What Should You Do if You are Injured While Working Abroad?

The Abrams Landau team had an interesting case in which our client was:

  • An Australian National Skating Champion,
  • Performing in the “High School Musical,”
  • Working for “Disney on Ice,”  (Feld Productions),
  • which is part of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus group, out of Baileys Crossroads, Virginia.
  • Injured by another performer’s skate in Paris, France, and
  • served with papers when he landed in Florida to get married !
  • requiring him to see the insurance company doctors and answer the insurance company lawyer’s deposition questions.

After the skater’s leg was cut by another performer, he received excellent medical care back in his home country.  As a former world class competitor, the injured worker received first class care from the top sports medicine specialists in Sydney.  However, the deep laceration would permanently prevent this young athlete from performing the jumps as he had before.  The ice skater could return to skating, but not be the “star of the show.”

As the company was headquartered in Virginia, the workers’ compensation claim was filed in the Commonwealth.  Most of the international performers who contact Doug Landau under these circumstances have not read the “fine print” of their contracts, which state that all disputes are to be resolved under Virginia law, which is very favorable to the employer. This young man returned to Australia for medical treatment and recuperation.  Although he made an impressive recovery, the damage to his leg was such that he could no longer perform his original job.  His medical bills were substantial, but all were incurred in Australia — far out of reach of the insurance company’s watchful eye.  The insurance company was none too pleased about that!

Our client had met the girl of his dreams and was scheduled to be married in Florida.  Upon his arrival at the airport, just days before his scheduled nuptials, he was served with papers from his insurance company — right there on the tarmac!   The company wanted proof that his claim was real, that his medical expenses were legitimate.  They were going to set him up with a job in the “chorus,” skating in the background at a substantial cut in pay.  It was a “set up.” Once back in their control, they could fire this young athlete and terminate his benefits.

What to do now?

The groom-to-be was referred to Herndon Virginia Workers Compensation lawyer Doug Landau since Landau is licensed to practice law up and down the east coast, including Virginia (where the company is) and Florida (where the groom was awaiting his wedding day!).  A phone call to the Abrams Landau office resulted in Doug hopping on a plane to Florida. The deposition was held at the private air terminal.  The insurance company doctor’s medical exam was postponed so as not to interfere with the wedding plans. The wedding was to be a “three ring affair”, written up in Sarasota Magazine.  Landau was able to handle the matter tout suite and the wedding went off without a hitch!  The case was eventually settled.  Landau is pleased to report that the groom is a law student and works for a firm in Australia.

While professional taxi cabs are required to have a certain minimum amount of liability insurance, what are the requirements for UberX, Sidecar or Lyft ?

  • Cab Competition, Safety & Oversight

Competition in the marketplace is a good thing, but so is safety regulation and oversight. If you are going to use these “alternative ride services,” then you certainly want to check your own motor vehicle insurance policies to make sure that you have adequate coverage in the event of an accident. There is no guarantee that the Uber, Sidecar or Lyft driver has even the $100,000 per person that Virginia cabbies are required to carry. If you are in a crash with an uninsured driver, or a “hit-and-run,” and the UberX, Lyft or SideCar driver has a minimum limits policy like yours, your medical bills might not even get paid. These questions were brought to the fore in today’s Washington Post front page article.

  • Taxicabs do not have to have lots of insurance, & they often do not !
Dulles Flyer and other DC Metro area taxi cabs are required to be licensed and insured, though not for as much as you may think !  Check your own Uninsured AND UNDERinsured motorist coverages, as well as your Medical Payments protection provision in your own automobile insurance policy, especially if you are going to be using a ride-share service

Dulles Flyer and other DC Metro area taxi cabs are required to be licensed and insured, though not for as much as you may think ! Check your Uninsured AND UNDERinsured motorist coverages, as well  Medical Payments protection provisions in your own automobile insurance policy, especially if you are going to be using any of the popular ride-share service

Landau has helped clients hit by taxicabs in DC and Virginia, and the limits on their insurance and the fact that they are often separate companies so that there are no assets to pay for the harms if an excess verdict is rendered, means that the injured victims may get less than full compensation for their losses. Thus, “Driving for Dollars” may mean short-term savings for the ridership and catastrophic losses for those unlucky enough to be in a crash while a passenger in these ride-share services. Landau notes,

“Users of these ‘ride-share services’ should check their own Uninsured and UNDERinsured motorist protection, as well as their MedPay limits, to make sure that they, and their loved ones, are protected in the event of an accident while riding in a vehicle through one of the online services like Lyft, SideCar and UberX.”

If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of a car, taxi, truck, bicycle or motorcycle crash and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.

 

In the Opinion section of the Fairfax County Times there was a disturbing piece sent in by an angry parent of a child who was struck while walking in the crosswalk by an unsafe motorist.  Having represented pedestrians struck while legally crossing streets in Northern Virginia for three decades, and being the parent of a quartet myself, this OpEd piece resonated with Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau.  In this poignant piece, the author notes, “If you hit two kids in a crosswalk, Fairfax will charge you $37.50 per kid.” That’s the message a Fairfax City General District Court Judge sent when he ruled in a traffic violation case involving the writer’s 13-year old daughter and one of her friends.

[In this August accident the] kids hit the pavement and came up with scratches, bruises and concussions. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.” They waited for the “walk” sign, and walked across busy Pickett Road to the Fair City Mall. While they were in the crosswalk, they were hit by the Defendant’s pickup truck.

In an October hearing, the Falls Church driver plead guilty to failing to yield to a pedestrian. The most Judge could have fined him was $250 — already pretty small considering two kids were knocked to the ground by a moving vehicle. Apparently the family of the victims did not know to check the Virginia Court Case Index to see when the case was to be heard.

The Fairfax General District Court judge did not impose even close to the maximum sentence. The fine was set at $75. The decision cannot be appealed.  The writer adds,

“Traffic is pretty scary in Fairfax, and many adults are already nervous about crossing certain roads on foot. It seems to me that one way to slow it all down is to at least make inattentive drivers pay the paltry maximum fine when they plow into people who are in crosswalks when the light says “walk.”

But if the judges aren’t tough enough, and if we can’t have a minimum fine for hitting people in crosswalks, maybe we can change all the “walk” signs to “run.” That might give some of us a fighting chance.”

Rachel Carson Middle School 8th graders on stage at George Mason University, where they won the 3rd place award at the "We the People" National Invitational

Rachel Carson Middle School 8th graders on stage at George Mason University, where they won the 3rd place award at the “We the People” National Invitational

At the “We the People” National Invitational held at George Mason University (“GMU”) this weekend, the Rachel Carson Middle School (“RCMS”) civics class made it to the final 8, then the final 3, then, in their first trip to “the big show,” got the bronze because of their knowledge of Civics, the U.S. Constitution and the intricate workings of our government.

This Fairfax County Public School’s performance each day at GMU impressed the judges and spectators. Ms. Cynthia Burgett’s 8th grade class not only presented prepared remarks, but then had to field questions from legal and governmental experts from all over the country. The RCMS teams’ hard work paid

Cynthia Burgett of Herndon Virginia's Rachel Carson Middle School was honored for her efforts on behalf of her 8th grade Civics Class's National Invitationals performance

Cynthia Burgett of Herndon Virginia’s Rachel Carson Middle School was honored for her efforts on behalf of her 8th grade Civics Class’s National Invitationals performance

off with the judges’ recognition at the late night awards ceremony. Their instructor was recognized for her efforts on her students’ behalf, and parents, educators and experts expect that Rachel Carson teams will be back for years to come.

At the awards ceremony at the Mason Inn ballroom on the George Mason University Fairfax campus, Herndon lawyer Doug Landau sat with the students he has been working with over the last several months. Hopefully, Ms. Burgett will ask lawyer Landau to help out again next year, and the Rachel Carson team will benefit from this amazing learning experience at the National Championship level.

White House staffers, University professors and judges from all over the United States questioned students from the Rachel Carson Middle School during the "We the People" National Championships at the Fairfax Virginia campus of George Mason University

White House staffers, University professors, educators and judges from all over the United States questioned students from the Rachel Carson Middle School during the “We the People” National Championships at the Fairfax Virginia campus of George Mason University

After nerve-racking rounds of competition over the weekend, Herndon lawyer Doug Landau could not wait any longer and called Rachel Carson Middle School teacher Cynthia Burgett to see how the local students had fared. Would these state champions be done after Sunday afternoon’s rounds, or would they advance from the “great 8″ to the final 3 on Monday ?

“While I am used to waiting for a jury’s deliberations in our injury cases and for decisions to come via e-mail from state workers compensation judges and “snail mail” from Federal Social Security Administrative Law Judges, I had to know how our RCMS students did! If they made it to the finals, I wanted to be there to cheer them on. I would have to alert the staff of my Herndon law firm, ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. as to my whereabouts on Monday. I would not be able to sleep if I did not know !”

noted Landau. As per our prior post, Landau had invested a lot of time and effort in helping these gifted students prepare.

The Rachel Carson students had spent months learning about the U.S. Constitution, the three branches of government, famous law cases, and current national and international events in their Civics class. However, having never been to the national championships, the Herndon middle school had no experience upon which to draw. Teams from Oregon, Nevada, Ohio, Arizona, Rhode Island, Tennessee and two teams from perennial powerhouse Indiana descended on the Nation’s Capitol to determine the National Champion. Having made “the great 8″ in and of itself was an amazing accomplishment for a school that had never even won its own state’s championship. And, the Rachel Carson School is not even 20 years old ! Lawyer Landau’s eldest daughter was in the very first incoming class at RCMS, and his son was just a year behind. It is the only school that all 4 of his children, now all grown, attended, hence his willingness to help.

Before heading to George Mason University to cheer on the Rachel Carson Middle School students, Herndon lawyer Doug Landau took part in the "Run for Justice" to benefit the Fairfax Law Foundation, the very group that asked him to help at the school !  Lawyer Landau was the first racer across the line in costume ("Swift Justice"), 9th over all and 3rd Masters competitor.  Shown with Fairfax Circuit Court judges Jon Tran and Lorraine Nordlund, Landau hopes that his winning ways this weekend are a portent of things to come at Monday's National Championship !

Before heading to George Mason University to cheer on the Rachel Carson Middle School students, Herndon lawyer Doug Landau took part in the “Run for Justice” to benefit the Fairfax Law Foundation, the very group that asked him to help at the school ! Lawyer Landau was the first racer across the line in costume (“Swift Justice”), 9th over all and 3rd Masters competitor. Shown with Fairfax Circuit Court judges John Tran and Lorraine Nordland, Landau hopes that his winning ways this week are a sign of things to come at Monday’s National Championship !

Ms. Burgett shared the great news that the students had made the final 3 and would be competing for the top honors on Monday. Landau will return to the George Mason Fairfax Virginia campus for the fourth day in a row for these remarkable, inquisitive and accomplished young scholars. Landau told them after they won the state championships, that everything thereafter was “bonus,” as the school had never been the champions of the Commonwealth. “I hope that like me, they had a chance to rest today, as the “We the People” program included tours of Montpelier, lots of bus rides, meals out and late nights.”  After the Mason Inn awards ceremony Monday night they do not get back to Rachel Carson until 9:30 PM !

Stay tuned !

Herndon lawyer Doug Landau on the Fairfax Virginia campus of George Mason University for the "We the People" National Finals

Herndon lawyer Doug Landau on the Fairfax Virginia campus of George Mason University for the “We the People” National Finals

Demonstrating breadth and depth of knowledge of our U. S. Constitution, students from the Rachel Carson Middle School arrived on the campus of George Mason University (“GMU”) for the “We the People” competition. After this Fairfax County Public Schools’ success at the state and regional levels, the students of Ms. Cynthia Burgett’s 8th grade class had put in additional time and effort to prepare for the National Invitational that was to be held here in Virginia. Herndon Lawyer Doug Landau returned to help these remarkable students during their afternoon Civics class.

After helping Rachel Carson Middle School students prepare for the "We the People" competition, Herndon lawyer Doug Landau was a guest at the National Invitational

After helping Rachel Carson Middle School students prepare for the competition, Herndon lawyer Doug Landau was a guest at the National Invitational

Jumping in his car on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, Landau would zoom down Elden Street and Centreville Road to be on time for the group presentations, questions and critiques. At the McLaren Road school, lawyer Landau used some of the techniques he employs to help his own clients and witnesses to speak clearly, slowly and with appropriate emphasis. The students were obviously nervous, but consistent practice helped their confidence and overall presentations. Lawyer Landau noted, “These Rachel Carson Middle School students showed tremendous improvement during the months I have been coming to work with them. While other teams, coaches and teachers may have more experience at the national level, I think the Carson kids are ready for the challenge. Their teacher, Ms. Burgett, has done a remarkable job with these 28 students, instilling deep understanding of our government, admiration of its foundational elements and application to current issues.”

As is his custom when trying cases for injured individuals Landau came to the George Mason Fairfax campus early on Friday in order to familiarize himself with the specific locations of the National Competition’s events.  It is not enough to simply make it to the “big show,” but to do one’s best.  Once they advanced to the National level, as described in a prior post, lawyer Landau knew the stakes, and concomitant pressure, would be much higher. The students’ performance at George Mason University would bring honor to them, their teachers, their coaches, their families and their community.  A “scouting trip” like this is a requirement, not only for the best lawyers, but also for the clients and witnesses, so that no one gets lost or is late on “the big day.”

While on his GMU "scouting trip," Doug Landau was 3rd overall at the Annual Victims Rights 5km on the Fairfax Virginia campus, besting all of the university students from all over the country!

While on his GMU “scouting trip,” Doug Landau was 3rd overall at the Annual Victims Rights 5km on the Fairfax Virginia campus, besting university students and faculty  from all over the country!

While on campus, Landau also again took part in the 18th Annual Victim’s Rights Run & Walk.  In what he hopes will be a portent of great things to come for the Rachel Carson students, Landau nearly won the whole race ! Despite racing runners a third his age, Herndon Landau finished 3rd overall, 2nd male and beat all the University students. Every April, the Police Department and the office Wellness, Alcohol, and Violence Education and Services joins the national victims’ rights week in promoting victims rights and to honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. Full race results may be found here. With the help of the excellent GMU Police force, the Victims’ Rights 5K Run/Walk is a George Mason University and lawyer Landau tradition! He hopes the Rachel Carson Middle School students finish in the top 3, just as he did, during their National “We the People” competition.

Herndon Virginia lawyer Doug Landau recently visited the American Association for Justice new headquarters and on his tour was able to see the trial lawyers' Hall of Fame where his father, Norman J. Landau, is honored

Herndon Virginia lawyer Doug Landau recently visited the American Association for Justice new headquarters and on his tour was able to see the trial lawyers’ Hall of Fame where his father, Norman J. Landau, is honored

In a previous post we discussed the makeup and mission of the American Association for Justice (AAJ).

In today’s post we highlight an honor bestowed upon only a select few AAJ members — induction into the AAJ Hall of Fame.

What is the AAJ Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame award is presented to an AAJ member who throughout the course of his or her career made an impact and positive difference toward the civil justice system.  (Source AAJ website)

But this is not just any old award.  It is extremely rare and is bestowed upon only those whose contributions have been enormously significant.  Out of several hundred thousand lawyers who have been members of AAJ since its inception in 1946, only 20 members have made the Hall of Fame — ever.  Unlike the Rock ‘n Roll or Baseball Halls of Fame, some years there are no inductees.

The 2013 (and 21st) inductee into the Hall of Fame was recently named:  Howard F. Twiggs.

Norman J. Landau, 2005 Inductee

Virginia trial lawyer Doug Landau understands the grand scale of Hall of Fame inductees’ contributions to the civil justice system because his own father, Norman J. Landau, received the honor in 2005.  New York lawyer Norman Landau was a co-author of “The Environmental Law Handbook,” “Toxic Torts” and “Premises Liability: Practice & Procedure,”  (on which Doug Landau was also a contributing author). Since the senior Mr. Landau was friends and colleagues with many other inductees of his time, Doug himself grew up personally knowing many of them.  In fact, Landau was sworn in to the Florida bar at the home of 2008 inductee Bill Colson.

For a complete list of past inductees click here.

The importance of a fair civil justice system is not lost on lawyer Landau.  In fact, watching his own father zealously defend the rights of the injured inspired Landau’s career choice.  If you or someone you know has been injured due to no fault of your own and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

Just before Thanksgiving last year, Herndon trial lawyer Doug Landau happened upon a notice from the Fairfax Bar Association (FBA) seeking Attorney Volunteers:

Rachel Carson Middle School, located at 13618 McLearen Road in Herndon, has asked the Law Related Education Committee to provide attorney volunteers for their “We the People” Program. Students are preparing for the district and state competitions starting in December. Much of it is based on constitutional law and the teacher is looking for a volunteer to spend about 50 minutes with the students.

Landau Happy to Help Students Prepare for “We the People” ProgramTrial Lawyer Doug Landau at Rachel Carson Middle School

Landau was thrilled to volunteer to help the students at Rachel Carson Middle School (“RCMS”).  Since all four of his children had attended this relatively new Fairfax County Public School, and as he had volunteered extensively at their high schools (Oakton, Hotchkiss and The Madeira Schools) even after their graduations, he agreed to teach.  The “We the People” program teaches middle school students about the U.S. Constitution and promotes civic competence and responsibility. Since its inception in 1987, more than 28 million students and 75,000 educators have participated in the “We the People” Program.

Landau Goes Back to School

Helping out RCMS instructor Cynthia Burgett turned out to be a learning experience for both the students and this experienced personal injury lawyer.  The students represented a wide array of ethnic and international backgrounds. In order to prepare for class, both students and the Herndon attorney would study the topics and materials provided by Ms. Burgett.

Going to the middle school was unlike any experience Landau had encountered teaching lawyers for the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”) or the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (“VTLA”).  “The students’ enthusiasm was infectious; they were unfettered by the conventions attorneys are saddled with during their legal training.  They worked hard, used technology to help with their timing, and were always inquisitive. Their improvement was incredible,” noted Landau.  The RCMS group was ready for the state-wide competition. Landau thought his “tenure” at Rachel Carson was at an end.

He was wrong.  Our local Rachel Carson team won the Virginia state championship !

Rachel Carson Middle School Students win State Championships 2014Students Advance to National Championships

Ms. Burgett wrote to Landau again, “It turns out that we will be going to the “We the People” National Competition April 5-7.  Would you be available…”

Landau, a Fairfax County Bar member since 1985, agreed to help get the students ready for the National Championships.  As his firm, ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., is just up the street in the center of the Historic Downtown District of Herndon, he can get to the school in less than 10 minutes.  And, the National Championships will also be close by.  The “We the People National Invitational” will be held on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University.  The competition will bring students, teachers and educators from all over the United States to this once-in-a-lifetime event.  “Unlike my past participation in the the FBA’s court house tours, mock trials and Law Day class visits, which are all ‘one-and-done’ programs, working with the same students and seeing their progress made for a meaningful and rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

Abrams Landau, Ltd. Wishes RCMS Students Good Luck!

The legal team at Abrams Landau, Ltd. extends its hearty congratulations to the constitutional scholars at RCMS and wishes them great success at the National Championship!  Watch this site for the results!

Police Car

Always contact the police right away if you are involved in an accident.  A law enforcement officer’s report can be a key piece of evidence in an injury suit.

You just had a car accident.  Now what?

Here are ten things you should do right away:

1.  Stop – Assuming you are physically able, stop as close to the scene as possible, doing your best not to obstruct traffic.  Turn on your flashing hazard lights.

2.  Call the Police (911).  Report the following:

  • Location of your car
  • Your name and address
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your registration number
  • If there are injuries

Be cooperative and answer all questions truthfully.  Do not admit fault.  And do not discuss the accident with anyone else.

3.  If you are injured, tell the police immediately and describe your injuries.  Flag a passerby to call 911 if you are unable to do so.

4.  Collect the information below.  Make sure you actually look at each piece of the other drivers’ identification.  We have seen cases where the other driver reads off his or her information and “conveniently” omits a digit or transposes two numbers in a telephone or policy number, rendering the information useless.  Be sure to copy it down yourself to be sure you get it right.

  • Name, address, phone number of each driver
  • Driver’s license information
  • Make and model of all involved vehicles
  • Vehicle(s) license plate number
  • Automobile insurance company name and policy number
  • Company name if a commercial vehicle is involved

5.  Take photographs.  Use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to all vehicles if possible.

6.  Identify witnesses.  Take down names and numbers of any witnesses.  This could be key in determining who is at fault.

7.  Seek medical attention.  If the rescue squad thinks you should be taken to the emergency room (ER), then you should go.   If you are injured but do not go to the ER from the scene, you should seek medical treatment or evaluation — either at the ER or from your doctor — as soon after the accident as possible.

8.  Call your insurance company.  Report the accident, giving a detailed description. But do not admit fault.  We recommend consulting an attorney before giving a recorded statement.

9. Secure valuables and important property. If your car or truck is towed from the scene, take photos of the interior in case valuable or important personal property is inside.  Examples are special prescription glasses, medications, equipment and electronics.

10. Do not destroy evidence.  If the car or truck is equipped with an onboard computer or “black box” equivalent, make sure that it is saved before the vehicle is crushed for scrap.

If you are injured and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).  Our experienced Personal Injury team will take some preliminary information from you and will work with you to determine if you have a case, and if so, how to best proceed.

Abrams Landau, Ltd. has been selected as a 2014 “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. Fewer than fifteen percent of law firms nationwide receive a U.S. News ranking, making this is a tremendous honor!

Why Were we Selected as a Best Law Firm?

Just as winning awards at triathlons and road races around the country has become the norm for Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau, getting the highest ratings from peers and clients is also the goal of the ABRAMS LANDAU law firm

Just as winning awards at triathlons and road races around the country has become the norm for Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau, getting the highest ratings from peers and clients is also the goal of the ABRAMS LANDAU law firm

Officially, the rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data collected from clients and peers.  To read more about the evaluation process, click here.

But, to put it in plain English, we were selected because those with whom we have worked — our clients, colleagues, and peers — know that we are good at what we do!  Lawyer Doug Landau and the entire Abrams Landau team have demonstrated competence, experience, expertise, and know-how that gets the job done, and gets it done well.  Landau is respected by his peers and is a leader/teacher in the fields of injury law, social security disability law, and workers’ compensation law.

Rankings and accolades are wonderful, and Abrams Landau graciously accepts all honors bestowed upon us.  However, we believe the best way to show our stuff is open our doors for you to “see us in action”.  We extend an open invitation to come watch Doug at a scheduled hearing, court appearance, etc. so you can see for yourself why we deserve the title of “Best Law Firm”.  Landau’s schedule is published in our monthly newsletter, The Landau Law Letter (archives of which can be found here).  Or call our office for more information 703-796-9555.

If you or someone you know has been injured or disabled due to no fault of your own and there are questions as to what laws apply, get in touch with Abrams Landau right away.  Having a top-ranked lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the world.  You can reach us by phone at 703-796-9555 or email.

Douglas K.W. Landau is admitted to practice in DC, VA, CT, FL, and NJ. Abrams Landau services clients in Washington DC, Pennsylvania, PA, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA (including Northern Virginia, Fairfax county, Loudoun county, Herndon, Reston, and more), Connecticut, CT, Georgia, GA, Florida, FL, New Hampshire, NH, New York, NY, New Jersey, NJ, Maine, Massachusetts, MA, Rhode Island, RI, North Carolina, NC, and South Carolina, SC.

Information disseminated on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client or similar relationship. Please do not send us confidential information. Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success. Whether you need legal services and which lawyer you select are important decisions that should not be based solely upon this website. Please contact: Abrams Landau Ltd. at (703) 796-9555.