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Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 703-370-8088
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The Victim’s Family versus the Victim’s Estate in a Wrongful Death Case

When an individual dies because of another party’s negligence, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their financial damages related to the death. These damages can include the victim’s medical costs before his or her death, his or her funeral expenses, and the losses of the individual’s income, employment benefits, and companionship felt by his or her family.

 

In a wrongful death claim, certain damages are compensable to the victim’s immediate loved ones and others are compensable to the victim’s estate. This is an important distinction to make – although the victim’s beneficiaries do receive much of the victim’s estate after his or her death, the compensation the estate receives does not go directly to them and may be used to repay the victim’s debts.

 

Which Assets Belong to the Victim’s Estate?

Through a wrongful death claim, the following damages may be compensated to the victim’s estate:

  • The victim’s medical expenses related to his or her final injury or illness;
  • The victim’s funeral and burial costs; and
  • Any pain and suffering, such as mental anguish, the victim experienced between his or her accident and eventual death.

 

Which Assets Can be Claimed by the Victim’s Family?

The victim’s spouse, children, and in some cases, other dependents can also recover compensation through a wrongful death claim. These individuals can receive compensation for the losses they experienced directly because of the victim’s death, such as the following:

  • Their own mental anguish surrounding the death;
  • The loss of the victim’s guidance, companionship, and love;
  • The loss of the victim’s noneconomic contributions to his or her household, such as domestic tasks and household management;
  • The loss of the victim’s regular income and employment benefits like health insurance; and
  • The loss of the inheritance the victim’s loved ones could have recovered if not for his or her premature death.

 

Work with an Experienced Alexandria Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one to an accident is devastating. In some cases, you can avoid the financial losses associated with a loved one’s death through a wrongful death claim. To learn more about this process and the compensation you are entitled to receive, contact our team of experienced wrongful death lawyers at Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC today to set up your initial consultation with us.

Who is Most Likely to be Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

When a motorcycle and another vehicle collide, one or more of the people involved in the crash can suffer a severe injury. There are many factors that can play into who is injured and which of the victims is injured worst, such as the angle of the collision, each victim’s health and fitness level, the speed at which the collision occurred, and whether the victims were using safety devices like a helmet for the motorcyclist or seatbelts for those in cars and other passenger vehicles.

 

Statistically, certain individuals are more likely to be injured in motorcycle accidents than others. Motorcyclists are more likely than motorists to not only be involved in collisions, but to be injured by them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for every 100,000 cars on the road, 13.1 are involved in fatal accidents each year versus 72.34 fatal crashes for every 100,000 motorcycles. Motorcyclists have an 80 percent chance of being injured or killed in accidents versus a 20 percent chance for motorists.

 

Different Injuries for Different Age Groups

Among motorcyclists, riders over the age of 40 are more likely than younger riders to be killed in collisions. Older riders are also more likely to suffer injuries, including severe injuries, than younger riders. This was attributed to a few factors, including:

  • Older riders’ slower reaction times;
  • Older riders’ more fragile bones; and
  • The increased likelihood of rollovers with larger motorcycles, which older riders tend to prefer.

 

Negligent Motorcyclists are Often to Blame for their Accidents

A motorcyclist’s age is not the only factor tied to an increased risk of injury. According to NHTSA from 2015, a significant percentage of motorcycle accidents can be attributed to motorcyclist negligence. A few statistics to support this include:

  • 33 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions were speeding at the time of their accidents, versus only 19 percent of passenger car drivers;
  • 27 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions had a blood alcohol content over the legal limit of 0.08 percent at the time of their accidents; and
  • 27 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions did not have valid licenses at the time of their accidents.

 

Work with an Experienced Alexandria Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can have substantial expenses. If you are facing large bills because of your motorcycle accident injury, you could be entitled to receive compensation for these bills through a personal injury claim. To learn more, contact our team of motorcycle accident lawyers at Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC today to set up your initial consultation with us.

 

 

Granting a Loved One Power of Attorney

Estate planning refers to a series of designations to make, not just one or two legal documents. One of the numerous issues to determine through the estate planning process is to designate which individual or individuals have power of attorney for the party planning his or her estate. Power of attorney is the right to make legal decisions on another individual’s behalf, which can include medical and financial decisions. When an individual has power of attorney, it is his or her job to act in the incapacitated party’s best interest and according to his or her wishes.

 

Types of Power of Attorney

There are a few different ways to grant power of attorney. The party with power of attorney is known as the agent and the party who grants it is known as the principal.

  • Durable power of attorney. This permits the agent to make decisions on the principal’s behalf from his or her incapacitation to his or her death;
  • Non-durable power of attorney. With this arrangement, power of attorney is only granted for a specific period of time, often tied to a specific transaction, then ceases once the period of time expires;
  • Springing power of attorney. Springing power of attorney can be durable or non-durable. It goes into effect when a specific event occurs and the principal cannot attend to the event; and
  • Limited power of attorney. This type of power of attorney is even more narrow than non-durable power of attorney. It grants the agent the right to make choices on one specific transaction.

 

Power of Attorney is Not Automatic

A common misconception about power of attorney is that an individual’s spouse automatically has power of attorney for him or her. This is not true. An individual must designate another adult as having power of attorney for him or her, and this other adult can be anybody, such as the individual’s sibling or child.

 

Work with an Experienced Alexandria Estate Planning Lawyer

Designating a loved one’s power of attorney for you in the event you become incapacitated is an important part of the estate planning process. To ensure that your rights are protected and there is no room to dispute your choice, work with an experienced estate planning lawyer to complete this process. Contact our team at Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

Who is Liable for my Damages from an Injury Involving a Defective Medical Device?

Not all medical malpractice cases involve a doctor’s direct error. Sometimes, they involve other types of negligence, such as using a recalled medical device or using one incorrectly, causing the victim to suffer an injury or a worsened medical condition. When this happens, the victim may file a claim to seek compensation from the negligent, and thus liable, party – which is not always his or her doctor.

A defective medical device case can involve one or more of the following parties. How your injury occurred will determine which party is liable for your damages.

 

The Device’s Manufacturer

Manufacturers of consumer products have what is known as product liability. This is the responsibility to ensure that their products do not pose the risk of harm to consumers who use them in an intended manner. In the following scenarios, a medical device’s manufacturer may be deemed liable for a victim’s damages:

  • The product was rushed to market without being thoroughly tested;
  • The product can break down or dislocate within the victim’s body;
  • The product is not sterile or cannot be kept sterile, making it a possible infection hazard; and
  • The product does not work as it is supposed to work.

 

The Doctor or Other Medical Professional who Used the Device with you

When a manufacturer finds its product is not safe or could potentially be unsafe, it must issue a recall. Physicians who use recalled products and hospitals that stock recalled products for use are negligent and may be liable for any damages that arise from the use of these items. Even if an item has not been recalled, a doctor or other hospital staff member may be negligent by using it incorrectly, without properly sterilizing it, or despite knowing that the product’s risks outweigh its benefits to the patient. In cases where a doctor would not reasonably have used an item, but it is then used anyway, the doctor may be liable for the victim’s damages.

 

Work with an Experienced Alexandria Medical Malpractice Lawyer

 

If you are suffering from the financial results of an injury or worsened condition caused by a faulty or defective medical device, you could have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. To learn more about your rights in this situation, contact our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC today to set up your initial consultation with us.

 

Hot Weather Makes Drivers More Susceptible to Road Rage. Do Not Fall into the Road Rage Trap

As you know, hot weather in the summer is uncomfortable. During these warmer months, man of us head to the pool, the beach, or retreat inside our air conditioned homes. Summer heat is associated with many safety risks, like heat exhaustion, power outages, and even car accidents.

During the summer, drivers are more likely to experience road rage. This can be attributed to the uncomfortable summer heat as well as the increased number of drivers on the road, many of whom are not local and thus not familiar with local roadways and traffic patterns. Aggressive driving puts the aggressor and all others on the roadway at risk of being involved in a collision, which can have serious or even deadly consequences.

 

Examples of Road Rage

Road rage can take many forms, such as:

  • Shouting at other drivers;
  • Tailgating;
  • Swerving aggressively through traffic;
  • Making rude gestures at others; and
  • Beeping aggressively.

The best way to handle an aggressive driver is to choose not to engage with him or her. Do not cut the other driver or or prevent him or her from changing lanes or making a turn in an effort to “teach a lesson” – the other driver will learn nothing, the aggression will escalate, and you will still be at risk of being involved in an accident.

 

You Cannot Control Other Drivers, But you Can Control Yourself

Although you cannot keep others from expressing road rage, you can keep yourself from behaving in an aggressive manner. Leave early for your destination so the stress of being late does not drive you to act irrationally. Other ways to reduce your stress levels and thus your likelihood of aggressive behaviors include:

  • Using your air conditioning to keep yourself physically cool and comfortable;
  • Keeping your blood pressure low with breathing techniques and calming music;
  • Keeping yourself hydrated;
  • Staying aware of your surrounding and choosing not to use your phone while driving; and
  • Being a courteous driver. This includes giving other vehicles ample following space, allowing others to make exits and lane changes, and being forgiving of others’ errors.

 

Work with an Experienced Alexandria Car Accident Lawyer

 

If you are injured in a car accident, work with one of the experienced car accident lawyers on our team at Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC to seek compensation for your damages. Contact our office today to set up your free legal consultation with us.

Recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury After a Truck Accident

In a collision between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck, the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle are far more likely than the truck driver to suffer injuries. A truck accident can lead to severe, sometimes life-threatening injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the skull suffers a physical blow. In this blow, the brain is damaged. TBI victims can suffer physical, cognitive, behavioral, and neurological injuries. When a TBI is the result of an accident, the victim can seek compensation for his or her damages through a personal injury claim.

 

Your Treatment Plan Depends on the Severity of your Injury

TBIs are diagnosed using the Glasgow Coma Scale. The Glasgow Coma Scale assigns a point value to various response levels. The victim is then subjected to a series of stimuli and each of his or her responses is recorded and graded to determine the severity of his or her injury.

The appropriate treatment plan for a victim depends on the severity of his or her injury. Mild TBIs generally only require rest and pain medication for headaches. More severe TBIs can require mechanical ventilation, seizure medication, and in some cases, putting the victim into a medical coma in order to prevent a secondary injury. In these cases, the victim may need rehabilitative therapy as a later part of his or her recovery.

 

Prompt Treatment is Critical for a TBI

Traumatic brain injuries often do not have physical symptoms. A victim might feel confused, suffer blurred vision, or become sensitive to light and sound. With behavioral changes like irritability, a victim’s loved ones might notice a change before he or she does.

After any accident, it is important that you seek medical care even if you do not feel injured. If a TBI goes undiagnosed and untreated, its symptoms can become worse. Your doctor can determine if you suffered a TBI or another invisible injury and create an appropriate treatment plan.

 

Work with an Experienced Alexandria Truck Accident Lawyer

 

If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you can suffer a severe, potentially life-changing injury. Our team of experienced truck accident lawyers is here to help you pursue compensation for your damages following such an injury. Contact Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC today to set up your initial consultation with us.

 

 

 

What Is An Estate Administrator?

When someone passes away, their estate is usually handled by an executor that they name in a Will. When the decedent doesn’t have a Will with a named executor, the courts will appoint an estate administrator to manage the estate. The courts will also appoint someone if the named executor is found to be incompetent, the designated person unwilling to act as trustee, or the named executor dies before he can complete his duties.

Who is the court likely to appoint?

The courts may appoint another family member or friend of the decedent to administer the estate, but they are also likely to appoint someone who is professionally qualified to perform the duties such as an attorney, accountant, or another person who has experience taking on these responsibilities.

What are the administrator’s responsibilities?

An administrator is given full power to take possession of the estate, sell it if required, collect debts due to the decedent, and represent him in all matters which relates to the property. They are also authorized to pay the debts (with the sold assets if required) and is entitled to compensation as a commission on the amount which he handles.

He is bound to use due diligence in his responsibilities and may be held to account if he mismanaged the estate. He is also authorized to file and defend actions in court in his name to manage the property.

Individual administrators may not have the full power to administer the estate. They may be limited to a part of the property or if the named executor dies before completing the administration of the estate they will finish the job.

Washington D.C. Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have been appointed an estate administrator by the courts or someone has been nominated for your loved one’s estate, and you have concerns about the property being handled properly, you should speak to an attorney familiar with estate law. The Estate planning lawyers at Kamerow Law Firm serve the Washington D.C., and Alexandria areas with estate planning and will be able to advise you about your situation and how to proceed. Contact us by calling or fill out our online contact form.

 

Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury: When Is It Medical Malpractice?

Cerebral palsy is a disability that causes loss or reduction of muscle coordination and other disabilities.

What causes Cerebral palsy?

Cerebralpalsy.org states that “Cerebral palsy is a result of brain injury or brain malformation that occurs before, during, or immediately after birth while the infant’s brain is under development. But how a brain injury affects a child’s motor functioning and intellectual abilities is highly dependent on the nature of a brain injury, where the damage occurs, and how severe it is.”

Sadly, otherwise healthy children will suffer from this debilitating disability because of malpractice during their birth. Physicians that were negligent in their roles as caregivers during the birth may have caused the child to go without oxygen for an extended period injuring the brain during birth.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove that your physical was negligent. Hiring an experienced attorney to review the merits of your case will improve your chances to recover damages.

What to Look For

It can be difficult to identify cerebral palsy at a young age because of the nature of the symptoms. It may take several months before you suspect a problem. These symptoms can include:

  • Lack of muscle tone or baby’s inability to hold their weight when picked up
  • Failure to hold up their head while on their stomach or in a supported sitting position
  • Muscle spasms or feeling stiff
  • Poor muscle control
  • Feeding or swallowing difficulties
  • Preference to tendency to use one side of the body

When children get older, additional symptoms can include the delayed ability to walk or talk.

Washington D.C. Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you suspect that an instance of medical malpractice during childbirth injured your child, you should contact an attorney who may be able to recover damages. Medical bills, therapies, pain and suffering, and ongoing care expenses are something that families have to deal with when their child has a disability such as cerebral palsy. The attorneys at Kamerow Law Firm are available for a free consultation to discuss your case and how to proceed. Contact us via our online form or call 703-370-8088.

What is “Wrongful Death” in Virginia?

Wrongful death is the death caused by someone else’s misconduct or negligence, or by some intent to cause harm. This could include many situations, from car accidents and medical malpractice to nursing home abuse and intentional homicide. It is a legal action filed by survivors for their own losses. In the state of Virginia, you must be immediate family (wife, children, parents) of the deceased or a personal representative in order to file a wrongful death claim.

What must be proven in a wrongful death case?

The Plaintiff will have to prove three elements in a wrongful death case:

  1. Duty of Care- The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant had a duty of care to the deceased. In most cases, this is easy to show, such as in a car accident or nursing home neglect. Other cases may be more challenging. For example, if the deceased consumed unprescribed pills at home which caused the death, the Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant (perhaps a doctor or caregiver) had an obligation to provide sufficient care so the deceased would not consume the pills.
  1. Breach of Duty- The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant breached the duty of care. For example, the Plaintiff must show that the Defendant did not, in fact, provide the deceased with knowledge about the unprescribed pills. If the deceased took the pills despite the warning, then the Defendant may not have breached his/her duty. Most disagreements in these cases revolve around this issue of whether a duty was breached.
  1. Causation- The Plaintiff must prove that the breach of duty was the cause of the death. For example, if the deceased took the unprescribed pills and this caused his/her immediate death, the Defendant’s breach of duty would be the immediate cause of the deceased’s death.

Remedies to Pursue

Special damages and penalties are usually sought by those filing a wrongful death claim. This includes things like financial support, medical bills, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses. Furthermore, if the decedent had dependents, wages and parental guidance will be taken into major consideration under pecuniary injuries.

In a wrongful death case, your attorney will marshal specific information to show the full extent of losses as a result of the family member’s death. In many cases, showing the full extent of the loss (and fair financial amount due) is even more contentious than proving the underlying fault in the case.

Contact Alexandria’s Wrongful Death Attorney

To learn more about wrongful death rules in Virginia, please reach out to the Kamerow Law Firm. We help families in Alexandria, Washington D.C., and other nearby communities with many legal issues, including wrongful death matters. Contact us today to see how we can help in your case.

What Is Subject To Probate Litigation

The last will and testament provide for the distribution of an individual’s estate upon their passing. However, these documents are not entirely binding, and if certain circumstances occur, either a provision of the will or the will in its entirety may be challenged.

Probate process

When discussing probate litigation, it is important to overview the probate process. Probate is the term used to describe the process through which the last will and testament of a deceased person is recognized, and the process of arranging their affairs begins. An administrator will be appointed who will oversee the assets and debts left behind by the deceased.

Litigation

The litigation process begins when an individual challenges either a provision of the will, the appointment of an administrator, or the entirety of the will. Common litigation includes an area such as:

  • Lack of mental capacity;
  • Improper signing of the will;
  • Duress; and
  • Undue influence.

Each of these instances refers to a portion of or the entirety of the will be void due to circumstances surrounding the deceased. The will is invalid if the deceased did not create it or any of its provisions of his or her own volition, without outside pressure or diminished mental capabilities.

Limits

Challenging the will of the deceased does not have an unlimited time frame. As soon as the creator of the will has passed away, a challenge to the will may be issued. This must be filed before the first hearing for probate petition, during which the court discusses whether the will is, in fact, valid. If the will has already been deemed valid by a probate court, it is still possible to file a petition to revoke will probate up to 120 days after the date of the hearing.

Probate lawyers in Maryland

If you have questions about estate planning, contact the attorneys at Kamerow Law Firm. Our legal professionals have years of experience assisting clients with a variety of their estate planning needs.

If you find yourself in need of probate assistance, contact us online or give us a call at 703-370-8088. We get involved with our clients’ probate issues and are available every step of the way.