Vehicle Accidents Attorney Williamsburg and Newport News VA
For 16 consecutive years from 2007 to 2021, I have been honored for “Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiff” in The Best Lawyers of America. That legal recognition is for my representation of vehicle accident victims.
Over four decades of law practice, I have handled all sorts of vehicle accidents (“MVAs”): automobile, tractor-trailer, dumptruck, pick-up truck, bus, taxicab, motorcycle, boating, bicycle, pedestrian, and even horse-related. They involve all types of personal injuries: wrongful death, brain, burns, amputations, paralysis, and other catastrophic and lesser injuries.
Those MVAs are throughout Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, York County, James City County, Williamsburg, Gloucester, Charles City County, Richmond, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Loudoun County. Some even have been in Washington, D.C., across North Carolina, and throughout Louisiana.
Waterman Law Centers pioneers getting the key accident investigative materials from the insurers of offending drivers for its clients. When MVAs occur, insurers routinely obtain recorded statements from drivers and some witnesses, photographs of damaged vehicles and crash scene, vehicle repair estimates, and other key materials.
Of course, such contemporaneous party/witness statements, vehicle/scene photos, repair estimates, and other investigative materials are unique MVA evidence of what happened and how, including most importantly of who is at fault. Therefore, offending driver insurers typically resist providing such evidence from their claim files to injured MVA victims and their lawyers.
Two decades ago, I was fighting for such MVA investigative materials in Courts throughout Hampton Roads. Building on my success obtaining accident statements in 2001 in Circuit Court for the City of Williamsburg and James City County, I prevailed in leading reported MVA cases in Suffolk in 2008, Burr v. R.C. Paving, 78 Va. Cir. 56 (Suffolk Cir. Ct. Dec. 2, 2008)(Progressive Insurance’s recorded statements of defendant driver and an eyewitness) and in Gloucester in 2013, Lyles v. Calloway, 2013 Va. Cir. LEXIS 199, 2013 WL 10869997 (Gloucester Cir. Ct. Oct. 22, 2013)(“any statement of Defendant and/or other potential witness . . . taken prior to legal counsel specifically being retained on this case”).
In fact, I have been so successful in Court that the overwhelming majority of Defendant drivers’ lawyers and adjusters have been providing me their auto insurers’ investigative materials voluntarily to avoid Court fights resulting in more reported decisions in my clients’ favor. For example, the defense capitulated in my following MVA cases from 2008 through 2021:
In 2008 in Garrity v. Jones, Case No. 1341 (York Cir. Ct. Aug. 11, 2008), Allstate’s adjuster took its insured offending driver’s statement 3 days post-accident and provided it to me voluntarily.
In 2010 in Johnson v. Dickinson, No. 05-9499 (York Cir. Ct. Apr. 9, 2010), Defendant’s auto liability carrier Progressive took recorded statements of Defendant, Plaintiff, and independent eyewitness plus MVA photographs, and provided them to me voluntarily.
In 2013 in Merritt-Lewis v. Parrott, No. CL11-575 (Williamsburg and James City Cir. Ct. Sept. 18, 2013), with Plaintiff’s Motion to Enforce re Insurer Statements and Materials pending, Defendant’s counsel provided me voluntarily the 3 tape-recorded witness statements taken by the offending driver’s insurer Progressive.
In 2014 in Lamont v. Striggles, No. CL1301322V-040 (Newport News Feb. 25, 2014), with Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel pending, the offending driver’s insurers Nationwide and AlfaVision provided me voluntarily the actual MVA tape-recordings and the transcribed statements taken by their representatives.
Also in 2014 in Saddler v. Turner, No. CL1301774F-15 (Newport News Cir. Ct. Feb. 11, 2014), with Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel and for Sanctions pending, the offending driver’s insurer Nationwide provided me voluntarily the transcribed statements and the actual tape-recordings taken by its representative.
Additionally in 2014 in Taliferro v. Holmes, No. CL1201645T-01 (Newport News Jul. 1-2, 2014), with Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel pending, the offending driver’s insurer AIG/Century 21 provided me voluntarily the transcribed MVA statements of 2 parties and 2 witnesses taken by its representative.
In 2018 in Deneen v. Kruszewski, No. CL1801309T-01 (Newport News Cir. Ct. May 25, 2018), in response to Plaintiff’s Subpoena Duces Tecum, the offending driver’s liability insurer GEICO provided me voluntarily its entire 107-page 3-audio-recording “PIP file,” including contemporaneous statements of Defendant, Plaintiff and eyewitness, vehicle damage photographs, and repair estimates.
Also in 2018 in Hooper v. Beadle, No. CL18000601-00 (Gloucester Cir. Ct. Oct. 17 and 19, 2018), in response to informal pre-service request, the offending driver’s liability insurer USAA provided me voluntarily its insured offending driver’s recorded witness statement, vehicle damage photographs/assessments, and other contents of its 141-page claims investigation file – despite every page being stamped “USAA Confidential”!
Additionally in 2018 in Aarsbergen v. Oliver, No. CL1801084P-11 (Newport News Cir. Ct. Oct. 18, 2018), in response to Subpoena, the offending driver’s liability insurer GEICO provided me voluntarily its insured’s recorded witness statement and two vehicle damage estimates.
In 2021 in Gardner v. H.E.A. Company, Inc., No. CL21000478-00 (Williamsburg and James City County Cir. Ct. Apr. 20, 2021), in response to Plaintiff’s Request for Production, Farm Bureau’s lawyer voluntarily provided me the transcript of its adjuster’s recorded statement of its insured offending driver.
Based on my success getting MVA investigative materials, other MVA victim lawyers throughout Virginia regularly use my case precedents and legal briefs to try obtaining such investigative materials for their clients.
My experience as a successful medical malpractice lawyer also enhances my vehicle accident cases for clients. For example, unlike most vehicle accident lawyers, medical malpractice lawyers routinely use Va. Code §8.01-401.1 to introduce “reliable authority” (authoritative publications) in evidence to support favorable expert opinions. So in one of my recent vehicle accident cases, I used a substantial amount of §8.01-401.1 “reliable authority” to persuade the Defendant offending driver’s lawyer about the correctness of my injured client’s position on a pivotal medical issue about substantial continuing treatments in the case. Based on those supporting authoritative medical publications, the Defendant’s auto liability insurer paid us its entire policy limits of $500,000.00 without us having to go to jury trial and fight the issue.
Moreover, in 2014, I authored the amicus curiae brief of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in support of Plaintiff wrongful death claimants arising out of a plane crash with multiple fatalities. The outcome was the Virginia Supreme Court’s leading opinion on §8.01-401.1 “reliable authority” in favor of the aggrieved Plaintiffs. See, Harman v. Honeywell International, Inc., 288 Va. 84 (2014).
Medical malpractice lawyers additionally often use Va. Code §8.01-419, Virginia’s Table of Life Expectancy, as evidence at trial to quantify permanent injuries and thereby enhance their value. So likewise, I use the §8.01-419 life expectancy projections in my motor vehicle cases too to increase their value, and I have a jury instruction for it.
Further, although many if not most lawyers overlook or disregard it, I routinely seek an award of prejudgment interest for my motor vehicle and other clients as provided in Va. Code §8.01-382. That is, by statute the jury and/or judge is empowered to award up to 6% interest per annum retroactive to the date of accident – which often is measured in terms of years. Despite the award of prejudgment interest being discretionary, I have crafted very cogent persuasive arguments for the same and in multiple personal injury cases have received jury awards of $250,000.00, $600,000.00, and even $1,000,000.00 in prejudgment interest alone! Although there is no Virginia Model Jury Instruction for prejudgment interest, I have crafted my own jury instruction for it based on §8.01-382 that always has been given when requested.
Finally, another potential enhancer of personal injury and wrongful death victim compensation is punitive or exemplary damages. Although such damages usually are difficult to recover in Virginia in general and in vehicle accident cases in particular, there are some noteworthy exceptions such as against intoxicated offending drivers. So it is important to be savvy about those exceptions. My legal brief in favor of punitive damages is used by other vehicle accident, personal injury and wrongful death lawyers throughout the state.
For 2021, Waterman Law Centers earned a “Metropolitan Tier 1 Ranking” in U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” Rankings for “Plaintiff Personal Injury” (Vehicle Accidents). That is because Waterman Law Centers has delivered award-winning big-city/big-firm results for its local personal injury and wrongful death clients like you!
Previously, I represented Jeep, Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota in vehicle accident cases. That provided me a very sophisticated background that very few victim lawyers ever have had.
So no need to travel to Richmond, Norfolk, or Virginia Beach for a “Metropolitan Tier 1” MVA lawyer. Use one of our local offices in Williamsburg, Newport News and/or Hampton.