Accidents can happen. But what if an accident could’ve been avoided? What if you’re left with an injury caused by someone else’s mistake or negligence? Maybe it was a car accident or a fall at work that wasn’t your fault and should be taken up by an injury attorney. These frightening and life-altering accidents can leave you in pain and up to your neck in medical bills.

It doesn’t matter if the accident was a car crash or a wet floor that sent you flying through the air, there’s a personal injury lawyer that will represent you for the monetary justice you rightfully deserve. Injury cases, after all, can leave you without an income for months or even years.

You’re already overwhelmed with everything that’s happened but that doesn’t mean you should have to stress yourself over finding a personal injury lawyer. That’s why we are going to learn a bit more detail about the different types of personal injury cases.

Plus, we’ve created a list on the best personal injury lawyers in good old Houston, Texas!

There are several different types of personal injury lawyers. Some focus on car accidents while others focus on multiple areas of personal injury. You need to evaluate your personal needs to determine which Houston personal injury lawyer is the best for your injury case.

These are the main types of personal injury accidents:

Automobile accidents can include cars, motorcycles, and even semi-trucks. Car accidents are one of the most common accidents in the U.S. These types of accidents are usually caused by distracted drivers or drunk drivers.

Assault and battery cases are not considered accidents but, rather, intentional injuries. These cases revolve around injuries caused by being intentionally attacked by another person, from being beaten to being shot.

These are unfortunate cases. A person caring for your child should be safe and reliable but that’s not always the case. When a child is injured or abused in a daycare setting, a family deserves justice and compensation.

Dog bites are considered a premises liability. If a dog attacks someone or their pet for no reason, the owner of that dog should owe compensation to the victim for the pain and injuries they caused.

Maritime accidents are generally accidents involving boats or that occur in the ocean. Some lawyers specialize in and know their way in and out of maritime law, which is different than the laws we adhere to on land.

Medical malpractice can be caused by any health care professional including dentists, doctors, and nurses. Any health care professional that’s at fault for injuries, worsen health conditions, and wrongful death, is guilty of medical malpractice. Their job is to heal and help you, never to harm you.

Just like with your children in a daycare, you’re trusting someone with your elderly loved ones. Health care professionals are entrusted but when a preventable accident or worse, abuse occurs, everyone deserves compensation.

Every product for sale is expected to be reasonably safe for consumers or buyers. When a product ends up causing undue injuries to a consumer, this can lead to a serious product liability case.

Slip and fall accidents (also known as premises liability) are caused by negligent property owners or landlords. Their duties include keeping their property safe for everyone who enters the property. These accidents are usually caused by wet floors without caution signs warning the victim of danger.

Every employer, like property owners, are expected to keep a work area or work site safe for every employee. Employer recklessness can lead to a worker’s injuries which require Workman’s compensation for injuries that keep the victim out of work.

Palm Beach County Personal Injury Lawyer

Scott Smith Injury Law is a Palm Beach County legal practice handling the full range of personal injury matters affecting individuals and families, from car accidents to wrongful death. We take our clients’ well-being very seriously at Scott Smith Injury Law and are determined to provide the best possible representation and obtain the best possible outcome in every case. This means that in the office, you’ll find approachable legal professionals genuinely concerned with understanding and meeting your needs. But when it comes to litigating your personal injury claim, you’ll have a tenacious, aggressive lawyer fighting for your rights and interests. This combination distinguishes Scott Smith Injury Law among Palm Beach County personal injury lawyers.

Scott Smith Injury Law is an English and Spanish-speaking legal practice available 24/7 to talk about your case and answer your questions.

Board-Certified and Recognized for Excellence in Personal Injury Law
Scott Smith is a board-certified civil trial attorney, focused exclusively in the area of personal injury law. He has represented injury victims in cases involving every type of loss, including catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, as well as injuries involving defective products and medical malpractice. Many of these cases have resulted in million-dollar settlements and verdicts, double and triple the amounts generally offered by insurance companies when injury victims don’t have strong legal representation.

Proven Results in a Wide Range of Personal Injury Matters
Personal injuries can result from endless scenarios and circumstances. However, the cases we handle most often at Scott Smith Injury Law involve motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and—their water equivalent —boating accidents. Undeniably, drivers make numerous and frequent bad decisions behind the wheel, from speeding to cellphone use to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, causing avoidable collisions and injuries as a result. But we don’t handle car accident cases simply because they are numerous. We care about holding negligent and reckless drivers accountable for their actions, which in many cases have significantly changed and devastated our clients’ lives.

Our firm also handles personal injury cases involving premises liability, products liability, and medical malpractice. Premises liability claims include slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, and other injuries resulting from poorly maintained and/or hazardous property. If you or a loved one was injured or became ill due to a dangerous or defective product, you may have a products liability claim against the parties responsible for releasing the product into the marketplace. And for medical malpractice, we’re looking at injuries and illnesses caused by a medical professional’s mistake or oversight, such as surgical errors, misdiagnoses, and birth injuries.

With all these types of accidents, the most disastrous and overwhelming outcome is the death of a family member. At Scott Smith Injury Law, our Palm Beach County & Treasure Coast personal injury lawyers help families recover fair compensation in the event of a wrongful death, with a thorough understanding of Florida wrongful death law and utmost sensitivity to our clients’ grief.

The Best Ratings in the Legal Profession
Over the course of his career, Scott Smith has earned the best ratings in the legal profession, including Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and an AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. These ratings consider an attorney’s ability and ethics, as well as the confidential opinions of other lawyers and judges. These honors are bestowed only upon lawyers who demonstrate extraordinary legal capability and conduct themselves with dignity in the practice of law. Scott Smith has been proven to meet these requirements, while providing bold, aggressive representation that gets results.

Representing Injury Victims in Palm Beach County, FL & Nearby Areas
Our firm represents injury victims throughout Palm Beach County, including Palm Beach County (our home base), West Palm Beach, Treasure Coast (Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce), and Naples. Members of our team speak English and Spanish, and we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and discuss your case. As an accident victim, you weren’t planning to be involved in a legal matter or hire an attorney. So, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t owe us any fees until we obtain compensation on your behalf.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident in the Palm Beach County area, please contact Scott Smith Injury Law for a free consultation. Our Palm Beach County personal injury lawyers are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve—a meaningful recovery that delivers justice in addition to money.

Injury Lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada

Auto Accidents: Common Injuries in Las Vegas, Nevada

Auto accidents can leave victims suffering from serious injuries. These injuries can impact all aspects of a person’s life. Here are some injury types Southwest Injury Law handles:

Traumatic Brain Injury. Individuals with traumatic brain injury might experience changes in their memory, changes in mood, and may have trouble sleeping. Serious traumatic brain injury can lead to paralysis, loss of speech, and other devastating losses. Even mild traumatic brain injury can have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life. Mild traumatic brain injury might not be immediately diagnosed after an accident. The symptoms can sometimes take days or weeks to appear. If your loved one has suffered from memory changes, mood changes, or has experienced sleep disturbances after a crash, you may want to contact a qualified injury law firm like Southwest Injury Law in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Spinal Cord Injury. Spinal cord injury can lead to lifelong disability and paralysis. The lifetime costs of this kind of injury can be quite high. Spinal cord injury is considered a catastrophic injury. If you or a loved one has suffered this type of injury after a car accident, consider speaking to Southwest Injury Law in Las Vegas today.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. As we learn more about how traumatic events impact victims psychologically, more victims are receiving the treatment they need for their traumatic brain injuries after a crash. However, the cost of medical care for post-traumatic stress disorder can be quite high. If you have experienced difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, or have had difficulty driving or getting back into a car after a crash, you may be suffering from PTSD. Southwest Injury Law may be able to help you seek a recovery for your treatment.

These are just some of the serious injuries that victims can suffer after a car crash. Victims can also suffer internal injuries, like broken bones, internal bleeding that can sometimes require surgery, and other serious injuries. If you or a loved one was hurt in an auto accident, speak to the injury lawyers at Southwest Injury Law in Las Vegas, Nevada today.

Slip and Fall Injuries in Las Vegas

Slip and fall injuries in Las Vegas, Nevada can be devastating. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five falls results in serious injuries including broken bones, head injuries, or traumatic brain injury. Older Americans are most at risk of suffering serious injuries from slip and fall accidents. One out of four older Americans might fall each year. What are some of the most serious slip and fall injuries? Here are a few:

Broken Hips. According to the CDC, more than 95% of all hip fractures are the result of slip, trip, and falls.

Head Injuries. Slip and falls can sometimes result in head injuries, which can range from minor to severe. Even a minor bump on the head can leave victims suffering from the effects of mild traumatic brain injury.

Spinal Cord Injuries. Spinal cord injuries can lead to permanent loss of motion or mobility. These injuries can be expensive in terms of emergency treatment and rehabilitation. In fact, victims and their families could face bills and expenses in excess of $1 million.

Broken Bones. Broken bones can be incredibly painful, can interfere with regular life activities, and can result in lost time from work. If you have suffered a broken bone after a slip and fall, you are likely entitled to seek damages for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
Facet Injuries and Disc Injuries – Often times, an accident can cause traumatic injuries to the spine. These can be facet injuries or discogenic (disc or disk) injuries. Treatments can include branch blocks, rhizotomies, epidural injections and even surgery. If you have suffered a facet injury or herniated a disc (or disc protrusion or annular tear), you are likely entitled to seek damages for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.

Slip and fall accidents can happen in a range of settings. Whether they happen at a grocery store, a department store, a gas station, at work, at school, at a nursing home, or elsewhere, these injuries can be devastating for victims and their families. If you or a loved one has suffered a slip and fall injury, you and your family may be entitled to seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Southwest Injury Law are injury attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada who may be able to help you receive the recovery you may deserve under the law.

Nursing Home Injuries in Las Vegas, Nevada

When you place your loved one in a nursing home, you expect the best possible care. However, sometimes nursing homes are understaffed, or nursing home caretakers fail to offer clients the service they deserve. When this happens, injuries can occur. Nursing home residents can suffer a range of injuries while in the care of a facility. Some nursing home injuries include:

Bed Sores. Bed sores can range from mild to severe. In the most severe cases, bed sores can be deep and can extend to layers of the skin including fat, tendons, and even bones. These types of bed sores can be life-threatening and can involve serious infections.

Medication Errors. Nursing home staff have a responsibility to ensure that nursing home residents receive their medication and the right dose. When patients receive the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or don’t receive their medication at all, they can suffer serious complications and injuries.
Slip and Falls. Nursing homes should take steps to prevent slip and falls. This includes having the staff on hand to offer residents proper assistance and also installing hand rails and other safety features to prevent falls. When nursing homes fail to take reasonable measures to prevent falls, individuals can suffer broken hips, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, and broken bones.

Infections. Poor hygiene in a nursing home, failure to properly prepare food, and lack of cleaning staff can lead to infections among residents and staff.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep their residents safe and healthy. If you or a loved one was hurt in a nursing home accident or due to the negligence or neglect of nursing home, staff, you may have certain rights under the law. Southwest Injury Law is an injury law firm in Las Vegas, Nevada that may be able to help you.

Who is the Best Injury Lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada?

The best injury lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada is the law firm that will take the time to understand your unique challenges and needs and fight to help you get the best possible recovery under the law. Pursuing a personal injury claim involves proving that another person or party may have been negligent for your accident and showing that the damages you have sustained are connected to this negligence. Southwest Injury Law are injury attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada who put clients first. Contact us today for a free, initial consultation. We will review your case and can offer you an honest assessment of your claim.


The period after an accident in Philadelphia is a disorienting, chaotic time. You may not be thinking clearly, and may feel at a total loss as to how you should proceed. We understand how traumatic and confusing a serious accident and its aftermath can be for the victim or their surviving loved ones, which is why we work closely with each client to provide step-by-step support from the very outset of your case.

The steps you take after being injured in an accident can dramatically affect the likelihood of success in recovering compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. Therefore, it is critically important to understand some basic “do’s and don’ts” after an auto accident, slip and fall accident, or other type of accident.

You should prioritize your health and safety after being seriously hurt. Seek medical treatment immediately, even if your injuries seem minor. Swift medical care is vital, not only because you may be suffering from greater injuries than you realize, but also because delays in seeking treatment can weaken your claim and make it harder to obtain compensation.

In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment, you should also try to preserve as much evidence as you are able to, making back-up copies if possible. The smallest fact, detail, or object could play a vital role in proving your case. Prescription slips, medical records, medical devices, accident reports, photographs of the accident scene, photographs of the injury, witness statements, and video recordings are just a few examples of items that should be gathered and preserved if possible.

Is the U.S. President Above the Law?

On June 4, President Trump tweeted that the President has the absolute right to issue pardons, even to himself. The President’s claim came close on the heels of the New York Times’s publication of a letter two White House attorneys had sent months earlier to Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel appointed to investigate links between Trump’s election campaign and the Russian government. That letter made a number of assertions, but one stood out. The lawyers argued that the President’s firing of FBI Director James Comey could not constitute obstruction of justice, because the President is the chief law enforcement officer of the nation, and can fire the FBI Director for any reason at all.

These claims are striking, perhaps especially to international observers of U.S. politics. Can it really be the case that the President of the United States is above the law?

One might suppose that the metes and bounds of presidential power had been long since established. In fact, many important questions about what the President can do—and can get away with—lack definitive answers. The Constitution is silent, for instance, on whether the presidential pardon power extends to the President himself, and a court has never considered the issue, because it has never before arisen in a case. In the absence of definitive answers, we are left to reason our way to conclusions using constitutional first principles and the few fixed points laid down by judicial rulings, guided by scholarly commentary and other sources of persuasive authority.

In that last category, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), a Justice Department unit that provides authoritative legal guidance to the executive branch, deserves a mention. Over the years, OLC has produced a substantial body of opinions on presidential powers and immunities. None of these are binding outside the executive branch, and while OLC opinions do tend to take positions favorable to the President, it would be a mistake to dismiss them as hackwork. With some notable exceptions, OLC opinions have a reputation for careful analysis and independence, and they do not always give the President what he wants. Of particular relevance today, a 1974 OLC opinion concluded that the President could not constitutionally pardon himself.

It can be difficult to distinguish among the different claims currently circulating about the President’s powers and immunities, but it is important to do so. For the President to be “above the law” could mean several different things. It could stand for the proposition that the President cannot be criminally prosecuted while in office. This claim has its critics, but substantial mainstream support as well. The core of the argument is that subjecting a sitting President to prosecution would impermissibly interfere with his constitutional responsibilities to the nation, as head of the executive branch. This is the position taken by the OLC, in memoranda issued in 1973 and again in 2000.

Presidential immunity to prosecution might seem to fly in the face of rule-of-law values. But it is important to remember that the Constitution provides another mechanism for dealing with a wayward President: impeachment. The House of Representatives initiates impeachment proceedings by bringing charges for “Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” triggering a trial in the Senate, with the Chief Justice presiding. If convicted, the President is removed from office, and there is no bar to prosecuting a former President.

A much more aggressive assertion of presidential immunity holds that whatever use the President makes of his executive powers under Article II of the Constitution is ipso facto lawful. Richard Nixon famously claimed something of the sort when, years after his resignation, he told interviewer David Frost that “when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.” This sweeping proposition finds little support in the law and has few takers today.

The President’s lawyers seem to take a somewhat more nuanced view, but figuring out their argument still requires some work. They write:

It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.

Later, they add:

As you know, and as Mr. Comey himself has acknowledged, a President can fire an FBI Director at any time and for any reason. To the extent that such an action has an impact on any investigation pending before the FBI, that impact is simply an effect of the President’s lawful exercise of his constitutional power and cannot constitute obstruction of justice here. No President has ever faced charges of obstruction merely for exercising his constitutional authority.

Legal scholars Josh Blackman and Alan Dershowitz have articulated what is perhaps the best version of this argument. It runs roughly as follows. The President has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to remove the FBI Director, for any reason or no reason at all. While other forms of presidential misbehavior could amount to obstruction of justice—say, accepting bribes, or tampering with witnesses—the removal of an FBI Director, an official presidential act authorized by the Constitution, could not. It is not so much that the President is above the law when removing the FBI Director, as that there is no law to apply, since the President enjoys complete discretion over whether, when, and why to remove the FBI Director.

It seems to me that this argument only works if we understand the President’s at-will removal authority over the FBI Director to be guaranteed by the Constitution. It is true that, by default, Presidents have the power to remove executive branch officers at will, and no statute expressly purports to limit the President’s removal power over the FBI Director. But the Supreme Court long ago rejected the claim that the Constitution requires that the President be allowed to remove at will all officials in his administration. Congress can place restrictions on the President’s removal authority, so long as these do not impermissibly interfere with the President’s constitutional responsibilities. Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court held that Congress may deny the President at-will removal authority over the Independent Counsel, a powerful prosecutor appointed to investigate executive branch wrongdoing pursuant to the (now defunct) Ethics in Government Act. Surely it would be permissible for Congress to provide that the President may not remove the FBI Director in order to corruptly impede an official proceeding. Indeed, this is one way to read the effect of the obstruction of justice statute, as it interacts with the President’s removal power.

Even if we don’t understand the obstruction of justice statute to impose an implied limit on the President’s removal authority, it does not follow that it can’t apply to the President when he fires the FBI Director. Again, by default, the President has the power to remove executive branch officers. Whether or not the obstruction of justice statute alters that default rule, it can still impose an independent, binding obligation on the President. Even if the President can remove the FBI Director at will, there is no reason why the power to do so must imply immunity from an otherwise valid and applicable anti-corruption statute. In other words, it is possible that the President could fire the FBI Director, and he could stay fired—but the President would have broken the law, if the firing was for a corrupt purpose.

Conflicts over the scope of presidential power are a persistent feature of American democracy. In the past, those involved have sometimes managed to negotiate around some of the open questions, avoiding outright confrontation. In 1998, Ken Starr, the Independent Counsel investigating President Clinton, issued a subpoena requiring the President to testify before a grand jury. Legal experts differed on whether the President could be forced to testify before a grand jury. Rather than defy the subpoena on constitutional grounds, the Clinton Administration worked out an alternate arrangement with the Independent Counsel, whereby the President appeared at the White House for four hours to give testimony under oath.

More conflicts between the Trump Administration and the Special Counsel’s Office may be coming. Although the President regards himself as the consummate negotiator, his tweets suggest he is spoiling for a fight. We could see some spectacular clashes between the President and those investigating him in the future, and a lot of new law on the scope of presidential power being made as a result.


Regardless of how your injury occurred, the bottom line is that severe injuries cause long-term problems. You may quickly identify some of the problems you will face, but may not foresee all of the difficulties you will experience. For example, you may not immediately realize how costly your long-term care plan and future medical expenses will be. It is critically important to calculate the true financial, physical, and emotional impacts of your injuries, not only for your own health and recovery, but also to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses. If you have suffered a serious injury in Pennsylvania, don’t let the insurance claims adjustor or responsible party dismiss your case or tell you that the current situation is “the best you can hope for.” Only an experienced personal injury attorney can assess your legal options.

Following a life-changing tragedy or car accident involving yourself or a family member, you have more than enough to worry about while you grieve and heal. At the law offices of The Reiff Law Firm, our experienced and compassionate attorneys provide the information you need to make difficult decisions, find and get the care you need, and handle details like bills and insurance. Having a hard-hitting advocate who also genuinely cares about you and your family’s well-being can make all the difference during a trying time. At The Reiff Law Firm, we are proud to advocate for the seriously injured, and commit ourselves completely to securing the compensation you deserve.

What NOT to do after an accident injury

1. Do not admit fault
People are often in shock and feel compelled to apologize for an accident when they are at the accident with the police or talking to the insurance company. For some people, this can be a reflex even when they know it isn’t true. Admitting fault can seriously affect your ability to make a claim. Instead of just assuming the blame, work with the police to create an accurate police report with complete details of the accident and photographs. It is better to provide an honest description of what happened and let the police, insurance companies and your Orange County accident attorney determine fault.

2. Do not settle your claim prematurely
Due to the delayed nature of some injuries, it is best to complete your medical treatment for injuries and be fully healed before considering settling. Otherwise you could easily miss some expenses or symptoms and lose your right to fair compensation

3. Do not sign release forms prematurely
Sometimes insurance companies put release of liability on checks they send out. Signing these forms could release your insurance company from responsibility for any future liability or payments

Personal Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles

The first steps in a personal injury claim

The moments following a personal injury, slip and fall or other accident can be confusing and overwhelming. The most important thing is to look after your health and stay safe in the aftermath. Once that is taken care of, you can begin to think about what happened, who is at fault and evaluate whether you have a personal injury claim.

1) After I have been hurt in an accident, what should I do?
In order to preserve your rights to file a claim for your personal injury, there are several steps you should take:

Collect evidence that shows who caused the accident as well as what damage was caused by the accident. Cell phone videos and photographs are very useful. Take photos from many angles, up close and zoomed away showing the damage details, injuries, stop signs and traffic lights if applicable, and all relevant details. If you can, take photos or videos of any other parties involved in the accident and their identifying information.

Write down exactly what happened with as much detail as you can remember. Include identifying information like names, license plates, descriptions.

Take notes of what others involved in the accident say

Get the contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident and note what they saw

File a police report if appropriate

Tell whoever is responsible that you will file a claim for property damage and personal injuries

2) Get medical help
If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury, the very first thing you do should after the accident is get medical treatment. Even if your injuries are not obvious, you should see a doctor because many injuries are not immediately apparent. Besides being the best for your health, getting medical attention quickly strengthens your personal injury claim. If you wait days or weeks after the accident to seek medical treatment, it is harder to prove your injuries were the result of the accident.

Certain types of injuries like neck injury or whiplash, soft tissue injury or brain injury symptoms may not appear for weeks after the accident. A competent doctor will be able to perform a thorough exam and properly diagnose your injuries and recommend the proper care and treatment. The doctor may also identify injuries you didn’t know will be a problem and what recovery treatment and time frame to expect. Take detailed notes on your injuries and medical treatments, costs and doctor recommendations.

3) Contact a California personal injury attorney
Once you or your loved ones have received the appropriate medical care, you should contact an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury lawyer like Chudnovsky Law. Our knowledgeable Orange County accident attorneys will advise whether you have a valid personal injury claim and guide you as to what steps you should be taking. A 1999 study by the Insurance Research Council found that the average person receives a settlement 3.5 times larger with legal assistance than without it. In a California personal injury case, this can make a huge difference in your recovery.

Our Orange County injury attorneys will carefully analyze your case for free. We take personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so you never have to pay any fees unless you win.

4) Help your attorney investigate the accident
Our accident attorneys will carefully investigate your accident and develop the elements needed to prove your personal injury was caused by someone’s wrongdoing or negligence. Depending on the case specifics, we may bring in investigators, accident reconstruction specialists, medical doctors and any other experts needed to analyze your injuries and the accident. Our Los Angeles injury lawyers then carefully document who was at fault, what happened and what the effect of the injuries will have on you and your loved ones.

5) Ask your lawyer what kind of compensation you should receive
Depending on the type of injury or case, there are many items you may be due damage payments for. Some common damages include:

Medical expenses: Doctor costs, prescriptions, medical equipment, rehabilitation

Travel expenses to see doctors and specialists

Pain and suffering or emotional distress

In home care

Lost wages and benefits

Punitive damages to punish the defendant

Loss of consortium and companionship

Virginia Law: When Insurers Must Disclose Liability Policy Limits

Under current Virginia law, liability policy limits can only be revealed to a plaintiff’s attorney within limited circumstances, unless a lawsuit is filed.

By Matthew E. Bass, attorney at Burnett & Williams P.C., Loudoun, Fairfax, and Northern Virginia

When someone is seriously injured in a car crash, one critical aspect for a Virginia personal injury attorney to investigate is what kind of liability insurance coverage limits will be available to pay on the claim. [i] One may assume that the liable (at-fault) party’s insurance company must simply disclose the available limits of liability insurance upon request from the injured party’s attorney. However, that is not the case under Virginia law.

Thanks to a law passed in 2008, for the last decade or so the law has required that unless a lawsuit is filed, an injured person’s lawyer in Virginia can only discover the available limits of liability insurance once the total of their client’s medical bills and lost wages [ii] meet or exceed $12,500. But why is $12,500 the threshold?

Part of the answer may be that $12,500 is exactly half of the required minimum level of liability insurance in Virginia, which is $25,000 per injured person, up to a maximum of $50,000 per accident. [iii] The thinking behind the 2008 law requiring this disclosure was that plaintiff lawyers needed to know whether underinsured motorist coverage — or UIM coverage — would be implicated, which is likely in cases with minimum levels of liability coverage ($25,000) and at least $12,500 in medical bills and lost wages. And, practically speaking, those cases with medical bills and lost wages of at least $12,500 might resolve more quickly once the injured person’s lawyer finds out they are dealing with minimum policy limits.

In 2018, the law in Virginia was amended to additionally allow for discovery of liability policy limits if the at-fault party was convicted of DUI (or similar offenses) and the injured person’s injuries arose from the same incident resulting in that conviction, without regard for the dollar amount of medical bills and lost wages. The rationale behind this more recent change in the law is that, in certain circumstances, an intoxicated driver who causes an injury may be liable for “punitive damages,” which punish them for their conduct, in addition to being responsible for medical bills, lost wages, and other specified damages permitted under Virginia law. Following the reasoning of the 2008 law regarding $12,500 in medical bills and lost wages, the idea is that UIM coverage may be triggered — or a liability case may resolve more quickly — if the liable party has been convicted of DUI and the injured person’s lawyer knows the available liability policy limits.

In a time of over-crowded dockets, underfunded court systems, and more personal injury cases (and cars, and people) than ever before, it’s easy to argue that expanded disclosure of liability policy limits — with the underlying goal of opening the door to available coverage limits and facilitating settlement prior to litigation — would be a valuable tool for Virginia personal injury plaintiffs’ attorneys. [iv] However, even with the plaintiff-friendly 2018 change to the law regarding discovery of liability policy limits, lawyers for injured persons in Virginia are still limited to just the two circumstances outlined above if they want to find out how much liability insurance is available without filing a lawsuit.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a drunk driver in Virginia, please contact the attorneys at Burnett & Williams at 703-777-1650.


From Lawyer to U.S. President

Here’s the list of U.S. Presidents who reported lawyering as their profession before becoming a full-time elected representative.

John Adams: lawyer & farmer
Thomas Jefferson: lawyer, farmer, & diplomat
James Madison: lawyer & farmer
James Monroe: lawyer, farmer & diplomat
John Quincy Adams: lawyer
Andrew Jackson: lawyer, farmer, & soldier
Martin Van Buren: lawyer
John Tyler: lawyer
James Polk: lawyer & farmer
Millard Fillmore: lawyer
Franklin Pierce: lawyer
James Buchanan: lawyer & diplomat
Abraham Lincoln: lawyer
Rutherford Hayes: lawyer
Chester Arthur: lawyer
Benjamin Harrison: lawyer & journalist
William McKinley: lawyer & soldier
William Taft: lawyer, Dean of the University of Cincinnati Law School, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Woodrow Wilson: lawyer & President of Princeton University
Calvin Coolidge: lawyer
Franklin Roosevelt: lawyer
Richard Nixon: lawyer
Gerald Ford: lawyer, football player, & sailor
Bill Clinton: lawyer & professor
Barack Obama: lawyer & professor

Happy Presidents’ Day from the lawyers and staff at Burnett & Williams Personal Injury Law!

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