Consequences of Lapsed Auto Insurance

Virginia, like many other states, requires drivers to carry auto insurance (or pay uninsured moto vehicle fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles). Although you may never let your auto insurance lapse, there are drivers who do.  Lapses might occur because a driver was out of state for some time or because the policyholder was struggling financially. Regardless of why another driver might not carry insurance, if an accident that leads to damage to your property and injury occurs, you might struggle to recover damages.

Here’s what you should do in instances when you caused the accident, or when the other driver does.

When You Caused the Car Accident

If you have no insurance and cause an auto accidentand another person is injured, that person can sue you for all of the damages that person suffered from the car accident. This could include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and physical and mental pain and suffering. 

If you do not have an automobile liability insurance policy, you are personally responsible for paying these damages to the injured person. In other words, you will have to pay them out of your own pocket. If the case goes to trial, the other driver may obtain a judgement against you. 

Keep in mind that if the accident resulted in severe injuries or wrongful death, Virginia law entitles the other driver to bring a civil lawsuit against you for damages. Without insurance, you risk losing some or all of your assets in this situation. Additionally, if a Virginia court renders a judgment against you, your license, tags, and registration will be suspended until you have satisfied the judgment (which can be enforced immediately).

In some instances, if the other driver has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, that driver may resort to that coverage to pay for property damage and personal injuries. But, that doesn’t let you off the hook. You may face a subrogation claim from the other driver’s insurance carrier.

When the Other Driver Caused the Car Accident

If you were injured in a car accident caused by the other driver, there may still be certain restrictions on what you can recover against that driver, if you did not have your own car insurance.

In the event that the other driver caused an accident that resulted in permanent or catastrophic injuries, an experienced personal injury attorney, such as those at The Avery Law Firm, may be able to help you file a civil lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident. If the court rules in your favor, you may be able to recover damages for the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, future medical expenses, future lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages that apply to your situation. 

Hire a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in Virginia

Car accidents in Virginia that involve uninsured motorists can result in complex insurance claims and lawsuits. If you were injured in a car accident and you or the other driver let your car insurance lapse, it’s in your best interest to let a skilled car accident attorney handle your claim. The attorneys at The Avery Law Firm are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Fairfax personal injury attorney, please call us at 703-462-5050  contact us online today.

When Accidents Happen in Adverse Weather Conditions

It’s a snowy day in Northern Virginia. The schools are closed, and so are both federal and local government offices. You are off from work and think to yourself that it is a great day to take the family out to lunch. You brave the roads in your all- wheel drive vehicle, driving slowly and carefully, only to get hit from behind by another person venturing out in the icy weather. What do you do now?

As you are likely aware, hazardous weather conditions must always be taken into account when operating motor vehicles. When drivers operate their vehicles at highway speeds while the roadways are still wet and the wind is still blowing or the snow is coming down, it is very easy for them to lose control of their vehicles, hydroplane, and collide with other motor vehicles. When large puddles of water collect in low-lying areas, drivers must be especially careful and exercise extreme caution when operating their vehicles. In many cases, the best option is simply to refrain from driving when weather conditions turn ugly. 

Common Causes of Northern Virginia Bad-Weather Accidents 

Most bad-weather accidents occur when drivers are in a hurry, fail to drive in a reasonable manner for the road and weather conditions, and fail to use common sense. 

Reckless, inattentive, and negligent driving, combined with adverse weather conditions, create the perfect storm for serious motor vehicle accidents. If you must operate a motor vehicle during bad weather, it is important to keep the following in mind to minimize the likelihood of a motor vehicle collision:

• Keep your eyes on the road at all times

•Refrain from texting, cell phone use, and other forms of distracted driving

•Obey all roadway signs and signals

•Obey right-of-way laws if traffic signals are not working

•Beware of debris on the road, such as tree limbs or branches

•Drive slowly to prevent hydroplaning, and do not exceed the posted speed limit

•Use your hazard lights, if necessary

•Pull off to the side of the road, if necessary

When Virginia Drivers Drive Negligently in Bad Weather Conditions 

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, motor vehicle accidents will still occur in hazardous weather conditions. When other drivers operate their vehicles in a careless or reckless manner for the weather conditions, they are only making a bad situation worse. 

In order for an injured driver to recover for injuries and damages sustained in a motor vehicle accident that another driver caused or to which he contributed, the injured driver must prove negligence on the part of the other driver. Specifically, the injured driver must prove that the other driver breached the duty to act reasonably and prudently under the circumstances—and that this breach factually and proximately resulted in certain injuries and damages.

In order to prove damages in a bad-weather motor vehicle accident, the injured plaintiff must show that the injuries sustained were causally related to the accident—or that the accident exacerbated a preexisting medical condition or prior injury. Injured motor vehicle accident victims may be able to recover some or all of the following types of economic and non-economic damages.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a bad-weather accident to which a negligent driver may have contributed, you could be entitled to monetary damages under Virginia law. The knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at The Avery Law Firm have the experience and expertise to examine the facts and circumstances of your case, explore your legal options, and maximize the value of your case. 

Have Your Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

If you’ve been hit by another driver and/or if you were injured in an accident, investigating the facts and resolving complicated issues on your own can be difficult. Make sure that your legal needs are covered. The attorneys at The Avery Law Firm are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Fairfax personal injury attorney, please call us at 703-462-5050 or contact us online today.

Proving That Another Driver Hit My Car

As a driver, you likely understand there are hazards out there and that accidents happen, even when you try to avoid them. You follow the rules of the road and make sure your car is properly insured, but some drivers behave unpredictably. When another driver hits your car and lies about his or her actions or leaves the scene of an accident, it’s often difficult to prove that he or she even hit your car. When you or your passengers sustain injuries, figuring out how to prove the other driver’s wrongdoing is important.

When someone won’t acknowledge their negligent driving, the police, your passengers, and your insurance company could hold you responsible. It affects your driving record, increases your insurance premiums, and prevents you from making a liability claim for injury-related damages. Only evidence and a skillful lawyer can disprove the lie. 

What to Do If You’ve Been Hit by Another Driver

Despite any annoyance or frustration you feel in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, you must remember what’s important and act accordingly. Here are the steps to take:

First, Call the Police: If you can access your cell phone, call 911. If not, request that a bystander make the call for you. Leaving an accident scene is a crime. When the other driver sticks around but simply lies about the circumstances, you will need the police to document both versions as well as the physical evidence.

Arrange Emergency Medical Treatment: When you call 911, ask the operator to send emergency medical services, even if you don’t believe anyone has suffered an injury. It’s important to be evaluated by a medical professional at the scene to ensure you or others do not show signs of trauma, and to have transportation to an emergency department if you do.

Conduct Your Own Mini Site Investigation: While you wait for the authorities to arrive on-scene, do your own investigation if it’s safe to do so. Documenting and preserving evidence can help you locate the hit-and-run driver or verify that the other person hit you instead of you hitting him or her. Of course, if you are in too much pain or too uncomfortable in your surroundings, let the police handle everything when they arrive.

Talk to Bystanders Who May Have Witnessed the Accident: If your accident occurred on a street where people are walking, driving, or looking out of their windows, someone probably saw what happened. If you see strangers hovering around the scene, they might be witnesses. Find out if a bystander saw what happened, and if they can describe the other driver’s car make, model, color or anything else significant. Get their names and phone numbers so you can follow up. If they’re uncomfortable with divulging too much personal information, ask if you can send them a text or an email.

Photograph the Scene with Your Cell Phone: If you’ve been around an accident scene in recent years, you probably noticed drivers stepping out of their cars, pulling out their cell phones and snapping away. That’s a perfect idea for preserving post-accident evidence.

Record Your Own Brief Statement: If your phone has an audio recorder talk about the accident, what happened, what you saw, and what you heard. Describe the other vehicle with as many details as you can remember. Consider the same make, model, color questions you asked potential witnesses.

Get Your Insurance Company Involved: Regardless of what’s happening with the other driver, you must report the claim and allow your insurance company to investigate and make coverage and claim decisions.

Have Your Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

If you’ve been hit by another driver and/or if you were injured in an accident, investigating the facts and resolving complicated issues on your own can be difficult. Make sure that your legal needs are covered. The attorneys at The Avery Law Firm are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Fairfax personal injury attorney, please call us at 703-462-5050 or contact us online today.

Collecting Evidence in a Truck Accident Case

Truck accidents are among the most devastating kind of accidents that someone can ever experience. In fact, they have the highest fatality and damage rate out of any other kind of automobile accident. The damage and injuries sustained from truck accidents have a way of putting participants out of commission for the immediate aftermath, should they survive the ordeal.

Fortunately, if the liability lies with the truck company, then there is a potentially large settlement that can be obtained from a personal injury claim. But, in order to secure compensation from a truck accident personal injury claim, there must be an investigation into whether the trucking company was negligent in a way that caused the accident.  

Truck Accident Investigation

The gathering of evidence through an investigation is integral to the success of a truck accident personal injury case. Evidence examples in a trucking accident can include:

• The Accident and Driver Reports

• Driver Logs

• Tire or Gouge Marks in the Road

• Accident Scene Photos

• Trucker’s qualifications 

• Trucker’s Driving Record

• Trucker’s Medical History

• Truck Inspection Reports

• Data from Electronic Onboard Recording Devices (EOBRs)

• Cell Phone Records

• Truck Wreckage

Getting Truck Accident Evidence

Trucking companies are required to maintain extensive documentation on the truck and driver involved in the accident. These records include details about whether a trucking company has any history of being negligent in the past. In addition, they could have a history of noncompliance with state or federal trucking regulations or they could have previously hired unqualified drivers. Trucking companies also should have a record of how many of their drivers have been involved in accidents.

In addition to the documentation from the trucking company, witness testimonies help a great deal in determining who is at fault for a truck accident. They can be a bit more difficult to gather since most involved in truck accidents are too injured to get them from the scene. Fortunately, police and investigators will usually attempt to gather witness testimonies. Their own testimonies may also prove useful if they can be secured.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, chances are, you’ve got plenty to deal with. Make sure that your legal needs are covered. Our attorneys are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Fairfax personal injury attorney, please call us at 703-462-5050 or contact us online today.

Follow these Safety Tips to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian this Holiday Season

During the winter holidays, people’s heads are often in the clouds. Focus is on finding the perfect gift, holiday parties, and sparkly lights. With more people out and about, the risk of pedestrian-involved accidents increases. Each year, pedestrians are either injured or killed in potentially avoidable accidents.

In a study conducted by the Division of Trauma in Los Angeles, CA, more than 5,800 pedestrian accidents were reviewed, and the study found that the most common type of severe injury to pedestrians was head injuries, followed by injuries to the chest, abdomen, and extremities. The study linked both the vehicle speed and the age of the pedestrian to the severity of the injury and the survival outcome.

  • At 20 mph, the chance of fatality is 5%.
  • At 30 mph, the chance of death increases to 45%.
  • At 40 mph, the chance of fatal injuries skyrockets to 85%.

Why Pedestrians Are at a Heightened Risk of Injury

The following types of driver behavior has been shown to be behind a substantial number of incidents involving pedestrian injury:

  • Drivers Failing to Yield: 48% of these accidents were attributed to drivers not yielding. This was the most common cause of pedestrian accidents in cities.
  • Hit-and-Run Collisions: 33% of all of the accidents studied were hit-and-run. These also made up 40% of the fatal pedestrian accidents.
  • Turning Vehicles: More than 50% of the accidents involved a turning vehicle. Turning left accounted for more than double the turning accidents compared to turning right.
  • Distracted drivers and alcohol-impaired drivers.

Injuries in such accidents have included fractures; brain injuries; injuries to internal organs; joint injuries; paralysis; and fatalities.

What to Do if You Are in a Pedestrian Accident

Of course, no one can anticipate being injured in a pedestrian accident. However, the steps you take or fail to take following a crash can have a substantial impact on your ability to recover damages from the driver who may have caused the incident.

If a pedestrian has suffered a serious injury in an accident caused by a negligent driver, they may recover financial compensation based upon the following types of damages:

  • Medical Expenses: All past and future medical expenses related to your injuries may be included, such as costs for an ambulance, doctors, surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, MRIs, X-rays, injections, medications, and medical devices.
  • Lost Wages: You can recover past and future lost wages if your injuries prevent you from returning to the employment you were engaged in prior to the accident.
  • Pain and Suffering: All of the pain related to physical injuries and medical procedures is compensable.
  • Disability: A financial recovery may be obtained for an injured person’s loss of the ability to participate in activities they enjoyed prior to the incident.

In a situation where a pedestrian was killed in an accident or died from injuries sustained in a crash, we can work with the family of the deceased to recover compensation for their loss of financial and emotional support as well as expenses related to the costs of the funeral.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident, chances are, you’ve got plenty to deal with. Make sure that your legal needs are covered. Our attorneys are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Fairfax personal injury attorney, please call us at 703-462-5050 or contact us online today.

Dealing With a Drunk or Drugged Driver at the Accident Scene

We’ve all been taught that after a two-car accident, the responsible thing to do at the scene is to make sure everyone is ok, call first responders, and exchange information with the other driver. But, what happens when the other driver is visibly drunk or on drugs? What should you do then?

In this post, we offer tips for dealing with a driver who is under the influence at the accident scene, and for how to follow up afterward.

  • Your Health and Safety Come First after a DUI Car Accident

After an accident, the first priority is typically ensuring everyone’s health and safety. It’s important to summon first responders, including police and an ambulance, in nearly all cases. While waiting for them to arrive, standard practice for responsible citizens is to administer first aid if needed and possible and to take care to keep the scene safe, such as by moving damaged cars to the shoulder and setting out flares or cones to signal other traffic to slow down.

When it’s obvious one of the accident victims is a drunk or drugged driver; however, the task of ensuring everyone’s health and safety can be more complicated. The impaired driver’s need for first aid may be more difficult to assess. His or her actions may be unpredictable. It may be difficult to convince him or her to take safety measures. He or she may resist calling first responders. He or she could even get violent or try to flee.

  • Be Cautious Around Drunk or Drugged Drivers After an Accident

In such a situation, your own health and safety take priority. Administer first aid to the drunk or drugged driver if you can, but if he shows any signs of violence, back away. Don’t try to get him or her to agree to call first responders. Just do it. If he won’t cooperate or tries to flee, let him or her. Don’t try to be a hero and put yourself in further danger by giving chase or subduing him or her. If he or she gets aggressive, take whatever measures you can to keep the scene safe, and then lock yourself in your car or otherwise put distance between yourself and the other driver. If you’re afraid for your safety, keep first responders on the phone with you. This will help them dispatch appropriate help and ensure they do not mistakenly think you are fleeing the scene.

  • Collect Evidence of the Car Accident (If it’s Safe to Do So)

Keeping health and safety as your first priority in mind, if you can collect evidence at the accident scene, do so. We’ve all seen crime drama shows on TV where forensic teams reconstruct accidents. Think of yourself as one of those characters and document as much as you can… so long as you stay safe doing so.

Focus first on the drunk or drugged driver and his vehicle. If you have a smartphone with photo and/or video capabilities, use it to document observations leading you to think the other driver appears drunk or drugged (such as slurred or incoherent speech, acting strange, etc.). Get shots of the other driver’s license plate, the condition of his car, and the direction he came from and was going when the accident occurred.

Next, document your own injuries and the condition of your vehicle. If there are witnesses to the accident—other drivers who saw the accident happen, or pedestrians standing around—ask them to tell you basically what they saw and get their contact information for follow-up.

  • Inform First Responders and Avoid Admitting Fault for an Accident

As soon as first responders arrive (or while you have them on the phone, if possible), tell them first about what you’ve seen that lead you to believe the other driver is drunk or drugged. This serves two important goals. First, it keeps first responders safe. Second, it prepares them to take immediate steps to detain the drunk or drugged driver, perform any necessary field sobriety testing, and make decisions about whether an arrest is appropriate.

Next, give first responders other information about the accident, and tell them what evidence you’ve already gathered, if any. In speaking with first responders, try not to blame yourself for the accident. This can be difficult. It’s an emotional moment. You’re shaken up, possibly in shock. It’s understandable if you blurt out that you feel responsible or at fault. But try not to do that. Stick to telling first responders about facts and not interpretations of facts. The time for assigning blame will come later when everyone’s adrenaline is down and the other driver is sober.

  • Call an Experienced Fairfax Car Accident Attorney at Avery Law Firm

Once you’ve left the scene and dealt with your own medical needs, contact an attorney experienced in representing clients in car accident cases.

Get the Help You Deserve After Your Accident

If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, chances are, you’ve got plenty to deal with. Make sure that your legal needs are covered. Our attorneys are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Fairfax personal injury attorney, please call us at 703-462-5050 or contact us online today.

Bicycle Accident Rules and Liability

Ever see bicyclists driving on the road, in concert with cars? Did you know that in Virginia, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver?

Bicyclists in Virginia have the same rights to the roadways and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

If a cyclist is not riding as fast as current motor vehicle traffic, the cyclist must ride as far to the right side of the road as possible. (On one-way streets, the cyclist may instead ride to the far left.) If a special bike lane is provided, usually on the far right of the roadway, a cyclist is required to use it.

A bicyclist may leave the side of the road or the bike lane:

  • If the cyclist keeps up with moving traffic;
  • If the lane is too narrow to share safely with passing cars;
  • To make a left turn;
  • To avoid debris or other hazards.

Space Given by Passing Motor Vehicles

Because a bicyclist has as much right to the road as does a motorist, a motor vehicle coming up behind a cyclist has a responsibility not to pass unless and until it is safe to do so. The motorist may need to slow down and wait until there is enough space, or change lanes. Except for moving to the far right of the lane, it is not the cyclist’s duty to stop or otherwise get out of the motorist’s way.

Liability in Bicycle Versus Vehicle Collisions

When a collision occurs between a bicycle and a vehicle, a determination of who is liable is usually case specific. In many cases, liability is based upon whoever had the right-of-way at the time of the accident. One example is a right turn right-of-way.

One of the most common causes of bicycle accidents is a collision with a car turning right. While making a right turn, a car passes through the path of a cyclist, whether the cyclist is traveling in a traffic lane or in a bike lane. Some of these accidents happen when a car passes a cyclist, then slows down while turning right, moving directly into the path of a bicyclist who has nowhere to turn. Or a motorist simply turns right directly into a cyclist without seeing, and often without looking for, the bike.

In either of these situations, the motorist is liable for the accident. One of the basic rules of the road is that a vehicle may not make a turn unless it is safe to do so. Because a cyclist has as much right to the road as a motor vehicle, and because side-of-the-road laws force cyclists to the right, a cyclist is entitled to continue straight through an intersection without yielding to a motorist turning right.

Been in a Bicycle Accident? Contact a Northern Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

Representing bicycle accident victims requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum effort to their clients. At the Avery Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

The Avery Law Firm knows the pain and inconvenience associated with a bicycle accident. Our attorneys are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Fairfax personal injury attorney, please call us at 703-462-5050 or contact us online today.