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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Automobile Accidents"

Tow Truck Driver Seriously Injured Near DC on I-395

A tow truck driver suffered serious injuries in the early morning hours of April 15 when a car on I-395 outside Washington DC lost control and hit him as he was attending to a disabled vehicle. 

Virginia State Police said the tow truck driver was outside his rig clearing an accident scene when he was struck at 4 am near Seminary Road. A 2004 Honda Accord was going northbound on I-395 when it lose control and struck a jersey barrier, crossed the interstate onto the right shoulder and struck the tow truck and driver.

The serious Virginia crash happened when heavy rains had fallen, which led to slick roads.

The tow truck driver suffered serious injuries but is in stable condition at a local hospital. The tow truck company owner credited the actions of a good Samaritan who stopped at the site of the accident and put a tourniquet on his leg, which was bleeding severely. The good Samaritan also waited with the tow truck driver and talked to him so he did not pass out.

Westlake Legal Group tow-truck-driver-seriously-injured-near-dc-on-i-395 Tow Truck Driver Seriously Injured Near DC on I-395 Automobile Accidents

The driver of the Honda has been charged with failure to maintain control.

Our View

Our Virginia and North Carolina personal injury attorneys are happy that the injured tow truck driver is in stable condition and should recover.

However, our personal injury lawyers wish to remind all drivers that it is important to drive with care in the rain. Driving both during and after a rain can be very dangerous. The most important thing to remember is to just slow down when the roads are wet. It always takes longer to stop in wet weather. Also, when you are driving at night on a wet road, you may not see standing water that can result in hydroplaning.

To drive more safely on wet roads, keep these tips in mind:

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminstration states that drivers should reduce their speed by 1/3 on wet roads. 
  • Avoid braking hard on wet roads whenver possible. Take your foot off the gas and brake lightly to stop slowly.
  • Do not make sharp, sudden turns. Take all turns more slowly.
  • Stay in middle lanes if you ca; water often pools in outside lanes.

If you are injured in a car accident due to another driver losing control in this fashion, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Some of the compensation could be for medical costs, lost earnings and rehabilitation. In serious car accidents, this compensation for personal injuries can be substantial, so it is wise to at least consult with an attorney if you suffered injuries from another driver’s negligence.


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/

Seatbelt Use Highlighted After 6 Ejected in Virginia Crash

A teenager in Bedford County, Virginia is fighting for his life after a May 6 car accident. A family member of the 18 year old reported on social media that he is in a coma after he and six others under the age of 21 were ejected from a Jeep that rolled in an accident. None of the passengers had on their seatbelts. 

Westlake Legal Group seatbelt-use-highlighted-after-6-ejected-in-virginia-crash Seatbelt Use Highlighted After 6 Ejected in Virginia Crash Automobile Accidents

The Virginia State Police told the media of the importance of every driver and passenger fastening their seatbelt any time they are in a moving vehicle. In addition to buckling up, the police reminded the public that there is a law in Virginia requiring teen drivers under 18 to have only one passenger under the age of 21. The only exception is if a licensed parent is in the vehicle; there was not in this case.

Charges are pending in this Virginia crash.

Our View

It is well known by now that seatbelt use saves lives. The CDC reports that having your seatbelt on can reduce risk of death in a car accident by 45%. Your risk of injury is reduced by 50%. Unfortunately, more than 50% of drivers who die in car accidents each year do not wear their seatbelts.

In Virginia, our personal injury attorneys want to remind everyone in the state that using seatbelts is required. Drivers and passengers who are 16 and older must have a seatbelt when in the front seat. Children under 16 must have a seat belt or be in a child safety seat wherever they are in the vehicle.

It is such a tragedy that the injuries in this case could have been less severe if each occupant in the vehicle had taken three seconds and fastened their seatbelt.

The other thing worth mentioning in this accident is that the driver clearly was either not paying attention to his driving or was driving in an unsafe manner. All drivers, especially young ones, should pay close attention to their driving at all times. When a driver is negligent, a very serious accident can result and is then compounded by occupants not wearing seatbelts.

If any of the injured pass away, the families could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and this could be in the millions of dollars at settlement or verdict. In addition to criminal penalties, driving negligently without seatbelts is a very tragic and costly mistake that we hope everyone reading will avoid.


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/

What to Do after a Rental Car Crash

Westlake Legal Group what-to-do-after-a-rental-car-crash What to Do after a Rental Car Crash Automobile Accidents   Whether you are on vacation or business, the options to rent a vehicle definitely makes your trip much easier than having to depend on tpublic transportation or other transportation modes for getting around the area you are visiting. However, whenever someone is in a motor vehicle, there is always the risk of being involved in an auto accident. If it happens to you, do you know what to do after a rental car crash?

Some of the steps you need to take if you are in a car crash with your rental vehicle are the same as if you were in a crash in your own vehicle. You will want to ensure that any passengers and the other driver are okay. If needed, call for medical assistance. You also want to contact the local law enforcement of the town or city you are in to report the accident. The accident police report may assist you in any accident claims you file. If you are physically able to, make sure to get the names of any witnesses and take photos of the accident scene.

Once the police have been notified, you will also need to contact the car rental company where you obtained the vehicle from. The contact phone number should be in the paperwork you were given when you picked up the vehicle. There may also be a sticker somewhere in the vehicle itself, such as on a visor or in the glove compartment. The rental company will explain what their procedure is.

Although most rental car companies offer rental insurance, many drivers choose to not take that option and instead rely on their own vehicle insurance policy to cover them. Contacting your own insurance company, even if the other driver was at fault, is also a necessary step.

Because rental car crashes can be complex due to the car insurance factor, it is also important to contact a Virginia car accident attorney to make sure you receive whatever damages you may be entitled to from the accident.



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/

Distracted Driving is 5th Leading Cause of Virginia Crashes

New data out of Virginia shows distracted driving in the Commonwealth was the major cause of 26,123 car accidents in the state in 2017. This means approximately 20% of all crashes in the state are caused by a driver looking at a smartphone or being distracted by something else. This statistic is startling, and provides a reminder at the beginning of Distracted Driving Awareness Month (promoted by the National Safety Council) about just what a challenge there is in this state to reduce distracted driving.

Westlake Legal Group distracted-driving-is-5th-leading-cause-of-virginia-crashes Distracted Driving is 5th Leading Cause of Virginia Crashes Automobile Accidents

According to the 2017 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts reported by the DMV, there were 127,375 car accidents in the state. Distracted driving was a more common cause of accidents than speed, which was a factor in 23,948 wrecks. The number of distracted driving accidents is a major worry for the state, but the number was 2.5% lower than the year before. But a new study by AAA has shown that distracted driving is a bigger concern today than driving drunk. In 2017, far more distracted drivers than drunk drivers caused accidents. There were 7285 accidents in Virginia caused by drunk drivers last year.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also warns that distracted driving has hit the top of the list of dangers on Virginia roads, and roads across the country. In its study, 88% of drivers said that distracted driving is getting worse. This is a 30% increase in five years.

According to state Senator Scott Surovell in Fairfax County, injuries and deaths from distracted drivers on cell phones is happening every day in the state. He recently sponsored a bill that would make it a traffic offense to use a cell phone when it takes your attention off the road. Texting and driving is already illegal in the state.

Our View

Our Virginia wrongful death and personal injury attorneys implore drivers in the Commonwealth to pay attention to their driving at all times. Looking at a cell phone for even a second at highway speed can cause a very serious accident. It is estimated that taking your eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 MPH is like driving with your eyes closed for the length of a football field. 

There is new technology that could theoretically reduce the number of distracted driving accidents, but even hands free cell phones can still be a distraction for many drivers. The best way to ensure you are not distracted behind the wheel is to put the cell phone in the glove compartment or in another location you cannot easily reach while driving.

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 Troopers Investigate Fatal I-81 Truck Crash

A fatal accident between two tractor trailers on April 5 is being investigated by the Virginia State Police. News reports state the crash happened in Smyth County on I-81 when one truck going north did not brake for traffic that had slowed in a work zone. 

The truck rear ended another truck, went off the road and caught on fire. That truck driver died at the scene. The other truck driver also suffered minor injuries.

Westlake Legal Group virginia-troopers-investigate-fatal-i-81-truck-crash Virginia Troopers Investigate Fatal I-81 Truck Crash Automobile Accidents


Our View

One of the most common causes of truck crashes today is distracted driving. Our Virginia truck accident attorneys do not know the cause of the above crash, but the fact that the crash happened in daylight hours suggests that visibility probably was not a major factor in the crash.

One of the biggest reasons that distracted driving kills drivers and passengers every year in big rigs and other vehicles is cell phones. According to federal law, all truck drivers are prohibited from texting and driving. The rule passed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlaws truckers from even reaching for or holding a cell phone to have a voice communication while driving.

Our personal injury attorneys recommend that truck drivers do everything they can to ensure they are not distracted when they are driving their truck. All truckers should put their mobile phone in a place where it cannot be reached during driving. Also, if you want to use a hands free cell phone, you should use the speaker phone function or an earpiece.

If you are caught texting and driving or talking on a cell phone in your hand while driving a truck, you can be fined up to $2750. Also, if you are in an accident and injure or kill another person, you can be put in prison and even sued in civil court.

Our truck accident attorneys settled a truck crash case several years ago for $2.4 million where the truck driver changed lanes but miscalculated the distance between his rig and the car in front of him. Our attorneys worked with the family and encouraged them to speak to grief counselors, so it could be shown in court the huge loss they suffered personally with the death of their loved one.


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

Driver Charged With Felony DUI With Death in South Carolina

A fatal drunk driving crash happened on the evening of April 8 in Greenville, South Carolina. The South Carolina Highway Patrol stated the deadly accident happened at South Pleasantburg Drive at Augusta Road. 

Troopers stated a 1999 Toyota was going north on South Pleasantburg and made a U-turn. As the vehicle was turning, troopers said it was struck on the right front side by another vehicle.

Westlake Legal Group driver-charged-with-felony-dui-with-death-in-south-carolina Driver Charged With Felony DUI With Death in South Carolina Automobile Accidents

The passenger was seriously injured in the Toyota and he passed away at the hospital. The driver of the Toyota has been charged with felony DUI with death, driving under suspension, liquor law violation and habitual offender law. The driver in the other car was not hurt.

Our View

Our North Carolina and Virginia personal injury attorneys send our condolences to the family of the deceased. Drunk driving continues to be a menace on our roads, with thousands killed each year from drinking and driving. The CDC reports 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2015, and drunk driving accounts for 1/3 of traffic deaths each year. 

If you are in an auto accident where the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there is a good chance that you can get compensation from any injuries from the crash. You also can receive compensation if your loved one is killed by a drunk driver by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

In many drunk driving crashes, it is often best to talk to the insurance company for the other driver before filing suit. But if the insured is convicted of DUI in connection with the accident, especially if death was involved, many insurance companies will pay top dollar in a settlement to avoid a lawsuit. Juries typically have very little sympathy for drunk drivers who injure or kill innocent people, and the verdict could end up costing the insurer much more than settling.

Our drunk driving attorneys handled a DUI case in Norfolk where our client was walking out of the gym. A drunk driver drove onto the sidewalk and hit his lower leg. He had to have four different surgeries on his lower leg and he had to have months of rehabilitation. The drunk driver only had $100,000 of coverage, so that was the maximum amount that could be obtained 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: https://westlakelegal.com/

West Virginia Police Chief Concerned After 3 Pedestrian Accidents

There have been three traffic accidents in Morgantown, West Virginia this year involving cars and pedestrians, and one of them was fatal. This has put Morgantown law enforcement on high alert.

Westlake Legal Group west-virginia-police-chief-concerned-after-3-pedestrian-accidents West Virginia Police Chief Concerned After 3 Pedestrian Accidents Automobile Accidents

According to Chief of Police Ed Preston in Morgantown, everyone who is driving and walking must be aware of their surroundings. It is important for both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention to what they are doing. 

In the fatal accident, a 21 year old woman and WVU student was killed when she was walking in a crosswalk. A 20 year old driver from New York was charged with negligent homicide. Investigators determined the woman was legally walking in a crosswalk in Morgantown on the WVU campus when she was struck by the man’s SUV.

As long as the pedestrian is following the street signals, he or she has the right of way in a crosswalk, the police chief said. The driver must stop. Still, the pedestrian should be aware of the possibility of driver error and keep watch when crossing.

In this case, the police chief did not detail why he thought the accident happened, but he said that there have been other cases in recent years where the driver was distracted by a cell phone.

Another 20 year old WVU student also was hit in a crosswalk in late February, and as of March, she will still in the hospital recovering.

Our View

National statistics suggest there has been a sharp increase in the number of pedestrian accidents in the last few years. According to recent statistics, as many as 5,000 pedestrians die each year across the country. Government data shows that many of these accidents happen at night. The above story noted that at least one of the accidents at WVU happened at night.

Our personal injury attorneys in Virginia wish to caution both drivers and pedestrians to use extreme caution and make sure that both are following the rules of the road. Even in a case where a pedestrian has the right of way in a cross walk, there is a possibility at night especially that the driver will not see the pedestrian. It is better to be safe than sorry when you are in a crosswalk, even if you have a legal right to be there.

If you are in a crosswalk legally and are struck, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Pedestrians injuries in an accident can be severe, and you may desperately need the funds recovered in a lawsuit to help you get back on your feet.



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

Pedestrian Crash on Virginia Interstate Highlights Liability in a Chain-Reaction Accident

A blown car tire turned into a chain-reaction pedestrian crash involving an ambulance on the interstate through Louisa County, Virginia (VA). The reported details indicate that the driver of a second car deserves blame for the wreck, but the completed police report will draw close scrutiny from insurance company representatives.

The incident began on the evening of April 12, 2018, when the driver of the first car blew a tire and ran off the road to the left. A county rescue squad ambulance needed to approach the scene near mile marker 135 on I-64 just east of Gordonsville by driving along the right shoulder because traffic had backed up behind the wrecked car.Westlake Legal Group pedestrian-crash-on-virginia-interstate-highlights-liability-in-a-chain-reaction-accident Pedestrian Crash on Virginia Interstate Highlights Liability in a Chain-Reaction Accident Automobile Accidents

When the ambulance got close to the disabled car, it began moving across traffic. That is when the second car rear-ended the ambulance and knocked it into the driver of the first car, who was standing on the left shoulder.

The pedestrian, identified in multiple news reports as 23-year-old Herbert Tyler III, suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries and went to the hospital. State troopers filed an initial charge of following too closely against the driver of the second vehicle, whom they publicly identified as 51-year-old Gerald Wolburg of Midlothian. The ambulance driver was not injured and was determined not to be at-fault for hitting the pedestrian because the emergency sirens and flashers were engaged,

If the following too closely charge remains in place, the injured pedestrian should have strong grounds for filing and collecting on personal injury insurance claims against the driver of the car that struck the ambulance from behind. While the usual rules of negligence in traffic crashes assign blame to the drive of the vehicle that most directly strikes the victim, that assumption does not appear to apply to the chain-reaction crash on I-64 in Louisa County.

Judging by the information released to the public, the ambulance driver only lost control because the second driver rear-ended the emergency vehicle. This indicates that the pedestrian would not have suffered injuries except for that other driver’s failure to give the ambulance enough space to move through traffic safely.

My three decades of experience as a Virginia person injury lawyer, though, tells me that the allegedly at-fault driver’s insurance company will dispute this conclusion. The insurer’s representatives will try to find any evidence that the ambulance driver failed to follow procedures, that the first driver endangered himself unnecessarily, and that their client did not, in fact, follow too closely. Those efforts to avoid responsibility and, ultimately, liability for paying claims are legal, so the injured pedestrian and his attorneys should be prepared to counter them with strong evidence of the other driver’s fault.


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

Two People Killed in WV Wrong-Way Crash

Two people in West Virginia were killed Saturday night in a wrong-way crash on I-77. The married couple were hit in their vehicle at 5 PM on I-77 south in Kanawha County. 

The other driver was identified as a 77 year old female from Kentucky.

Westlake Legal Group two-people-killed-in-wv-wrong-way-crash Two People Killed in WV Wrong-Way Crash Automobile Accidents

The male driver of the vehicle hit was the maintenance manager for the Capital Region Airport Authority near Lansing, Michigan. The couple was traveling on vacation in West Virginia when the fatal crash happened.

According to witnesses, the elder driver’s vehicle was seen Saturday night going north in a southbound lane at high speed. The other vehicle carrying the two deceased was hit and then left the road and hit a truck parked on the shoulder.

The deceased leave behind three children that range from 18 to 25 years old.

Our View

Our personal injury attorneys in Virginia and North Carolina send condolences to the family in this tragic car accident.

Wrong way crashes, while relatively rare, cause between 300 and 400 fatalities every year, reports the Federal Highway Administration. While there are not very many of these accidents, most occur at high speed, and the resulting impact is usually devastating. Most wrong way crashes are head on or near head on collisions. If the occupants of the vehicles are lucky enough to survive, they almost always have severe injuries that require surgery and rehabilitation.

The most common general cause of wrong way accidents on highways is driver error. But what are the specific reasons for a driver going to wrong way on a highway?

Many wrong way collisions involve drunk driving. People who are under the influence may ignore clear signs that state they are going to the wrong way. People who are drunk also lack judgment and may make decisions they would not normally make.

Another common cause of these accidents is when a driver is unfamiliar with the area. It is possible, especially at night, to get confused and enter the wrong way on an exit ramp.

Sometimes, there are not enough signs on a highway stating that the driver is going the wrong way.

In the above accident, it is possible the elderly driver got confused and went the wrong way. Older drivers sometimes make more driving errors than younger drivers.

In these tragic accidents, the surviving family has the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver. If there is adequate auto insurance in effect, or the driver has substantial assets, it is possible there could be a sizable wrongful death settlement to provide for the surviving family.

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

Under the Influence of Marijuana in Virginia Car Crashes

Westlake Legal Group under-the-influence-of-marijuana-in-virginia-car-crashes Under the Influence of Marijuana in Virginia Car Crashes Automobile Accidents   Most people relate driving under the influence to alcohol consumption. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana users are roughly 25 percent more likely to be involved in an automobile collision in comparison to drivers with no traces of marijuana in their system. Therefore, as recreational marijuana becomes more prevalent throughout the country, roadways are becoming increasingly more dangerous.

If you or a member of your family are injured in automobile collision due to another’s negligent driving or drug use, please contact an experienced and compassionate Virginia personal injury attorney to discuss your case and your legal options.

Nighttime Drivers and Marijuana Use

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015 indicated that nearly 13 percent of nighttime drivers operated their vehicles with marijuana in their system. Since then, however, a number of states have elected to legalize recreational marijuana, and the use of recreational marijuana—legal or otherwise—continues to rise nationwide.

Another Notorious Driving Day?

For decades, there has been a nationwide recognition of notoriously dangerous driving days, from New Year’s Eve to July 4. On both days, a startling uptick in driving fatalities has been concretely attributed to an increase in the number of drivers electing to drive under the influence.

As use of recreational marijuana increases around the country, another day has been added to that list. There is an equally disturbing uptick in roadway deaths on April 20, a day unofficially touted as a marijuana holiday.

Twenty-five years of research conducted by the U.S. government’s top traffic safety institutions noticed a 12 percent increase in roadway fatalities on April 20. In other words, an additional 142 drivers lose their lives on April 20, in comparison to standard calendar days.

How Does Marijuana Use Affect Driving?

According to the CDC, marijuana use negatively impacts regular driving habits—specifically skills that are required for safe driving. Such impacts include the following:

  • Reactions times and the ability to make decisions are slowed; and
  • Coordination is impaired and perception is distorted.

In addition, the CDC notes that the risks associated with impaired driving that involves the use of both marijuana and alcohol “appears to be greater than that for either by itself.”

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