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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Automobile Accidents"

Virginia Man Charged for DUI Crash that Killed them Men in Pennsylvania

A Virginian is facing charges after a drunk driving crash that killed two Lancaster County, Pennsylvania men. The 30 year old man was charged in Pennsylvania with two counts of vehicular homicide while DUI and other charges related to a Sept. 10, 2017 crash on Route 222 in that state.

A police reconstruction of the fatal crash scene determined that the man’s van veered from the right lane northbound across the fog line before hitting two pedestrians who were 44 and 46 years old.

Westlake Legal Group virginia-man-charged-for-dui-crash-that-killed-them-men-in-pennsylvania Virginia Man Charged for DUI Crash that Killed them Men in Pennsylvania Automobile Accidents

One of the men was a tow truck driver and the other was a driver getting towed at the time of the wreck. Both were killed at the scene.

A breath test shortly after the crash showed the man’s BAC was .088 which is over the legal limit. He also did not have a license to drive.

Before the crash, the man was seen by witnesses driving erratically and was swerving across lanes.

Our View

Before anyone ever thinks of driving after drinking alcohol, they should remember that alcohol reduces the abilities of the brain. It impairs thinking, muscle coordination and reasoning. All three of these abilities are necessary to drive a vehicle safely.

Neither the alcohol builds up in the system, the negative effects on the nervous system worsen. Alcohol is absorbed quickly by the small intestine and stomach. Then it passes them into the bloodstream where it starts to accumulate in the liver until it is metabolized.

When BAC reaches .08 – the legal limit for most of the US – the risk of an accident rises dramatically. However, even if you are under the limit, the chances for a crash are higher with any alcohol in your system. Note that you can be criminally charged in a DUI offense even if you are under the limit, if the police officer believes you are intoxicated.

Our Virginia drunk driving attorneys sue drunk drivers in civil court for damages they cause to innocent victims in drunk driving crashes. A recent case in Virginia settled for $100,000 after our client was hit by a drunk driver who ran onto a sidewalk and hit him outside his gym. This man suffered serious leg injuries that required four surgeries.

The woman driver only had limited liability insurance and our attorney tapped the client’s underinsured motorist coverage so that he could get the recovery he needed and deserved. The man had to go through months of recovery that involved a lot of pain and suffering. Although we could have sued for punitive damages, it would not have led to a higher settlement in this case.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

Driver That Killed Infant Sentenced to 1 Year in Jail

The SUV driver who hit and killed an infant in a stroller in Lansdowne, Virginia in a crosswalk was sentenced this month to a year in jail. The sentence was the maximum that the 47 year old Leesburg man could receive under state law. Prosecutors dropped an involuntary manslaughter charge last year.

The man pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge after the fatal August 2016 accident. The crosswalk accident killed a five month old boy on Aug. 31, 2016 as his mother was pushing his stroller across Riverside Parkway in Lansdowne. The woman was severely hurt when the driver’s Jeep Cherokee slammed into her and her son. She has since recovered.

Westlake Legal Group driver-that-killed-infant-sentenced-to-1-year-in-jail Driver That Killed Infant Sentenced to 1 Year in Jail Automobile Accidents

The judge in the fatal pedestrian accident stated that the accident was tragic and the driver had failed in his responsibility to use care while driving.

The driver apologized in court to the family several times. He said at the time of the accident that he was watching traffic in the intersection and did not see the woman in the crosswalk. The mother of the child said in court that the pain of her broken bones was nothing compared to the loss of her child. She said that she suffers terrible grief every day and that she is no longer who she was.

Prosecutors had tried to prove that he was using his cell phone when the crash happened, but a review of cell phone records showed that was not the case.

Our View

This Virginia pedestrian accident is one of those tragic cases that we wish as personal injury attorneys would never happen. Clearly, it was simply an accident and the man who committed the act regrets what happened. But the fact is that we all have responsibilities as licensed drivers to use care when we are behind the wheel. We are especially supposed to use extreme caution when there are pedestrians in a crosswalk. The woman had obeyed the law and was in the crosswalk as she was legally allowed to do. Nonetheless, the driver did not stop and slammed into her and a child.

Getting only a year in jail for this crime seems too light, but the driver may have to pay other consequences. The woman may decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver. If the preponderance of the evidence shows that he caused the death of the infant, he could have to pay for the woman’s pain and suffering and other damages.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

Who Pays for Damages when the At-Fault Driver in Borrowed Vehicle?

Westlake Legal Group who-pays-for-damages-when-the-at-fault-driver-in-borrowed-vehicle Who Pays for Damages when the At-Fault Driver in Borrowed Vehicle? Automobile Accidents   When most people think of car accident injury claims, they usually think that the at-fault driver is the one who the claim is filed against and it is their auto insurance carrier that will ultimately eu responsible for paying the claim, whether through a settlement or through a lawsuit. But what happens if the at-fault driver was not driving their own vehicle when the accident happened? What if the vehicle was borrowed? Who is responsible then?

If you have been injured in a car accident where the driver who caused the crash does not own the car, a Norfolk car accident attorney can work with you and determine what legal options you have for pursuing damages for your injuries.

Who Pays?

In most cases, the actual owner of the vehicle’s auto insurance company will be responsible for damages. One such example would be if the person who caused the crash borrowed the vehicle from a friend of theirs. But there are some circumstances where your attorney will need to pursue the claim differently. These include:

The At-Fault Driver Borrowed the Vehicle from a Person Who Lives in the Same Household

If the owner of the vehicle has the at-fault driver listed as a covered driver on their insurance company, then the owner’s auto insurance will pay. But if the at-fault driver is an excluded driver, the insurance company is not responsible for the damages. You will likely have to file the claim with your own insurance company. Your Norfolk accident attorney may also recommend filing a lawsuit against the owner of the vehicle for negligent entrustment.

The At-Fault Driver Borrowed a Vehicle and the Owner of the Vehicle Has No Insurance

If the driver of the vehicle happens to have their own insured vehicle, then your attorney can pursue a claim against that insurance policy. At any time that your financial losses exceed their insurance policy limits, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance policy under your underinsured motorist clause.

The At-Fault Driver Was Driving a Vehicle They Rented

In cases where the driver who caused the crash was operating a rented vehicle, your attorney will likely file a claim against the driver’s own personal vehicle insurance policy. In most cases, the Graves Amendment, a federal law passed in 2005, protects the rental company from being sued.

Regardless of what the circumstances of the crash you were injured in were, contact a Norfolk car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you have against those who are responsible for your injuries.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

West Virginia Judge Hands Down the Harshest Possible Sentence in Fatal DUI Case

Judge John Hatcher in Fayetteville, West Virginia gave the harshest sentence possible under state law on Dec. 28 to a young woman who was driving under the influence of drugs when she killed a married couple on June 18, 2015 near Glen Jean, West Virginia.

The 23 year old woman from Meadow Bridge was given a prison sentence of 15 years for driving under the influence of a controlled substance causing death. However, the family of the deceased couple was upset because the sentence could not be harsher.

Westlake Legal Group west-virginia-judge-hands-down-the-harshest-possible-sentence-in-fatal-dui-case West Virginia Judge Hands Down the Harshest Possible Sentence in Fatal DUI Case Automobile Accidents

The victims’ son stated that while the young woman would eventually get out of prison, he had received a life sentence without his parents.

The judge in the case noted during sentencing that while her attorney said that she has changed and cleaned herself up, she still had a substance abuse problem. He said that she still had not learned from her deadly actions because she still had drugs in her system during the week of sentencing, and her two children are still not in her custody. One of her children was born addicted to drugs. She also is 14 weeks pregnant with another child and is still on drugs.

On June 8, 2015, the woman was driving her Chevrolet Silverado on WV 16 near Glen Jean when she crossed the center line and slammed into the red SUV driven by the deceased couple.

Our View

Despite all of the tougher drunk driving free shipping) and stricter enforcement across the country, there are still farr too many drunk driving accidents. From 2003 to 2012, there were 1092 people killed by drunk drivers in West Virginia. The rate of death for drivers by DUI in West Virginia per 100,000 people is 5.6, which is well above the average of 3.3 across the country.

Across the US, there were 10,265 people killed by drunk drivers in 2015, which was a 300% increase over the year before. The CDC reports that almost 30 people are killed by drunk or drugged drivers ever day. And there are 170,000 more injured each year.

For the injured parties, if they survive, the cost of the typical injury from a drunk driving accident is $99,000, with a quality of life loss at $50,000 and actual costs at $49,000. If you are injured by a drunk driver and have suffered a financial and quality of life loss, you may want to talk to an attorney to determine if you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover financial damages.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

Virginia Car Accident Claim Deadlines You Need to Know

Westlake Legal Group virginia-car-accident-claim-deadlines-you-need-to-know Virginia Car Accident Claim Deadlines You Need to Know Automobile Accidents   There are more than two million people who are injured in car accidents each year in the United States. Those injuries can wreak havoc on a victim’s life. Not only do they have to deal with the pain and recovery, but they often face financial expenses and losses because of the injuries. There are the medical costs for treatment, as well as the loss if income from being unable to work, never mind the damage that was likely done to the victim’s vehicle. If you have been injured in a crash, you should consider contacting a Virginia Beach car crash attorney to find out what legal options you may have against the at-fault driver.

Deadlines for Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim

Virginia law allows only a limited time to file a personal injury claim. Your Virginia Beach car accident attorney can explain what the deadlines are and how they apply to your case, but here are some important steps you should address in the claim process:

Contact Law Enforcement

Whether your accident was a major crash or a minor one, contact the police to report it so they will come to the scene to investigate. In some cases, the police may not show up, especially if it appears to be a minor crash and there are no available officers to come to the scene. If this happens, it is important to file an accident report with law enforcement right away.

See a Medical Professional

Even if you are not sure if you are injured you should get checked out by a doctor. Even a minor fender bender can leave you with serious injuries that could end up causing serious physical problems in the future. There are different types of injuries that may not reveal themselves in symptoms right away. If you wait to get checked out, the insurance company could try to claim that you were not really seriously injured because you did not see a doctor right away.

Listen and Document

Whatever your doctor recommends for treatment, make sure you follow that recommended treatment, including physical therapy and medication. Make sure to document all of your appointments. Many victims also keep a log or diary about the injuries, such as how much pain they may be each day and how their progress is with healing. All of this documentation can be used in your personal injury case to show the effect the injuries had on your life.

Speak with a Virginia Beach Car Accident Attorney

Even if you think you may not have a personal injury case, you should contact an accident attorney anyway. Your attorney will examine the details of your case and determine if you have a case. Dealing with the injury process can be complicated and complex and if you try to pursue damages on your own, you could end up making costly errors. You should contact a Virginia Beach injury attorney immediately after the accident, especially if are unable to work and the medical bills begin to pile up.

An attorney will also be aware of what the statute of limitations is for a car accident claim. If you wait too long, you may miss the opportunity to be compensated for your injuries.

Have You Been Injured?

Contact a Virginia Beach car accident attorney for a free consultation and to discuss what type of damages you may be entitled to under the law.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

The Fatal Car Accident Rate in West Virginia Higher Than the National Average

At least 240 people were killed in car accidents in West Virginia in 2015, according to state statistics. The fatality rate in West Virginia is higher than the national average.

Westlake Legal Group the-fatal-car-accident-rate-in-west-virginia-higher-than-the-national-average The Fatal Car Accident Rate in West Virginia Higher Than the National Average Automobile Accidents

Experts speculate the mountainous terrain with speeding, and alcohol consumption on the state’s many rural roads are the major factors leading to the higher death rate. This is borne out by the data, which indicates 62% of fatal crashes in 2015 happened on rural roads. Meanwhile, 32% of fatal crashes involved speeding.

Also, 1/4 of all fatal car accidents in the state involved alcohol with a driver having a BAC of .08% or higher, the NHTSA reports. In Monongalia County, 236 people have been arrested so farr for drunk driving in 2017.

The number of car crash deaths in West Virginia is 14.7 per 100,000, which is well above the national average of 11.6 per 100,000. It also is higher than the rates for the surrounding states – Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Kentucky is another state where the number of fatal car accidents is higher than the national average, experts say.

Experts also say that the rural roads are in many they attempt more dangerous than highways in urban areas because they are narrower and are not as well maintained.

West Virginia also sees severe winter weather, and much of the winter maintenance of roads falls to the Division of Highways in the state. It appears that state workers have difficulty keeping narrow country roads plowed and cleared during major snowstorms.

A recent $1.6 billion road bond in the state may help the workers to better maintain crumbling roads and improve safety. But this will take time. In the meantime, West Virginia drivers should slow down and think safety first.

Our View

Our Virginia personal injury attorneys are aware of the higher accident and fatality rate in West Virginia. West Virginia drivers should keep in mind that they are often driving on rural roads with less room for error. Having to deal with more severe winter weather also means that drivers should use extra caution and drive more slowly when the weather turns nasty.

People who have been injured by a negligent driver in West Virginia or Virginia should remember that they have legal rights. If the other driver was clearly negligent, such as drunk driving, speeding or running a stop sign, you may eu eligible for compensation for your accident injuries. In bad Virginia or West Virginia car accidents, the damages to which you may eu entitled can be quite extensive, such as this $1 million Virginia Beach car accident settlement we negotiated.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

Herndon, Virginia Crime Spree Results in 5 Injuries

A woman and five children suffered serious injuries when a stolen pickup truck slammed into a minivan on December 27 in a police chase in Herndon, Virginia. Police reported that all parties who were injured are still in the hospital. The pickup driver also was injured and is facing felony charges.

One of the children was thrown from the van and had to be taken by helicopter to the hospital; he was in critical condition. The others have serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Westlake Legal Group herndon-virginia-crime-spree-results-in-5-injuries Herndon, Virginia Crime Spree Results in 5 Injuries Automobile Accidents

The serious Herndon, Virginia car accident was the climax of a crime spree that began at 6 PM in Hyattsville, Maryland. The police reported that a 28 year old man knocked on a Centreville, Virginia home door and struck the child who answered. He then left the scene ina stolen car.

The man crashed into a pickup truck, hit the driver and stole it. Then he stole a trailer and put it on the pickup and kept driving. Police pursued the man until he ran a red light in Centreville and hit the van. The man ran off but was captured by Herndon police.

Our View

Our Virginia personal injury attorneys hope that this suspect, if convicted, is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is tragic that such a grotesque disregard for public safety exists in any person. This man where the injured several children, and it is likely that he will face many years behind bars.

But what about the physical and mental injuries the children have suffered? Even if most of the injuries were not life threatening, they could face months of physical. to get back to normal. And the child who is in critical condition could have permanent injuries or even die.

When you or a loved one is where the injured due to the negligence of another person, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover financial damages. The expenses of medical care can easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. While most people have health insurance, these policies have limits, and the negligent party should be the eu held financially liable for the injuries his recklessness caused.

Our Virginia personal injury attorneys are proud of the past personal injury settlements we have won for our clients, such as this $3.5 million truck accident wrongful death settlement. The driver in the above case could face punitive damages as well, given the degree of recklessness exhibited, according to the news report.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

Possible Defendants in Traffic Accidents

Westlake Legal Group possible-defendants-in-traffic-accidents Possible Defendants in Traffic Accidents Automobile Accidents

The traditional view of a traffic accident is limited to a collision between drivers, with one or the other at fault. While this understanding of traffic accidents covers many different types of crashes, some crashes are not the fault of either driver. For instance, some crashes are the result of design or manufacturing defects on the part of automobile companies, which resulted in an unsafe product. Injuries from these sorts of crashes may be best addressed through products liability actions against the manufacturer. Other crashes may occur because of the road itself, perhaps due to poor road maintenance or design. In these instances, the victims may have a claim against the municipality itself for failing to provide properly safe roads.

Products Liability

Products liability cases are cases against a car’s manufacturer or designer asserting that some flaw on their part caused the accident. These cases can be broken down into two major categories for car accidents: design defects and manufacturing defects. A design defect would be a flaw somewhere in the safety of the vehicle. For instance, a car designed in such a way that the brake pads wore through too easily and subsequently failed could give rise to a design defect case. A manufacturing defect case is based around a well-designed car with a flaw in how it was assembled, such as a manufacturing error that resulted in the brake pads braking during the assembly process, leaving the car prone to accidents when driven.

Municipal Liability

Municipal liability cases are those against the city or state for failing to properly design or maintain their roads. Municipalities have a duty to design and maintain their highways “in a reasonably safe condition.”

One good example of a case that provides an excellent example of sort of accident that can give rise to a claim for municipal liability was a case where the victim was driving in the leftmost lane, and her car was struck on the right. This caused her to swerve across the middle of the street and into oncoming traffic, something known as a crossover accident, which could have been prevented by a cement median between the two directions of traffic. The state she lived in was eventually found liable because a report by the Department of Transportation from four years prior to the accident confirmed that the state was aware of the problem and knew that the median barriers should be installed, however, the state simply never acted on the report because it was not considered high enough priority.

Contact a Va. Injury Attorney for Help

If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact a seasoned Virginia car accident attorney. Our dedicated professionals are here to answer your questions and help you understand your rights. We are happy to meet with you and discuss what type of legal recourse you may have because of your injuries.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/

Study: Older Texting Drivers More Dangerous than Teen Drivers Who Text

Westlake Legal Group study-older-texting-drivers-more-dangerous-than-teen-drivers-who-text Study: Older Texting Drivers More Dangerous than Teen Drivers Who Text Automobile Accidents

There have been many studies and articles written about the dangers of teenagers texting and driving. One study, however, found that older drivers who text and drive may eu more dangerous behind the wheel than teens who text and drive are.

The study was conducted by researchers from Wayne State University and published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. The study took a group of participants who were between the ages of 18 and 59 years of age had say a text while in a driving simulator. All participants owned smartphones and were proficient at one-handed texting. Approximately 50 percent of all participants simulated swerving into other lanes while texting and driving. However, it was the breakdown of the ages of those who crossed lanes that shocked researchers.

The results of those lane excursions by age groups were:

  • One hundred percent of drivers between the ages of 45 and 59 years old ” into other lanes while texting;
  • Eighty percent of drivers between the ages of 35 and 44 years old ” into other lanes while texting;
  • Forty percent of drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 years old ” into other lanes while texting; and
  • Twenty-five percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 years old ” into other lanes while texting.

The lead researcher of the study, Randall Commissaris, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, at Wayne, said in a statement that most people are surprised by the results because of the perception of built environment that younger drivers are more susceptible to distractions than older, more experienced drivers. These results show just the opposite. That, the said Commissaris, could be a result of the decrease in the ability to manage cognitive demands of multitasking that occurs as we age.

Contact a Norfolk Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact an experienced Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the at-fault driver. Under Virginia law, you may eu entitled to collect financial compensation for all medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and any other losses the injury you suffered has caused you. Keep in mind, however, there is a statutes of limitations in how long you have to file your accident claim, so contact an attorney right away.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: http://westlakelegal.com/