Prison Van Crash Injures Eight in Caroline County

Prison Van Crash Injures Eight in Caroline County

A recent traffic accident involving a prisoner transport van happened in a relatively rural area of Virginia. Reporting from the collaborative Newsplex online site (via AP) in mid-February filed from Bowling Green, Virginia shows the Caroline County crash injured the van driver and seven passengers — rather than being a multi-vehicle accident, this report indicates the van simply left the roadway and ran into a tree.

Here, one personal injury victim was treated at the scene, where others were transported to care providers in the region. The driver of the van was sent to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, VA. Accidents happening in the small town of Bowling Green are likely to involve vehicles utilizing rt. 301 west from the Rappahannock river, to other more populous areas to the south, or northeast toward Maryland – treatment in Fredericksburg would require an additional trip several dozens of miles to the major rt. 95 corridor serving the more populated areas nearer to Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C.

Newspaper reports confirmed that the van was the property of the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Prison Transport Accidents and Personal Injury Claims

This Virginia prison van accident is only one of several recent incident like it across the country. These types of traffic accidents are a particular category of personal injury case, and may require specific forms of documentation or other response on the part of a plaintiff. A qualified Virginia injury law firm can assist in advising on all aspects of applicable state and local law to help personal injury victims access their rights, rather than losing out due to a technicality or limitation.

A Virginia injury law firm acting in the interests of a personal injury victim will also investigate and examine various kinds of facts — for example, a legal professional may examine whether drivers were properly screened and instructed on transport, whether vehicle equipment was working properly, and whether applicable safeguards were in place. Legal professionals may consider whether subcontractors were involved in the transport relative to an accident, and whether their employees played a role. Personal injury lawyers may also look at the facts about post-accident care, as in this case, where the injured driver was apparently treated differently than the other seven injured persons. Where quick treatment and documentation can make a big difference, it’s important to establish whether that care and documentation was accessible.

Getting Help From Personal Injury Lawyers in Virginia

When negligence or inadequate safety provisions cause an accident, personal injury victims have the right to look for compensation to help with their costs of care and more. Virginia residents can contact an established Virginia injury law firm: call the Virginia personal injury lawyers of MartinWren, P.C. in Charlottesville, VA – we have experience helping local personal injury clients to get equitable settlements for their conditions. Call us at (434) 817-3100 about your personal injury case and get started securing the money that you will need for care, lost wages and other necessities.

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Public Safety Training and Personal Injury

Public Safety Training and Personal Injury

From time to time, local law enforcement activities catch the eye of a broader community or a national audience. One recent example involves a guest speaker invited to train members of the Culpeper County Sheriff’s office at a private event.

The Daily Progress reported on February 17 about the training, which occurred February 25-27 at a local community college campus. The newspaper story shows how the presenter’s identity and program received attention from the national Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and how local news agencies will follow up on something that the public is not allowed to see, and that is associated with extremely sensitive notions about safety in America.

Public Safety Training and Public Responsibility

Every municipality and local authority has a responsibility to train law enforcement and other public safety workers in an appropriate way. Local governments often have to walk a fine line in deciding what kinds of programs to utilize in order to keep the public safe, and achieving security without legal liabilities.

Legal professionals looking at the practices of local governments will assess security programs and other kinds of efforts in a very detailed way. For example, a Virginia injury law firm or an attorney reviewing public safety policy will understand the need for some security practices, while questioning others that seem to be politically motivated or even illegal.

Public Safety Training and Community De-escalation

In this case, it may also be relevant to talk about the ways that law enforcement agencies are tasked with preserving the peace in a local community. Where the newspaper headline: “Counterterrorism Conference Threatens To Blow Up On Culpeper Sheriff,” suggests volatility, there is the idea that some types of public safety training or police activities will not have a calming effect, or a crime reducing effect on the community, but may instead raise public risks and the danger of local conflicts. Without the right programs in place, those who “protect and serve” may end up doing something else entirely, and putting a legal burden on their employers. This is just one element of what municipal planners deal with when they are involved with crafting public policy at a local level, and what a Virginia injury law firm may look at when lawyers get involved in fact finding around a personal injury caused by either unsafe or dubious police activity, or an environment of conflict related to community destabilization.

Getting Legal Assistance in Virginia

Virginia officials or Virginia businesses can look for legal representation in order to put the best policies in place to protect local residents. At the same time, a Virginia resident who’s been involved in an accident and public personal injury can get help from a Virginia injury law firm in order to assess the responsibility of local government offices. At MartinWren, PC, our Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers have experience helping Charlottesville families get equitable compensation for a family member’s injury, and the hardships and costs they will face in recovery. Let our Virginia personal injury lawyers help you to build a Virginia personal injury case and pursue fair outcomes.

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Robert Byrne Interviewed about $40 Million Lawsuit

MartinWren, P.C. trial attorney Robert E. Byrne, Jr. was recently interviewed by local media as an consulting expert regarding the $40 million lawsuit filed by a UVA student.  The suit, filed by UVA student Elizabeth Daly, contends the Commonwealth and its agents caused harm and injuries to Ms. Daly as a result of a 2013 altercation where Ms. Daly was confronted and arrested after ABC officers incorrectly believed she unlawfully possessed alcohol.

For both the video and an article about the lawsuit, please visit the link below:

Mr. Byrne is a civil trial lawyer who represents individuals in personal injury and employment law actions.  For more information about his services, please contact him at (434) 817-3100 or by email at


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Dangers Created by Winter Weather in Virginia

Dangers Created by Winter Weather in Virginia

Winter storms may now be ‘old news’ for many of those who have waded through several feet of snowfall on the eastern seaboard’s mid-Atlantic area, but analysts and some industries are still looking at how these storms impacted states like Pennsylvania and Virginia, and how emergency management businesses handled this unprecedented cluster of winter weather.

Local Charlottesville, Virginia news affiliate WVIR 29 posted a story in mid-February about the American Automobile Association, or AAA, and how that company geared up for high volumes of calls in the wake of winter storms. It’s a telling example of the different outcomes that follow in the aftermath of regional storms and other kinds of crisis events.

AAA Management Protocol

In anticipating heavy storm volume, AAA put out warning notices to customers that some kinds of calls may not be answered in emergency situations. A company spokesperson said AAA hardly ever limits their call responses, but experienced the highest call volume on record in the month of January. That led AAA to change its game over the short-term, in preparing for what all of us experienced as an unusually challenging winter. And this is what risk factors like dangers created by winter weather require from all of us: change, and a willingness to predict dangers, to prepare for them and to avoid negative results.

Winter Storms and Personal Injury Situations

Local Virginia personal injury lawyers in places like Charlottesville, Virginia understand that problems with winter storms generally cause some kinds of personal injury rates to go up in a local community. From different kinds of auto accidents where inclement weather played a factor, to slip and fall incidents on icy walkways or sidewalks, residents experience unique dangers in icy, snowy weather that they wouldn’t otherwise.

In looking at some kinds of personal injury situations, Virginia personal injury lawyers will evaluate how businesses or local governments prepared for the storms. Did the injury victim’s municipality craft their safety practices to the season the way that AAA did? Did local businesses provide their own safeguards in public spaces? Did neglect or inadequate public safety contribute to a collision or other impact that caused harm? Legal professionals will look at all of these questions in doing fact-finding around various kinds of personal injury experienced by their clients. It’s just one example of how injury victims with qualified, experienced representation are more likely to get quicker and more equitable payouts from insurance companies or other parties to fund treatment and recovery more adequately, and without a lot of stalling or barriers to settlement.

Getting Legal Assistance in Charlottesville, Virginia

Local residents who have been harmed in any kind of accident can get qualified advice from Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, PC. We have experience advising local injury victims according to federal, state and local law, and helping them to secure compensation for their injuries. Let us help you to assess a personal injury case to provide for the costs and hardships of recovery.  Please call us at (434) 817-3100 to let us help you.

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Low Water Bridge Rescue Reveals Infrastructure Risk

Low Water Bridge Rescue Reveals Infrastructure Risk

Recent events near Charlottesville show how dangerous it can be when drivers make the mistake of driving into standing water.

Early on the morning of January 7, local fire workers pulled five people from a car stranded on a low water bridge on Buck Mountain Ford Lane near Charlottesville. The story was reported in local news media including the Daily Progress and local television affiliates. The car was in at least a foot of water, according to reports.

When flooding or other factors cause water tables to rise, local roads can be inundated and dangerous to motorists. Local law enforcement or public safety crews often place road hazard warning signs, but these are not always in place directly after an area becomes flooded, and it’s essential that drivers use their best judgment.

When Do Standing Water Accidents Happen?

Many standing water accidents happen in the early hours of the morning, or the late hours of the night, when it’s difficult for motorists to see what’s in front of them. These kinds of incidents can be extremely frightening because drivers may not anticipate being plunged into a body of water, even a shallow pool.

Other kinds of standing water accidents happen when drivers deliberately try to pull through a flooded area thinking that they will be able to control the vehicle. Even a few inches of water can actually overcome the natural inertia of the vehicle, especially with strong local currents. That’s what professionals like Charlottesville car accident lawyers or law enforcement agents or officers would tell drivers not to try to cross flooded areas, even if it looks safe.

Secondary Risks of Stranded Vehicles

In some cases, standing water can actually wash a vehicle away into a nearby body of water, or cause danger for the occupants when they try to get out of the vehicle. A vehicle that becomes stalled in standing water can also be a danger to other vehicles that may not be able to stop in time to avoid collision, where Charlottesville car accident lawyers may look at these kinds of factors in a multi-car accident in the area.

With this in mind, it’s extremely important that public officials promote public awareness of flood zone and standing water dangers, and that there is a plan for putting warning signs or other precautions in place. It’s also important for drivers to be conscious and think of their responsibility to the local community before trying to take risks with their vehicles.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident involving standing water or other roadway dangers, talk to Charlottesville car accident lawyers at Martin Wren, P.C. about your case and how to get compensation for what you face in recovery. We can help you to plan and to collect what’s needed for yourself or a family member after an unfortunate injury where others may have been responsible. Talk to us about all of the factors involved in an accident and subsequent personal injury.

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Martha Jefferson, UVA Looking At Hospital Safety

Martha Jefferson, UVA Looking At Hospital Safety

New reports from the Daily Progress reveal local healthcare businesses working to change some of the realities around major areas of risk management. A January 4 post shows how the Martha Jefferson and UVA hospitals in Charlottesville, Virginia are evaluating their own operations, and trying to improve in areas related to patient safety.

Major Risk Areas

This coverage of Martha Jefferson and UVA includes some of the most common risk factors that are often covered in the medical media. Infection rates are often among the top aspects of care and safety that evaluators look at when they are assessing the outcomes at any hospital or facility. This report notes that the Martha Jefferson Hospital has made dramatic improvements in preventing hospital infections – for example, the hospital has been able to avoid certain kinds of catheter infections for nearly 2 years, which is a big improvement over the last decade.

Another safety aspect that the report looks at is slip and fall injuries. This type of risk is not always scrutinized the same way as infection rates, but when it becomes a problem for a hospital, administrators will definitely look toward better safety operations to lower the rates of these kinds of accidents within a facility. Legal professionals, such as a team of Charlottesville business lawyers looking at liability or a Virginia personal injury lawyer representing a client, will pay close attention to these sorts of incidents as well, to try to assess the safety of an operation.

Outside Observers

The January Daily Progress story cites a non-profit called the Leapfrog Group, which put out a survey rating hospital healthcare providers, in which Martha Jefferson and UVA each received a C grade. Although these kinds of outside reports are important, others will also be looking at baseline hospital statistics. Government entitlement programs and federal agencies are getting proactive about measuring things like hospital readmissions as well as infections and other public safety risks, in order to more accurately reflect how a hospital or facility works. The results can change reimbursements and other incentives for better hospital safety.

Public Safety and Business Risk

The idea of maintaining public safety in hospitals is an excellent idea of how the responsibilities of business owners are connected to a public citizen’s chances of personal injury. The responsibilities are clear in the case of hospitals, but other kinds of businesses may have a less concrete picture of how their operations may impact public health and safety. Charlottesville business lawyers can help to advise businesses about what steps are in their best interests, and how to chart a course toward success by detouring around serious and sometimes unprecedented obstacles.

Business risk managers can talk to Charlottesville business lawyers at Martin Wren, P.C. to understand the context of their operations, and what they may face in their industries. We look carefully at the realities of local businesses and how they fit into the civic community and the infrastructure of the local Charlottesville area.

For more information, please call business attorney Greg Johnson at (434) 817-3100.

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Albemarle County Discusses Western Bypass

Albemarle County Discusses Western Bypass

News from the Daily Progress shows changes to the Albemarle County supervisors board that may have an impact on a Western bypass of US Route 29. In a January 9 story, writer J. Reynolds Hutchins chronicles a byzantine interweaving of two municipal boards, the Board of Supervisors and a board called the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO, as well as a history of board decisions skirting public opinion, and scant provisions for public meetings on the bypass issue.

It seems that with this year’s changes, there is the possibility to block the bypass project more comprehensively, which may be a welcome development for representatives who would have seen a bypass disturb their properties or local infrastructure.

Charlottesville Roads and Bypass Impact

Locals have pointed out that a bypass could provide many positives as well. Some of these would involve better accommodations for commuters, as well as relief for some kinds of traffic congestion. A curious October 2011 post from the Daily Progress is attributed to Jim Lansing and simply notes a variety of benefits from a Western bypass above a list of cons that reads simply “there are none” – while many would question this one-sided analysis, it’s clear that there are opinions on either side of this issue. A variety of other pieces, in story form, quote backers and opponents of the project – these stories are raising and re-raising issues involving wildlife impact, cost, practicality, chronology and the relative amount of progress made on the project over a number of years. It’s clear that the western bypass plan is a major controversy, and one that many locals have already weighed in on.

What about the impact for clients of Virginia personal injury lawyers? In many cases, these considerations would have to do with whether a public project helped, or hindered, public safety, for example, whether, during crucial transitions, clear signage was in place, and whether road crews were directed to plan for lane changes and other sudden renovations.

Public Safety

Inside of the greater controversy, public safety issues deserve a seat at the table, as Virginia personal injury lawyers or other legal professionals would recognize. Decreasing congestion and helping good traffic flow is a part of providing safe roadways, but various kinds of traffic changes and roadwork can also raise accident risks. Without the proper safety precautions and equipment, big projects like a Western bypass could result in some kinds of disastrous accidents. Professional accident and injury attorneys often evaluate these kinds of factors when they look at accidents and injuries that occur in areas of transition, where not enough thought has been put into making temporary changes safe for drivers. In many personal injury cases, there are external factors that played a part, and professional legal teams help to find them, to the benefit of their clients.

If you’ve been involved in a traffic accident or suffered a personal injury in a public area, talk to the Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. We have experience in helping locals to deal with the aftermath of an unfortunate accident injury, to plan for recovery, and to protect a family’s financial health.

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Car Collisions with Wild Animals

Residents all over the state of Virginia have to be extremely vigilant about wildlife when they are operating motor vehicles. Because large parts of the state, including the counties surrounding Charlottesville, are relatively rural, a high number of Virginia roads are vulnerable to situations where drivers encounter animals on the roadway. But even close to metro areas, there’s still the possibility of car collisions with wild animals. Virginia personal injury lawyers understand how big these risks really are, and how they apply to so many tragic instances of harm to local drivers or passengers.

Recent coverage on local NBC affiliate WVIR 29 in December shows an even bigger risk for local drivers, as more animals come closer to developed areas looking for food. A December 4 report cites experts from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: officials claim that Virginia drivers have killed 58 bears throughout the year, in comparison to 38 in the years 2009 and 2011. That makes 2013 rate almost double what was the norm just a few years ago. Also, that’s in addition to the even higher rates of collisions related to deer activity, which can be a problem nearly anywhere in the state, even near sizeable cities such as Richmond or Charlottesville. Local Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. see a lot of injury cases where driver negligence or other factors caused a crash after an animal entered the road.

Risks for Local Residents

Officials cite a shortage of natural food, namely acorns, that lead bears to scavenge further afield looking for other kinds of food. This poses risks for both drivers and for outdoor pedestrians. Residents need to use common sense and practice good safety, around their homes or other public places and out in the wild, in order to limit their chances of interactions with these powerful and dangerous animals.

At the same time, drivers need to understand their risks on the road and drive carefully, with the knowledge that wild animals could enter the roadway. Statistics on the influence of wild animals on traffic accidents shows that, on the whole, drivers across the country kill more deer than actual hunters who go looking for buck or doe. This startling fact is part of a greater issue that needs to be more ingrained in public knowledge to prevent a serious kind of road risk.

There are steps Virginia drivers can take to lower their chances of hitting animals on the road. Drivers should take particular care in less developed areas, and in night-time hours when human traffic is at a low point. They can also benefit from sharing information through word-of-mouth, to identify relatively developed places where wild animals may tend to congregate, either because of nearby wildlife areas or other factors.

Getting Legal Assistance

A Virginia resident who’s been injured in a vehicle accident involving wildlife can call the offices of MartinWren, P.C. at (434) 817-3100 for advice from Virginia personal injury lawyers on how to proceed with a case, or document the factors involved in a collision.

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Exploring Runaway Car Crashes

Car Crashes Into School

A Charlottesville car crash in December illustrates how dangerous it can be when those in control of motor vehicles crash into public buildings. Local affiliate NBC 29 reported December 12 on a crash that happened December 5, where a Subaru car crashed into the brick wall of a classroom at Broadus Wood Elementary School on Buck Mountain road, north of downtown Charlottesville. The driver faces three misdemeanor charges.

In this particular incident, no one was hurt. Class was not in session at the time of the accident. However, had this scene been busy at the time of the accident, the results could have been a lot different. Sadly, this incident is not unique: different kinds of factors including inattention to vehicle systems, age or dementia, vehicle defects, defective automotive components, or even distracted driving can lead to cases where drivers run a vehicle right into a wall of a building in a busy public space.

Exploring Runaway Car Crashes

In some of these kinds of cases, when drivers crash into empty buildings, they may face charges including an ‘unattended property charge.’ If they do not take steps to report their actions, they may face a ‘hit and run’ unattended property charge. These and similar charges address damage to property, but they don’t really address the threats to public health and safety that are caused when vehicles leave the roadway. Virginia personal injury lawyers know how to sort out these charges and what they mean when doing the necessary fact-finding around an accident that has unfortunately caused personal injury to bystanders.

In most cases, in order to slam into a building, the vehicle has to be substantially off of its proper course. Except in cases of poor planning, very limited setbacks, or defects with the automobile, a vehicle does not get close to a building if it is being operated properly. Accidents involving buildings are some of the most egregious kinds of motor vehicle accidents, and pose some of the biggest dangers for pedestrians and building occupants. Professionals such as Virginia personal injury lawyers or law-enforcement officers may have experience with cases where a vehicle came off of a roadway into an adjacent public space, and caused serious injury.

Oftentimes vehicles may malfunction due to defects in the vehicle.  Such automotive defects could include defective steering, sudden acceleration issues, defective brakes, or other malfunctioning equipment.  Situations and injuries caused by these types of dangerous conditions should by examined by Virginia defective product lawyers.

In these kinds of very extreme situations and heavily charged legal scenarios, it makes sense to consult Virginia personal injury lawyers to make sure that the case is fairly resolved. Legal teams looking at auto accidents make sure that each party involved in the accident is treated fairly, and that the eventual outcome involves fair compensation for personal injury if someone is hurt. That includes having an experienced attorney look at lost wages and other aspects of an injury, and the pain and suffering that can occur along with injury and recovery.

If you are involved in a local car accident or other kind of safety incident where you suffered an injury, contact the offices of MartinWren, P.C. at (434) 817-3100 to find out how legal teams handle these kinds of situations, and get compensation for their clients’ personal injuries.  For more information about personal injury claims, please review an article from Robert E. Byrne, Jr.,  Do I have a Personal Injury Case?

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Virginia Considers Adding “Lawful Income” to Unlawful Discriminatory Housing Practices

Virginia Considers Adding “Lawful Income” to Unlawful Discriminatory Housing Practices

Virginia politicians are introducing potential legislation that would change the Virginia fair housing law.  SB1224 would add a category called ‘lawful source of income’ to a set of elements used in unlawful discriminatory housing practices.  It’s not yet in place, but the bill has been making its way through the avenues of the state’s legislative offices as the new year unfolds.

Effectively, this change to the law would require those evaluating housing applications to treat applicants fairly on the basis of how the applicant would pay for housing. A detailed description of ‘lawful source of income’ includes the following in a list of potential income sources:

  • public assistance
  • any type of gross income
  • Federal SSI (supplemental social security) benefits
  • child support

Professionals such as Virginia business litigation attorneys who are involved in looking at Virginia state business law will pay attention to these types of changes to what’s standard in the state’s housing industry.

Results of the Proposal

From the perspective of the tenant or applicant, this legal change would help to limit discrimination in the evaluation of housing applications where families may pay for their housing, not from wages or salaries, but from alternative sources related to either federal, state or local assistance, or other kinds of funds, for example, a legal settlement payout.

From the standpoint of a landlord or local business, the change would require more careful review of each housing application, and a more deliberate selection in terms of who is approved for a specific housing unit.

Current law already provides a lot of protection for housing applicants and restrictions on how landlords or property managers can make decisions on application approval. For example, under the Virginia Fair Housing Law, enforced by the Virginia Fair Housing Office, decision makers may not use elements like race, color, religious affiliation, gender, age or disability to make final decisions on housing. Those advertising properties cannot publish any sort of ‘preference’ or limitation when they promote an open housing unit. There are other protections for the addition or maintenance of facilities for individuals with disabilities.

All of these are practical considerations that sometimes come up in complicated housing operations, in cases where businesses or individuals have a conflict or grievance. Someone who feels that he or she is being unfairly singled out can call Virginia business litigation attorneys to ask about representation and their rights under the law.

Getting Legal Assistance

Anyone who is concerned about housing discrimination in Virginia or has questions about the Virginia Fair Housing Law can contact the offices of MartinWren, P.C. to hear from Virginia business litigation attorneys about a potential case, or when it’s appropriate to get representation, either to pursue a claim or to protect a local business from liability. We help clients to determine whether they can benefit from legal assistance in cases related to housing and housing discrimination, as well as other types of business law within the state of Virginia.

For more information about bringing or defending a claim under Virginia’s Fair Housing Act, please contact attorney Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100 or by email at

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