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Author: Jon Montagna

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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 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.


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 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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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, 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.

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Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

Every time we get behind the wheel, we know there is some risk involved. All it takes is a single mistake to turn our lives upside down.

A lot of the time, the error was not our own. It was someone else who happened to be texting while driving or had one too many alcoholic drinks and made the wrong choice to get behind the wheel. Before we know it, we are facing months, or even years, of recovery, battling insurance companies, paperwork, and even court cases. Should you hire a personal injury attorney? If so, when is the right time to do it?

The reality is, not every case is so open and shut, even if you believe you are in the right. You can be 100% sure that the other party caused the accident, leaving you injured and buried in hospital bills, but there are always two sides to every story. Insurance companies often will want to investigate the claims further, holding out from paying as long as possible. Even if they do agree to a settlement, it is certainly not going to be a generous offer.

Let us look at why you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney and when you should do it:

Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

The law is complicated. Most of the time, you are going to face an uphill battle to receive the settlement you think you deserve. So many variabilities exist that, unless you know your way around the law, it is going to be nearly impossible to navigate your way to victory. Hiring a lawyer does not guarantee a win, even if they have a great track record.

So, you might be thinking about what the value of hiring a personal injury lawyer might be. What you may not expect is that the other party’s insurance company will probably hire a defense attorney to challenge your claims. In this situation, you would certainly be at a disadvantage at a time when you are still recovering from a major accident. Are you up to subjecting yourself to months or even years of paperwork and stress on top of what you are already going through?

The main benefit of hiring a personal injury attorney is the fact that you get to sit back, relax, and leave the work to someone who knows what they are doing. The casework will be completely on their shoulders. At the very least, you should seek out a consultation with a local attorney to see what the possibilities are. It may be a simple case you can settle in court or see if it is worth holding out for a larger settlement with their help.

When Is the Right Time to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

When looking at whether you should hire a personal injury attorney, you must look at your opposition. The odds are good that the other party and/or their insurance company, which has deep pockets, will also have personal representation on their side. Unless you have your own experience and dedicated knowledge of the law yourself, hiring an attorney is a good idea. In order to win the case, there are a lot of factors that need to be worked out.

Every moment counts and whether you realize it or not, the other side is already preparing their defense. They are looking at the facts, interviewing witnesses, and even have their own copy of the police report. Their job is to put a spin on the details of the case to ensure the judgment is ruled in their favor. That means you have little time to spare to even out the odds. They will have experience on their side, having fought the same battle hundreds or even thousands of times before. Insurance companies do not make money by paying out large settlements and will use every trick in the book to keep from paying you a dime.

Once you decide you need a heavy hitter on your team, you should call them immediately. In fact, it is best to call a personal injury attorney right after the accident happens. That means your memory of the incident is still fresh in your mind and your lawyer can get right to work representing your interests. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to recall every detail.

Are There Any Other Benefits to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

The simple answer to this question is a resounding yes! There are plenty of additional benefits you probably will not think of at the time you need to make the decision. One of those is a lawyer’s ability to investigate the accident.

The police will have their own investigation, as well as the insurance company. But lawyers have their own personal investigators, detectives, and even employees of the court who can help put your case together. You will truly have a team at your side to guide you.

Another benefit to hiring a personal injury attorney is how the insurance company often reacts to the news that you have representation. It is a fact that they will often offer higher settlements than they would if you didn’t. They usually think they can pull the wool over your inexperienced eyes, but if you have seasoned representation by your side, they know you are not playing any games and will shell out more money to make the situation go away. You may choose to accept the higher settlement if it means you get paid, the bills get taken care of, and you don’t have to battle in court.

Really, hiring an attorney to help you through this difficult time in your life is a personal one. Unless you know your way around the law and a courtroom, it is advisable to hire someone who is battle-tested and ready to represent your interests. You shouldn’t face the insurance company on your own. To learn more about hiring representation or to schedule a free consultation contact us through online form or call (757) 622-8100 today.

Montagna Law
425 Monticello Ave
Norfolk VA 23510
(757) 622-8100

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When To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve sustained an injury during an accident, you may be wondering whether you should handle the case yourself or hire a personal injury lawyer. Filing a personal injury lawsuit requires a comprehensive knowledge of the complex legal system and specialized skills and training that a personal injury lawyer can offer you. 

Unfortunately, we’ve seen many individuals attempt to handle their own personal injury lawsuits and fail. There are countless studies proving that a plaintiff represented by legal counsel will net more than three times the money than had they handled their own claim. A claimant generally lacks the knowledge to prove liability and truly validate the severity of the injuries they’ve sustained. 

If you’ve been involved in any of the following situations or suffered very serious injuries as a result of an accident, you should get in contact with us right away. 

You’ve Suffered Long-Term or Permanently Disabling Injuries

If you’ve sustained injuries in an accident that will require long-term care, have left you permanently disabled, or significantly affect your physical abilities or appearance require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. It can be difficult in these situations to calculate how much the injuries you’ve sustained are worth and furthermore, it’s challenging to determine how your injuries will affect your earning capabilities over time. You need a lawyer with an extensive knowledge of this process to pursue all applicable forms of compensation for your injuries and loss.

You’ve Suffered Significant Injuries

The amount of compensation you ultimately receive is largely dependent upon the severity of your injuries which is measured by the dollar amount of your medical bills, the type of injuries sustained, and the length of your recovery. The higher your potential compensation amount, the more likely you are to surpass the policy limits of the at-fault party’s insurance policy, which means that the insurance company may only pay you a fraction of what you deserve. Hiring a personal injury lawyer ensures that you will receive the total amount of compensation that is owed to you.

Several Parties Are Involved or Fault Is Not Clear

If you were involved in an accident where several parties could potentially be liable for the injuries you sustained, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. When multiple parties with multiple insurance companies are involved, it can become very complicated to juggle. Several people may have been injured during the accident which means there won’t be as much settlement money when split between the involved parties or you could ultimately have your settlement reduced due to your proportional fault in the accident. 

When Medical Malpractice Is Involved

If you have suffered an injury or illness due to unprofessional, incompetent, or negligent conduct at the hands of any medical care provider, you will find yourself overwhelmed taking into account both the medical and legal laws in your particular case. We do not recommend attempting a medical malpractice case on your own as they can become very complex.

When You’ve Sustained Toxic Exposure

It can be difficult to prove that you’ve fallen ill due to exposure to contaminants in products, food, or in the air, soil, or water. These claims often require complex scientific data and evidence that can be very hard to come by, particularly because the chemical and other similar industries have protected themselves so diligently from legal trouble. This is yet another situation where we strongly recommend against going it alone.

When the Insurance Company Refuses to Pay

In some circumstances, insurance companies simply refuse to make a settlement offer or one that is fair. If you find yourself in this situation with the at-fault party’s insurance company or negotiations with said insurance company have broken down, contact a personal injury lawyer right away. 

If you have been involved in any of the situations described above or find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney, contact us right away. We will represent your best interests in settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company and will do so in court if that is determined to be the best course of action.

How Pre-existing Injuries Affect Personal Injury Claims

A preexisting injury or medical condition refers to injury or condition that you suffered prior to the injury for which you are currently filing a lawsuit. In this situation, you are required to disclose the presence of any preexisting injury. Having a preexisting injury or condition won’t keep you from recovering damages when you file a personal injury claim in Norfolk but it is considered when calculating an award for damages and may impact the value of your claim. 

What is considered a preexisting injury or condition?

While any injury or condition that existed before you sustained new injuries can be considered a preexisting medical condition, the most important in a personal injury case are those that affect or interact with the new injuries. These are a few common examples of preexisting injuries:

  • Injuries that have not healed properly or are still in the process of healing
  • Injuries you have sustained from a previous, unrelated accident
  • Medical conditions that surface only during times of stress
  • Birth defects or congenital abnormalities

Preexisting injuries can be aggravated by a new injury to the same part of the body and that aggravation can increase resulting pain and suffering and delay your recovery. 

Why you need a personal injury attorney

Without an attorney, you have to defend your medical history and prove that your current injuries are largely due to the accident and not your preexisting medical condition. In order for your previous injuries to significantly impact your personal injury claim, you have the burden of proving that your preexisting injuries have a causal relationship with your current injuries. An attorney is able to defend your medical history and prove that your current injuries are primarily due to your recent incident and not your prior medical condition. 

In order for an attorney to properly prepare for your particular situation, it is imperative that you disclose your prior medical history, no matter how unrelated your current injuries may seem. An attorney can then employ past medical records and diagnostic tests and compare them with past records and tests to determine how the accident worsened the preexisting condition. The attorney can also use clinical records to compare the plaintiff’s extent of necessary care, degree of pain, or disability before and after the incident. 

If you or a loved one is pursuing a personal injury claim and has a preexisting condition, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Montagna Law for assistance. We’ll help you to understand how your preexisting condition may impact your claim, why the defendant might use it to discredit your new injuries, and how you can help us to present the most effective case under your particular circumstances.

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When to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you are in need of Social Security benefits, money is likely a concern if you are unable to work, which can make you reluctant to hire a Social Security lawyer to pursue your claim. However, there are benefits associated with hiring a Social Security lawyer and deferment of costs that you would otherwise miss out on. We break down below the potential benefits and costs of hiring a Social Security lawyer in order to help you make the best decision for your situation. 


The costs of hiring a Social Security lawyer are relatively straightforward: disability lawyers charge a fee that is regulated by federal law and is generally the lesser of 25% of your disability backpay or $6,000.

-Jon Montagna

Note that this figure does not include costs that may be associated with your claim such as transcript fees, postage, making copies, etc. Usually, there is little to no money required up-front and you are only required to pay if your lawyer wins your case. 

Why you should hire a social security disability lawyer

Most people agree that the benefits of hiring a Social Security disability lawyer far outweigh the costs listed above. This is primarily because a lawyer is a professional who offers an advanced education in law and a daily working knowledge of Social Security laws. He or she will greatly improve your chances of a positive outcome by helping you to avoid pitfalls that you may not even be aware of. While some people who file a Social Security disability case on their own are approved, statistics show that applicants represented by legal counsel are far more likely to be approved for benefits, and more of them.

From submitting the initial application to the hearing and aftermath, Social Security lawyers understand how to present the case in a manner that will yield success for the client. It can be helpful to determine your need for legal counsel by answering a few questions and being honest with yourself: 

  • Do you know how to write with proper legal citations?
  • Are you familiar with the rules of evidence? 
  • Do you know and understand every step in the process of submitting a Social Security disability claim?
  • Do you know who you will be dealing with during the claims process?
  • Do you have any experience with Social Security disability law?

If you found yourself answering no to any of those questions, it may be in your best interest to pursue the services of experienced legal counsel to improve your chances of the best possible outcome. 

When should you hire a social security disability lawyer?

The general rule here is the sooner, the better. Many in this situation will try to get the ball rolling on their case and then contact a lawyer after running into problems in the process. This option is not always unsuccessful, but it certainly isn’t the recommended course of action. Often times, getting a lawyer involved halfway through the process forces the lawyer to spend extra time correcting potential mishaps that may have been made and then trying to minimize the damage done. 

Instead, it’s best to consult a lawyer as early in the process as possible to gain an understanding of the process, what is required of you, and to identify potential holes in your case. If at that time you decide you can handle it on your own, you can proceed without legal counsel and you will sleep better at night knowing you’ve done everything you could.

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What to Expect in a Personal Injury Consultation

If you’ve been wrongfully injured and are looking to file a personal injury claim, you probably have hundreds of questions about the process of hiring a personal injury lawyer, preparing for your settlement or trial, and the aftermath of the case. We are here to take the guesswork out of what you can expect in a consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.

Your first meeting with a personal injury attorney is important because it gives you a chance to learn more about the process of filing personal injury claims and it also allows you to evaluate the lawyer’s level of expertise in a case such as yours.

-Jon Montagna

You can expect to have an open discussion with your attorney about the following topics:

Understanding the legal process

An experienced lawyer is aware that the legal process can be difficult to understand for the common citizen so they will take the time to explain how best to proceed with your case for a favorable outcome. Your attorney should walk you through the legal process step-by-step and give you a look into the behind-the-scenes action that leads up to the culmination of your trial and the aftermath. 

Filling out documents, legal briefs, and requests for replies can be time-consuming and your attorney should discuss these steps with you.

Examining your case

It’s important that you are completely open and honest with the personal injury lawyer you are meeting with in order for him or her to decide how best to proceed with legal action. They will ask you the who, what, when, where, and why of your case, which will lead to a detailed discussion of the specifics surrounding your case. It’s important to remember that the lawyer is not making you relive what was potentially a traumatic event for any other reason but to get you the best results possible.

Setting expectations for your role in the case

You play a significant role in the outcome of your case. At your first consultation, the personal injury lawyer should walk you through the steps you need to take in order to ensure success. This may include never missing doctor appointments and being completely open and honest through every step of the process. 

Discuss fees and communications

Whether you’ve decided to move forward with the personal injury lawyer or not, he or she should explain the next steps and everyone’s responsibilities as you proceed, including fees. They should explain to you the fee agreement which includes what services the law firm will perform and how and when they should be paid. Make sure you understand all aspects of the costs and ask for an estimate of what you will be required to pay. 

Once you understand all money-related aspects, your lawyer should discuss how the case will proceed. They should understand the goals for your claim and explain how they will help you achieve them.

How to decide if the personal injury lawyer is right for you

You should not feel like you have to commit after the first consultation. It’s wise to shop around to find someone you feel comfortable with and someone you feel can get you the best possible outcome. In this case, it’s important to remember that the lawyer is not the only one that should be asking questions. It’s a good idea to treat this like an interview to determine if he or she is right for you. 

Use the conversation to gauge if this particular personal injury lawyer has experience with your situation. For example, if you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury, you want a lawyer who has experience with proving these injuries and obtaining fair compensation – someone who has connections with experts who can testify how your injuries will impact your future. The more experienced the lawyer is with the specifics of your case, the more likely they are to obtain a favorable outcome. 

While many lawyers will offer online consultations, we don’t recommend proceeding with someone until you’ve met them in person. 

If you’ve been through a traumatic experience, the most important thing to focus on is healing from the situation. The last thing you’ll want to do is spend all of your time fighting to be compensated for it. At Montagna Klein Camden, we will support you and do all the difficult legal work for you so that you can focus on recovery. If you’ve been injured, meeting with one of our personal injury lawyers will help take the stress of the case out of your hands and place the task on someone with the expertise to achieve the compensation you deserve.

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Dangerous Machinery in the Workplace Accident Claim

Workplace accidents are a fairly common occurrence and are some of the most common personal injury cases filed each year by employees seeking workers’ comp.

While it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure a safe working environment and provide adequate training and safety gear to employees operating the machinery, there is also a responsibility that falls on the employee requiring that they act in accordance with their safety training.

There is also a duty of care that the machinery manufacturer gives to their customer providing machinery that is not defective. There are a number of situations where the party at fault can become confusing and they are as follows. 

Product Liability Claims

Many work-related injuries are a result of operating equipment and machinery so one avenue that many people involved in personal injuries at work take is filing against the company that is responsible for the design, installation, maintenance, and safe use of the machinery. Claims based on the theory that a machine or product is dangerous and causes injury are product liability claims. Such a claim has to follow at least one of the following three liabilities:


A negligence claim makes the manufacturer responsible for knowing that there is a fault in the product and taking measures to identify or correct the problem to produce a safe product and that as a result of them failing to do so, a worker was injured through the use of the product.

Strict Liability

Under strict liability, a product manufacturer is held liable for injuries that result from the use of a product deemed unreasonably dangerous. Depending on state law, the company that sells or distributes the product may share liability with the manufacturer.

Breach of Warranty

A warranty claim is based upon an implied warranty of maintenance and alleges that a product was not safe for use as intended. 


State law, the statute of limitations, and specifics of how the injury occurred all factor into a liability claim which is why it’s so important to have the counsel of a lawyer when bringing such a case.

Dangerous Product Design

Liability may fall upon the manufacturer of the equipment or machinery for ensuring that its design is not only suitable for use but also accommodates the probability that the equipment will be misused or used without the proper safety gear. Employees will often take shortcuts thinking that they are familiar enough with the product to bypass these safety measures. When a problem that is reasonably foreseeable is not detected in the product design and manufacturing process or is detected but neglected, the manufacturer may be liable for injuries that occur as a result.

When appropriate, the manufacturer should build safeguards into the equipment so that it cannot be operated without the applicable safety equipment and guards in place. The design should also take relevant safety codes into account which reduces the chance of a product being dangerous. While this is a required measure to take, simply doing this is not a sufficient measure in eliminating the possibility of a product liability claim. 

Manufacturing Defects

This occurs when the product is properly designed but a mistake is made during the manufacturing process the renders the product dangerous for use. 

Duty to Warn

A manufacturer has a duty to warn the people who will be using its products of the potential dangers associated with its use. Even in situations where the risk is obvious, such as with a simple tool like a ladder, a failure to provide sufficient instruction and warning may result in liability. 

For some machinery, product warning labels are adequate while more complicated machinery and equipment need further warning than labels which may result in confusion about how to safely operate the equipment. 

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