Personal Injury FAQs


Dog bites

Auto accidents

Wrongful death

Product liability


Should I provide a statement to an insurance company without a lawyer’s help?

It is in your best interests to only provide your contact information to an insurance company until you consult with a lawyer. The more significant your injuries, the more imperative it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement. 

Will I have to go to trial to recover damages?

About 95 percent of personal injury cases filed settle prior to trial.

What is considered “pain and suffering?”

Pain and suffering includes harm caused by physical injury and mental anguish experienced through avoiding activities you engaged in prior to your accident and the potential of surgery.

What determines the amount I might recover?

Every case addresses three issues: 

  • Liability—establishing someone’s negligence
  • Damages—the amount that will fairly and adequately compensate you for your injuries
  • Source of collection—insurance or other assets from which damages can be recovered

Is there a minimum or maximum amount that can be recovered in a personal injury settlement?


What is a typical settlement amount?

An experienced personal injury lawyer reviews and interprets your case information to determine the appropriate value for your claim:

  • Incurred medical bill amount
  • Future medical bills
  • Loss of past income
  • Your age
  • Any permanent limitations caused by the injury
  • Impact on future earning capacity
  • Activities you can no longer do
  • Activities you can do but do not enjoy as much
  • Prognosis for further problems
  • Strength of lay witness testimony
  • Relevant verdict awards

The goal is fair and adequate compensation for your injury and an experienced attorney will know what a reasonable jury would award. The strength of lay and expert witness testimony will likely influence the amount.

How much does it cost to speak to an attorney about an accident case?

It costs you nothing.  If a loved one died as a result of an accident, or if you were injured in an accident, we want to hear from you.  For a free consultation with a Douglas A. Lines, P.C. accident attorney, call 804-762-4878 or contact us online.  Weekend and evening appointments are available.  We will come to you.

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Dog bites

A dog bit me. Who do I tell? 

Contact your local animal control agency or the police.

What is the “one free bite” rule?

In Virginia, the owner is not held liable for the first bite the dog inflicts. Once an animal has demonstrated vicious behavior—biting or otherwise displaying a “vicious propensity”—the owner can be held liable.  However even for the first bite, the owner can be held liable if the owner was negligent or did not comply with the law, such as a leash law.

Which jurisdiction covers dog bites—state or local?

Both. In addition to Virginia laws, your local communities might also have animal laws covering bites, leashing, and vaccinations. Your local laws might ban ownership of certain breeds, too.

What do leash laws cover?

Most communities require dogs to be leashed unless they are confined to a house or fenced yard, even on the owner’s property. Failing to adhere to the leash laws combined with dog biting may increase potential penalties.

Can posting a “Beware of Dog” sign help get me out of trouble if my dog bites someone?

While the sign may help to alert others to any potential hazard, specific facts surrounding the dog bite determine any liability.

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Auto accidents

Can the insurance company refuse to pay my medical bills if my car was not damaged?

No. While the insurance company might try to draw a direct correlation between damage done to your car and the severity of your personal injury, it is possible that the body sustains damage even if the car did not. The reverse may also be true—a car might experience major impact but the people might only suffer minor cuts and bruises.

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Wrongful death

What is wrongful death?

The idea behind a wrongful death lawsuit is the wrongful death, in addition to injuring the person who died, also brought harm to the people who depended on that individual for financial and/or emotional support. The wrongful act might be:

  • A negligent or careless act (e.g., careless driving)
  • A reckless act
  • An intentional act such as deliberate murder

Virginia has a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the decedent’s relatives in the event of a wrongful act.  Contact the law offices of Douglas A. Lines, P.C. to find out if you can sue for the wrongful death of your loved one.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim?

Virginia law sets the timeframe for filing. Time begins with the time of the incident/the party became aware of or discovered the injury. The commonwealth will not honor a wrongful death claim filed after the legislated timeframe and the opportunity to recover damages for the family will be forever lost.

What is the difference between wrongful death and medical malpractice?

Wrongful death is a type of damage and malpractice is a type of negligence. Not every wrongful death case involves medical malpractice and not every medical malpractice case involves wrongful death.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

Virginia law defines the persons allowed to bring a wrongful death suit. Contact the law offices of Douglas A. Lines, P.C. to find out if you can sue for the wrongful death of your loved one.

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Product liability 

What if I know that a defective product harmed other people besides me?

When the same defective product injures a large number of people, they may join together in a class action lawsuit to hold manufacturers and sellers liable for the injuries caused by their product. 

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