Beware of Memorial Day Weekend Traffic Dangers

According to AAA, more than 38 million drivers will hit the road this Memorial Day weekend. And unfortunately, Memorial Day weekend is one of the most dangerous times of the year to hit the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this weekend sees a 13.1% increase in traffic deaths compared to a non-holiday weekend, with an average of 400 people losing their lives on the roadways. The NHTSA statistics also show that 44% of Memorial Day weekend fatalities result from the consumption of alcohol. 

Motorcycle 1

This year Washington D.C. is among the top destinations for travelers, which means that northern Virginia roadways will see some of the heaviest traffic conditions of the year. With events such as the largest Memorial Day parade in the country, the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally, Washington Nationals baseball games, and the National Memorial Day concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, drivers will need use extra caution this Memorial Day.

PJI Law’s experienced attorneys regularly represent both local residents and out-of-town visitors in such personal injury and traffic cases that arise in Fairfax County, Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, and other northern Virginia jurisdictions. The risks include everything from car accidents, to pedestrian injuries, to reckless driving. So please, be safe as you enjoy your holiday weekend to the fullest.

We at PJI Law wish you a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, and extend sincere gratitude – which will never be sufficient – to our fallen patriots and their families.

List of New Virginia Laws Going Into Effect This Month

We at PJI Law always follow Virginia General Assembly sessions quite closely, since there are typically new laws passed that directly affect our practice and that may impact some of our clients.

Many laws, however, are written in a matter too confusing for most people, and ought to be made more accessible to the public. Thankfully, the General Assembly’s Division of Legislative Services publishes an annual summary of a selection of legislation passed every year. You can find this year’s list at this link. For the most part, the new laws took effect on July 1 of this year.

The following new laws are of particular interest to us (please note that these are incomplete summaries):

1. Your employer may not require you to disclose the username and password to your social media accounts, nor to add the employer or a co-worker as a “friend”.

2. Crowdfunding, if it meets some requirements, can be exempt from the difficult and complex laws typically governing the issuance of securities.

3. You may breastfeed in any place in public where you are lawfully present.

4. You will receive civil immunity for breaking into a car to save a child, as long as you first tried to contact emergency personnel when possible.

5. Child support may be ordered for disabled adults if the disability existed before adulthood, regardless of whether or not child support had been previously paid. If this may be applicable to your child, our firm would be happy to review the matter with you and assist you in any appropriate Northern Virginia jurisdiction.

Virginia cyclists receive increased protection under new laws.
Virginia cyclists receive increased protection under new laws.

6. The authorities may not use against you your attempt to obtain emergency medical attention for yourself or another due to a drug-related or alcohol-related overdose, even if such possession or consumption was illegal, as long as you are cooperative.

7. In addition to not being able to follow other cars too closely, you may not follow bicycles, mopeds, and other non-motor vehicles too closely. If you are a cyclist injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, we would be happy to discuss the impact of this law on your case.

8. You may cross a double yellow line to pass a pedestrian or cyclist, if you do it safely.

If you have any questions on how any new Virginia law impacts you, our attorneys stand ready to assist you.

Will a Jury Side with Me?

One of the issues we consider when assessing a case that may go to trial is: How would a jury see the case?

What many people don’t realize is that they (through their lawyers) can actually impact the jury’s perspective of the case in a manner even more fundamental than the attorney’s actual trial presentation. Before a jury trial, using a process called voir dire, lawyers for both sides get the opportunity to ask questions to a larger group of potential jurors assembled in the courtroom, and then to strike, or eliminate, some of them from being selected as jurors. This applies to all types of jury trials, including personal injury, car accident, and contract cases, among many others we might handle.

So on what basis can attorneys strike jurors? There are some limitations, but on the whole, lawyers have significant discretion in deciding who is struck. And here in Northern Virginia, the jury pool is always rich with people from various class, economic, and professional backgrounds with differing views on certain legal conflicts.

The New York Times has a very neat tool called “Will You Be Seated on a Jury?” Click here to access it. It asks you certain questions that may be asked in an actual voir dire session, and explains how your answers may cause one side to want to remove you from the eventual jury panel.

When it comes to your case, there is no way to know for sure what the jury will do, or whether it will side with you. But if your lawyer is diligent in shaping the jury itself, you may already be halfway there.

This Is How We Can Help You

Welcome to the PJI Law website, and to our brand new blog. For one of our first blog posts, we would like to briefly introduce ourselves and explain the specific ways in which we can help you. Yes, our website has our attorneys’ bios and a list of our practice areas, but here on the blog we will explain things a little less formally and a bit more practically.

First of all, our firm has two full-time attorneys who work on most matters together. Although one of them is likely to be the primary attorney on your specific case, the other attorney will be well positioned to proceed with your case without any hiccups should the need arise – in case of sickness, vacation, or emergencies, for example. For this reason, and in order to ensure the reasonable availability of at least one attorney for your case on every business day of the year, our attorneys adhere to a strict policy of not taking time off simultaneously.

We also believe that the quality of our staff is as important as the quality of our attorneys. Our receptionist, for example, knows every single retained client by name. She knows what their case is about, which attorney they are primarily working with, and understands the nature or urgency of their calls.

That is who we are. Now, this is how we can help you:

Family Law

If you’re about to get married and need a prenup, we can draft one that honors your specific wishes. If you’re already married and are contemplating divorce, we can serve you. We have seen it all – heartbreaking divorces involving children, the end of marriages that had lasted for decades, and even legal separation that began on the first day of marriage – literally. By definition, none have been happy stories, and we cannot change that fact. But in such a time of emotion and uncertainty, we can navigate the law on your behalf, ensure that your rights are protected, and pursue the results you deserve. And whether or not you’re married, we can assist you with the very important issues of child custody, child support, and spousal support. If you’ve already obtained a court order and it is not being honored by the other party, we can help you to get it enforced.

Personal Injury

If you were injured in a car accident, you do not want to talk to the other party’s insurance company on your own. There is simply too much about the process that you don’t know. We have the education and experience to guide you through the loopholes and maximize your recovery. The same goes if you slip and fall, get bitten by a dog, or are otherwise injured in various or unusual ways due to the negligence of others. For example, we recently represented a client who suffered severe burns from sizzling soup spilled by a careless restaurant employee. We can also assist if an incident was even more tragic and resulted in the wrongful death of a family member.

Business Law

What’s the difference between an LLC and a C-Corp, and why is one better than the other for your particular situation? What’s a Registered Agent, and is every single business entity in Virginia required to have one even if it’s a one-person company that made eighty bucks last year? (Yes). Does this two-page commercial lease look good? (No). Business law is not just for Google and Exxon. It is extremely relevant for even the smallest business with the smallest budget. And in fact, we like to focus on both establishing small to medium businesses and completing small to medium business transactions – no business is too small for us. We also help both businesses and individuals collect money they’re owed, whether or not they already have a judgment from the court. We represent both commercial tenants and commercial landlords and offer them “a la carte” options – some want us only to review their lease, others ask us to negotiate the whole deal. Of course, we handle a wide variety of business and contract disputes, whether out of court or by litigating it all the way to trial. This includes representing you in whichever side of a mechanic’s lien you might be on. And since all Virginia businesses are required to have a Registered Agent, we are pleased to serve as your Registered Agent so that you can have the peace of mind you need.

Estate Planning

Everyone knows what a Will is, and we can certainly draft one for you. But fewer people know what Advance Medical Directive / Living Will is, which is why we are proactive about explaining it to our clients. Such a document allows you to make decisions about your medical care in some situations where you wouldn’t be able to express your wishes (i.e., if you are in coma). It also allows you to designate an agent to speak to the doctors on your behalf in certain situations, such as the middle of a surgery. And even fewer people know about the need for a General Financial Power of Attorney, which allows a trusted or loved one to make financial/legal/property decisions on your behalf if you are mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to make such decisions. Falling into such a state without leaving your family with the means to manage your assets on your behalf could significantly complicate their lives in what would already be a difficult time. In short, this is the one area of our practice that it is applicable to 100% of the population – everyone should have these documents.

Other Areas of Practice

In addition to representing both commercial landlords and commercial tenants as discussed above, we represent residential landlords in various ways. However the most urgent need residential landlords tend to have arises when tenants fail to pay their rent or vacate, in which case we swiftly step in to proceed with an eviction process that minimizes the landlord’s losses.

We also take on Lemon Law cases, which arise from repeated problems with new cars. In such cases we reach out to the car manufacturers directly to resolve the matter, and if that fails, we invite them to meet us in court.

Our firm also engages in civil litigation regarding a variety of topics, including property damage, conversion, detinue, fraud, and other areas too numerous to include in this post.

There are many more unique cases that often don’t fall into a specific practice area, and we handle many of them. If you are not sure, please ask us – we are always happy to hear from you even if it turns out that we cannot accept your case. And if we don’t, we will likely be able refer you to a specific attorney who is more appropriate for your case.

So, this is who we are and how we can help you. And when you find yourself in need of the services above, we will be ready for your call.