September 1, 2020
According to the CDC, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2017. That translates to one death every 88 minutes in the United States.
Pedestrian injuries and deaths from traffic accidents are unfortunately all too common. More often than not, they’re caused by reckless drivers putting other lives in danger, either by drinking, speeding, driving recklessly, inattentively or using a cell instead of operating their vehicle..
If you have been injured or know someone who was killed or seriously injured due to reckless driving, you are entitled to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. In this blog, we’ll go over what causes these accidents and what pedestrians can do to hold reckless drivers accountable.
What Counts as Reckless Driving in Virginia?
The definition of reckless driving is fairly universal and self-explanatory. In Virginia law, reckless driving is defined as someone who drives their vehicle “on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.”
Within this definition, reckless is defined as “a careless disregard by the driver of a motor vehicle for the consequences of his act and an indifference to the safety of life, limb or property.”
This definition begs the question, what specifically counts as reckless driving?
There are some fairly common examples:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to follow traffic laws and signs
- Ignoring weather conditions
What Are The Costs For The Driver?
If a driver causes an accident while doing any of these actions, they may be considered a reckless driver and can be charged as such.
Reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor and can lead to many penalties. Legally, these include a $2,500 fine, suspended license, and in extreme cases, jail time. Monetarily, reckless driving can cause an increase in your automobile insurance and loss of a job due to a conviction.
The charges can get more severe depending on the circumstances of the accident. If the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they’ll also be charged with a DUI. If the driver left the scene without exchanging information, then they could be charged with hit and run.
If the accident leads to a victim’s death, the driver could be charged with vehicular or involuntary manslaughter. This charge is only applied in extreme cases, where the driver’s recklessness goes beyond simple negligence, or there was a fatality or serious injury involved.
What Are The Costs For The Pedestrian?
While a reckless driver does face consequences after causing an accident or death, the damages towards the pedestrian can be worse and longer lasting.
There are the physical damages that a victim faces from being hit by a car. These can range from bruises and scratches, and escalate to broken bones or lost limbs. Worst all, a reckless driver can cause someone to lose their life.
Beyond the physical damages, there are economic damages that a victim of reckless driving can sustain. These include:
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy treatment
- Medical accessories like crutches or wheelchairs
- Job loss due to injuries
- Replacement or repair of personal property
- Future medical expenses and lost wages
Both physical and economic damages can lead to emotional damages, such as:
- The pain and suffering caused by the accident
- Loss of personal interactions due to injuries
- Loss of a limb or a sense, like hearing or sight
- Inability to perform simple tasks in your day-to-day life
How Do I Hold A Reckless Driver Accountable?
If you’ve suffered any of the damages listed here, or want to discuss the effects a reckless driving accident has had on your life, you need to speak with an experienced attorney.
The attorneys at Cravens and Noll are well-versed in personal injury law, specifically in reckless driving accidents. Our lawyers will work with you to make sure you receive the compensation you need and deserve after a horrible accident.
Let us be your guide. We have a proven track record of success at trial and pretrial settlement negotiation. If your case is worth a million dollars, we are the lawyers to call.
Call or email us to schedule a consultation today.
May 7, 2020
If you have ever been in a car accident, you know those first few moments after the accident are very emotional. You are probably not thinking about taking photos or preserving the evidence you may need after an accident. Your first instinct might be to get angry if you know the accident was not your fault. After those first few moments, you will begin to evaluate your health and whether you sustained any injuries.
Once you know you are okay, your next instinct will be to check on your passengers. Are the children okay? Is your spouse okay? If everyone in your car is well, the next thought might be to check on the well-being of the passengers of the other car(s) involved in the accident.
Once you know everybody is okay, it is time to start gathering information. Unfortunately, some people forget to take photos of the accident scene. These photos can be crucial to your claim with the insurance company, and your attorney wants to see these photos too.
The next time you’re involved in an automobile accident, these are the photos you want to capture:
Photos of All Drivers and Passengers
Take pictures of anyone involved with the accident. This includes not only all of the people in your vehicle, but also the people in other vehicles too. You also want to take photos of other people at the scene such as officers, medical personnel, and especially witnesses. It is always good to get as much documentation as possible of other people involved at the scene of the incident.
Why You Should Take Pictures of Everyone
While it may seem cumbersome to take photos of everyone at the scene, there are many instances where stories change after everything is cleaned up. Suddenly, people in the other car claim they have whiplash, or there’s an extra passenger you never saw at the scene that day. Some people will try to take advantage of the insurance companies by claiming injuries to get a payout. By taking photos of all the parties involved, you will know for sure who actually was involved in the accident.
If anyone has visible injuries, you may want to take photos of the injuries of all parties if possible. This will provide documentation of the injuries right after they occurred.
Photos at Different Angles and Distances
Again, you want to have as much photo documentation as possible after an accident. Start with photos all around the accident scene. Inspect the road for debris from the cars, skid marks, road defects, and any other feature which might have been a determining factor in the accident.
Get Photos Before Tow Trucks Arrive
Once the tow trucks and the police arrive, the vehicles are going to be moved, so you want to try to take photos of the resting place of all vehicles. Take enough photographs so any lawyer, claims representative or anybody investigating the accident can visualize where the vehicles stopped after the crash. This photographic evidence will help further substantiate your account of how the accident occurred.
Consider the Weather
If it is a really cold day, this may play a role in the accident. Take photos of ice on the roadways. If there was a downpour or thunderstorm at the time of the crash, take a short video documenting this too. If one of the vehicles crashed due to blinding sunlight, you want to document this too.
Watch the Traffic Signals
In addition, take a few minutes to watch the traffic signals if the accident occurred near a major intersection. Are the lights working correctly? Are the traffic lights out because of a bad thunderstorm? Take photos of the intersection including the lights, and take short videos if you notice anything unusual about the traffic lights.
Is there a disagreement about who had the green light? See if there are witnesses who saw who had the right of way.
Get Photos of Traffic Lanes and Signs
In addition to the vehicles and the traffic signals, you also want to take a few moments to capture images of the traffic lanes and highway signs at the intersection. Capture an image of a yield sign or a stop sign, especially if a sign is partially obscured by a tree or other object.
Get Photos of Driver Information
Finally, you should take photos of the other driver’s license and insurance card. Be especially wary if the other driver doesn’t want to give you their insurance information. This could be because they are uninsured.
Contact an Attorney
After the event is over, you probably need to seek legal counsel. The attorneys at Cravens & Noll, P.C. have been representing parties involved in car accidents all over Virginia for 30 years. We have a team of lawyers and injury trained legal assistants who will represent and assist to make sure you are fairly compensated for your damages and injuries.
Contact us today to begin the process of getting your life back in order!
April 14, 2018
The most important aspect of a personal injury case is the facts. How the law applies to those facts is critical too, but the chances your case will break new legal ground is almost zero. Facts are normally the main reason why a case wins or loses, a settlement is considerable or disappointing. If you’re involved in a vehicle accident in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas, the cause of your injuries, their extent and long term impact are very important facts in a lawsuit seeking compensation for those injuries.
That’s why you should get medical attention as soon as possible after your accident. If you’re injured or feel so shaken up you shouldn’t drive, after the police arrive, ask for an ambulance if one isn’t already there. If you’re unconscious, semi-conscious or suffered a serious injury the police officer should call for one without you even asking.
See a doctor as soon as possible
If you feel OK and you can drive your vehicle, as soon as possible after the accident, whether that’s directly from the accident scene or no later than the following day, either see your physician or if he or she isn’t available, go to a local medical clinic or hospital emergency department.
This is necessary so whatever injuries you’ve suffered can be addressed as quickly as possible. You may also have injuries that you’re unaware of because you could literally be numb to them because of the stress of the situation. Tests, x-rays, CT scans or MRI’s could be needed to find what, if anything, is wrong with you and if so, what that problem is and what should be done about it.
The exam, tests and treatment help document important facts for your case too. They will establish that the trauma of the vehicle accident caused your injuries, their extent and how they impact you. You may also need to follow up within days of your medical care because some injuries won’t show themselves until some time passes.
Medical records help you prove your case
The longer you delay in seeing a medical professional, the greater the risk the insurance company representing the other party will claim your injuries weren’t caused by the accident. The insurance company may claim you slipped and fell at home, were injured at work or involved in another accident involving a different driver.
Also, with the delay you risk the claim that you’re to blame that the injuries you suffered are so bad. You didn’t act like a reasonable person to get medical attention promptly. As a result you aggravated the injuries, the situation worsened and the insurance company won’t want to pay for your mistakes.
Most vehicle accident injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. In these cases the plaintiff has the burden of showing several elements.
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty to do, or not do, something given the situation (the defendant should not run stop signs).
- The defendant violated or breached that duty (he or she ran the stop sign).
- That breach was, in fact, the cause of the accident (the truck driven by the defendant didn’t stop at the stop sign and collided into the plaintiff’s car).
- The breach was the legal or proximate cause of the accident.
- As a result of the accident the plaintiff suffered injuries and resulting damages.
- Under Virginia law, the plaintiff can receive compensation for those types of injuries.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving all these elements, including number five. Even if there is strong evidence establishing one through four, without being able to prove injuries were caused in the accident, there is no case. Getting medical attention as soon as possible after an accident will help you prove there’s a connection between the accident and your injuries, as well as establishing how severe they are and their impact on your life.
Call our office as soon as possible after your vehicle accident, too
Cravens & Noll handles all types of vehicle accidents for our clients. Not only can we protect your legal rights, we can help you get the medical care you need and deal with the insurance company so you can focus on recovery and living your life. For the individual attention you deserve and a full explanation of your rights, call Cravens & Noll’s Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg offices at (804) 330-9220 for a free consultation.
May 22, 2017
The lawyers of Cravens & Noll with 5 locations representing throughout central Virginia, want everyone to be safe and free from harm. Regretfully, the world is a dangerous place and chances are that one-day a careless or reckless person will injure you or a loved one. Accidents can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
When an accident happens, we are here to help you and your family. After obtaining medical care for yourself and others, some important first steps will help protect your legal interest. You should gather and retain as much information as possible. Take photographs or videos.
Be careful about what you say. Document your injuries. Then Immediately contact Cravens & Noll directly at (804) 258-1631 for a free case evaluation.
The following further suggestions are applicable to most types of accidents.
Stay calm and alert. Accidents are unexpected and can generate powerful emotions. Remaining calm and clear-headed will allow you to more objectively take positive actions. Try to be polite and cordial. Do not become hostile to the others who may be involved.
Call 911 for the Police and Medical Care.
Always call the police or other responsible authorities when involved in an accident. Always request medical assistance for those injured. Always report your injuries no matter how slight. Injuries frequently become worse. Seek prompt medical attention.
Do Not Discuss the Accident
Do not take blame for the accident. Exchange information required by law but do not make any other statements. Cooperate with the authorities but do not make any damaging comments. Anything you say can be used against you. Remember that you have a right to talk with a lawyer before making any statements.
Preserve the Scene
The scene of an accident is the place or location where the injury occurred. It includes the actual physical location plus any physical evidence, items, articles, machinery, products, vehicles, and anything tangible that helps explain the cause of an accident. It is extremely important to call the police or other authorities that are responsible for investigating the accident or resulting injuries. Take complete photographs and videos of the scene, including the resulting injuries.
Gather the Record Information
Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses. Many witnesses of accidents leave without giving any information. Do not rely on the investigating officials to obtain this information. Keep notes of all important facts.
Preserve all Evidence
Evidence includes all tangible and intangible items or information pertaining to the accident. It includes, for example, statements, cars, machines, items, clothing, photographs, videos, scene photographs, medical records, bills, and so forth. Keep all evidence in a secure location. Do not destroy or discard anything. Know where all relevant physical items are located. Do not give authority to anyone to remove, obtain, possess, or destroy anything.
Injuries and Damages
You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Awarding monetary damages is the law’s method of putting the wrongfully injured party, as closely as possible, into a position equal to that position before he or she was injured. You may have the right to recover money for damages such as pain and suffering, temporary and permanent disability, reasonable expenses for medical and hospital care, future expenses for medical care or rehabilitation, loss of income, and damages to property. Be sure to document all your injuries.
Your Insurance Company
You must promptly report the accident to your company. Failure to do so could result in a loss of coverage. It is prudent to talk to your attorney first. Remember their interest may not be the same as yours. When an accident happens, they are a business, and you are an expense.
Any other Insurance Company
The biggest mistake people make is talking to the other insurance company. Trained adjustors or attorneys always represent insurance companies. Remember your interest is not their interest. You are their expense. They want to get out of a claim as quickly and as cheaply as possible, no matter what the consequences are to you. Protect yourself. Do not give them a statement, particularly a recorded statement. Do not sign anything for them. You are not required to talk to the other insurance company.
Cravens & Noll handles all types of accidents. For the individual attention you deserve and a full explanation of your rights, call Cravens & Noll for a free consultation.
March 21, 2017
Over 125,000 car accidents occur each year in Virginia. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involve personal injury (link) to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries.
If you are involved in an automobile accident in Virginia, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. The following is a list of the top ten things you should do if you are in an automobile accident:
1. STOP. Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one.
2. PROTECT THE SCENE. You can prevent further accidents by setting up flares, or keeping your flashers on. If it is dark and your lights don’t work, you should have a flashlight to keep you safe while you wait in your disabled car or by the side of the road.
3. CALL THE POLICE. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is a good idea to call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your vehicle. The vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are, unless they interfere with traffic.
4. MAKE AN ACCURATE RECORD. When the police arrive, make sure you tell the investigating officer(s) exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents become apparent hours after the actual collision. You should also make sure statements made by other persons involved in the accident are accurate as well.
5. TAKE PICTURES. If you happen to have a camera in your vehicle, or a cell phone equipped with a camera, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. However, you should in no way interfere with the on-going police investigation. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
6. EXCHANGE INFORMATION. Typically, the investigating police officer obtains this information. However, if the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also obtain information about insurance by asking to see the insurance card for all vehicles involved in the accident. If there are witnesses, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future. If police respond to the accident, the investigating officer usually will provide all drivers with a police report number. You can use that number later to obtain the police report. If the accident occurs on a state highway, you must request the report from the state police.
7. REPORT THE ACCIDENT. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage. You pay extra for that type of coverage – known as “medpay” – so you should use it. In fact, if you have medpay coverage, you are required to submit your accident-related medical bills to your insurance company. Medpay coverage is primary for accident-related medical bills. Once medpay benefits are exhausted, private health insurance becomes your primary insurer. Medpay benefits are available to all the occupants of the vehicle. Your insurance rates should not increase as a result of submitting claims for medpay coverage.
8. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. Often, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent. Most of our clients report feeling the most pain a day or two following an automobile accident. Unless you are absolutely certain you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by seeing your family physician. Even in accidents involving minor impact, you can sustain a serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord. If you lost consciousness or were dazed for even a short period of time following the collision, you may have suffered a concussion or closed head injury. This can cause cognitive and behavioral changes if left untreated.
9. KEEP A FILE. Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include a claim number, the claim’s adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
10. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult your attorney. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.