Articles Posted in Personal Injury

The danger of children being trapped by defective drain suction remains a problem for about 80% of the nation’s public pools. In 2007, Congress passed legislation requiring safe drain compliance within one year. The National Swimming Pool Foundation reports that approximately 240,000 pools across the nation will fail to comply with the new federal standard before the deadline. This issue, despite litigation against product manufacturers and the enactment of federal legislation, remains a significant risk for our children.

Call Pierce & Thornton if you or a loved one has been affected by this issue.

You feel like you have an open and shut Virginia personal injury claim where you or your family member has been seriously injured by a negligent driver. The negligence is clear; the injuries are undisputed. A settlement offer is made, but you think the case is worth more money. You and your lawyer decide to take the case to trial because you can get more money at trial, right?

Not necessarily. According to a recent study which examined the results of over 2,000 cases that went to trial from 2002 to 2005, researchers found that the injured parties (and their lawyers) were WRONG 61% of the time they decided to go to trial rather than take the sure thing in settlement. These plaintiffs netted less money from their trials than they had turned down in settlement negotiations, after taking into account the expenses of trial. On average, plaintiffs lost about $43,000 when they erred by going to trail. Interestingly, defendants made the wrong decision to try their cases 21% of the time, but the average cost of their “mistake” was much higher — nearly $1.1 million.

What does all this mean? Some cases will have to be tried because the offer is zero or simply not a fair one. But, be wary of the attorney who tells you that you have a “slam dunk” case or who promises you a pile of money after you have just told him what happened Law schools don’t hand out crystal balls with their law degrees, and no lawyer can predict how every case will end. Go with experience, go with a lawyer who has tried cases, is not afraid to try cases and knows the positives and the negatives of putting your case in the hands of a jury.

Anyone who drives on Route 264 in Virginia Beach and Norfolk knows about the prevalence of motorcycles, many of them sport bikes operated by young Navy personnel. Some sport bike models can reach a top speed of 200 mph. Motorcycle accidents, not surprisingly, almost always result in serious injury or death to the motorcyclist when an automobile or truck is involved in the collision.

Since October of last year, 32 sailors and Marines worldwide have died on motorcycles. Thirty of those killed were riding sport bikes. In 2006, about 2/3 of Navy motorcycle deaths and nearly 80% of Marine motorcycle deaths were on sport bikes. The Navy is seeking to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents with its institution of a new program with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
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A Norfolk bicyclist riding along East Little Creek Road died from injuries he sustained when a car struck him last week. No charges have yet been filed against the driver, but the investigation is ongoing. Bicycle and motorcycle accidents are all too common in Hampton Roads, where our highways and secondary roads are extremely congested, particularly in Virginia Beach during the tourist season.

Last year in Virginia, there were over 130 bicycle and motorcycle fatalities. Were all of the fatalities and injuries to bicyclists and motorcyclists due to careless automobile and truck drivers? Of course not. However, there is a tendency of drivers to not always see or pay attention to bicycles and motorcycles on the roadway. The most common causes of bike and motorcycle crashes are pulling out in front of an oncoming cyclist, running a stop sign or not yielding the right of way to cyclists. Not surprisingly, the majority of motorcycle and bicycle wrecks occur at intersections.

Despite the growing popularity of Harley-Davidson, jury research indicates that jurors still have bias against motorcycle riders versus drivers of cars or SUVs. Perhaps it stems from the way motorcycles sound, the way that some motorcyclists drive or the number of “near misses” experienced by drivers who encounter motorcyclists and bicyclists. Overcoming the bias against bicycle and motorcycle riders is critical to winning a personal injury case involving a cyclist. At Pierce & Thornton, we have handled cases involving serious bicycle and motorcycle injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured while driving or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle or bicycle, call one of the attorneys at Pierce & Thornton for help.

A Norfolk jury recently awarded a woman who slipped and fell in a grocery store $1.25 million dollars when she slipped in water that had collected near a freezer. She suffered a disk injury in her spine requiring surgery.

Slip and fall cases can be difficult to win under Virginia law. The injured party must prove that a dangerous condition existed on the premises that the owner either knew about (this is called “actual” notice) or should have known about with the exercise of reasonable care. If the premises owner actually created the dangerous condition, then it will be deemed to have actually known about the problem. However, in most premises injury cases, the plaintiff has to show that the condition existed for such a period of time (or had been complained about previously) that the owner should have corrected it. At Pierce & Thornton, our attorneys have successfully handled cases involving injuries caused by hazards or defects on a business premises. We can assist in investigating and preparing your claim if you call us.

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