While you may have to define your specific case’s version of “reasonable care,” there are some common examples of neglect or abuse within nursing homes.
- Poorly training staff
- Failure to perform proper staff background checks
- Inadequate security
- Failure to provide basic necessities, like food, water, clean living facilities
- Failure to properly administer medication
- Failure to protect from health and safety hazards
- Intentional abuse or neglect from staff
- Failure to properly change diapers and bedding
- Falure to properly document, follow and treat ulcers or bed sores.
How to Determine Liability
If evidence or proof exists that your elderly loved one has suffered an injury or death due to negligence, it’s important to know who caused it. This is to say, you need to determine if the problem is with the facility, an individual at the facility, or a third party.
The nursing home would be responsible if the abuse was caused by their negligence, like in the examples given above. These stem from systemic issues, making the facility at fault.
Even if an individual employee is perpetuating the abuse, the fault still generally rests on the facility. The nursing home should be training their employees and keeping tabs on them to keep horrible accidents and intentional harm from happening to their patients
Sometimes, the abuse can come from third parties outside of the facility’s control. Let’s say a patient suffers an injury from falling off a wheelchair. While someone’s first assumption might be to blame the nursing home, the issue could be with the wheelchair manufacturer. The fault could also be put on a contractor who improperly built the walkway.
It’s important to understand who could be at fault for the neglect and abuse your loved ones may suffer. By knowing who or what is responsible, you can make a stronger case in court.
What Are the Next Steps?
If you suspect in any way that your elderly loved ones have suffered abuse at an assisted living facility, you should first call your local Adult Protective Services office. These social workers help to protect elderly adults by conducting investigations and finding evidence for the suspected abuse. Call the Richmond office at (804) 646-7405 to report elder abuse or neglect.
After you’ve spoken with APS, it’s important to call a lawyer ASAP. The experienced attorneys at Cravens and Noll understand how heartbreaking it is to see your elderly loved ones mistreated. That’s why we will work with you during every step of the case, from the APS investigation to creating your case, all the way to defending your family in court. We have 35 years of experience and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients and their victimized family members. If you want to even the playing field, call Cravens & Noll.
Contact us to hold negligent nursing homes accountable and get your family the compensation they deserve.
September 25, 2020
What To Know About Spinal Cord Injuries in Virginia
Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating of accident injuries. A spinal injury happens when an injury occurs in the spinal cord, such that the nerves can no longer effectively communicate between the brain and the body.
Physicians spend years studying the anatomy of injuries associated with the spinal cord. The spine is incredibly complex and can cause hundreds of physical ailments. Even minor injuries to the spinal cord can leave life-long consequences, from numbness or pain to paralysis.
If you or a loved one is dealing with a spinal injury caused by the negligence of another person, business, or other entity, connect with a Richmond personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Victims of major spinal injuries often feel isolated. Few people understand their struggle. Fortunately, there are many medical facilities and spinal cord injury attorneys who have experience in these cases. They can help with the struggles you may be facing now, and help you get the money you need to pay for the expensive and specialized care you require.
Top Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The causes of spinal cord injuries (SCI) can come in nearly any form and it’s important to recognize the potential causes of these injuries.
Statistics compiled by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center show 38.4% of spinal injuries are caused by vehicle and pedestrian accidents. Another 30.5% of all cases are caused by slip and falls. Acts of violence, primarily from gunshot wounds, cause 13.5% of spinal injuries. Sports account for 8.9% of these injuries. However your spine was injured, the consequences can seem overwhelming and life-altering. For many, their life and that of their families will never be the same.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Note that no two injuries are the same. The location of the injury and the severity of the damage determines your diagnosis and your prognosis for recovery.
It’s important to remain hopeful. With a proper diagnosis, there are patients who beat the odds and have greater recoveries than doctors expected. For others, even with the best care in the world, the injuries are unrecoverable and paralysis permanent.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) categorizes the degree of severity of spinal injuries into two categories:
- Some sensation and movement are possible below the injury
- Motor control and sensation are almost completely lost
Additionally, the NIH places spinal cord injuries into the categories of tetraplegia or paraplegia.
- Tetraplegia used to be known as “quadriplegia”.
- It is defined as any person who has a spinal injury from the T1 in the upper back up to the C1 vertebra in the neck.
- Individuals who have suffered these injuries lose function, sensation, or movement in the legs, pelvis, upper chest, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and/or head area.
- Paraplegia is defined as an individual who has suffered a loss of sensation, movement, or function in the lower part of the body.
- This can be in the chest, stomach, hips, legs, and/or feet.
- The injury occurs between the T2 and S5 vertebrae.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are many physical symptoms of minor spinal cord injuries that should not be ignored.
Not all injuries develop immediately after impact and diagnosing these injuries can be complicated.
Previous damage to the tissue surrounding the spinal structure will slowly apply pressure to the spinal cord.
As a result, spinal structure tears might not show up on the first day and often take some time to develop.
Physicians advise any individual who has had a significant injury to the back to see a doctor as soon as possible. An experienced physician can review your symptoms, run tests, and ask questions to diagnose the specific condition.
Here are some symptoms of spinal cord injuries:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bowel control difficulty
- Partial or complete loss of bladder control
- Twisted back or neck
- Excessive back pain
- Extreme pressure in the head, neck or back
- Trouble walking
- Balance issues
- Numbness or strange sensations in the feet or toes
- Numbness or unusual sensations in the hands or fingers
Compensation in SCI Cases in Virginia
When another party is found negligent for your injuries in an accident in Virginia, you could receive a substantial monetary award. Recovery time for these injuries is often measured in years, not days or weeks.
Unfortunately, many of these injuries carry life-altering, permanent disabilities.
Your injury compensation may include payment for rehabilitation, assistive devices like motorized wheelchairs, ongoing medical care, and even home modifications for stairlifts or access ramps.
This is but one of the reasons to speak with an experienced attorney who has dealt with multiple spinal structure injuries, and the range of treatments and providers this care requires.
The goal of the legal system is to restore your life to a pre-accident condition through monetary compensation as much as possible. A judgment award can’t make you walk again, but can help you pay for the ongoing care and treatment you will require throughout your life.
Get Help For Your Injury
If you or your loved one has been injured, it is always important to see a physician as soon as possible. This is especially true for spinal cord injury scenarios.
If the insurance company investigates your case and sees you were not treated by a physician soon after the incident occurred, they may try to argue your injuries are not that serious, or were caused after the accident and are unrelated to the crash.
When choosing your personal injury lawyer, it is important to work with a team of attorneys who have many years of knowledge and experience working with spinal cord injury victims.
The Virginia law firm of Cravens & Noll, P.C. has successfully represented victims of spinal injuries for 34 years and are ready to confidently help you get the justice you deserve, and the medical care you need.
Get in touch today to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can help you.
September 8, 2020
Limitations In Filing Personal Injury Claims Against the Government
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a person or business’s negligence, then you have the option to sue for damages. The same holds true if your injury involves the government.
While the rules are strict, the federal government, most states, and most local governments allow citizens to sue them for various enumerated reasons. There are restrictions involved, and not every government body follows the same rules. Cravens & Noll can aide you in working through the rules to achieve maximum compensation.
In this post, we’ll list some of the common rules and procedures for filing personal injury claims against the government.
Everywhere is Different
Federal and state governments in the United States are technically unable to be sued thanks to Sovereign Immunity. This doctrine states that a government body cannot be sued unless they give consent.
Luckily, the federal government provided this consent by passing the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) in 1946. Most states, including Virginia, have also passed their own versions of the Tort Claims Act to allow private parties to sue the government.
Cities and counties within a state are afforded even less immunity and are not included in the state Tort Claims Act. These smaller government bodies have to pass their own legislation in order to be sued. Most cities and towns in the United States may be successfully sued.
What Does The FTCA Do?
The FTCA dictates that the federal government can be held accountable for personal injuries sustained on government property or caused by employees of the government.
For example, a postal service van runs into your car, or you sustain an injury from a slip and fall at an unemployment office. In these cases, you might have reasonable cause to sue the federal government for damages due to negligence.
The FTCA also dictates how much a claimant may recover from a personal injury case. The FTCA regulations do not apply to the Virginia Tort Claims Act (VTCA), since it has its own set of limitations.
Regulations For Suing the Government
The FTCA lists many limitations and exceptions for bringing a claim against the government. Since there are so many, it’s impossible to list them all in this article. For now, there are a few common rules we can list:
- The FTCA allows federal employees to be sued; however, often private contractors hired by the federal government enjoy the same immunity of the government.
- The negligence must have occurred within the scope of the defendant’s job.
- Only negligence claims are covered by the FTCA, while intentional misconduct claims only apply to certain federal law enforcement officers.
- The claim must be based on and allowed by the state law where the accident happened.
Steps to File a Claim Per the FTCA
Once you believe that your personal injury case is compensable by the FTCA, there are a few steps and procedures you must follow.
- You must file a claim with the federal agency that caused your accident.
- You must file your claim within two years of the exact day of the accident.
- You must include specific claims for money damages and the essential and qualifying facts about the accident for the federal agency to conduct an investigation
Once filed, the federal agency has six months to respond to your claim. They can either deny your claim, which can lead to a court case, or admit your claim, therefore admitting fault. In the latter case, the agency will usually make an exception to pay your damages. You may decide to accept or reject that offer.
If the agency denies your claim, you then have six months to file a lawsuit against them. It’s best to file this as soon as possible.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to file a lawsuit until the federal agency responds to your initial claim. You have the option to file the lawsuit before their response so long as it is six months after you have provided proper and adequate notice of your claim.
Virginia State Government
Under the VTCA, there are similar rules to the FTCA, but the limitations are different.
- You have one year to file your claim against a specific state agency.
- These claims must also include specific information about the monetary damages and details of the accident.
- If your claim is against the state of Virginia, you must file your claim with the Director of the Division of Risk Management or the Attorney General.
- If you have a claim against one of the nine transportation districts in Virginia, you must file the claim with the chairman of the commission of the transportation district where your accident and injury took place.
The VTCA also specifies that a plaintiff can only receive damages up to $100,000, while the FTCA’s limit is much higher at $1 million.
Personal Injury Lawyers On Your Side
Deciding to sue a government body can be complicated and stressful. Just like a normal personal injury case, you are entitled to damages due to someone else’s negligence. That fact doesn’t change just because a government agency is involved.
Before filing your claim, speak with our lawyers at Cravens and Noll. Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys will help you navigate through the FTCA and VTCA to ensure your case is legitimate from the get-go. If the case goes to court, we’ll be more than ready to defend your rights and get you the damages payout you need to be made whole. If you have been seriously injured, you need Cravens & Noll. We successfully sue the government frequently. Our experience and our passion will guide you to success!
September 1, 2020
Pedestrian Injuries From Driver Recklessness
According to the CDC, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2017. That translates to one death every 88 minutes in the United States.
Pedestrian injuries and deaths from traffic accidents are unfortunately all too common. More often than not, they’re caused by reckless drivers putting other lives in danger, either by drinking, speeding, driving recklessly, inattentively or using a cell instead of operating their vehicle..
If you have been injured or know someone who was killed or seriously injured due to reckless driving, you are entitled to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. In this blog, we’ll go over what causes these accidents and what pedestrians can do to hold reckless drivers accountable.
What Counts as Reckless Driving in Virginia?
The definition of reckless driving is fairly universal and self-explanatory. In Virginia law, reckless driving is defined as someone who drives their vehicle “on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.”
Within this definition, reckless is defined as “a careless disregard by the driver of a motor vehicle for the consequences of his act and an indifference to the safety of life, limb or property.”
This definition begs the question, what specifically counts as reckless driving?
There are some fairly common examples:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to follow traffic laws and signs
- Ignoring weather conditions
What Are The Costs For The Driver?
If a driver causes an accident while doing any of these actions, they may be considered a reckless driver and can be charged as such.
Reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor and can lead to many penalties. Legally, these include a $2,500 fine, suspended license, and in extreme cases, jail time. Monetarily, reckless driving can cause an increase in your automobile insurance and loss of a job due to a conviction.
The charges can get more severe depending on the circumstances of the accident. If the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they’ll also be charged with a DUI. If the driver left the scene without exchanging information, then they could be charged with hit and run.
If the accident leads to a victim’s death, the driver could be charged with vehicular or involuntary manslaughter. This charge is only applied in extreme cases, where the driver’s recklessness goes beyond simple negligence, or there was a fatality or serious injury involved.
What Are The Costs For The Pedestrian?
While a reckless driver does face consequences after causing an accident or death, the damages towards the pedestrian can be worse and longer lasting.
There are the physical damages that a victim faces from being hit by a car. These can range from bruises and scratches, and escalate to broken bones or lost limbs. Worst all, a reckless driver can cause someone to lose their life.
Beyond the physical damages, there are economic damages that a victim of reckless driving can sustain. These include:
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy treatment
- Medical accessories like crutches or wheelchairs
- Job loss due to injuries
- Replacement or repair of personal property
- Future medical expenses and lost wages
Both physical and economic damages can lead to emotional damages, such as:
- The pain and suffering caused by the accident
- Loss of personal interactions due to injuries
- Loss of a limb or a sense, like hearing or sight
- Inability to perform simple tasks in your day-to-day life
How Do I Hold A Reckless Driver Accountable?
If you’ve suffered any of the damages listed here, or want to discuss the effects a reckless driving accident has had on your life, you need to speak with an experienced attorney.
The attorneys at Cravens and Noll are well-versed in personal injury law, specifically in reckless driving accidents. Our lawyers will work with you to make sure you receive the compensation you need and deserve after a horrible accident.
Let us be your guide. We have a proven track record of success at trial and pretrial settlement negotiation. If your case is worth a million dollars, we are the lawyers to call.
Call or email us to schedule a consultation today.
August 11, 2020
How Does the Court Determine the Value of Life in Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
A death caused by another person’s or company’s negligence is a tragedy. There is no real way to compensate for the loss of a loved one, but many families affected by an accidental death will make a wrongful death claim or file a lawsuit to compensate those left behind.
A wrongful death lawsuit is where families of victims of an accidental death file a claim to receive money damages. They file the suit against the person or entity whose negligence caused the death. These deaths are usually caused by a car accident, medical malpractice from a professional, or a dangerous product.
The difficult part of a wrongful death lawsuit is establishing the monetary value of a person’s life. There are common factors used by lawyers and the court to arrive at an amount that the defendant will be ordered to pay to the deceased’s relatives and estate. No amount of money will replace lost loved ones, but damage awards may well pay for homes, cars, living expenses and college for children.
The attorney will usually start by determining the economic impact of a deceased’s life on his family’s financial future. value of the deceased. Specifically, they’ll look for damages and losses tied to those who passed. This can be affected by a number of factors:
- The deceased’s earning capacity
- Income at the time of death
- Value of lost benefits
- Number and ages of dependents
- Their level of education
- Medical and funeral expenses
These costs vary from person to person. A single 20-year-old restaurant cook with a GED will most likely have less economic assets and expenses than a married 44-year-old surgeon with three under-aged children.
These economic factors have to be supported with compelling evidence in order to reach the most accurate monetary settlement. Usually, personal injury lawyers work with economists to determine these values. This ensures that the victim’s family will receive adequate compensation for their economic damage. Bear in mind however, that the economic earnings are but one component of the overall recovery.
Along with the more numerically quantifiable economic damages, the attorney also looks at the emotional component of damages caused by the victim’s death. These can include:
- The emotional trauma of the family caused by the death
- The victim’s pain and suffering experienced before death
- Loss of a pillar of the family
These damages do not have any standard value since they are subjective. This is where an incredibly experienced trial lawyer can help you document and convey to a judge or jury the extent of emotional harm caused by the victim’s death, and the toll this loss has taken on the family.
If taken to a jury trial, your lawyer will have to argue on behalf of the deceased. They will need to show the positive effect the victim had on the lives of others and show how the loss has affected their family and friends, the community at large, and the worth of this life beyond monetary impact. This requires great skill, effective and emotional case presentation that impacts the tries of fact.
Specific Wrongful Death Claims in Virginia
Similar to many other court hearings, Virginia has specific laws in place for determining compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
For one, Virginia has a damage cap for medical malpractice cases. If a member of your family suffers a death due to medical negligence, then you are allowed up to $2.25 million in compensation.
Choosing The Right Attorney
When deciding to file a wrongful death claim, it’s important to consult with an attorney beforehand.
An experienced lawyer with a proven track record of million-dollar results is essential. They can take you through your options to make sure you and your family receive full compensation for your loss.
They’ll be with you during every step of the lawsuit, making sure you understand the process and providing the most relevant and helpful information. Once in court, they will fight for your compensation and make sure your family is taken care of financially. Nothing can replace a loved one, but an experienced attorney can help ease your burden so you can focus on healing and putting the pieces of your life back together.
At Cravens & Noll, we believe in giving grieving families the compensation and closure they deserve. We’ll work with your unique situation and fight for your rights in court. We will fight the good fight. We will help you WIN your battle.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a preventable accident, please schedule a consultation with us as soon as possible. It may be the best decision you will ever make.
August 5, 2020
What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth
Many factors influence the value of a personal injury case. While it is impossible to know for sure how much money you may receive, there are a few primary factors that heavily influence the settlement total. Those factors include:
Damages: (Injury, medical bills, lost wages, future damages, permanency)
Liability: (Fault for the accident)
Insurance Coverage: (Yours & the other drivers)
The Lawyer You Hire
The vast majority of cases will be settled out of court. Only about 4% of cases will go to trial. It is impossible to predict how the jury will rule if your case does go to trial. There are some general patterns that we have seen which tend to influence the final payout of a claim, by the insurance company or a jury. You need top-flight legal expertise and counsel to get maximum recovery:
The nature and severity of the injuries make a huge difference in how much money is awarded in a PI claim. You can expect a higher settlement amount when there are significant or disabling injuries or death. The more significant your injuries, the greater your medical expenses, lost wages and lost future earning capacity.
Virginia personal injury law is our pond. We have the experience to help you get the care you need and the monetary recovery to help make you whole and fully compensated.
Who was at fault? In the state of Virginia, you can only collect from the insurance company if you are not at fault in the accident. If you are partially at fault in an accident, even 1%, you will not be able to recover from the insurance carrier. This is called “contributory negligence”. If liability is at all questioned, you need an experienced lawyer.
After an accident, the insurance companies may want to take a recorded statement from you. If you agree to give a recorded statement, the insurance company may try to get you to admit things about the accident. Adjusters are trained to get you to make what appear to be minor or erroneous admissions that seem small at the time, but that their lawyers will exploit in the future.
The amount of insurance coverage that is available for your claim will make a substantial difference in larger injury settlements. If you collided with a corporate company vehicle that caused your accident, it is very likely the business has extensive insurance coverage to cover large insurance claims. If the driver of the other car has substantial insurance and they caused the accident, then you have a greater likelihood of a greater recovery.
Unfortunately, many people do not have more than the statutory minimum $25,000 insurance policy because it costs so much. In these instances, the payout you receive will be limited to the insurance policy, if they have coverage. If the other driver causes an accident and doesn’t have coverage, you may not be able to recover any damages at all, unless you have your own policy.
Big corporations often have bigger insurance coverage policies, but you cannot recover more in damages just because the driver is well-insured. A larger insurance policy does not mean you will get more money unless the mediators or court decides you are entitled to a larger financial settlement. Your case value will be determined by how well your attorney educates the jury about the extent of your injury and damage.
Learn How Much Your Case Is Really Worth
Factors that influence the amount of the final award or settlement in your case are multiple, and assessing the realistic value of cases is best left to the counsel of attorneys who have recovered millions and done thousands of cases.
The experienced PI lawyers at Cravens & Noll, P.C. can review all of the details and facts surrounding your case and provide you a real-time assessment of the potential value of your case.
Do Not Delay
One factor that can make a difference is time. With each passing day, the memories fade, the evidence is lost, and the stories evolve. Waiting to get legal representation could prove to be not only detrimental to your case, but the costliest decision you have ever made. If you want the most, hire the best.
Call Cravens & Noll, P.C. at one of their four locations today to begin the investigation and evaluation of your personal injury settlement.
June 8, 2020
Steps to Take After an Auto Accident
Statistics show most people will be in at least one auto accident by the time a driver is in their mid 30s. They also show there are six million accidents in the USA every year. Of these accidents, roughly 1 in 3 involve personal injuries. A small percentage of these accidents result in fatalities.
Hopefully, you will not be involved in an auto accident, but if you are, here are the steps to take after your accident.
1. Assess your Health and Injuries
Immediately following the accident, your health and safety should be your first consideration. Have you been injured? If so, this is your first priority.
If you have other passengers in the car with you, this is the moment to come together and help each other. Ask them if they are okay. Care for all of the passengers in your car before doing anything else.
2. Be safe
In Virginia, you are not supposed to move your cars after being in an accident before the police arrive. Carry flares or cones with you in the car, and put these out to alert other drivers of the danger ahead. Turn on your flashers if you find yourself in an accident of some sort.
3. Call the police
As soon as possible, call the police. Don’t assume the drivers or passengers in the other vehicle will call. You don’t know the intentions of the other people, or if they may be injured. The police will give you the information from the other driver so you can file a claim with their insurance company.
4. Write down your statement to the police
Think about what happened in the accident. Write down all of the facts of your accident as best you can remember. Even if you think you might be at fault for the accident, it is not for you to decide.
Do not admit fault even if you think it may have been your fault. The police officer will collect the facts of the accident at the scene to make determinations about who is guilty. If you believe you are not guilty and still get a ticket, you will still have the opportunity to plead your case with the judge in court.
5. Take Photos If Possible
It is a great idea to take photos after the accident. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to only take photos of the damaged vehicles. It is better to take as many photos as possible.
You may have to do this inconspicuously, but take photos of every individual involved. If there is a family in the other car, take note of the number of passengers there. Take pictures of the intersection where the accident occurred. If blinding sunlight or other weather conditions played a role, take a photo of these too.
The goal is to gather as much evidence as possible for the accident attorney who may be reviewing your case.
6. File a Claim With the Insurance Company
Your insurance company expects you to file a claim for your auto accident. If you know the other driver was at fault, you should contact the other driver’s insurance company first before getting your company involved. If the other driver is at fault and doesn’t have insurance, you may have coverage under your own policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.
7. Hire an Attorney and Protect Your Rights
Remember, the insurance company is always looking out for themselves first, and they will try to pay out as little as possible. This is why you need legal representation in an automobile accident.
Cravens & Noll has decades of experience in dealing with insurance companies. We know the strategies they use to try to minimize their losses, and this is where we can help.
Contact our offices today in Richmond or Harrisonburg to speak to one of our representatives and protect your legal rights after your auto accident.
June 4, 2020
Can Immigrants Sue for Personal Injury Damages?
When immigrants are involved in personal injury cases, they have the right to sue liable parties for injuries and damages just as an American citizen may. Qualified attorneys have the experience needed to navigate the unique challenges facing documented and undocumented immigrants in civil lawsuits. Many immigrants in Virginia have had success winning judgments against people who caused harm to them. Do not be afraid. We will help you receive just compensation.
The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution gives documented immigrants the right to work, live in the United States, and serve in the armed forces. These rights also include the ability to sue citizens and other immigrants just like US citizens. State and federal courts have consistently maintained these rights throughout the country. If you are in an auto accident as an immigrant, you can pursue liable parties for your injuries and damages if they are found guilty.
The laws for undocumented immigrants are different from state and state. In many states, it does not make any difference if you are a legal immigrant. The federal government has left it up to the states to decide how to manage cases involving undocumented citizens.
Fortunately, the Virginia Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue. Illegal immigrants hold the same rights as legal immigrants and can pursue lawsuits regarding personal injury matters. An immigrant’s immigration status will not be considered when these cases process through the court system.
There are some states where the courts do not provide the same legal protections to undocumented immigrants. The jurisdiction is determined by where the accident occurred and is not influenced by the home states of the parties involved in the lawsuit.
There has been some confusion about medical costs that can be recovered in legal lawsuits. Not only can an individual recover their property and medical expenses, but the insurance company can recover other damages too. If you are still in the midst of treatment with an unknown end date, you can recover damages as long as it takes for you to recover from your injuries.
Many people sue for lost wages. You could also potentially sue for other damages in more serious lawsuits. Pain and suffering are often recovered in these cases. Permanent disfigurement and other issues could continue for many years, leaving your life permanently changed. If you are suffering from permanent disability, you could claim for diminished future earning capacity. If you are in a position where you can never work again, there are many issues you will want to address with an attorney.
After an accident, the court system tries to make you “whole” again so you can return to normal health when possible without experiencing significant financial hardship.
Get In Touch With An Attorney
Trying to work with an insurance company without legal representation is risky in many incidents. It is their goal to pay out as little as possible for your insurance claim, but an experienced attorney has the knowledge to make sure you receive the most favorable outcome.
Cravens & Noll has 30 years of experience helping immigrants recover from their personal injury cases. Contact us today to find out how we can help navigate this difficult season of life.
May 12, 2020
Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
In the unfortunate event of an accident, whether from driving, medical negligence, or even a simple slip-and-fall, you should know the necessary steps to take. Before speaking to any insurance company or trying to resolve the issue yourself, it’s important to consult a personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury attorney is trained and experienced in helping you receive the compensation you deserve after an accident. You may think a lawyer is unnecessary for your case, whether you’ve already made an informal agreement with the other party or you believe you have sustained only minor damage.
No matter the size of your case, you should consult with a lawyer to make sure you receive advice and counsel the help you need. We’ve written this blog post to give you some examples of when you should consult a lawyer after an accident.
1. If You’re Unfamiliar With Personal Injury Law
While you may think you have a simple open-and-shut case, there is always room for complication. The other party might decide to hire a lawyer, or the insurance company may not be able to fully support you. By consulting a lawyer, you’re instantly giving yourself a better chance at a more informed and favorable settlement.
According to a poll from Martindale-Nolo Research, 91% of people who had an attorney received a payout, while only 51% of people without an attorney saw a payout. With a personal injury lawyer in your corner, you give yourself the gift of peace of mind by providing yourself more time to focus on the more important matters, your health, your medical treatment, your family, and your work.
2. If You Sustained a Serious Injury or Permanent Disability
Many serious accidents leave victims with long-term injuries or even worse, permanent disabilities. These injuries can greatly affect your ability to perform daily tasks, like taking care of yourself or doing your job. Depending on the severity, they can get worse over time, affecting you for the rest of your life.
Some aches and pains that appear soon after an accident are or can also become more serious injuries if left unchecked. It’s important to keep an eye on how your body feels after the accident. If you’re in a situation where you have debilitating pain or developed a disability due to an accident, then you should consult a personal injury attorney, and a physician.
An experienced lawyer can help you figure out how much your injuries have cost you, and how to make sure the party who caused the accident pays for your medical expenses, damages and injuries.
3. When It’s Difficult to Prove Fault
In many cases, it can be difficult to tell who is at fault for an accident, either due to the circumstances of the accident, or because there are multiple parties involved. In both cases, it’s helpful to have an attorney on your side to make sure you aren’t forced to cover damages for something that’s not your fault.
A lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of dealing with multiple parties and insurance companies. Your lawyer can steer you in the right direction, help you prove fault, and by capturing the evidence necessary to prevail and recover full value for your injury claim.
4. If the Insurance Company is Denying Your Claim
When negotiating with insurance companies, it can be difficult to know everything you need to include when making your claim. These companies know this and are not afraid to use it as a way to deny your claim. An attorney can even the playing field.
A personal injury lawyer can walk you through the best way for the layman to interact with the insurance company, giving you the best possibility of a positive result. Your attorney will always be on your side and give you a fighting chance.
5. Still Unsure if You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Every accident case is unique. Luckily, it’s easy to consult a personal injury attorney who can review your case and provide insightful advice on the best steps to take and move forward. Cravens & Noll has attorneys who are recognized as leaders in the personal injury field.
At Cravens and Noll, we have decades of experience in a wide variety of personal injury cases from auto, trucking and boat accidents to hospital and nursing home negligence. We offer consultation with our talented and proven team of attorneys who will work with your particular situation to provide the best possible representation.
Find out more about our personal injury attorneys here.
May 7, 2020
Make Sure To Take These Photos After a Car Accident
If you have ever been in a car accident, you know those first few moments after the accident are very emotional. You are probably not thinking about taking photos or preserving the evidence you may need after an accident. Your first instinct might be to get angry if you know the accident was not your fault. After those first few moments, you will begin to evaluate your health and whether you sustained any injuries.
Once you know you are okay, your next instinct will be to check on your passengers. Are the children okay? Is your spouse okay? If everyone in your car is well, the next thought might be to check on the well-being of the passengers of the other car(s) involved in the accident.
Once you know everybody is okay, it is time to start gathering information. Unfortunately, some people forget to take photos of the accident scene. These photos can be crucial to your claim with the insurance company, and your attorney wants to see these photos too.
The next time you’re involved in an automobile accident, these are the photos you want to capture:
Photos of All Drivers and Passengers
Take pictures of anyone involved with the accident. This includes not only all of the people in your vehicle, but also the people in other vehicles too. You also want to take photos of other people at the scene such as officers, medical personnel, and especially witnesses. It is always good to get as much documentation as possible of other people involved at the scene of the incident.
Why You Should Take Pictures of Everyone
While it may seem cumbersome to take photos of everyone at the scene, there are many instances where stories change after everything is cleaned up. Suddenly, people in the other car claim they have whiplash, or there’s an extra passenger you never saw at the scene that day. Some people will try to take advantage of the insurance companies by claiming injuries to get a payout. By taking photos of all the parties involved, you will know for sure who actually was involved in the accident.
If anyone has visible injuries, you may want to take photos of the injuries of all parties if possible. This will provide documentation of the injuries right after they occurred.
Photos at Different Angles and Distances
Again, you want to have as much photo documentation as possible after an accident. Start with photos all around the accident scene. Inspect the road for debris from the cars, skid marks, road defects, and any other feature which might have been a determining factor in the accident.
Get Photos Before Tow Trucks Arrive
Once the tow trucks and the police arrive, the vehicles are going to be moved, so you want to try to take photos of the resting place of all vehicles. Take enough photographs so any lawyer, claims representative or anybody investigating the accident can visualize where the vehicles stopped after the crash. This photographic evidence will help further substantiate your account of how the accident occurred.
Consider the Weather
If it is a really cold day, this may play a role in the accident. Take photos of ice on the roadways. If there was a downpour or thunderstorm at the time of the crash, take a short video documenting this too. If one of the vehicles crashed due to blinding sunlight, you want to document this too.
Watch the Traffic Signals
In addition, take a few minutes to watch the traffic signals if the accident occurred near a major intersection. Are the lights working correctly? Are the traffic lights out because of a bad thunderstorm? Take photos of the intersection including the lights, and take short videos if you notice anything unusual about the traffic lights.
Is there a disagreement about who had the green light? See if there are witnesses who saw who had the right of way.
Get Photos of Traffic Lanes and Signs
In addition to the vehicles and the traffic signals, you also want to take a few moments to capture images of the traffic lanes and highway signs at the intersection. Capture an image of a yield sign or a stop sign, especially if a sign is partially obscured by a tree or other object.
Get Photos of Driver Information
Finally, you should take photos of the other driver’s license and insurance card. Be especially wary if the other driver doesn’t want to give you their insurance information. This could be because they are uninsured.
Contact an Attorney
After the event is over, you probably need to seek legal counsel. The attorneys at Cravens & Noll, P.C. have been representing parties involved in car accidents all over Virginia for 30 years. We have a team of lawyers and injury trained legal assistants who will represent and assist to make sure you are fairly compensated for your damages and injuries.
Contact us today to begin the process of getting your life back in order!