Practice Areas

We Help Solve Many Different Legal Problems For Our Clients

Accident SceneThrough more than five decades of practice, our lawyers have made it their business to deal with a wide range of concerns so that our clients have a place to turn when their future is on the line. When you face legal concerns, you need an attorney who understands the local laws and is familiar with the local courts. Whether you have been injured in a truck accident or you have received a speeding ticket while traveling through Virginia, Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau can help. We have fought for the rights of our clients in both Virginia and North Carolina since 1962. Primarily, we have defended the rights of people charged with crimes and upheld the rights of people who have suffered wrongful death or devastating injuries. However, we provide counsel for a wide range of cases in other areas as you will see below.

If you contact our firm after your car wreck, we will make sure one of our personal injury lawyers meets you as soon as possible. Conducting a thorough investigation of your accident, we will get photos of both your injuries and the damage to your car. With three full-time investigators on staff, we will talk to police and gather all medical records, so we have the evidence needed to build your case.

Our firm does two things that not all Virginia personal injury firms do:

  • Help work out the property damage claim at no charge
  • Help collect available medical pay (also known as "personal injury protection" or "PIP") available through car insurance, especially when our client does not have adequate health insurance coverage

Once we have gathered all pertinent information, we will contact your insurance company and maintain correspondence with them, so they know what to expect, setting aside all reserves. We take an active position from the start, making demands and forcing the insurance company to negotiate with us.

If fair compensation cannot be worked out for your medical bills and other damages sustained in your car accident, we are not afraid to take your case to court. Attorney Ronald Williams has tried cases in court for over forty-six years and he understands how juries react. We know how to build a solid case for litigation.

The serious medical and financial consequences of an auto accident are only magnified when it includes a semi truck or big rig. If you have suffered a severe personal injury in an accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle, you should take action as soon as possible in order to get proper medical treatment and preserve all relevant evidence.

When it comes to semi-truck accidents, there are two issues that stand out more than others: property damage and payment for medical care. Unlike many personal injury firms, we will help you work out all the property damage claims at no extra charge. We will also collect all available medical pay, or PIP, available through your car insurance, in order to make sure you get the medical care you need as soon as possible after your accident.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact us as soon as possible, so we can immediately begin investigating and taking action. We have three full-time investigators on staff that will take photos and collect all evidence necessary to build the strongest possible case for you.

Investigating all possible operational and mechanical issues, we know what to look for when handling truck accident claims. We will ask the right questions including: was the driver overworked? Was the driver impaired? We will find out if all safety equipment was functioning properly and whether or not the truck was overloaded.

Keeping the lines of communication open with your insurance company, we are also not afraid to take your case to court. With over forty-five years of trial experience in the Danville area, attorney Ronald Williams understands how to prepare a successful personal injury claim.

Motorcycles are a very common mode of transportation in the Danville area, especially for weekend recreation. Unfortunately, as a consequence motorcycle accidents, often resulting in serious injuries, are very common as well. The Danville motorcycle accident lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau have deep experience in winning the compensation due to motorcycle accident victims for their harms and losses.

When an automobile and a motorcycle encounter each other on the road, the automobile wins. The motorcyclist is killed or severely injured in a variety of ways, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Multiple bone fractures
  • Severe lacerations to unprotected skin

Motorcyclists risk exactly the same injuries as auto drivers and passengers, but they are painted far differently. Insurance companies play on motorcyclists' reputation as risk takers and not entirely reputable people. If a case goes to trial, the insurance company may suggest that the cyclist was asking for it.

We know how to react to these suggestions. We remind the jurors that motorcyclists are people just like them, and that in the Danville area, lots of people from all walks of life ride motorcycles, including family members.

We've all seen it: drivers talking on a cellphone, texting, or being distracted in some other way. In Toronto, Canada, the mayor has been caught using a cellphone and reading behind the wheel. Distracted driving is no joke: It is every bit as dangerous as DUI, as demonstrated in a University of Utah study from 2006. According to DriveSmart Virginia, 80 percent of Virginia traffic accidents are related to distracted driving.

With the laws changing in Virginia, if you have been injured by a distracted driver you need an attorney who can help you take advantage of the latest developments, such as the Danville distracted driving accident lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau.

In truth, any activity other than driving is a distraction, but some of the most common include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cellphone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player

Of these, Virginia has made texting illegal. The penalty is only a fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses, but at trial it can serve as evidence of negligence or even reckless indifference, opening the door to punitive damages.

Cellphone use is illegal only for "novice" drivers, i.e., those under 19, and bus drivers, but it can be shown in evidence at trial as a factor contributing to the accident.

If you have been injured on someone else's property, you may be unclear about your rights and what you can do to get the proper medical treatment you need. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you deal with insurance companies and get the full compensation you deserve. At the Danville law offices of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau, we protect the rights of people who have been injured by falling objects or slip and fall accidents away from home.

Virginia has tough premises liability laws. Those laws protect the rights of personal injury victims and make sure negligent property owners are held responsible, whether they are individuals, private businesses or public entities.

Slip and fall, and other premises liability accidents happen everywhere. Whether you suffered your personal injury at a grocery store, movie theater, restaurant, department store or big box store, you have the right to hold the negligent party responsible and make sure your medical and financial concerns are taken care of properly.

Improper shelving, stacking and overloading are far too common in big stores, leading to dangerous accidents and serious personal injuries that could have been easily avoided. We protect the rights of individuals injured in premises liability accidents that occurred as a result of the following:

  • Failure to clean ice and snow away in timely manner
  • Waxed floor, cleaned floor, left fluid without posting warnings
  • Food and trash not cleaned despite knowing about the problem
  • Merchandise set up in unsafe manner, falling on customer

The sooner you contact us after your premises liability accident, the sooner we can have our three full-time investigators look into your accident. With over forty-five years of experience, we are not afraid to take on private companies and public institutions when our clients have suffered as a result of their negligence.

Death is the ultimate personal injury. But the injury is not just to the person killed by another's negligence. The loss of a husband, wife or child devastates a family. The death of a breadwinner wipes out the family's income and resources. The death of a parent deprives a child of love and can wipe out the most essential influences at the most critical time. And as the maxim has it, "children should bury their parents"; when the opposite happens, the parents never recover.

We Help Bring You Emotional And Economic Closure

At Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau, our Danville wrongful death lawyers place equal importance on the emotional and economic state of our wrongful death clients. We understand that providing closure is just as important as providing compensation for the family's economic harms and losses.

That is not to say that compensation is not important. Wrongful death cases are a particular kind of negligence case and can happen in any context, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (the most common circumstance)
  • Hunting accidents
  • Falls
  • Unsafe premises
  • Falling trees
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Construction accidents

It is important to note that a wrongful death that occurs while the decedent was on the job can still be subject to a negligence claim, despite the existence of the workers' compensation remedy, if there is a third party to whose negligence the fatal injury can be attributed.

When a drunk driver negligently injures another, the injured person is entitled to compensation over the long term for his or her damages and losses. If the driver's behavior was particularly reckless, punitive damages — meant to punish misbehavior rather than to compensate injury — may also be available. The Danville drunk driving accident lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau have deep experience and a solid track record in obtaining compensation for those who have been severely injured by drunk drivers.

If you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, it is essential to contact a skilled trial lawyer so that an investigation can be conducted immediately. Evidence needs to be collected promptly, to assess the availability of punitive damages, and, particularly where large trucks are involved, for the sake of preservation of evidence. (Trucking companies will have an agent on the scene of an accident before the wreckage is removed from the scene.) We will promptly dispatch one of our three staff investigators to ensure access to the evidence.

To make a drunk driving claim against a driver, we will monitor the criminal hearing. It is necessary to establish that the officer thought that alcohol was involved. The appropriate tests must have been given at the right time and the results introduced into evidence. We will collect other evidence, including the driver's previous record, whether he or she participated in an alcohol safety program, and what and how much he or she was drinking.

If there is evidence of bad behavior or a blood alcohol level higher than 0.15, a claim for punitive damages can be made.

Both pedestrians and bicyclists are at a very unfair disadvantage in an encounter with a motor vehicle. The injuries either is likely to suffer in a crash can be devastating, even fatal. If you or a loved one has been involved in such a crash, the Danville bicycle accident lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau can help you get all of the compensation to which you are entitled for your harms and losses.

Severe Injuries Are The Norm When Victims Are Unprotected

Some of the more common injuries sustained by pedestrians and bicyclists include:

  • Head or neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Multiple fractures and broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries

We Will Pursue All Possible Compensation To Which You May Be Entitled

It is important to note that although we will seek recovery from the insurance company of the driver who injured you, your own auto insurance may also provide a source of compensation if the motorist is uninsured. Even if he or she is unidentified, as in a hit and run, your insurer may still provide coverage. We will pursue these and all other available avenues of compensation on your behalf.

All auto crash cases need to be investigated quickly. Marks on the road, damage to the vehicle and other physical evidence have a habit of disappearing quickly. With three full-time investigators on staff, we can get to that evidence before the insurers do.

Southern Virginia and northern North Carolina offer wonderful opportunities for recreation, but these go hand in hand with the danger of devastating accidents. The Danville recreational vehicle accident attorneys of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau have long experience in winning compensation for the harms and losses of clients who have been seriously injured in such accidents.

Recreational vehicles of all kinds can be exceptionally dangerous. Just a few examples:

  • Dirt bikes and similar vehicles that are used in rough off-road terrain almost invite accidents. Professional motocross drivers may be able to handle these situations but ordinary riders, especially untrained, unsupervised young people, can easily get into serious trouble.
  • ATVs look great but have a tremendous propensity to flip over, and getting caught under one will almost certainly result in severe injury. In fact, studies have shown that four-wheelers are more dangerous than dirt bikes and as dangerous as motorcycles.
  • People on lakes and rivers can all too easily get out of their depth in boats and other watercraft, jeopardizing themselves, their passengers and even bystanders. Jet Skis are a danger in this regard, presenting the potential for very severe injuries.
Dog bites are serious business. According to the Virginia Department of Health, dog bite injuries sent 4,346 people to the emergency room in 2007. Children, delivery persons and cyclists are at particular risk. The serious consequences of dog bites can include, in addition to medical bills, injuries, disfigurements and a lifelong fear of dogs.

Time Is Of The Essence In Dealing With Dog Bites

Obviously, if you have suffered a serious injury in a dog attack, immediate medical treatment is your priority. But once your injuries are tended to, it's crucial to gather evidence, including:

  • The identity of the dog, its owner and any witnesses
  • Photographs of the injuries and the place of attack
  • Witness statements, if available

The legal principle is simple: Has the owner had notice? If an individual owns a dog and has reason to know that it may present a danger to others because of its nature or viciousness, and it injures another, the owner can be held liable for injuries caused by it.

This is sometimes called the "one-bite" rule by attorneys (the first bite is free, because it puts the owner on notice of the dog's dangerousness), but the rule is not true in all circumstances. If a leash law is violated — if the dog bites a person while it is off leash — the owner can be held liable.

The most severe injuries change a person's life completely. Severe injuries, in this context, are those that put a person out of work for six months or more. Obviously, anybody who is injured this seriously needs to consult an experienced trial lawyer such as the Danville serious personal injury attorneys of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau immediately. It takes lawyers of skill and practice to deal with the insurance companies so that people this badly injured are awarded all of the compensation to which they are entitled.

Truly serious injuries, such as paralysis, multiple fractures or traumatic brain damage, are also characterized by the need to use assistive devices over the long term or even permanently, such as:

  • Crutches
  • Wheelchairs
  • External fixators
  • Internal fixators (such as bone screws)
  • Neck braces

We know how to present such injuries to a jury, using aids such as video, diagrams and expert testimony, so as to produce a roadmap of what the injured person will need in the future. However, these trial skills need to be supplemented with collection skills. Few individuals can pay a six- or seven-figure judgment, so it's necessary to look to an insurance company — whose business it is to deny such claims.

People don't choose to enter a nursing home unless it is in the best interest of their health and well-being. If you or someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse in a care facility or assisted-living facility, it is time to make a change and protect your rights. At the Danville law offices of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau, our attorneys protect the rights of the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in Virginia.

Many cases of nursing home abuse are a matter of pure neglect. It is far too common for inattentive staff to leave patients alone without supervision or proper care, which can lead to all sorts of problems. In many cases, the first people to notice the serious abuse and mistreatment of patients are their children and spouses.

Inattentive care should never be a concern at a nursing home. If the patients of nursing homes were able to take care of themselves properly, they would not be there in the first place. If you or your loved one has suffered a serious personal injury as the result of nursing home abuse, we can help. We protect the rights of victims who have been injured in a variety of ways including:

  • Bed Sores
  • Wrong Medicines
  • Improper Dosages
  • Slip & Falls
  • Lack of Care
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition

With three full-time investigators on staff, we will conduct a thorough investigation into the conditions that led to your loved one's injury. Whether the sustained injuries were the result of abuse or a simple lack of care, we will take immediate action to reach a fair settlement. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are not afraid to take your case to court. Contact Us If nursing home abuse has led to a serious personal injury for you or a loved one, do not hesitate to get the proper medical care and fair compensation you deserve. We protect the rights of the victims of nursing home abuse throughout Virginia. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

When you make the mistake of not fighting your speeding ticket, you are left to face the consequences on your own. When you contact an experienced trial attorney to protect your rights, you can keep your license and minimize the penalties. At the Danville law offices of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau, we protect the rights of people who have received speeding tickets in Virginia. Whether you live in-state or come from across the border in North Carolina, we can help you fight your traffic violation.

There are a number of ways to fight a traffic ticket in the state courts of Virginia. With three full-time investigators on staff, we will investigate your case in order to build the best possible defense. We will do everything we can to fight the charges you face and reduce your charge from a moving violation to a non-moving violation.

As our Danville law offices sit right near the major highways of I-81, Route 29 and Route 58, we handle speeding tickets for clients throughout Virginia and people throughout the East Coast passing through the state. We understand the legal and logistical challenges facing out-of-state drivers, and we are prepared to help them find solutions.

As Danville is very close to the North Carolina border, when a North Carolina driver gets a speeding ticket in Virginia, the penalty in North Carolina can be even tougher. Virginia has reciprocity, which means traffic violations are sent back to the state of the driver, including North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee. We know the local courts, and we will work to get the charges lessened so that people passing through Virginia do not face even worse consequences in their home state.

A DUI charge is nothing to take lightly, especially because Virginia does not. If you are charged with DUI in Virginia, you owe it to yourself to contact experienced counsel such as the Danville DUI lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau.

DUI Penalties In Virginia Are Severe

The legal blood alcohol limit in Virginia is .08 (.04 if you are operating a commercial vehicle) for a driver over 21, .02 for a driver under 21.

The penalties for a first DUI offense are:

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • A fine of $2,500
  • A license suspension of one year
  • Completion of an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) and the likely installation of an interlock device

Installation of an interlock device may be required depending on blood alcohol level.

The penalties for a second offense depend on when the previous DUI occurred:

  • The maximum penalty could be 12 months in jail with a possible mandatory jail sentence.
  • In addition, the offender will have to have an ignition interlock device installed before regaining any driving privileges.
  • If it was between five and 10 years before the current conviction, the mandatory jail term is 10 days.

No matter how long ago the earlier conviction was, a second DUI carries:

  • A 60-day license suspension effective upon arrest
  • A $500 fine
  • A three-year license revocation
  • A requirement to complete an ASAP program followed by three years' probation

A third or subsequent offense is a felony DUI, with a potential sentence of up to five years in the penitentiary.

A DUI conviction results in other disabilities. With a felony DUI conviction, possession or ownership of a firearm becomes a felony. A security clearance as well as many jobs will be unobtainable.

Talk To A Lawyer Before You Talk To The Police

The penalties for drug possession are stiff enough in Virginia, but those for distribution are even more severe, carrying serious jail time. If you are charged with possession, you can expect the police to try to get you to say something that allows them to bump up the charge to distribution.

Therefore, it is imperative that you talk to a skilled lawyer such as one of our Danville drug defense attorneys before you say anything to the police. Many people are unaware how often a charge can be beaten if the suspects talks with a lawyer before talking to the police. For example, the mere fact that a controlled substance is found in an auto you own or the house you occupy is not enough for you to be convicted.

If we cannot get the charges dismissed, we still may be able to mitigate the penalties. You may be eligible for Virginia's first-offender program. Under this program, after completing a period of probation and conditions set by the court that may include community service, substance abuse counseling or screening, testing and good behavior, the offender will be discharged and the charge dismissed.

Penalties For Possession

Heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy and LSD are federal Schedule I or II drugs, and carry the potential for long penitentiary sentences. A marijuana possession first conviction is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, and a six-month license suspension. Subsequent offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Many prescription drugs (e.g., Valium, Rohypnol and Xanax) are Schedule IV controlled substances; unauthorized possession is a prescription drug crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Penalties For Distribution

The penalties for marijuana distribution escalate with the amount of drugs involved, starting with a year in prison and a $2,500 fine for half an ounce, and up to five to 30 years in prison for five pounds or more.

Distribution of other Schedule I drugs carries a penalty of five-40 years and up to $500,000 for a first offense; for later offenses the maximum prison term increases to life.

Distribution of Schedule IV drugs is a Class 6 felony with penalties of one to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

If you are the parent of a child of college age, you may look back with amusement or chagrin at some of the antics you got away with. Be advised that things are very different for students these days. The state is much stricter than it was in your day, and if your child gets in trouble he or she needs the services of the experienced lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau.

Two of the crimes with which students are most likely to be charged are underage drinking or possession of alcohol (legal drinking age in Virginia is 21) and use of false identification. Virginia is very strict about prosecuting and penalizing these crimes. Underage possession carries a $500 fine, 10 days in jail and 50 hours of community service. The fine and community service are similar for use of a fake ID, but instead of a jail term the penalty is loss of a driver's license for up to a year.

For alcohol charges there is a first-offender program. At its discretion, the court may require the offender to complete an education or treatment program. Once the conditions imposed by the court are satisfied, it can dismiss the charges without an adjudication of guilt.

For both sorts of charges, prosecutors are no longer inclined to cut a kid a break because he or she is a student. Negotiating with them for a lesser charge is a job for skilled counsel such as the Danville underage drinking charge attorneys of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau.

Note that the charges for underage DUI are stricter than for adults; an offender can lose his or her license with a blood alcohol content of .02.

For Victims Of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a crime, but it is also governed by civil laws, and this is where private attorneys such as our experienced Danville domestic violence lawyers can help the victims of domestic violence. Some of the ways we can assist you include:

  • Obtaining a protective order
  • Obtaining exclusive possession of your residence no matter the titling of the house
  • Obtaining exclusive use of the automobile
  • Compelling the defendant to provide utilities
  • Obtaining spousal support or alimony
  • Obtaining compensation in the form of civil monetary judgments

For Those Charged With Domestic Violence

If you have been charged with domestic violence it is imperative that you see an experienced lawyer, such as one of the Danville domestic violence defense attorneys of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau, as soon as possible. The penalties and ramifications of such charges grow more serious every year. For example:

  • If you are accused of domestic violence, a protective order is likely to be entered against you. Depending on its terms, you may be put out of your own house, deprived of the use of your car, forced to pay your spouse's expenses, and so on.
  • You may not possess a firearm.
  • If you are convicted of a crime, under federal statutes you cannot purchase a firearm.
  • In Virginia, a third domestic violence offense is a felony, as well as grounds for divorce.

We can strive to mitigate the consequences of a domestic violence charge. These efforts are particularly important for the first offense, where there can be an opportunity to get the charge removed from your record if you undergo conditions imposed by the court, such as anger management training

If you are caught up in a family dissolution, the wrenching issues you are dealing with require legal representation that is not just skilled but sensitive. The Danville family law lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau are passionate and compassionate about our work for our clients in these emotionally stressful situations. As a small law firm, our attorneys pride themselves on providing personal service, dealing directly with you and your problems, from divorce to child custody.

Our Services And Approach

Our family law attorneys provide a full range of services for families going through difficult times, including representation for:

  • Divorce (contested and uncontested)
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Property division/equitable distribution

We also deal with family-related issues that are unrelated to a breakup, including paternity and adoption.

Feelings can run high when a family dissolves. The bitter desire to "get" the other party may be uppermost in your mind. However, as your passionate and compassionate counsel, we seek what is best for you — and much more often, that is achieved by negotiation. Thus, our first approach is always to negotiate the best possible resolution for you. But when negotiation fails, we have no hesitation whatsoever about taking your case to trial. We try cases.

Debt is, or can too easily become, a problem for many of us. Job loss, divorce, unexpected and uninsured medical expenses are just a few of the life events that can plunge you into a nightmare of worry over unpaid bills and harassing collection calls.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. The experienced Danville bankruptcy lawyers of Williams, Morrison, Light & Moreau can help.

Is Bankruptcy Right For You? And If So, Which Kind?

Any stigma once associated with bankruptcy dissipated long ago. Bankruptcy is simply a way by which you can get a fresh start if your debts exceed your assets to such an extent that you cannot pay them in full and on time. It is a last resort, but there is no shame in it.

Two forms of debt relief are available to individuals under federal bankruptcy law. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee takes title to the debtor's property, except for what is exempt under state law. The trustee's duty is to marshal the debtor's assets to maximize the return to the creditors; however, this seldom amounts to actually selling the debtor's property.

The heart of a Chapter 7 proceeding is the debtor's filing a bankruptcy plan, in which he or she states the percentage of the debt to be paid to creditors. If the plan is approved by the creditors the court enters an order discharging the debtor from the debts that are scheduled in the plan.

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor files a plan with the court to repay a percentage of his or her debts within three to five years. The trustee does not take title to the debtor's assets. If the debtor makes payments according to the plan, at the end of the period the debt is discharged.

The Automatic Stay

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy give the debtor the very important relief of the so-called automatic stay. Upon filing the bankruptcy petition, all collection efforts — including creditor phone calls, lawsuits, foreclosures, repossession and garnishment — must cease.