What is Negligence? A Primer in Virginia Law


Author: Attorney R. Clayton Allen

The basis of all tort (1) law is negligence. In almost every tort case that goes to trial in Virginia, the decision is based on whether the person being sued (the defendant) is guilty of negligence. Usually the judge reads to the jury an instruction that defines negligence as follows: "Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care. Ordinary care is the care a reasonable person would have used under the circumstances."(2) In Virginia, if it's a jury trial, the seven members of the jury must unanimously agree that the defendant was negligent in order for the injured person (the plaintiff) to receive a verdict in their favor.


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"Virginia Law: Business Responsibility for Falls by Visitors and Customers" (Premises Liability)

Author: Attorney R. Clayton Allen

Recently I was reading a blog article about a child who was injured on a fast food restaurant playground and a successful lawsuit holding the restaurant responsible for the injury. What surprised me was how many readers posted comments blaming the parents for letting the child play on the playground and saying it was ridiculous to hold the restaurant responsible for the child's injuries. These comments completely ignore the duties the law places on a business owner, and what customer has the right to expect when they come onto the business property. Every time I have a case like this, I have to "educate" the jury about what Virginia law requires of a business owner. Here's…

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"Stacking" The Insurance Coverage of Cars on the Same Policy: The Virginia Farm Bureau v. Williams Case

Author: Attorney Chris A. Meyer

Very seldom do we discuss the details of Virginia Supreme Court decisions interpreting insurance contracts; these are true lawyer issues that can put normal folks to sleep. But this recent case is important if you are in an automobile accident and are seriously injured. So important that if you are seriously injured and don't at least ask a lawyer about this you may leave a lot of money that should be yours in the insurance company's pocket.

As you probably know automobile insurance contracts contain maximum limits of coverage. If a driver crashes into the rear of another car and injures someone, then the at-fault driver can be sued and his insurance company will…

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Motorcycle Safety Tips

Author: Elizabeth M. Allen

Following these steps will help you protect yourself against a motorcycle accident

On the highway, motorcycles are "small fry". They're easy for autos and trucks to miss or disregard. Over the last decade, there has been an increase in serious and sometimes fatal injuries to motorcyclists. Consequently, responsible motorcyclists always stay alert to nearby vehicles and their surroundings. But that's not enough if you want to take a safe ride.

What are some of the basics in motorcycle safety?

Make it easy for automobile and truck drivers to see you.Wear bright colored clothing. Fluorescent, orange and/or yellow shirts, vests, jackets,…

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How to Pick An Attorney


Just the other night while having dinner at a friend's house, the question was asked: "how do you go about finding the right attorney?" Whether for a personal injury, worker's compensation, social security disability, wrongful termination case, or other legal matter. With the media being saturated by "lawyer commercials," phone book displays with advertising on the front and back pages, and self-promoting billboards, I can see where the "average Joe" could be totally confused, just like my friend was.

I explained to my friend that we all are aware, in today's society and economic conditions, that it's important to be well-informed and know your rights and what you might expect to face in dealing…

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Homeowners Insurance - Are You Covered?

Author: Attorney Courtney Van Winkle

Home is where the heart is. Your home is also where you keep many of your most precious belongings. Your home may well be your biggest investment. How do you best protect your home and your personal property from the risk of an unexpected event? How do you keep from being personally ruined if something bad happens? The purchase of homeowners insurance will help you protect the roof over your head and your belongings inside. If you have a mortgage on your home, as most of us do, your lender will require you to have homeowners insurance. Have you personally reviewed your policy? Do you know what your policy covers and more importantly what it does not cover? Do you have…

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School Bus Safety

Author: Elizabeth M. Allen

It's that time of year. Schools are opening, and children are traveling on school buses again. Over and over, students will hear the same admonitions: "stay seated and talk quietly during your bus ride", "don't stand or play in the aisle", "follow the bus driver's instructions", and "don't throw things in the bus or out the window". These are all important rules of safety and civility that parents should discuss with their children to prevent school bus accidents. This year, however, you should consider spending extra time talking about those safety rules that are most likely to save your child's life.

What is the most serious danger facing children who take a bus to school every day?…

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Virginia's DUI Punishments Enhanced: Ignition Interlock

Author: Attorney David M. Williams, Jr.

In representing victims of drunk drivers, I have seen firsthand the devastating consequences of drinking and driving. As states across the country continue to pass tougher laws to combat this deadly problem, we have fortunately seen a decline in the number of deaths and injuries from drunk driving. However, the statistics are still alarming: nationally, in 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in alcohol-related traffic collisions 1. In Virginia, 354 people died and 7,000 were injured in 2008 as a result of alcohol-related crashes 2. Experts estimate that about 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash…

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Back to School - Child Pedestrian Safety

Author: Attorney Tammy Ruble

Another school year has started, which means that many drivers will encounter school buses and school children while out and about. According to the August 2009 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the America Academy of Pediatrics, each year approximately 900 children are killed as pedestrians. In addition, another 51,000 children are injured as pedestrians, and 5,300 of them are hospitalized due to the seriousness of their injuries. You can help reduce those numbers of child pedestrian accidents by following a few simple guidelines.

Know when you need to stop for a school bus. Virginia law 1 says that a driver must stop "when approaching from any direction, any school…

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What Can I Do To Help Get The Best Result In My Case?

Author: Attorney Charles "Litt" Allen

As a personal injury trial lawyer, I am often asked by my clients when I first meet with them what they can do to help get the best result in their case. The answer is simple. I tell them to "be a good patient."

What does that mean?Three things:

First, keep your appointments with your doctors, therapists, or other health care providers.

Secondly, follow the doctors' advice.

Third, when asked by the health care provider how you are doing, give a thorough and accurate response.

Being a good patient helps to get the best result because the treating doctor's comments and opinions…

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