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Norfolk Personal Injury Law Blog

Breathalyzer results don’t always guarantee DUI convictions

For the vast majority of us, a conviction for driving under the influence can prove disastrous for both our professional and personal lives. Chances are that you rely on the use of your vehicle to at least get you to and from work or school. Having your driving privileges suspended or revoked can literally mean the difference between some DUI offenders being unable to maintain their employment or continue their educations, especially for those living in rural areas with limited public transportation.

Drinking and driving is a serious threat to public safety. That being said, it is also important that law enforcement officials correctly identify those who are breaking the law. One of the primary law enforcement tools against drunk driving is the use of Breathalyzers. These specially calibrated electronic devices are useful in determining the blood alcohol concentration levels of suspected DUI offenders.

Various components can affect Virginia criminal defense strategy

Facing criminal charges is something that most people hope to avoid. In some cases, however, that isn't possible. There are some people who will end up facing criminal charges in Virginia despite their best efforts to avoid having to do so. When that occurs, offering a strong defense is necessary. There are a variety of components that come together to help build a strong defense.

One component is time. The earlier in your case that you contact us to get started on your defense, the more time we have to work with you to prepare. We know that you want to put the matter behind you and move on with your life.

Veteran suffered amputation due to alleged medical malpractice

How would you feel if you had to go through an operation in Virginia and later discovered you weren't healing properly, even though you were told you were? You'd likely be as upset as the man in this case who suffered after getting medical attention through the Veterans Affairs hospitals. He went through dozens of medical visits and surgeries, yet his doctors never were able to repair a shattered bone and failed to help him when the grafts and surgical equipment failed.

The man had shattered a shinbone when he fell from the roof of his home in 2011. At that point, he went to the local Veterans Affairs hospital for treatment, but it didn't go as planned. The Coast Guard veteran suffered severely due to the care he received, and the 45-year-old claims it ruined his life.

Is consent a defense in my Virginia statutory rape charge?

The concept of statutory rape is based on the premise that a minor cannot legally give his or her consent to have intercourse with someone. Currently in Virginia, people under the age of 18 are considered minors. Basically, Virginia courts will consider the age of both parties and punish the offender largely based on his or her age.

For example, if you are 18 years old and the person you had intercourse with is 13 years old, then you could be facing up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Whereas, if you are 18 or older and have intercourse with someone who is three years your junior at 15 years old, then you may be looking at a year in jail and a fine of $2,500.

Virginia nursing home faces lawsuit for violent attack

A Feb. 25 report about nursing home abuse in Virginia has brought several dangerous facts to the forefront of the media. A woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease entered a nursing home in her 80s. Her family expected her to be taken care of, and she was protected from typical problems, like forgetting to turn off the oven. However, one thing wasn't accounted for, and that was the violent tendencies that could result from dementia and Alzheimer's diagnoses.

As you may know if you have an elderly loved one, dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be difficult to treat and manage. Sometimes, patients are aggressive, and other times, they may seem completely normal. In this case, another resident, a 77-year-old, sat on the woman's bed and attacked her. The resident punched her in the face, arms, and neck. He was stopped by nurses who heard the woman crying out for help, but this kind of problem should have been prevented.

Medical mistakes might be preventable with vigilance

Patients in hospitals are often too sick to watch out for everything that doctors, nurses and other medical personnel are doing. For those patients, as well as anyone else who is receiving medical care from any location, keeping a watchful eye on the medical staff treating you is one way that you can help to prevent medical errors from harming you. Whether you are the patient or if you are simply helping to care for a loved one, keeping these pointers in mind might help our Virginia readers stay safe.

Washing hands is something that many medical personnel do without thinking. It is very important to ensure that any medical professional who examines you washes their hands. Even if they are wearing gloves, they should still wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs and infection. You shouldn't be afraid to speak up if you notice that someone forgot this very important step when coming into your exam room or hospital room.

Understanding Virginia DUI charges and sobriety checkpoints

Beginning in 1990, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision that sobriety checkpoints conducted by local law enforcement agencies are constitutional. However, case law unique to the Commonwealth of Virginia has since been established that further clarifies the procedures that police officers must observe before they arrest you.

One of the most important things to remember about roadside sobriety tests is that you still have constitutionally protected rights. Although the police have legitimate reasons to use roadside sobriety tests to protect other motorists from drunk driving accidents, they must still refrain from infringing upon your individual rights.

Holding someone liable for causing a motorcycle accident

One of the entries in our blog last week had to do with a motorcyclist who was killed when an alleged drunk driver slammed into him. If you remember, that alleged drunk driver was going at a high rate of speed when she killed the motorcycle rider. A tragedy like that one isn't ever acceptable.

It is a sad reality that motorcycle riders face tragic issues like that one on a daily basis. No matter how safe the motorcycle rider is being, the other vehicles on the roadways might not pay close enough attention around them to avoid causing an accident. When an accident does occur, the motorcyclist is sometimes seriously injured. Some of those injuries can be fatal. Others might mean lengthy hospital stays and recovery time. Many can lead to missed work.

Can a nurse with a criminal background in Virginia get hired?

As someone who has placed a loved one in a nursing facility, you want to make sure that he or she gets the right care. Can a facility hire an RN or doctor with a criminal background? The short answer is yes, but interestingly, while there are no specific laws preventing hospitals and nursing facilities from hiring RNs with felony convictions, it's unlikely to happen.

Once a person loses his or her license, it must be reinstated before he or she can work as an RN or doctor in a care setting. Some employers have policies that restrict the hiring of those with felonies or disciplinary action in their backgrounds. It could be a state statute in some places, but it is more likely to be a directive from the facility's legal team to prevent issues between patients and providers.

How does tort reform affect my medical malpractice case?

Since the 1970s, there has been a constant struggle between doctors and attorneys regarding tort reform. In legal terminology, a "tort" is essentially a fancy way of referring to any action that could give rise to a lawsuit. Typically, when people talk about tort reform, they are usually talking about the amount of money that a person injured by medical malpractice should be allowed to seek in his or her lawsuit.

The health care professionals, physicians, nurses, nursing home staff and others have constantly maintained that injured patients need to be restricted from receiving large court awards in successful lawsuits. Their rationale is that the insurance companies who provide coverage for health care professionals will eventually charge so much for their premiums that they will become unaffordable. Doctors would be left uninsured, and thus, they would eventually leave the state and Virginia residents would be forced to fend for their own medical needs.

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