Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
Toll-free: 877-622-8100

Author: Jon Montagna

What is Virginia’s Good Samaritan Law?

woman receiving medical attention after a car accident

Whether you drive every day or infrequently, you never expect to witness an accident. If you do, however, the next question you might ask yourself is, do you stop? Do you help them? No law says you must stay and help the victims. You may even worry that if you do help, it could create the basis for that person to sue you for doing something wrong. In Virginia, the Good Samaritan Law can protect you in these circumstances. If you or a loved one experience a car accident and require legal assistance, contact the experienced auto accident attorneys at Montagna Klein Camden at 757-622-8100.

What Does the Good Samaritan Law Cover in Virginia?

The Good Samaritan law in Virginia generally protects individuals who attempt to help and render aid to victims at the scene of an emergency. As long as you act in what is considered a reasonable manner to help that person, this law can shield you from liability.

This means you are immune to civil liability if injuries or death occur when rendering emergency assistance or aid to an individual at risk for further injury or under life-threatening conditions.

The law itself is broadly encompassing when it comes to emergency care situations. Some of the general inclusions are:

  • Removing or helping to remove a person from a vehicle that causes further threats, such as a burning car or a crashed vehicle stopped in a dangerous location (e.g., an intersection or blind curve in a roadway)
  • Administering first aid at the scene of an accident or other emergency
  • Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or using an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Assisting in the delivery of a baby if you are unable to get to a doctor’s office quick enough
  • Applying pressure to stop arterial bleeding
  • Using an epi-pen to administer epinephrine
  • Administering Naloxone for an opioid or other drug overdose
  • Assisting at the request of law enforcement or other rescue personnel, such as to remove hazardous material

Rendering such emergency care, with or without training, can make all the difference in the life of that person. Fortunately, the Code of Virginia supports such actions and protects you in most situations.

Why Does Virginia Have the Good Samaritan Law?

Woman calling emergency services after an auto accident

Virginia has a Good Samaritan law to encourage citizens to help each other in emergency situations where quick action is necessary and there is not enough time for medical professionals to arrive. Car accidents and other emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere. Often, it is the minutes that follow that count the most. Knowing that an individual can stop and help without being held liable for injuries or death can limit hesitation and save lives.

The Virginia Good Samaritan law is also valuable for defining what constitutes a good Samaritan act and provides the conditions that must be met to avoid liability.

Specifically, the Good Samaritan law will apply if:

  • You act in good faith, with the only intention being to help someone avoid further harm or death.
  • Your action is voluntary, and you do not expect compensation.
  • No gross negligence (reckless or wanton misconduct) occurs; that is, you do not act unreasonably in any way.
  • You made reasonable attempts to contact first responders, including the police, fire department, or paramedics, by calling 911 and reporting the circumstances and need for emergency medical assistance.

What is the Penalty for Violating the Good Samaritan Law?

For the Virginia Good Samaritan law to shield you from legal liability, you must act reasonably and in good faith. Defining these terms specifically can become challenging and problematic, but doing so is essential should your actions come into question.

As for reasonable, the actions of the good Samaritan must match that of a reasonable and prudent person when put in the same or similar situation. Good faith is a term that refers to the state of mind or purpose behind your actions.

Those who, in some definable way, fail to act reasonably and in good faith when assisting someone in an emergency care situation violate the Good Samaritan Law. This violation may be from wanton or willful misconduct or reckless behavior, and the other party may decide to sue for civil damages.

For purposes of this section, examples of what can violate the law include:

  • Rendering emergency care in the form of chest compressions that break the victim’s ribs without checking for a pulse or breathing.
  • Pulling an injured person from a burning car and placing them in further harm’s way, such as directly in the path of oncoming vehicles.

For each case, an in-depth analysis will be imperative to determine what is reasonable and how actions and any poor judgment may have played a role. For this, seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney will be invaluable.

If you are an accident victim, you must seek legal advice as soon as possible. You will want to confirm that your agreed-upon settlement from the insurance company covers all accident injuries, including those resulting from a good Samaritan act. Since personal injury cases can take a long time to settle, medical bills can pile up and add more stress, which you do not want to happen.

What Should You Do if You Witness a Car Accident?

If you witness a car accident, you should take the following steps while at the scene.

Get to Safety

Get to safety as quickly as possible. Accidents can cause dangerous situations for you and other drivers. Park far enough away from the danger and initiate your flashing hazard lights. If you see a safe way to proceed to the aid of the car accident victim, do so. If not, stay put and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

Call 911

Immediately call 911 to report the accident, its location, and as many details as possible to a dispatcher. Never assume someone else has already done so.

Check for Injuries Requiring Medical Attention

Assess the car accident victims as you approach the motor vehicle while keeping your safety in mind at all times. Talk to those that are conscious and ask about their injuries. Do not attempt to move them or render aid unless circumstances warrant quick action. Wait for emergency medical services (EMTs) personnel to arrive.

Give a Statement

Once the police arrive, you will need to give a witness statement. Inform them that you are an eyewitness and give details to the questions they ask. Mention if you had to provide medical care to the victims, and give your full name and contact information.

What Will You Do in an Emergency?

Being in an accident or witnessing one can be an overwhelming experience. You may sustain injuries or attempt to help someone as a good samaritan. Whichever of these emergency situations you find yourself in, seek the legal advice of Montagna Law in Hampton Roads. We proudly serve those in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk by reviewing the circumstances surrounding the emergency situation, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court if it needs to go that far. Find out how we can help you specifically by calling 757-622-8100 or using our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

How Is A Car Accident Case Affected By The Eggshell Skull Rule?

Worried that a pre-existing condition might bar you from receiving compensation after a car accident? While pre-existing conditions can make getting compensation a bit more difficult, being more susceptible to injuries does not mean insurance will bar you from recovering compensation.

The eggshell skull rule can help ensure that you are eligible to collect damages after a car crash and that your pre-existing medical conditions do not bar you from compensation. If you have never heard of this rule, continue reading to see how it might benefit you and how the personal injury attorneys at Montagna Klein Camden can help your claim.

Does Virginia Follow the Eggshell Skull Rule?

The answer is yes; Virginia does follow the eggshell skull doctrine. However, taking advantage of this legal doctrine may require help from a qualified personal injury law firm.

The Meaning of the Eggshell Skull Rule

The eggshell skull rule, or thin skull rule, is a common-law doctrine that says that a tortfeasor cannot complain if the accident victims’ physical injuries are more serious than they otherwise would have been because the victim has a pre-existing vulnerability like a thin skull. A tortfeasor is the at-fault party in an accident, literally the person who committed the tort.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court first established this rule in 1891. Since then has been adopted by many states, including Virginia. The origins of the eggshell skull rule come from an intentional tort where an assailant attacked someone without knowing their condition. That person had a medical predisposition leading to a severely damaged skull. The courts ruled that all injuries suffered from the intentional tort must be paid for, regardless of whether the assailant was aware of the pre-existing condition.

The same doctrine applies in car accident cases. It is commonly expressed as “take the victim as you find them.” This means that when an accident victim suffers a more severe injury due to a pre-existing vulnerability, the at-fault driver is responsible, even if an average person would not have suffered the same injury without the presence of such a condition.

Even with the eggshell skull doctrine in place, however, the insurance companies responsible for the injuries in personal injury cases may still deny coverage to the injured person. Because of this, you must have a qualified Virginia personal injury lawyer in your corner.

The attorneys at Montagna Law are experienced in personal injury claims where the eggshell skull rule applies. If you have suffered serious injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, contact us today at 757-622-8100 or fill out our online form for a free consultation about your case.

What Are the Factors in Determining if the Eggshell Skull Rule Can Be Applied in a Case?

Woman sitting down having her eyes examined by a doctor

In Virginia, your medical records will be essential in a personal injury case to prove that you suffered a more severe injury than a normal person in a car accident because of your pre-existing injury. These medical records and testimony from health care experts will establish your pre-existing injury.

Jury instructions in a trial are also important. As the plaintiff, you and your personal injury lawyer must request that the judge issue the eggshell skull rule to instruct the jury at the beginning of the proceedings.

A major factor is that you cannot sue for the aggravation of an existing injury. The eggshell plaintiff must prove that their existing condition and resulting frailty make them more susceptible to new injury than the average person. The injury in question must be a result of causation, not aggravation.

If, for example, a car accident re-aggravates an existing neck injury, you cannot use the thin skull rule. On the other hand, if you have brittle bone syndrome that causes you to experience multiple fractures that a normal person might not experience, the eggshell skull rule can apply.

Does the Eggshell Skull Rule Apply to Emotional Injuries?

The eggshell skull rule absolutely applies to emotional injuries. Plaintiffs are entitled to pain and suffering as well as other non-economic damages for the harm they endure due to an accident. An accident victim can suffer physical pain and emotional trauma from injuries.

Some victims may be more predisposed to emotional trauma than average people. These victims may suffer from pre-existing mental health conditions that make them vulnerable to additional conditions. If, for example, a person is diagnosed with depression or anxiety, they may be more predisposed to develop severe post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, due to a car accident.

The Eggshell Skull Rule Differs From the Crumbling Skull Rule

The crumbling skull rule is different from the eggshell skull rule and, in many ways, is counter to it. This rule states that the defendant is not responsible for restoring the victim to a better state than they experienced before the accident. They only have a legal obligation to restore the plaintiff to the state they held before the accident.

This means they are responsible for the medical bills needed to repair damage from the accident but not for medical bills required to repair the pre-existing condition from before the accident. For this reason, insurance companies often try to blur the lines in these cases. They might claim that you are seeking so much in damages that you are looking for a windfall to place you in a better situation.
The best way to fight back against these accusations is with the help of an experienced attorney. The right attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to show that your injuries are the result of the accident and that the money and damages you seek are only to restore your pre-accident function, not to try to improve your situation beyond where you originally began.

What Are the Complications of the Rule in Virginia?

The eggshell skull rule establishes that the at-fault person is responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries regardless of how unpredictable those injuries might be. They must accept the existing conditions of the plaintiff as they are. Among the biggest issues, however, is drawing the line for damages.

Pre-existing conditions can muddle and blur how much the defendant is responsible for paying. How much, for example, will restore the plaintiff to their pre-accident condition?

The insurance company and attorneys for the defendant will almost always try to argue that the injuries are aggravations of the condition rather than new injuries. Essentially, while the plaintiff argues that the eggshell doctrine makes them more eligible for compensation, the insurance company argues that the pre-existing vulnerability makes them less eligible.

Emotional damages carry the same issue in an eggshell skull case and can be even trickier. The defendant will be ordered to pay based on the plaintiff’s individual condition, but insurance companies will often try to use existing mental conditions to argue for aggravation instead of new conditions. Having the right lawyer in your corner can go a long way toward fighting for compensation to cover the full physical and mental injuries you suffer in an accident.

The eggshell skull rule does not impose a higher duty of care upon a plaintiff. You must still prove negligence under the standard rules in any personal injury case; that is, that the defendent acted in an irresponsible manner contrary to how a reasonable person would act in a similar situation, that their actions led to the accident, and that your injuries are a result of the accident. The only thing the eggshell doctrine offers is additional help regarding the causation of your injury.

Why Hire an Attorney for Your Virginia Car Accident?

Attorney shaking hands with clients at his desk

Eggshell skull cases can get extremely complex. Building the right case to prove that your injury was caused by a vulnerability you already had rather than an aggravation of that vulnerability can be difficult. If you can do so, it can improve your case, but at the same time, the other side will try to argue the exact opposite.

Hiring a personal injury attorney is vital to fighting for maximum compensation in your injury case. When people try to represent themselves, they tend to earn less and lose their cases more frequently. Many studies prove that those with legal counsel can earn more than three times that of those who handle their own claim.

The reasons for this are simple and twofold. First, claimants generally do not have the knowledge they need to prove negligence and validate their injuries. Second, the defendant will have insurance companies and attorneys on their side who do have this knowledge.

Attorneys can also help you avoid critical mistakes. Insurance companies will try to trick, cajole, and even bully you into signing off on insufficient offers. If you sign such papers, you could lose your right to compensation. Your lawyer will help you file all the required paperwork and meet important deadlines like the statute of limitations. They can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and allow you to focus on getting well again.

At Montagna Law, we know how to fight back against bullying insurance companies and make the law work for you. We will work hard to build a case and fight for your rights every step of the way. We will bring decades of experience to the table and be a compassionate ally in your fight for justice.

Do Not Feel Fragile. Work with Us to Build a Strong Case.

You should not be barred from compensation just because you have a pre-existing condition. You deserve to be paid for the harm you suffered by a reckless or careless driver. If you were in a car accident and need help seeking compensation, the experienced car accident lawyers at Montagna Klein Camden are ready to help. Reach out to us at 757-622-8100 or fill out our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation regarding your case today.

Why Aren’t My Car Accident Injuries Aren’t Covered By My Settlement?

When you have been in an accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Unfortunately, 43% of adults are inadequately insured in 2022, and if you are among that group, you may be reluctant to pursue medical care due to the inevitable high medical bills. Getting a car accident settlement from insurance, unfortunately, can take time, and hospitals often demand payment immediately. Even when you do get a personal injury settlement, it sometimes may not be enough to cover your basic medical treatment costs.

If you need help negotiating your medical expenses after a car accident settlement, the personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Montagna Klein Camden may be able to help. We will fight for your right to compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses and damages after an auto accident.

How Are Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident in Virginia?

Virginia is a fault-based state for personal injury claims. According to state personal injury law, the at-fault party’s auto insurance company is required to pay your medical bills after an accident. Normally, your health insurance carrier will initially pay for your medical bills after the car accident. As normal, you will be responsible for covering any co-pays or deductibles out of pocket. It is common, however, for your health insurance provider to issue a medical lien while the case is ongoing.

A medical lien is a legal statement that the health insurance company has the right to recover money spent on your medical bills. Usually, this reimbursement comes from any personal injury settlement amount you get through the process of subrogation, but the insurance carrier can take other actions as well.

Many drivers in Virginia opt for med pay coverage on their car insurance policy. Med pay is a form of personal injury protection (PIP) that exists to cover you and those in your car in the case of an accident. If you have med pay, it can be used to pay for medical costs and lost wages after an accident. Medicare and Medicaid can sometimes also help cover costs if you have this coverage, but again, the healthcare providers may put a medical lien against your eventual settlement.

I Cannot Afford to Pay My Medical Bills. What Should I Do?

Insurance claim paperwork

Personal injury cases can take a long time to settle, and it is not uncommon for accident victims to have difficulty paying their medical bills. Even an emergency room visit, after all, can be extremely expensive.

If your healthcare provider offers an insufficient settlement that will not even cover your initial injuries, let alone those requiring long-term treatment, it may be worth fighting for a higher settlement offer. That, unfortunately, can take even longer to resolve. In the meantime, do not eschew paying medical bills. Reach out to the hospital or medical providers to see if you can arrange a payment plan.

Do Not Leave Medical Bills Unpaid

Outstanding medical bills that go unpaid can do serious damage to your credit rating that will last for years, even if your case gets resolved and you later get the settlement to pay them off. Because a personal injury case can take several years to resolve and hospital bills are issued within a few weeks, failing to address the issue could see you sent to a debt collection agency. It is vital that whatever you do, you address the issue.

Arrange a Payment Plan With the Hospital

Many healthcare providers will be willing to work with you to set up payment plans for your medical costs. Some hospitals may be willing to wait for the case to be settled. If they agree to this, be sure to have them put it in writing. This written statement will become important if you get sent to collections in the future.

If your hospital will not forbear your payment until your case is settled, see if you can work out a monthly payment with an amount of money you can afford in the meantime. Most hospitals will be understanding and simply want to get paid. They do not want to send you collections, as this can result in them getting less money overall.

If you are having a difficult time arranging payment for your out-of-pocket medical costs, your personal injury attorney at Montagna Law may be able to help. Call our law offices at 757-622-8100 or use our online contact form for a free consultation and legal advice about your case today.

What Medical Expenses Am I Entitled to Recover After a Car Accident?

It is vital that your eventual personal injury settlement covers all expenses related to your car accident. Your personal injury lawyer can help you calculate the true cost of your injuries. The portion of your settlement that covers your medical expenses should cover all of your medical bills related to the accident.

These include your doctor’s office visits, the cost of medication, diagnostics, medical procedures like surgery, physical therapy, and even transportation to and from your medical appointments. Medical bills can even include the costs of any necessary in-home care, like a visiting nurse or wound care specialist to treat you while you are recovering.

Your full injury settlement should cover more than just basic medical costs. It should also cover your lost wages and loss of potential future income as well as any non-economic damages like pain and suffering that you undergo. In a wrongful death case, you may even be eligible for funeral and burial costs, among other benefits.

What Should I Do if My Car Accident Settlement Is Not Enough to Cover My Injuries?

man wearing a leg cast looking distraught at paperwork

Many people are shocked when they discover that despite a high award, they may not recover all of the money they are entitled to receive. The higher your potential compensation amount, in fact, the more likely it is that you will exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits. The insurance company may only pay you up to the limits of the insurance coverage in this case.

It is true that the at-fault driver is still technically responsible for paying the rest out of pocket, but it can be hard to collect money that they do not have to pay. Your personal injury lawyer from Montagna Law may be able to help you pursue avenues to collect the remainder of the money they owe.

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid?

After you come to an agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, your money is delivered either in a lump sum or a structured payment, depending on the nature of your agreement. The vast majority of personal injury settlements are awarded in a lump sum. Structured settlements are much rarer.

It is important to note, however, that even a structured settlement is not an ongoing payment for future medical bills. It is a means of dividing your total initial award into a series of payments. Your injury attorney will estimate the total cost of your bills past, present, and future in the course of your personal injury case, and that figure is what you will receive. Structured settlements are usually best in situations where you are afraid you will spend your entire lump sum and want some security against that.

Do I Have to Pay My Medical Bills From My Personal Injury Settlement?

Yes. Oftentimes, you do have to pay your medical bills out of your personal injury settlement. As mentioned above, your medical provider may place a lien on your settlement and collect reimbursement for your costs through the process of subrogation.

Subrogation is a legal concept that allows a party to seek reimbursement from someone who is legally liable for money that the initial party forwards. In this case, your insurance company paid your medical bills, and you owe them repayment out of your award.

Virginia has complex laws regarding this reimbursement. The state code does have an anti-subrogation statute prohibiting healthcare insurance providers from including subrogation clauses in contracts that are issued within the state. Federal laws, however, pre-empt this anti-subrogation statute in certain cases.

This is one reason why it is so important to have a Virginia car accident attorney in your corner. They can help you negotiate not just a settlement for your accident but also with your insurance company regarding how they will be reimbursed.

What Will Be Deducted From My Personal Injury Settlement?

The two primary expenses that will be deducted from your personal injury settlement are medical bills and attorney fees. It is also, however, important to understand that your settlement will not be split into the amount you get for medical bills, the amount you get for lost wages, and the like. Regardless of what factors were included in the negotiations, when the settlement is delivered, it will simply be a lump sum of money.

This means that if your medical bills exceed the amount given, you could lose all of your settlement to medical bills, even the portion that was negotiated to cover your lost wages and pain and suffering. No portion of your settlement amount is in any way shielded from reimbursing your insurance carrier for the medical bills owed.

Montagna Law does work on a contingency fee basis, though. You can have peace of mind knowing that you will not owe us anything in attorney’s fees if we do not win your case. This also means that we will fight for you every step of the way. We not only care very deeply about the rights of our customers and value the integrity of our attorney-client relationship, but it is also in our best interest to fight for justice for you.

Can I Negotiate My Medical Bills After My Car Accident Settlement?

Several avenues are open to negotiate medical bills after a car accident settlement. The most direct of these is to simply call the hospital directly and negotiate payment. The first step is to ask the hospital for an itemized bill of your costs. This allows you to review the treatment and ensure that all of the charges are correct. It is not uncommon for hospital bills to contain incorrect information, including codes for procedures, duplicate charges, and even incorrect insurance information.

Next, look for other means to pay. You may be eligible for Medicaid and not realize it. You may have overlooked your med pay coverage. Some accident victims may be eligible for financial assistance for low-income patients under federal statutes, but the hospital may not automatically qualify you, and you may have to request this aid.

After you have explored all of these avenues, you can simply tell the hospital that you cannot afford the costs and ask them to reduce the charges. Specifically ask to be reduced to the Medicare rate, which healthcare providers are often willing to do and can come at a significant discount. Be willing to do a bit of fighting; you may even need to file a grievance with the hospital. Persistence, however, can result in significant discounts.

Have Your Lawyer Do the Talking

Woman sitting down holding crutches across from a woman talking on the phone

Never discount your attorney’s ability to help you negotiate costs. If the hospital refuses to negotiate with you, your attorney may have more pull with them. The process can take a few more months, but the attorneys at Montagna Law have decades of experience at the negotiating table and know how to stand up for your rights against at-fault drivers and your own healthcare provider if needed. While we cannot promise any specific results, you may even find that you come out of the process debt-free.

Wipe Away Expensive Medical Bills With Established Legal Representation

The personal injury lawyers at Montagna Klein Camden know how to make the law work for you. If you were hurt in a car accident or any other type of accident, you do not have to face your case alone. Our law offices can take on the fight against bullying insurance companies to earn you all the compensation you deserve while you focus on getting well again.

The law is complicated, and the defendant will have powerful insurance providers and lawyers on their side. We can stand up to even the playing field and increase your chances of securing the fair and full compensation you deserve for your hospital bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Request a free, no-obligation consultation through our online contact form, or call us at 757-622-8100.

What To Do After A Delivery Driver Auto Accident

In 1993, a woman won a $79M lawsuit against Domino’s after a delivery driver struck her car, causing serious injuries. The company used to offer free pizza if it took more than 30 minutes to deliver, but it was forced to change the policy after a series of lawsuits, which included this one.

Flash forward to 2022, and there are several kinds of delivery drivers on the roads. These days, pretty much anyone can deliver for Uber Eats, Grubhub, or even Amazon. With the holidays coming up, there may be more of these vehicles on the road rushing to meet demand. If you are in an accident involving delivery, as a driver or non-driver, the auto accident lawyers at Montagna Klein Camden may be able to help you collect compensation from the insurance company.

Take Note: Most Insurance Policies Do Not Cover Commercial Driving

Understanding what your insurance policy covers and what it does not is crucial today. For instance, car insurance does not include coverage for commercial driving, which means accidents while delivering for others are not covered.

Personal insurance policies rarely cover any business use of the vehicle, including for delivery services. The exception to this is when your policy contains a special provision allowing for delivery driver insurance. Without it, you will be unable to use your personal car insurance after an accident. It is beneficial for delivery drivers to consider purchasing separate insurance designed for this type of work. If you do already have a commercial driver policy, you may be covered under liability insurance if an accident occurs.

Can Delivery Drivers Collect Workers’ Comp in Virginia?

Delivery worker handing over a bag of groceries

Whether a delivery driver can collect workers’ comp depends on their employment status. For example, someone working for Pizza Hut or Domino’s full-time may be eligible, but an independent contractor will not be covered.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act requires that employers with three or more employees carry insurance to cover work-related injuries occurring during working hours. Independent contractors, however, are not considered employees and thus are not eligible for the workers’ compensation coverage. Signing an independent contractor agreement will not make the driver an employee.

In some circumstances, however, a worker’s status as to whether they are indeed an independent contractor or an employee becomes complicated and requires the legal review and advice of an accident lawyer before going in front of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

What Happens If You Get into an Accident While Doing Uber Eats or Another Delivery Service?

If you get into a car or truck accident as a delivery driver, what happens next depends on the individual policies of the company. Some delivery service companies provide insurance coverage for drivers, while others remove themselves entirely from providing protection of any type. Knowing what the company you drive for carries will determine how to approach your own personal insurance coverage selections.

Food Delivery Services

Uber Eats

Uber provides insurance coverage for drivers and assists them through the claims process should a motor vehicle accident occur. The company maintains uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage on the behalf of drivers also. You will contact the company first, and someone will help you with the next steps after an accident.

Door Dash

Door Dash drivers, if injured in an accident while making deliveries, may be eligible for the company’s occupational accident insurance, which requires no premiums, co-pays, or deductibles. This insurance covers medical expenses and disability payments. Drivers will need to reach out to the company after an accident and then may need to contact their personal insurance company.

Grubhub

Grubhub requires its drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance, and you will need to consider commercial coverage through your insurance company as well. Grubhub liability coverage may be available and will depend largely on what delivery phase you are in at the time of the accident. It is recommended that drivers discuss coverage with the company early on before they have any need to pursue claims.

Postmates

Drivers for Postmates must maintain their own insurance. The company does provide insurance in excess of your personal auto insurance coverage for liability. After an accident, the driver must submit an Incident and Accident Report Form with details to Postmates.

Instacart

Instacart does not provide any liability insurance for drivers. The driver will need to consider adding to their personal insurance or submit an accident claim against the other driver if negligence is involved.

Parcel Delivery Services

This category typically refers to delivery packages for non-perishable items, like household items and appliances.

Shipt

Shipt drivers deliver goods from local stores to customers. The company provides liability insurance coverage that is only effective during certain times of delivery. After that, you are not covered. Drivers are often prompted to purchase broader Shipt auto insurance as an option to their personal auto policies, but these can be expensive.

Amazon Flex

Amazon requires delivery drivers to maintain personal insurance coverage. It also provides drivers with its Amazon Commercial Auto Insurance Policy at no cost, and this policy includes liability coverage, uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, and contingent comprehensive & collision coverage. Where and how you file a claim will depend on various factors, including when the accident occurs.

Who is Liable for a Car Accident with a Delivery Driver?

When it comes to who is liable for a car accident with a delivery driver, much will depend on fault. Virginia law has a pure contributory negligence rule, which means the other driver has to be 100% at fault for you to collect damages. You will need to prove this negligence, and the help of an accident attorney will be imperative to raise the chances of success.

Accidents involving delivery drivers often result in multiple claims against different parties also. The process can quickly become complicated, sorting through who is responsible, what insurance companies are involved, and what damages to include. When this happens, hiring a personal injury lawyer to review, evaluate, and examine all insurance policies involved will be highly beneficial.

Potential liable parties following an accident include the following.

The Government

At times, you will find that a government entity is liable for an accident. One example is when the crash involves a USPS vehicle. Another example is when the roadway where the accident occurs is defective in some way, contributing to the accident. The government entity that oversees that roadway may be found liable due to improper maintenance.

The Company

A private company may be liable if an employed driver is involved in an accident while working for them. Examples of this include a truck driver making deliveries, such as is often the case for UPS and Amazon. Other situations may point liability toward the company as well but will need legal review. In some cases, more than one business may be liable, such as trucking companies or manufacturers.

The Individual Driver

The driver is a potential liable party if they drive in some way considered to be negligent, reckless, careless, or distracting. There is a fine line here when determining whether to hold the individual driver responsible. If that driver was working for a company at the time of the accident and fits the definition of an employee, the employer may be liable for damages.

More than one of these parties may be liable, and that is where things get somewhat difficult. For example, if the driver is at-fault for the accident and is an employee of the company or restaurant, they may be partially liable. The accident victim can potentially file a personal injury claim against both the driver and the company.

To determine if you can file a claim against the company, however, your attorney will need to review the insurance policies of the business. Depending on a company’s size, they may have a lot of coverage in place or minimal to none at all for drivers.

Another difficult situation that can occur is when an accident involves a fatality. To determine where to file a wrongful death claim, all factors will need examination, including any negligence on behalf of one of the drivers and the specific policies of any involved companies.

Can I Sue a Company If a Delivery Driver Hits My Car?

Truck and car accident on highway

Car accidents are already confusing enough at times. When one of those involved in the crash is a delivery driver, it can become even more so, and you may be able to sue the company directly. As an example, consider Amazon.

Amazon hires both full-time employees and independent contractors through its flex program. After an accident with a delivery truck or car, it will depend on the driver’s relationship to Amazon as to whether or not you can sue the company. This distinction is key and will factor into the filing of any lawsuit.

When it comes to food delivery, who you can sue may differ for each company. For example, Grubhub may hire independent contractors for driver positions, yet they still share in the responsibility for the drivers’ actions in many circumstances. To wade through everything involved in filing a lawsuit after a vehicle accident, consult with a Virginia personal injury attorney for a case evaluation and legal advice before proceeding.

What To Do If You Get into an Accident with a Delivery Driver

You should always treat an accident with a delivery driver the same as a regular car accident. It will be essential to document everything, including taking photos and videos of the accident scene. Filing a police report with local authorities or the Virginia state police may be helpful if you need to prove the accident happened during work hours.

With the possibility of multiple insurance companies being involved and the often-complicated relationship between a company and its drivers, seeking legal advice will be highly beneficial.

Fight Back Against Risky Delivery Policies

Many companies are putting people’s lives at risk with their food delivery policies, whether it be by encouraging drivers to get to customers quickly, adding more cars to the roads, or hiring young, inexperienced drivers. If you or any loved one are in an accident that involves food delivery and live within the Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, contact the compassionate lawyers at the law firm of Montagna Klein Camden. Call us at (757) 622-8100, or use the online contact form to schedule your absolutely free consultation.

What Should I Do After An Accident in My Rental Car?

Virginia Beach’s flourishing culinary scene, unique tourist attractions, and picturesque beaches attract nearly 7.1 million overnight visitors each year. More drivers may mean more cars on the road, which means more accidents. If you are visiting the city or renting a car due to a recent accident and find yourself colliding with another vehicle, Montagna Klein Camden may be able to help. Call our experienced lawyers at 757-622-8100 or go online to set up a free consultation. You do not have to pay a dime unless we win!

Important Steps to Follow After a Rental Car Accident in Virginia

The last thing a Virginia visitor or resident wants to deal with is the aftermath of a rental car accident. Yet, these accidents happen, and knowing what to do will be highly beneficial for all involved. Start by treating the rental car accident the same as you would a regular car accident, and take these important steps.

Move to Safety

If you are able, move your vehicle with its passengers to safety. This moving can be as simple as pulling further over on the side of the road and will depend on where you are and if you are in the path of traffic. If the rental car is badly damaged, do your best to move away from it and into a safe location nearby.

Gather Evidence

Once you feel safe, you will need to begin gathering evidence. Exchange information with the other driver, including contact information (phone number, address, email), license plate number, and auto insurance policy information. Determine if witnesses are present and obtain their contact information as well. Take photos or videos of the crash scene, vehicle damage, and location. These will serve as evidence and help you establish your insurance claim.

Notify First Responders

Contact first responders for anyone injured in the accident. Also, contact the police so they can file an accident report. This police report will be an important part of your evidence going forward. If the other driver hesitates to provide contact and insurance information to you or seems hostile, wait for the police and obtain the information then.

Contact Your Rental Company

You will need to contact your car rental company and let them know about the accident. The signed rental agreement may have a special number to call in an emergency or to report an accident, or you can find it somewhere in the vehicle. If the car is still drivable, the company may want you to take it to a certain repair shop location. If towing is the only option, they will provide an address for where to take it as well.

Call Your Insurance Provider

Contact your insurance agent or provider as soon as possible if you plan to use your policy as the primary source of coverage. Make a claim and discuss your responsibilities, such as your deductible. Also, let your provider know whether you purchased additional insurance through the rental company.

Who is Responsible for Damages to a Rental Car?

How much damage you are responsible for depends on the insurance that you purchase with your rental car. Most companies offer supplemental insurance, which you may or may not agree to, depending on the insurance you already carry.

Begin by reviewing your rental agreement, which includes at least one clause stating that renters are responsible for damage and total loss of the vehicle. In other words, you are legally bound to return the rental car in the same shape as you found it, regardless of damage resulting from the negligence of another.

Because of this requirement, you will need to determine who is responsible to pay out for the cost of your rental car damages. The potential sources for paying those damages include:

  • Your personal vehicle insurance company
  • Supplemental car insurance purchased with the car rental
  • The credit card company of the card you used to pay for the rental car

If your current car insurance policy covers rentals, that insurance company should pay out for damages once you meet your deductible. Such insurance payouts will include amounts up to your selected insurance limits. When this occurs, however, it can affect your premiums, which may rise due to the filing of an accident claim.

If you purchased supplemental rental car insurance through the rental company, it might overlap with your personal policy coverage. Navigating who pays what may be complicated and seeking legal advice will be beneficial.

In rare instances, you may not have the type of insurance to cover damages and rely on the liability coverage of the car rental company. You will still be responsible for paying damages beyond the rental company’s insurance, so understanding your rights and obligations is imperative.

Overall, who is responsible for damages after a rental car accident can quickly become confusing, and you will benefit by working with an experienced auto accident attorney. Your attorney can evaluate your personal and rental supplemental policies as well as the terms of your credit card agreement.

What Types of Insurance Can I Buy for My Rental Car?

Different rental car companies offer different types of insurance for renters. Supplemental coverage options may include the following.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage provides protection for the driver if, while driving, an event occurs that injures another person. Any medical expenses incurred due to the accident receive coverage up to the policy limits.

This liability insurance coverage under the rental car company will be second to your personal auto policy. It can be beneficial in helping to cover any damages that exceed the limits of your own policy, particularly if the other involved driver carries only the state minimums.

Collision Coverage

Collision insurance coverage is meant to assist with expenses relating to car repairs or replacement costs of the rental vehicle. By purchasing this additional coverage from the rental company, your collision damage waiver covers damages to the car due to a collision.

If damages are the result of reckless driving on your part or that of an unauthorized operator, however, the rental car company will not waive such costs, and you will be responsible.

Also, the rental company may charge you for any loss of rental income for the time the car is out of commission and being repaired. It may also charge you with other fees as allowable by the rental agreement.

Personal Accident Coverage

Personal accident insurance coverage includes costs associated with medical treatment, helping to pay medical bills that arise due to the injuries you sustained in the accident. This coverage may include ambulance transportation and services, medical treatment, and death benefits.

Coverage may overlap with your own insurance policies (car, health, or life), so it may be unnecessary to purchase. Check on your personal policy prior to agreeing to purchase this supplemental coverage.

Credit Card Coverage for Rental Cars

Your credit card company may provide auto rental insurance automatically whenever you use its card to rent a vehicle. This coverage, however, may only apply to the damage to the car itself and not liability. In addition, the credit card coverage will most likely kick in only after you meet your primary insurance coverage limits.

Does Regular Car Insurance Cover a Rental Car Accident?

When it comes to whether regular car insurance will cover a rental car accident, it depends on the coverage you have. Some insurance policies cover damage to rental cars; others may not.

Check whether your policy includes rental car coverage (or rental reimbursement coverage) in addition to your personal vehicle. If so, your insurance will most likely provide you with coverage up to the policy limits.

Can I Sue the Other Driver for Damages to the Rental Car in Virginia?

Virginia follows the at-fault system when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. As such, drivers involved in an accident can sue the other driver for compensation if that driver is found to be at fault.

Reckless driving or negligence on behalf of the other driver can result in liability for any damages occurring in an accident. If you or your passengers suffer injuries in the accident, you do not have to rely solely on compensation from your own insurance company. Instead, you can file a personal injury case against the other driver and seek damages for the following:

  • Reimbursement for medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment

What Happens If the At-Fault Driver Does Not Have Insurance?

In some accidents, the other driver does not have insurance to pay for your injuries and damage. In these cases, they are still financially liable for damages and must pay out-of-pocket. Yet, the other driver may not have the means to pay for all damages, which can put your own finances at risk.

One way to avoid this is to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which will provide protection in such circumstances when at-fault driver’s insurance is non-existent.

Reasons to Hire an Attorney After a Rental Car Accident

Involvement in a rental car accident involves a lot of different factors when it comes to claiming compensation. If you can prove that another driver is at fault, pursuing a claim will be beneficial to recover both economic and non-economic damages, which can be significant. To do so, however, you will need to take legal action with the assistance of an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer.

Your lawyer will identify the liable party or parties and file a personal injury case against them. You will also need to identify liable parties if the accident resulted in a wrongful death. In addition, the legal team will gather evidence to show proof of what you are entitled to as a result of the accident, including any reimbursement, and also file court documents before important deadlines. Such legal deadlines include a set number of days to file a claim following an accident.

Since most people settle in accident claims, eliminating the need to go to court, you may be at the mercy of the insurance company adjuster. Having an attorney speak on your behalf will help you obtain the highest compensation possible for your claim. Discussions may be with your personal insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, or possibly both.

If you can not reach a satisfactory settlement, your case may need to proceed to court, where the decision lies with a judge or jury.

Why Should You Have to Pay for a Rental Car Accident?

Virginia’s legal system protects drivers who are not at fault for an accident from paying damages. An astute lawyer can help you get out of paying out-of-pocket for a rental car accident resulting from another driver’s recklessness or negligence.

If you are in the aftermath of one of these rental car accidents and currently dealing with an insurance company, reach out to our dedicated Hampton Roads car accident lawyers at Montagna Klein Camden. We are here to serve accident victims in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, so give us a call today at 757-622-8100 or go online to schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

Companies With The Most Truck Accidents

In Virginia, several major interstates cut across the commonwealth, such as I-81, 464, I-95, and I-64. It is almost impossible to go without seeing a semi-truck when you drive on an interstate in Virginia.

Trucking companies play an integral part in carrying cargo across the country. This will not stop, but knowing which trucks are the most dangerous might be helpful for you to understand. Armed with this knowledge, you can better protect yourself against getting hit by tractor-trailers or other large trucks.

In the event you are the victim of a commercial truck accident in the Hampton Roads area, the caring personal injury attorneys at Montagna Klein Camden are here for you. To obtain a free consultation, call our law office at 757-622-8100.

 

Which State Has the Most Trucking Accidents?

Thankfully, Virginia is not one of the top three states with the most trucking accidents, but unfortunately, they still occur. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2019, accident statistics showed 100 deaths resulted from truck-related crashes in Virginia. This does not take into account the thousands of injuries occurring every year from collisions with commercial vehicles.

Can You Check the Safety of Individual Trucking Companies?

Fortunately, you can check the safety of interstate trucking companies through a system known as SAFER, which is a part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Federal regulations require interstate trucking companies to report accidents when they cause a fatality, injuries requiring immediate medical treatment, or property damage that results in a vehicle being towed from the accident scene. You can check for the largest trucking companies’ safety records at the federal agency’s official SAFER website.

What is the Most Dangerous Trucking Company?

FMCSA reports the two companies considered the most dangerous due to the number of accidents occurring are FedEx and UPS. Other companies with high amounts of fatality truck accidents include J.B. Hunt, Werner Enterprises, Inc., and Swift Enterprise.

When thinking about the most fatalities, it is also important to note the companies topping the list also have the most trucks in their fleets, the largest number of drivers, and the most miles driven, which naturally increases the probability of accidents. To determine the most dangerous companies, you should calculate the total percentage of crashes with the number of trucks on the road.

What Truck Company Has the Highest Fatality Rate?

The company with the highest fatality rate is Averitt Express. Accident rates show this company’s trucks have killed fewer people overall than FedEx or J.B. Hunt; however, Averitt Express has considerably fewer trucks on the road, making their fatality rate the highest.

Essentially, this means their truck drivers have more accidents than other companies with larger fleets do. It is important to note this because it suggests there may be an issue with the company itself. Trucks that are on a time crunch and rushing to make their deadlines tend to cause more accidents.

A company’s safety record can speak volumes when the total number of trucks, drivers, and miles driven are taken into any calculations. More accidents do not necessarily equate to the most dangerous drivers.

What Should You Do If You Were Hit By a Truck?

If you or a family member were hit by a truck from one of the previously mentioned companies or another vehicle used by a different company in the trucking industry, it is important to take the following steps right away.

Seek Medical Attention

The health and safety of anyone involved in a truck crash is the biggest priority. If first responders do not bring you or one of your passengers to the ER from the crash site, be sure to visit a medical professional immediately after the collision. An experienced doctor can identify, diagnose, and treat injuries you may have.

It is not uncommon for hidden injuries to be present. A thorough evaluation can rule out the most common truck accident-related injuries. If a healthcare practitioner finds injuries, you can start treatment immediately, reducing the chance of future complications. Additionally, a medical evaluation is an important piece of evidence when the time comes to file your truck accident claim.

Call 911 and the Police

If anyone at the accident scene appears severely injured, call 911 right away so emergency responders can quickly attend to people who are hurt. At this time, you should also immediately report the collision to the police. An officer will come to the scene to survey the area, document the accident, and file a police report.

This report, which includes important details related to the accident, is valuable evidence because it contains information that tends to get lost over time, including eyewitness information, weather conditions, traffic infractions, traffic conditions, or other pertinent information.

Exchange Information

Be sure to exchange contact information with the trucker and obtain the driver’s name, employer name, employer contact information, and the insurance company. Also, note the color, make, model, and the license number for the truck or rig, including any markings or other identifying information that could prove important.

Collect Evidence

As soon as possible after the truck accident, take photos and video of the accident scene. See if any eyewitnesses are willing to provide an account of what they saw. As you collect evidence, include road conditions, signage, damage done to motor vehicles and trucks, or any other relevant details that may have contributed to the crash. It is also helpful to write down any details you remember before, during, and after the crash to help refresh your memory later.

Do Not Sign Anything

Do not sign anything at the scene of the crash before speaking to a legal professional. Truck companies are going to attempt to blame you to avoid taking responsibility. Their insurance companies will do the same.

Do Not Apologize

Never apologize for any events relating to the accident. Insurance companies may misconstrue an apology as an admission of guilt.

Contact an Attorney

Contact an attorney as soon as possible after being in a truck accident. It is impossible to know what long-term injuries you may suffer or what the truck company’s insurance adjuster might do. Your truck accident lawyer will know what to look for in estimating your long-term suffering and how much compensation you will likely need. They can also take your pain and suffering into consideration. If a case goes to court, a knowledgeable attorney who can advocate for your needs is your strongest ally.

Why Should You Hire a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney?

Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who suffer a truck accident should hire an attorney to try to recover damages in the case of personal injury or wrongful death. An attorney will also know what to do before the case.

The attorneys and insurance carriers working for truck companies will be working hard on their behalf and shift liability to you. You will want someone by your side advocating for your rights and holding those responsible for your injuries accountable for their actions.

A skilled attorney can help you pursue compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, emotional injuries, and wrongful death, amongst other losses and damages.

How Often Are You Driving Next to the Most Dangerous Trucks?

Accidents with the most dangerous trucking companies require the most dedicated attorneys. The truck accident lawyers at Montagna Law are committed to helping our clients receive the compensation they need to pay for their accident-related expenses.

If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries or lost a family member in a fatal accident, the dedicated lawyers at our law firm are here for you. Contact our legal team at 757-622-8100 or through our online contact form. We service the entire Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.

What are Jackknife Accidents Caused by?

Truck accidents can be terrifying and oftentimes catastrophic. To avoid colliding with the biggest vehicles on the road, many drivers strive to avoid being near them at all costs. However, it is inevitable that you will be next to or in front of a big rig at some point during your travels. You may even witness or become involved in a jackknifing accident. If you or your loved one have been seriously harmed in a trucking accident, Montagna Klein Camden can help. Our Virginia truck accident attorneys are experienced and want to help you get compensation for your injuries.

What is Jackknifing?

Among the different types of accidents that can occur, jackknifing is unique to a semi-truck and can involve collisions with passenger vehicles. Jackknifing is when the trailers on larger trucks fold and swing in on themselves at a 90-degree angle and push the cab forward. The front of the truck or cab suddenly stops, and the attached out-of-control trailer continues moving and ends up sliding to one side. This action creates the shape of the folding blades of a pocket knife, giving the accident type its name.

 truck jackknife diagram

Where Do Jackknifing Accidents Mainly Occur?

Crash data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, show that jackknife accidents made up 2.5% of all truck accident cases in 2020. While this may not seem like a high amount, this type of accident is dangerous for both the commercial truck driver and any vehicles in the vicinity of the accident.

Jackknifing accidents can occur anywhere semi-trucks travel; however, they mainly occur on major highways and roads. In Virginia, these types of truck accidents are more likely to be found on I-81 or I-95 over a local road.

Trucks driving in high-traffic areas increase the chances of a jackknife occurring due to the volume of vehicles and even weather conditions. When one happens, several passenger cars can be involved in a crash and result in more injuries.

Why Does Jackknifing Happen?

Motor vehicle accidents, in general, can occur due to a variety of causes in Virginia. Jackknifing by big rigs, however, happens due to risk factors unique to large commercial trucks. These risk factors include size and weight.

More specifically, jackknifing usually happens because the large vehicle loses traction. The truck needs static friction between the tires and the ground to maintain traction. When that static friction is lost, the truck can begin to slide, with the tires failing to grip.

Here are the most common reasons for jackknifing to happen.

Braking

Improper braking, whether due to driver error or a faulty braking system, can lead to a skid and jackknifing. Slamming on the brakes can lock up the front tires, but the truck’s rear tires can keep moving, and the momentum can send it forward when the cab has already stopped.

Speeding

Jackknife accidents can occur when a truck is traveling at high speed. Due to their size and weight, especially when full of cargo, trucks are harder to slow or stop when encountering an obstacle, such as a road barrier, or when approaching stopped traffic. Even tapping the brakes can cause sliding. Truckers are usually on a defined schedule and may travel at unsafe speeds to meet stringent delivery deadlines.

Road Conditions

Road conditions in Virginia can play a significant role in jackknifing accidents. Neglected or improperly maintained roadways, such as those with broken pavement, potholes, or obstructed shoulders, can cause jackknifing. Also, slippery roads due to ice or rain are dangerous for anyone, especially trucks. When tires come in contact with these surfaces, a solid grip will be difficult.

Quick Turns

Making quick turns is another reason a truck can jackknife. Turning the wheel quickly without considering the length and weight of the tractor-trailer can cause it to swing out as the truck steers in one direction. This swinging of the trailer can cause a car accident as those vehicles pass or remain in its path.

Empty Trailer

An empty trailer is lightweight compared to a full one and can more easily result in a jackknife. When the trailer is full of cargo, there will be more friction with the pavement. When it is empty or only partially loaded, there is less friction, and the trailer swings accidentally and moves forward.

When any of these cause a truck to jackknife, you only have seconds to react when nearby in a passenger vehicle. For this reason, you are at an extremely high risk of sustaining serious injuries. If this happens, consider requesting a free case evaluation, filing a personal injury claim, and working with an experienced truck accident lawyer.

How Can You Protect Against a Jackknifing Accident?

Drivers of large trucks must follow all federal rules and regulations for their vehicle, and this includes completing required certifications and tests, taking frequent breaks according to FMCSA hours of service guidelines, and refraining from alcohol or drugs. Drivers must also maintain their trucks and make regular inspections, and when driving, they need to turn cautiously.

Even if they do all of this, staying cautious near big rigs is imperative to your safety and that of your passengers. Smaller cars must understand that trucks take longer to brake and require more room for changing lanes. Since we all have to share the road, knowing how to drive defensively in your motor vehicle can help prevent or limit accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides the following prevention tips for motorists to help prevent truck crashes.

Avoid Blind Spots

Avoid staying in a truck’s blind spot. To determine when you are in one of these spots, see if the driver’s face shows up in their side mirror. If not, you are blind to them.

Lookout for Wide Turns

Trucks require extra time and space to strategically and cautiously make wide turns. Watch for big rigs making wide turns, and wait until the turn is complete before continuing. Also, if the truck is making a right turn, it may need to do so from a lane further out.

Maintain Safe Following Distance

Maintaining a safe following distance is crucial to your safety. Trucks may need to brake suddenly or slip backward when going up an inclined part of the roadway. You want to be far enough back to avoid a collision if either of these happens.

Practice Patience

Instead of losing patience or becoming overly frustrated, understand that trucks are heavy and large. They need more time to turn, accelerate, and merge. Stay back and give them space while remaining patient.

What Kinds of Injuries Are Associated with Jackknifing Accidents?

Jackknifing accidents often involve other vehicles, meaning there are usually injuries involved. The most common injuries sustained in truck crashes in Virginia include the following.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries can occur when you receive a head injury, such as with a sudden jolt, collision with an object, or penetration of the skull. Due to the sheer size of trucks, a jackknifing accident can result in intense trauma to the head and brain and require extensive medical treatment.

Neck and Back Injury

The impact often encountered in a crash can injure the neck and the back. You may experience whiplash, herniated discs, compression fractures, or a spinal cord injury. These injuries often present delayed symptoms, such as mild or severe lumbar pain and stiffness or numbness in the lower extremities. Back and neck injuries will need to be diagnosed and treated after the accident.

Concussion

A common injury sustained by truck accident victims is a concussion. This injury can result from a blow, strike, jolt to your head, or shaking of the brain violently. A crash can violently force your head forward, causing your brain to slam into the skull. Symptoms often include severe headaches, difficulty concentrating, loss of memory, and problems with coordination and balance.

Broken Bones

Due to the force involved in accidents, broken bones can happen in different parts of the body. These breaks can be hairline or compound fractures and other types as well and require long-term treatment to heal properly.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are serious, and in a crash, you may sever your spine and be left partially or fully paralyzed. You may experience ligament, disk, or nerve damage and lose feeling or mobility from such severe injuries.

Wrongful Death

Fatalities can happen to those involved in a jackknifing accident. This sudden and unexpected death may be due to the truck driver’s negligence, and if so, survivors of a family member may want to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Types of Benefits Can You Receive After a Jackknifing Accident?

Following a jackknifing accident, a personal injury attorney can determine which benefits you may be eligible to receive. Here are some common ones you can receive after a truck accident in Virginia.

Medical Bills

Injuries sustained during the accident can leave you with high medical bills. Damages can cover any visits to the emergency room, doctor treatments, surgery expenses, prescriptions, and more.

Lost Wages

Missing work while healing from injuries can result in a loss of income. You may be able to receive damages to cover your hourly wages or salary for the lost time and also benefits you missed out on while away from your job, such as 401k earnings and healthcare coverage.

Pain and Suffering

Damages for pain and suffering compensate you for emotional distress, anxiety, anguish, and loss of a loved one.

Loss of Companionship

Damages for loss of companionship are for the sudden loss of a parent or spouse, which can result in a loss of income in the household and more.

What is the Difference Between a Jackknife Accident and a Rollover Accident?

Tractor-trailers are often involved in both jackknife and rollover accidents. These two types of accidents may result from speeding, mechanical failures, poor road or weather conditions, or unsafe turns. However, in a rollover accident, the semi-trailer has fallen over on one side, whereas in a jackknife truck accident, the trailer is still standing upright, although it is pushed forward at a 90-degree angle.

Should You Hire an Attorney After a Jackknife Accident?

After a jackknife truck accident, hiring an attorney will be highly beneficial, as liability insurance companies and adjusters are never willing to hand over fair compensations. Your personal injury lawyer can negotiate with each insurance company on your behalf and take your case to court should you decide to sue.

All too often, some form or level of negligence is involved in a jackknife crash. Your truck accident attorney will compile and evaluate all the evidence and identify all the liable parties, which may include the driver and the trucking company, as well as others. With legal representation, you have a better chance of receiving a higher payout to meet your needs and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Do You Know Your Legal Options After a Truck Accident?

Following a truck accident, you need to know your legal options. The experienced personal injury lawyers with Montagna Law can help. We will provide the legal advice you need to make informed decisions and work side-by-side with you to seek deserved compensation. We value our clients and will work diligently for you and your family. If you live in the Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, contact our law firm today by calling 757-622-8100 or using the online contact form to schedule your free consultation and case review.

How to Determine Liability in a Truck Accident

A truck accident can result in devastating injuries and damages. These types of accidents are usually not as simple as an accident involving two passenger vehicles and can include multiple parties who bear the responsibility of negligence. The experienced truck accident attorneys at Montagna Klein Camden are ready to assist you in finding the responsible party and help you seek the compensation you need and deserve.

Steps to Take After a Truck Accident

The shock of being in a large truck accident can be overwhelming, not to mention what comes next. If you are involved in a collision with a semi-truck and do not require immediate medical care, there are important steps you need to take. Start by checking on all the passengers in your vehicle to see if they are safe. Next, you will need to alert the authorities about the accident.

Once you are able, obtain contact and insurance information from the truck driver. Also, ask the driver questions about their employment. Make note of who the employer is or if the driver is an independent contractor.

Take photos or videos of the damaged vehicles, your injuries, the crash location and surrounding signage or lights, and any questionable road conditions. If you can, take notes about the weather conditions and anything else that may be contributable to the truck crash in some way.

You will most likely be in shock following a truck accident. Do your best to stay calm and follow the steps above as best as you can. Then seek legal advice from an experienced Virginia attorney as soon as possible.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?

Unlike in a normal passenger vehicle accident, where negligence can fall to either driver, commercial truck accidents are uniquely different. Accident liability can fall to multiple parties, which may include any of the following.

Truck Driver

The truck driver may be liable when negligent behavior is a cause for the car accident. Such negligent behavior may involve speeding, distracted driving, and fatigue. Additionally, the truck driver is responsible for inspecting the vehicle and checking on maintenance and cargo loading for safety reasons. Failure to do so puts the driver at risk of having legal responsibility for the accident.

Truck Manufacturer

The truck or some part on it can fail or be defective, such as the brakes, steering, or tires, and as a result, cause an accident. When mechanical failure happens, liability can fall on the manufacturer of the truck.

Trucking Company

Trucking companies are responsible for their employees and their trucks. When an accident occurs with one of their big rigs and a driver they employ, they can become a responsible party. Factors that can make them potentially liable include irresponsible hiring and training practices, failing to adhere to hours of service limits created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and being negligent in meeting truck maintenance and inspection requirements.

Government Agency

If a roadway hazard contributed to the accident, the state or local government that oversees the part of the road where the accident occurred might be held accountable. Such hazards include flawed roadway design or maintenance, broken pavement, pooling water, work zone set-up, or insufficient signs warning of potential danger.

Cargo Loader

When a truck is not loaded correctly, or the cargo loader fails to apply all required state and federal regulations, the cargo can shift or cause other issues, which can cause an accident.

When is it the Driver vs. the Company’s Fault for a Truck Accident?

Determining who is liable when a truck accident occurs can be complicated and will require close examination at all levels. One level, in particular, is whether the truck driver or the company is at fault for the accident.

If driver negligence on the part of the trucker is found, most times, the parent company will be liable. However, there are instances where liability can fall on the driver. Below we look at the differences and when the driver or trucking company can be liable.

Driver’s Liability

The driver can be found as a liable party in a truck accident and be responsible for damages when:

  • Outside scope of employment: The trucker was not driving in a work capacity but instead was behind the wheel for personal reasons.
  • Deliberately driving negligently: The driver clearly showed negligence, which could be by driving under the influence, excessive speeding, or careless or reckless driving.
  • Independent contractor: The truck driver is not an employee of the company and is responsible for their own insurance coverage.

Company’s Liability

Liability may fall on the trucking company for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Poor hiring practices: The responsibility of hiring safe, qualified drivers falls on the trucking company. Liability for a truck accident may fall on the company when it implements poor hiring practices, such as not conducting background checks, hiring drivers with questionable driving records, and not confirming whether a new hire has a Commercial Drivers’ License.
  • FMCSA violations: Companies must adhere to FMCSA regulations at all times. When not, the trucking company faces liability. For example, the hours of service regulations require mandatory breaks for truck drivers to prevent fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel. Failing to comply with these regulations can bring stiff penalties and fines. Yet, some companies in the trucking industry are more concerned about the bottom line than roadway safety and will find ways to push the limits of drivers.
  • Maintenance issues: The FMCSA requires that the truck owner maintain their 18-wheelers and keep them in drivable condition. For this, they will need to conduct regular inspections, make immediate repairs, and perform routine, preventative maintenance. Poor maintenance practices can lead to a tire blowout and rollover, failed steering or braking systems, and more.
  • Cargo issues: Each truck trailer has weight and balance requirements, and the FMCSA requires loaders to secure cargo so that it does not shift during transport. Negligence in this area can result in the company being liable.

What Evidence Do I Need After a Truck Accident?

Determining the cause of the accident and where liability lies require looking at the evidence, and this might take an experienced truck accident attorney’s involvement. The trucking company will likely try to settle fast and offer an amount that seems generous but falls short after an investigation into the accident.

To have the best chance of obtaining adequate compensation, it helps to know what evidence you need after a truck accident. A court order may be necessary to obtain various types of evidence, such as trucking company or cargo loader records. Your attorney will be able to help with this.

The most common types of evidence presented in a truck accident case include:

  • Crash scene photos and videos
  • Police accident report
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records
  • Truck maintenance records
  • Download from the truck’s data recorder (“black box”)
  • Driver’s Logbooks
  • Trucking company’s hiring and training procedures
  • Inspection report by a certified truck inspector, obtainable only through a government agency

Your case may also benefit from the services of accident reconstruction specialists, expert witnesses, and other resources as determined by your truck accident lawyer.

What Damages Can You Seek After a Truck Accident?

The total damages you are eligible for and eventually obtain will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the resulting injuries. The different damages pursued after a truck accident include economic, punitive, and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover your medical bills (past and future), wage losses, and any loss of earning capacity.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages focus on punishing the negligent party and deterring such behavior in the future. In Virginia, those who are injured may recover up to the amount of $350,000 for these types of damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages can include claims for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or disfigurement.

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney for a Truck Accident

When involved in an accident with commercial vehicles, hiring a Virginia personal injury attorney will be beneficial for several reasons. For starters, you will gain access to legal knowledge and experience involving truck accident cases.

Commercial truck accidents with motor vehicles are often complicated, with more than one negligent party involved. An attorney can examine all the evidence, determine if there are multiple liable parties, and then communicate with each party’s insurance companies on your behalf.

Your attorney will also be able to subpoena and review records from the trucking company, cargo loader, and government agencies, if applicable.

Most importantly, an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you obtain higher compensation for your personal injury claim. Studies and surveys show that accident victims who hire an attorney often receive three times the compensation than if they choose to handle the claim themselves.

According to one survey, respondents working with a lawyer report an average compensation award of $77.6K for a personal injury case, while those without an attorney received an average of $17.6K. That is a significant difference!

Unrepresented personal injury cases only have a 51% likelihood of a payout. The chances of receiving a payout increase to 91% with legal representation. Montagna Law has a proven track record of winning payouts for clients, including over $900,000 for truck accident clients.

For those who suffer a debilitating or long-term injury, a personal injury lawyer can help calculate your compensation needs and how your injury will affect your future earning potential. If the negligent party’s insurance policy limits are lower than these calculations, your attorney can help you obtain more beyond those limits.

Unfortunately, fatalities can occur when accidents involve motorists and large tractor-trailers. When it does, your attorney may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit which can help the family financially.

Who Are You Holding Responsible for Your Accident?

Involvement in an accident with a commercial truck can take its toll on you and your family. To obtain the highest compensation available from the responsible parties, you need to be sure you are holding the right ones responsible for your accident. The experienced personal injury attorneys here at Montagna Law know how to collect evidence and determine all the parties involved so each one can be held accountable.

We believe in a strong attorney-client relationship and proudly serve clients in the Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk. Schedule a free consultation with our legal team today by calling 757-622-8100 or submitting the online contact form on our website.

Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is different from other types of personal injuries because damage to brain cells does not heal, unlike broken bones or skin cells. As a result, a TBI, even mild ones, can have a devastating and lasting effect. If you, or a loved one, suffers any type of head injury, no matter how mild it seems, seek professional medical attention immediately. Even if you do not think an injury to the head is serious, it is important to still be seen.

TBIs can be silent and deadly. Any head trauma is cause for serious concern, and the worst part is that people who are injured might not even know they have a traumatic brain injury until it is too late. TBI has long been known as the “silent epidemic” because for decades it was difficult for people to be correctly diagnosed. With modern knowledge and technology, doctors know a lot more about brain injuries now than they even did as recently as the 1990s. The earlier treatment is sought, the better chances are for recovery.

The kind and compassionate Virginia traumatic brain attorneys at Montagna Klein Camden understand the difficulties you might face after sustaining a TBI. Call our law office at 757-622-8100 or contact us online to see how to receive help getting the compensation you deserve after your personal injury.  

Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

TBI can be caused in two different ways: internal or external. External brain injury is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetration through the skull. Internal brain injuries can be caused by birth defects, stroke, or aneurysms. Regardless of the type or cause, brain injury is life-changing and often permanent. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the United States:

  • More than 1.5 million Americans experience TBI
  • 230,000 individuals are hospitalized with TBI and survive
  • Over 50,000 traumatic brain injury cases are fatal
  • Somewhere between 80,000 to 90,000 experience onset of long-term disability

Despite these chilling numbers, there are those who manage to beat the odds. Not only do many survive a traumatic brain injury, but they are able to recover. The personal injury lawyers at Montagna Klein Camden want to spread awareness and knowledge about this serious and life-changing condition.

Did You Lose Consciousness in a Serious Accident?

TBIs are categorized as mild, moderate, and severe. About 80% of TBI cases are classified as mild, but do not let the “mild” designation fool you. These injuries—which include concussions—can still cause serious injury or permanent disability.

If a person experiences a loss of consciousness during an accident, it should be taken very seriously. Medical treatment should be sought immediately because the longer a person is unconscious, the more serious the traumatic brain injury might be. Even if the injured person feels dazed or dizzy, symptoms should never be dismissed.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

Non-traumatic brain injuries are typically caused by internal health complications. These can be caused by strokes, blood clots, seizures, oxygen deprivation, infection, tumors, or exposure to substances that can lead to brain injury. Medical malpractice or negligence often contributes to non-traumatic brain injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head suffers an injury from an external force, such as impact, shaking (excessive motion), or penetration. Common ways people are injured include car accidents, bike accidents, being struck by an object, slips and falls, gunshots, and other types of violence.

The symptoms of TBI may not surface until weeks, days, months, or longer after the injury, especially if the injured person is a child since their brains are still developing.

What Are the Primary Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries?

The CDC estimates that 5.3 million Americans currently suffer a permanent TBI-related disability and the latest CDC data indicates numbers are growing. Leading causes of TBI include:

  • Falls – 35.2%
  • Motor vehicle accidents – 17.3%
  • Struck by/against – 16.5%
  • Assault – 10%
  • Unknown/other – 21%

When it comes to traumatic brain injuries, much like no two brains are alike, neither are types of injuries to the brain. Unfortunately, there are several types of TBIs that cause life-altering changes in an instant.

Concussion

A concussion is a mild TBI and is typically caused by a blow, bump, jolt to the head, or rapid shaking to it. There is no such thing as “just a concussion”—concussions should always be taken seriously.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when shearing (tearing) is experienced on the brain’s connecting nerve fibers (axons). This is a serious type of TBI and can lead to a person falling into a vegetative state.

Edema

Edema occurs when the brain (or head) experiences swelling. While swelling is a body’s reaction to an injury, when it occurs in the brain it is serious because the skull cannot accommodate the swelling or interferes with fluid circulation; sometimes surgery is necessary to relieve pressure.

Hematoma 

Hematoma is bleeding occurring in the brain that can lead to the formation of a blood clot, creating a buildup of blood and pressure that can cause brain damage.

Hemorrhage

Hemorrhaging in the brain is when uncontrolled bleeding occurs and can lead to irreversible brain damage.

Skull Fracture

Skull fractures are when an external object breaks the bone due to a severe impact that the skull cannot absorb.

Contusions

Contusions are bruises on the brain caused by bleeding—they are often serious and can lead to permanent injury or the necessity of surgery.

Coup-Contrecoup

Coup-contrecoup TBIs are when the brain experiences a hard impact and the brain (or skull) “slams” into the opposite side, causing injury to both halves of the brain.

Brain Stem

Damage to the brain stem can impact heart regulation, body temperature control, eye movement, breathing, blood circulation, swallowing, and consciousness.

What Are Common Causes of TBIs in Virginia?

TBIs can occur in a variety of ways. Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury include:

Auto Accidents: Car, Truck, and Motorcycle

In car or truck accidents, the head can strike the dashboard, windshield, side window, or another hard surface, such as being thrown to the ground. Shaking and coup-contrecoup injuries can also occur on impact. Any of these scenarios can lead to a severe brain injury.

Slipping and Falling

A fall down the stairs, slipping on a wet floor or ice, or other causes of tripping can lead to the head suffering a jolt or shock and a TBI.

Medical Negligence

Ways patients suffer TBIs from medical negligence include lack of oxygen to the brain, prolonged surgery, and anesthesia errors. Birth injuries can also lead to TBI due to poor decision-making or delayed action by a medical professional. Sadly, TBIs occurring due to medical negligence are often preventable.

Sports Injuries

Concussions and more severe TBIs are common in sports. Being hit by a ball, tackled and slammed on the ground, or another type of impact can lead to a life-altering TBI.

Physical Attack

Domestic violence and criminal acts against a person often involve altercations where the brain is injured, especially if the victim is hit, pushed, struck by an object, or shot at with a firearm.

Firearms

Firearms can cause either penetrating or perforating TBIs. Penetrating is when a bullet enters the skull but does not exit. Perforating TBI is when the bullet enters and exits the skull.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The long-term effects of TBI will depend on the location of the head injury. It is also unfortunately common for TBI victims to suffer more than one type of TBI which also further impacts their long-term outcome.

For instance, injury to the frontal lobe (including the forehead) can affect reasoning, problem-solving abilities, judgment, impulse control, planning, and other executive functioning skills. Injury to the left side of the brain can lead to problems with speech, comprehension, and logic, while injury to the right side of the brain can result in visual processing deficiencies and the ability to perform routine or familiar tasks.

Balance Issues

Individuals suffering from TBI often have difficulty with motor skills, including balance. The inability to balance oneself puts a person at risk of falling or hitting their head, causing further injury.

Dizziness

The dizziness that can accompany a TBI can lead to everyday problems, causing a decrease in the quality of life.

Eyesight Issues

Traumatic brain injuries causing eyesight issues affect the actual ability to see (including blindness), but they also affect the ability to perform eye movements, such as downgaze or convergence. Eyesight problems can negatively impact everyday activities, ranging from reading the pages in a book to driving.

Fatigue

People suffering TBIs tend to tire easily, and this fatigue affects their stamina, meaning victims often cannot work long days, struggle in the classroom, or suffer from an inability to stay awake for extended periods of time.

Headaches

Recurring and persistent headaches often accompany TBI, causing disruption in everyday life, leading to distress and ongoing suffering.

Long-Term Memory Loss

Long-term memory loss from TBI can be temporary or permanent. In these cases, the person has difficulty remembering past events or people. It can also affect the ability to remember how to perform tasks or remember common words.

Short-Term Memory Loss

Short-term memory loss from TBI occurs when a person forgets events that have recently happened. Essentially, conversations, things seen or heard, and other events are never processed to be stored in short-term memory. For example, injured people may not remember people they have met, whether they have eaten, or where they were going.

Mood Swings

Many people who have a loved one suffering from a TBI describe them as a “different person” from before the injury. Depending on the nature of the injury and where in the brain it occurred, a person may experience unusual mood swings or display behaviors deemed inappropriate in social or professional situations.

Paralysis

Some TBIs result in paralysis because the injury has disrupted the brain’s ability to communicate with muscles. When signals are interrupted, the muscles never receive the brain’s direction.

Seizures

Seizures, or abnormal electrical activity in the brain, are common with TBIs, and it is difficult to predict when and if they will occur. Many brain injury victims are considered to forever be at high risk of seizures. The severity of a seizure is also unpredictable—some are barely noticeable while others result in grand mal seizures.

Speech and Language Problems

Depending on the area of the brain injured, some people struggle with the ability to speak, pronounce sounds, or cannot extract the words to speak even if they know what they want to say; this disconnect can dramatically impact the ability to engage in everyday conversations.

The long-term effects of TBI are often difficult to assess; most people will find their injury changes at various stages of their life, either for better or worse. TBI victims often struggle with permanent physical, behavioral, or cognitive changes—all of which can affect their ability to do tasks or negatively impact their relationships and other interactions requiring social skills.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia

In Virginia, the Commonwealth places a two-year statute of limitations from the date of an accident. This means the clock “starts ticking” when the injury occurs. This is why it is very important to seek treatment as soon as possible to ensure the injury is well-documented.

How Does an Attorney Help TBI Victims?

Having an attorney by your side is important when any type of personal injury occurs. When TBI occurs, you will want an attorney experienced in brain injury cases who understand the long-term effects. Proving seen—and not yet seen—deficiencies and impairments can be challenging. TBI victims will also benefit from a law firm that can help them deal with insurance companies to help them obtain compensation.

Sensitive and Professional Personal Injury Attorneys in Virginia

If you or a family member have suffered any kind of head injury or wrongful death, it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Virginia brain injury lawyers at Montagna Klein Camden are ready to fight on your behalf to help you or a loved one regain health and recovery. Please do not hesitate to contact us. Our sensitive and professional attorneys can help you to obtain the compensation needed to pay for medical bills, surgeries, loss of wages, rehabilitation, and other medical care expenses to help you make the best recovery possible.

To request a free consultation from a Virginia traumatic brain injury lawyer, call our legal team at (757)-622-8100.

How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

In the last two decades, the advent of the internet has changed a lot of things. Technology and the internet have made it possible for people in one area to reach out to hundreds of people across the world. The changes introduced by the internet continue to shape the way people live and interact with one another. Social media platforms allow even more people to reach out, relate, and keep themselves updated with the latest events and happenings. However, according to any experienced personal injury attorney, the use of social media can make or mar a legal action, for example, a personal injury claim.

Continue reading

Disclaimer | © Montagna Klein Camden, L.L.P. | Sitemap