22
Jul

2 Recent Changes to Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law

Employers in the commonwealth of Virginia have a responsibility—by law—to protect the health and safety of workers they hire. Failure to do so has resulted in costly penalties and the potential of facing civil litigation in the past, but now the laws have been changed to make the punishment for not providing Virginia workers’ compensation coverage even greater.

Under previous Virginia state law, an employer not carrying a workers’ compensation insurance package to cover the costs associated with a workplace accident could result in a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5,000. According to an article from The News Virginian, the penalties were raised on July 1 to anywhere between $250 per day, per noncompliance, or a total of up to $50,000 in penalties plus collection costs.

These are the first changes to the penalties for failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage in about 20-years and were made in an effort to curb the number of employers who found it cheaper to face penalties in the event of an accident than to carry insurance.

Other changes to Virginia workers’ compensation law that went into effect this month include stiffer penalties for employers who misclassify employees in order to avoid coverage or reduce rates.

The key to these reforms being effective will be holding companies responsible. That means employees who are hurt on the job should report the incident to the proper authorities immediately. The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley also encourage accident victims to discuss their potential rights to compensation with an attorney prior to settling with a workers’ compensation insurer.

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14
Jul

Virginia Medical Malpractice Cap Rises to $2.15 Million

Medical professionals have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect the safety of their patients. Failures to do so may result in civil litigation against the parties responsible for the patient’s harm.

In cases of Virginia medical malpractice, determining the amount of money an injured patients can receive is complicated by a cap schedule the state has placed on such awards.

In 1999, state officials designed a schedule that would allow a slight increase in the amount that can be awarded to victims of Virginia medical malpractice. It began with a $1.5 million medical malpractice cap on July 1, 2000, and has progressed to a cap of $2.15 million on July 1, 2014.

The amount that an individual can be awarded depends on when the accident, injury, or medical error occurred. In other words, an individual can only be awarded the amount of the cap during the year their injury occurs.

In 2031, the cap will max out at a total of $3 million.

There are also statutes of limitations that apply to Virginia medical malpractice claims, which is why it’s important to speak with an attorney about your case as soon as possible. The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley are aware of how confusing the legal process can be and are here to help victims of Virginia medical malpractice.

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7
Jul

Man’s Brain Injury the Result of Headbanging at Motorhead Concert

Millions of music fans around the world enjoy the driving guitars and deliberate drumming of heavy metal—a genre of rock and roll that became prominent in the 1970s.  They show their appreciation for the music by whipping their heads up and down to the beat in a practice that has become known as “headbanging.” What these fans may not realize though, is that going through this motion may cause a serious brain injury.

The LA Times has released an article that tells the story of a 50-year-old fan of the band Motorhead, who was headbanging so hard at a concert the band put on in January 2013 that he caused his brain to bleed. The medical team who treated the victim released their findings in a recent publication of a medical journal, stating the patient had no history of substance abuse or prior brain injury but had been “headbanging regularly for years.”

The victim stated that after attending the concert, he suffered constant and worsening headaches that drove him to seek medical attention. Upon testing, medical staff determined the victim had suffered bleeding of the brain caused by his brain hitting his skull repeatedly while headbanging.

The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley say the incident highlights the need to always keep safety at the forefront of the mind, especially when attending concerts.

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30
Jun

Study Shows Traumatic Brain Injuries Lead To Higher Alzheimer’s Rates In Veterans

Each day, more light is shed on the long-term effects suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the line of duty may have on soldiers and veterans. This trend is continuing with the discovery that a TBI may lead to an increased risk of veterans suffering from the degenerative brain disease known as Alzheimer’s over time.

An article released by USA Today explains the study was conducted by researchers from University of California-San Francisco and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and examined the records of more than 188,000 service members. The findings that were published in the journal Neurology showed 16 percent of soldiers and veterans who had suffered a TBI were later diagnosed with Dementia, the precursor to Alzheimer’s. Only ten percent of service members who had not suffered a head injury were diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Many experts find this 60 percent difference in numbers astonishing. The team has conceded that there are numerous factors that lead to a patient’s diagnosis of Dementia or Alzheimer’s, but say the results show a need to further evaluate the correlation between TBIs and other neurological conditions.

The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley see the devastating results of TBIs all too often and are hopeful this research can be used to better protect soldiers and civilians from these injuries and their dangers.

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23
Jun

Virginia Beach DA to Prosecute All DUI Offenses

Drunk driving has reached epidemic proportions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, especially in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Estimates show the area sees approximately 2,300 drunk driving arrests each year, many of which are made after the impaired motorist has caused a Norfolk car accident. These individuals account for roughly 10 percent of all Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests in the commonwealth and give the area the title of having the highest total number of DUI arrests.

These numbers leave many citizens wondering what is being done to address this problem and there seems to be a solution being put into place. According to an article from WAVY 10 News, the District Attorney’s office has vowed to prosecute every DUI case that comes across their desk beginning on June 30.

Typically, first-time offenders can have their case settled out of court in order to allow more focus to be placed on other cases involving repeat offenders or drunk drivers who kill or injure other motorists; however, every offender will now have a day in court before the judge.

In order to accommodate the approximately 1,400 extra drunk driving cases per year the area will see, a courtroom will be dedicated to prosecuting these cases. The District Attorney’s office is also working to raise awareness of their policy change through a public service announcement airing on local television stations and a Public Safety Night that will be held on June 27 at 7 p.m. at Mount Trashmore.

Our team of Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley has seen the devastating results of accidents caused by drunk drivers. That’s why we applaud these changes and encourage anyone who has been harmed by an intoxicated motorist to speak with us about the compensation you may be entitled to.

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16
Jun

Defective Tires Can Be a Serious Car Accident Risk

There’s an endless list of potential factors that can contribute to motor vehicle accidents, but one of the most common and preventable is a defective tire.

Problems with a tire’s tread or the way the product is manufactured can lead to premature wear that can cause a loss of air pressure. In turn, the driver may not be able to maintain control or brake the vehicle in a manner to prevent an accident from occurring.

Such problems were highlighted when a trailer tire manufacturer, Double Camel Tyre Co., and Lionshead Specialty Tire and Wheel announced a voluntary recall of an estimated 4,000 tires earlier this week. Reports indicate the tires can separate from their rims, causing loss of pressure that can result in accidents. The recall comes on the heels of a larger recall the company issued earlier this year, in which an estimated 40,000 tires were recalled.

To help address these risks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created a website offering the latest information in tire safety. The site provides the latest insight into tire maintenance and wear, as well as what to look for when buying new tires.

Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley, a Norfolk personal injury lawyer with decades of experience helping accident victims, has seen the devastating injuries that can result from driving on defective tires first-hand and encourages victims of such accidents to speak with an attorney about their potential legal rights to compensation immediately.

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9
Jun

Virginia Car Accident Risks Prompt Shut Down of Ride Sharing Services

Ride sharing services are offering eastern Virginia a new and more affordable transportation solution, but controversy is swirling around the legality and safety of these services. This battle reached a new level earlier this week when the Virginia Department of Transportation ordered two of the ride sharing industry’s top providers to halt services in the area immediately.

Uber and Lyft both operate by having patrons sign up and download the company’s application to a smartphone. Users are then matched with available drivers and vehicles in their area. A suggested payment is then offered and the user can decide how much they would like to pay their driver.

While the service sounds great, many are concerned there is a grey area in liability coverage in the event the ride sharing vehicle is involved in an accident. WAVYTV 10 News explains officials say these companies should have to meet the same authority requirements as cab drivers since money is being exchanged for a ride; however, the companies argue that each driver is required to provide their own liability coverage, which absolves the company of responsibility if a crash happens.

The state is currently conducting research into the use of technology in transportation and its effects on Virginia car accident numbers. Until conclusions are drawn though, companies will have to comply with the current state laws.

The team of Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley appreciate the convenience and value ride-sharing services offer, but want to ensure the public is safe and covered in the event of a car accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident while using a ride sharing service such as Lyft or Uber, contact us to see how we can help.

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2
Jun

3 Most Common Types of Defective Products

When companies create a new product to release to the market, it must undergo a rigorous set of tests to ensure it is safe for use. Despite the testing and review process, sometimes products that are unsafe for consumers to use still make their way to the public’s hands. That is why it is important to recognize the three most common types of defective products, which include:

  • Problems With Design- When engineers create plans for a product, they are not always identifying the potential issues that may arise. This was made evident when several companies attempted to market metal-on-metal hip implants that prematurely wore and caused patients serious injury. The products were later replaced with a more durable ceramic option.
  • Manufacturing Problems- When the wrong materials are used in the creation of a product, the results can be devastating. The scandal surrounding the separation of Goodyear tires that were installed on Ford Explorer SUVs is a prime example of such a defect.
  • Contamination- When dangerous germs make their way into a product, there is a potential for serious harm. The Listeria outbreak that was connected to cantaloupe from Colorado several years ago underscored these risks.

So what should you do if you have been harmed as the result of a product liability issue? The Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley believe getting in touch with an attorney to discuss your legal rights should be the first step. We are available to speak anytime.

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19
May

Changes Coming to Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

In Virginia, most employers are required by law to carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy that will cover the expenses related to an employee’s injury or death stemming from an on-the-job accident. Unfortunately though, many employers choose not to abide by these rules, leaving many workers struggling for compensation in the event of an accident.

To address this problem, the state has stiffened the penalties against companies that fail to comply with Virginia workers’ compensation laws. The new, stricter standards are set to go into effect later this summer.

According to an article from Tire Business, employers who fail to supply workers and subcontractors with workers’ compensation insurance will now face a fine of $250 per day they are not in compliance beginning July 1. The fines will continue to grow until they accumulate up to $50,000. Under the current laws, employers who do not carry the required insurance policy are only subject to a fine of up to $5,000.

The new laws also clearly define the roles that are classified as employees to prevent companies from using a title to exempt a worker from benefit coverage.

Norfolk personal injury lawyer Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley understands how confusing the state’s workers’ compensation laws and processes can be and encourages anyone with questions about filing such a claim to speak with a qualified attorney immediately.

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13
May

Work Accidents, Their Causes, and Holding the Right Parties Accountable

There’s an endless list of on-the-job hazards workers face that can result in accidents that cause injuries and can leave victims in need of Virginia workers’ compensation benefits to cover their expenses; however, two of the most common accident causes include:

  • Contact with objects and equipment
  • Slips, trips, and falls

An incident that occurred on a construction site last week in Virginia Beach has left two workers injured and highlights just how common these types of accidents are. According to an article from ABC 13 News, the incident happened Monday, May 5, at Town Center on Columbus Street when a steel beam fell. The falling piece of metal struck one worker who was on the ground and forced another to be thrown from the basket of a cherry picker. Both men were injured and transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Accidents like this leave many workers wondering what they should do if they are hurt while working. The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley explain there are three steps that should be taken in this situation:

  • Get medical attention- If you’ve been hurt on-the-job, your health should be a top priority.
  • Document the accident- Gathering documentation of the accident can later be crucial evidence if a dispute arises as the result of an injury claim.
  • Hammer the responsible parties- It’s important to hold those who cause accidents and injuries liable for their actions to not only help victims with the compensation they need, but to also ensure similar incidents don’t happen again in the future to others.
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