Hiring an Expert Can Strengthen Your Personal Injury Claims

Hiring an Expert Can Strengthen Your Personal Injury Claims

personal injury attorneys in Bedford, Virginia

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, there are good chances that you’ll be able to receive a settlement that covers your medical expenses and lost wages that resulted from the accident, especially if you obtain the services of an attorney to negotiate with insurers on your behalf. However, some claims don’t resolve without first going to trial. You and your attorney will work together to assemble all the best evidence showing the responsibility of the at-fault party. This can include physical evidence and photographs from the scene of the accident, as well as testimony from eyewitnesses to the accident, but it may also include testimony from expert witnesses. Experts have a body of experience and technical knowledge in a field related to the underlying cause of accidents and injuries, and can both explain the significance of evidence related to the accident, as well as offer opinions on how the accident occurred.

Some commonly-used experts in personal injury trials include:

Medical experts: Your medical records will have little impact on a jury without someone to interpret them. Medical experts can explain the injuries you received from the accident and the evidence showing that your injuries stemmed from the accident at issue in trial, and not from a previous incident. Additionally, medical experts can offer an educated prediction of your prospects for recovery, as well as an estimate of how much more treatment you should expect to need in order to recover.

Accident reconstruction experts: A visual model of the accident that caused your injuries can prove invaluable to a judge or jury’s understanding of how it occurred, and why responsibility lies with the at-fault party. A reconstruction expert can use physical evidence and testimony to recreate the accident with physical or computer modeling, and can also use this evidence to provide an explanation of how they believe the accident occurred.

Economic expert: Sometimes, the damages that an injured party requests in a personal injury lawsuit can seem unnecessary to a jury unfamiliar with the true cost of serious injuries. Economic experts can provide an evidence-backed explanation of your lost wages, inflation-adjusted future medical expenses, or lost future earning capacity, making what can seem like unreasonable numbers sound logical and necessary to the average juror.

If you have been hurt in an accident in Virginia, contact the determined and experienced personal injury lawyers at the Bedford offices of the Pack Law Group for a free consultation on your case, at 540-586-7225.

Some Voice-Activated Systems as Distracting as Solving Math Problems While Driving

Some Voice-Activated Systems as Distracting as Solving Math Problems While Driving

Lady eating while driving

It can be hard to resist the siren call of a phone’s ring or buzz while we’re behind the wheel of our cars. In order to avoid the possibility of getting distracted by a screen, many of us have adopted hands-free technologies such as voice recognition software on our phones, or in-vehicle entertainment systems that connect to phones. One group of researchers sought to determine whether these systems were, in fact, safe for drivers to use, and determined that even hands-free systems can cause a driver to miss important events happening on the road in front of them.

The University of Utah, with support from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, conducted a study that compared ten different in-vehicle entertainment systems installed in popular 2015 model year vehicles to one another, giving each a score noting how great of a distraction they posed to drivers. The possible scores ranged from 1 to 5, with 1 being driving distraction free, and 5 driving while solving a math problem AND memorizing a group of words; a score of 1.2 is equivalent to driving while listening to the radio. The most distracting in-vehicle system was found to be the Mazda 6, scoring a 4.6 on the scale—frighteningly close to the impossibly-distracting scenario of memorizing words, doing math, and driving. The least distracting system was determined to be that of the Chevy Equinox, with a score of 2.6.

Researchers blamed poor interface design for the difference between the most and least distracting in-vehicle systems. For example, one system asked a driver who had already issued a command to dial a domestic number whether that driver wanted to make an international call. “Some of these systems, they haven’t been really well engineered and thought through… People may have an assumption that if it’s in a car it must have been fully tested and really good,” noted David Strayer, one of the University of Utah’s researchers.

On average, the researchers found that even the least-distracting systems drew drivers’ minds away from the road. Across the ten systems, a driver required an average of 27 seconds to fully regain focus after issuing a voice command to their in-vehicle system. When driving only 25 mph, a distracted driver could traverse the length of three football fields in that time. The least distracting system still required an average of 15 seconds for a driver’s focus to return. “The results indicate that motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles while the mind is readjusting to the task of driving,” noted Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident with a distracted driver in Virginia, be sure you receive the compensation you deserve by contacting the skilled personal injury lawyers at the Pack Law Group for a consultation on your case, at 540-586-7225.

I’ve Been Pulled Over for a DUI—Now What?

I’ve Been Pulled Over for a DUI—Now What?

holiday drunk driving

First of all, make note now that if you’re ever feeling any doubts about your ability to drive, just don’t do it! The expense and hassle of being convicted of a DUI are immense, and with the popularity of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, finding another way home is easier than ever. But perhaps you had a momentary lapse in judgment and got behind the wheel of your car when you shouldn’t have and were seen by an officer driving erratically, or perhaps you got caught up in a DUI checkpoint and have been detained for further questioning. Read on for things you should know if you’re pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Virginia.

  • Stay calm and be respectful.

From the moment you’re pulled over, the police officer will be monitoring your behavior for signs of intoxication. Remain calm, and don’t make sudden movements. While you need to obey direct orders and should provide officers with identifying information, do not offer anything beyond this.

  • You aren’t required to answer questions

Other than providing your name, other identifying information, and documents such as your driver’s license and registration, don’t engage the officers. If they ask if you’ve been drinking, either say “no,” or “I’d rather not answer that.” There’s a natural inclination to seem helpful and cooperative when speaking with a police officer, but speaking with them more than absolutely necessary will only give them a chance to gather evidence of slurred speech or bloodshot eyes and give them cause to arrest you based on factors which are subjective and may be due simply to the way you speak or the fact that it’s late at night.

  • You aren’t required to take field sobriety tests

If the officer orders you to get out of the car, you need to obey him or her. However, if you’re asked to complete field sobriety tests, such as the “one-leg stand” or “walk and turn,” you can refuse to participate.

  • You aren’t required to take a preliminary breath test

The police officer may request that you take a preliminary breath test, or “PBT.” This is the handheld roadside version of a breath test to measure the amount of alcohol in your system. The officer may even tell you not to worry, that this test can’t be used against you in court. This is partially true—the numeric results of the test can’t be admitted, but the test CAN be used by the officer to support a probable cause determination, which is required before you are arrested. You can decline to take this test, and while the officer may have other sufficient cause to arrest you, declining the roadside breath test itself does not result in any direct penalties.

  • If you’re arrested, declining to take a blood or breath test could result in high penalties

Virginia is an “implied consent” state. This means that, by driving in Virginia and having a Virginia driver’s license, you have implicitly offered your consent to a blood or breath test for the presence of alcohol or narcotics if you’re arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and you no longer have the right to refuse to take these tests. If you nevertheless refuse, and have no prior convictions for DUI or prior incidents of refusing such a test, you face a civil offense and a 12-month suspension of your license.

  • Before answering any questions, ask for your lawyer

Once you’ve been arrested, it’s more important than ever that you speak as little as possible to the officer. In fact, these four words are all you really need: “I want my lawyer.”

If you’re facing charges for driving under the influence, or are in need of an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney in Virginia on another matter, contact the Pack Law Group at any time of the day or night, at 540-586-7225.