Motor Vehicle Accidents in Virginia - Why hire an attorney? - Part One

Author: R. Clayton Allen, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

As a personal injury attorney, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is why an injured person needs to hire an attorney to represent them. Here's an outline of how I usually answer that question.

Sometimes you don't. If your injuries are relatively minor, if your medical treatment is for only a short period of time, and if your medical expenses and other damages are small, and if you are pretty savvy about business matters and negotiating generally, then you may be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that will net you about the same or maybe even a little more than if you had an attorney. But that's…

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What is a personal injury settlement?

Author: Christopher B. Cloude, Claims Consultant

Before we can talk about what a personal injury settlement involves, we must first look at what makes a successful personal injury case that leads to a settlement.

In order to have a personal injury case for which you can make a recovery, there are three basic elements that must be present:

1. Liability 2. Damages 3. A source of recovery

Liability is when a person or entity (corporation, association, etc.) is negligent (1) and has caused another person to suffer injuries and losses. The person that is negligent is often referred to as the defendant and the person that suffered the injury is referred to as the plaintiff. For example,…

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The Basics of an Auto Injury Claim in Virginia - A Primer

Author: Attorney R. Clayton Allen, Esquire

I am always surprised at the misunderstandings and misconceptions people have about their rights when they have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Virginia. This article is a summary of an explanation I give to each of my clients at the beginning of representing them. After I give this general explanation, of course I explain how and what parts of this summary apply to their particular case, what additional investigation we will do, how we can best prepare their case for submittal to the insurance company, and what they can do to help get the best outcome in their case. However, this summary will give general outline of what the legal rights are and how…

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You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

 

You have often heard the expression "you can't have your cake and eat it, too." (1) But that's exactly what the insurance companies try to do in handling claims. Whatever the situation, they try to argue that means the injured person wasn't hurt very much. Sometimes they create a problem, and then try to benefit from it. Just the other day I had a case with a claims adjuster where this expression applies.

To give you a little history, the claim involved a motor vehicle intersection accident where our client sustained soft tissue injuries. The collision was so hard his car was totaled. Even though there was an independent non-biased eyewitness who told the police officer at the scene that the…

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If the Insurance Company Presents You with a Scheduled Release, Consult Your Doctor and an Attorney

The insurance company wants to settle your case as soon as possible if you are injured and not represented by an attorney. Use of a "Scheduled Release" (1) is a tactic used by insurance companies to entice unrepresented claimants (people who are making a claim to the insurance company) to settle their claims quickly. When claimants are wary and unsure of the claim process and their future medical condition, the insurance representative appeases them with the "scheduled release" and insists that since future medical bills for the injury will be taken care, the claimant is protected against future unknown medical expenses.

Schedule release forms rarely contain a right to cancel the settlement (2)

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Medical Malpractice Reform Debate

Author: Attorney Malcolm P. McConnell, III

Sarah Moss (1) was a four year old girl who had one of her kidneys removed and her ureter (2) attached to that kidney was re-attached to the remaining kidney. Unfortunately, while still at the hospital, she began leaking urine into her abdomen from the ureter re-attachment. Her belly swelled with fluid, making it difficult for her to breathe. Electrolytes which should have been excreted with her urine were being reabsorbed into her blood through her abdominal wall, destroying the delicate chemical balances in her blood. Despite several calls to the surgical team from Sarah's nurse, Sarah was allowed to deteriorate for approximately…

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Myths about Virginia Auto Insurance

By Attorney R. Clayton Allen

While talking to a client today about their auto insurance, I was reminded of a number of misconceptions and misunderstandings many people have about motor vehicle insurance. Here are four of the most common ones I hear.

Myth #1. "The better known insurance companies offer better coverage, so it's safer to be with one of those."

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) Bureau of Insurance issues a form "family automobile insurance policy". (1) All consumer family auto insurance policies sold in Virginia must provide the coverage specified in the form policy. If a policy offers less, Virginia law provides that the policy is "deemed" to…

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Current Docket of U.S. Supreme Court Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court began its 2009-10 term on October 5, 2009 - the first Monday in October - with recently confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor as its newest member. The Court's docket this year includes cases with a number of important and interesting issues, including the following:

Gun laws. Last year, the Court overturned a handgun ban in Washington, DC, ruling that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution granted citizens of the District of Columbia, a federal enclave, the right to possess firearms. This year in McDonald v. Chicago, the Court will debate a similar gun ban in Chicago, and decide whether the Second Amendment also applies to state and local gun laws. The case will be argued in…

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Arbitration: Advantages and Disadvantages

R. Clayton Allen, Mechanicsville, Va Personal Injury Attorney

Author: R. Clayton Allen, Mechanicsville, Va Personal Injury Attorney

Arbitration is a method of resolving disputes without going to court, and it is often a preferred option to trial because it can provide a faster, more efficient claims process.

In arbitration, the dispute is submitted to a third party (the arbitrator) who resolves the dispute after hearing a presentation by both parties. The presentation may be just documents submitted to the arbitrator by each side. More often, in addition to the documents submitted, each side will make an oral argument in person. Usually each side will have an attorney to make the oral argument for them. Occasionally the presentation also includes witnesses…

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Tips to Help Ensure the Success of Your Case

R. Clayton Allen, Mechanicsville, Va Personal Injury Attorney

Author: R. Clayton Allen, Mechanicsville, Va Personal Injury Attorney

There's no doubt about it - you play an important part in your case. Here are 9 things you can do to help insure a successful recovery in your personal injury case.

1. Follow your doctor's and other health care providers' advice. When your attorney submits your case documents to the insurance company to discuss settlement, the insurance company will analyze your medical records closely. Your dedication and commitment to your own recovery - including physical therapy programs - are extremely important. Failure to follow your doctor's advice, missed appointments, or gaps in treatment will reduce the value of your…

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