100 Hometown Heroes- Brought to you by the personal injury law firm of Allen & Allen

As the Virginia personal injury law firm of Allen and Allen celebrates its 100 year anniversary, we are thankful for the communities we serve and for the everyday heroes who make this a great place to live. This year we are honoring 100 Home Town Heroes. Do you know a hero? Let's hear it for your neighbor, your friend, your co-worker or your relative. The person who has made a difference in your community and your life.

Click to nominate your Hometown Hero between April 19 - May 7, 2010.

100 Hometown Heroes will be selected and recognized in your community. Award winners will be notified by May 17, 2010. All 100 Hometown Heroes will be announced on June 16, 2010. Application Deadline: Friday, May 7, 2010. Applications…

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The Virginia Tort Claims Act: It's Not Enough to be Ordinary


Editors Note: Under the old English common law, on which much of American law is based, a person could not sue the king or "sovereign government". This prohibition was carried over into American common law, and prevents claims against the government. However, this absolute prohibition has been changed in most states in some ways by written statutes. In Virginia, one of these ways is the Virginia Tort Claims Act, which allows civil claims for damages to go forward against the Commonwealth of Virginia and its subsidiary agencies and political subdivisions under certain circumstances. This article describes the Act and some of those circumstances.

The Virginia Tort Claims Act 1 (hereinafter,…

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Social Media and Personal Injury Cases - A Virginia Lawyers Weekly Article

At the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association's annual convention in March 2010, Allen & Allen personal injury attorney Courtney Van Winkle spoke on the implications of online social networking in personal injury cases. Virginia Lawyers Weekly writer Alan Cooper covered her talk in an article published April 12, 2010. Source: Virginia Lawyers Weekly By Alan Cooper Published: April 12, 2010 Social media and P.I. practice One of the first questions Richmond personal injury attorney Courtney Van Winkle asks her clients is whether they are on any social networking sites.

If the answer is yes, she gives this legal advice: Shut it down. Or at least use the privacy settings on such sites as Facebook, by far the largest of the…

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Multiple Concussions are Dangerous for Young People

Concussions are among the most widely reported injuries in young people who participate in sports and recreational activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated there are as many as 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions in the United States every year. 1

Classified as traumatic brain injuries, concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that causes the soft, gelatin- like substance of the brain to move rapidly back and forth inside the hard, bony skull. Concussions can change the way the brain normally works.

Although most of us associate concussions with "contact" sports like football, ice hockey, or basketball, they can also occur…

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Auto Insurance: Having "Full Coverage" Doesn't Mean You Have Enough Insurance

When I first meet a client who have been injured through no fault of their own, one of my first questions is: "How much insurance do you have?" Most clients answer, "I have full coverage." However, when we review their declaration page and policy, the clients are surprised to learn that they have minimal insurance coverage on their vehicles. The confusion comes from a misunderstanding of what the terms "full coverage", liability coverage and "amount of coverage" actually mean.

The situation becomes more difficult when we learn that the person that injured the client either doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance. The high cost of new automobiles, automobile repair work and health care often means the minimal…

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The Importance of Seat Belts


Seat belts are important safety features of modern vehicles that save lives and prevent injuries. Below are some facts and statistics that illustrate the importance of using your seat belt while in a motor vehicle 1:

Safety Belt Statistics One out of every five drivers will be involved in a traffic crash this year. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among people age 44 and younger and the number one cause of head and spinal cord injury. Approximately 35,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year. About 50 percent (17,000) of these people could be saved if they wore their safety belts. More than 90 percent of all motorists believe safety belts are good idea, but less…

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Current Supreme Court Issues: Gun Control & the McDonald v. Chicago Case

  On Tuesday March 2, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, a case involving the controversial issue of gun control.

The basic "right to bear arms" is found in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, where it states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." In 2008 in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that this right to bear arms is an individual right protected by the Second Amendment, and overturned a handgun ban in Washington, D.C. Since Washington, D.C., is a federal enclave, the 2008 ruling left open the question of whether the Second Amendment…

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Medical Malpractice: The Mythical Solution of Tort Reform

Tort Reform is back in the news. The Republicans in Congress insist that Tort Reform in the medical malpractice field is an essential part of any reform of our health care system. Tort Reform sounds like a great idea, doesn't it! Reform is always good because it means something must be wrong. Something needs fixing. And fixing it will make it better. What sounds good must be good, right?

In truth, Tort Reform is a myth cooked up to take away individual rights. Long ago, the powerful corporate interests and their conservative allies learned that claiming the judicial system is broken and needs fixing, while false, pays large dividends. Corporate America is terrified of the jury system because only there can it be held fully…

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Diminution of Value (Diminished Value): Is Your Car Worth Less After Accident Repairs Than If it Had Never Been Damaged?


The Allen Law Firm pursues diminished value claims on behalf of its personal injury clients as a "value added" service. Typically, the only expense is the appraisal fee unless the attorney is forced to litigate [1] the case in order to recover damages.

Virginia law allows that, even after proper repairs have been made, you can recover the "loss of value" of your repaired vehicle after an accident in addition to the cost of the repairs. [2] Insurance companies and auto repair shops called this loss of value the "diminution of value" or "diminished value" of the vehicle.

What is "diminished value?"

In layman's terms, "diminished value" means the difference in value between a vehicle that has never been…

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Automobile Safety: Shoveling Snow - Sidewalks & Parking Spaces


The Winter of 2010 in Virginia has seen more big snow storms than we've had in many years. (Too many big snow storms for some of us). Our arms and backs are sore from all the shoveling. Some folks live in urban areas where they park on the street, and sure enough, the snowplows added insult to injury by pushing a large mound of snow onto the side of your car. Out comes the snow shovel, and several hours of hard work later you've removed the snow barrier, the parking space is cleared of snow, and you can drive your car out.

However, once you have cleared the parking space and left for work or an errand, can some freeloader take advantage of your hours of work and park in the snow-free space that you've spent several hours…

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