New Concussion Laws in Virginia Schools - Effective July 1, 2012

 Author:  Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer

Concussions occur when the brain is jostled inside the skull after a blow to the head or body.  Outward symptoms of a concussion may include the following: temporary loss of consciousness, general confusion, complaints of headaches, amnesia surrounding the traumatic event, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech, and fatigue.  However, the most significant and dangerous symptom is not as readily detectable.  Concussions can cause swelling of the brain, which can lead to permanent brain damage and even death if left untreated. Some concussions may initially appear minor, but they are a form of traumatic brain injury,…

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What is Arbitration and is it Right for my Case?

By: Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond Accident Attorney

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution.  Instead of litigating in court, parties submit the claim to an independent third party (an "arbitrator") who acts as judge and decides the outcome of the case.  There are advantages and disadvantages to arbitration.  Your attorney can help you decide if arbitration is appropriate for your case and, if so, when.  There are also many different ways an arbitration can be structured.  If arbitration is appropriate for your case, your attorney can help negotiate the best type of arbitration for your case.

Arbitration involves submitting information to the arbitrator to help him decide the case. …

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Automotive Safety: The "Top 10" Safest Cars

Author: Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond Personal Injury Attorney

Whether you're driving or riding in a car, it is important to think about safety:  always drive carefully and wear your seatbelt. However, you can also improve your chances of surviving an accident before you ever get on the road. Although automotive industry safety standards for all vehicles have improved immensely in recent years, some makes and models are still significantly safer than others. Formulated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the following list of the Top Ten Safest Cars[1]was compiled based solely on driver and passenger death rates:

Audi A6 Mercedes Benz E-Class Toyota Sienna Ford Edge Nissan Armada Land…

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Moped and Scooter Safety Tips

Author: Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer

With gas prices remaining high, consumers are trading in  their automobiles in favor of gas-sipping scooters and mopeds, particularly in urban areas.  Scooter sales were up 17% in 2011, and moped sales have experienced a similar rise.[1] The number one reason first-time buyers cited for their purchase: to save money.  Mopeds and scooters average between 40 and 100 miles per gallon, which can save consumers hundreds of dollars a year in gas alone.

However, there is one major drawback: safety.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that moped and scooter fatalities increased 50% from 2005 to 2009.[2] Scooters…

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Property Damage - Diminished Value Claims in Virginia

Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Lawyer

Author: Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Lawyer

If Allen & Allen represents you in your personal injury claim, we are happy to discuss with you whether a related property damage claim for diminished value can and should be made.

In Virginia, if your car has been damaged due to the negligence of another person, you can recover not only the cost of repair, but also the "loss of value" that your vehicle sustained as a result of the accident.[1] This may not make sense at first glance, but in some cases, even professional repairs to a damaged vehicle do not restore the automobile to its pre-accident value.

Take the example of an antique car that has…

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Should I Call My Insurance Company After an Accident?

Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Author: Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer

Yes.  Regardless of who is at fault, it is important to call your insurance company and report any accident that involved injuries or property damage.

A common myth is that you do not need to contact your insurance company if you were not at fault.  This is false, because there are several coverages on your insurance policy that you may want or need to use. In order to use any of these, you are required to notify your insurance company of a collision. 

Collision Insurance Coverage 

The first type of coverage you may want to use is our collision coverage.[1] If the at-fault driver's insurance company is slow to accept…

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Automotive Products Liability: Update on Toyota's "Sticking Gas Pedals"

Author: Attorney  Scott D. Fitzgerald

On August 28, 2009, the gas pedal on Mark Saylor's loaned Lexus ES3500 stuck under the floor mat while he was driving the car on a San Diego highway.  After reaching speeds approaching 100 mph, a passenger was able to place a frantic 911 call before Mark Saylor lost control and crashed, killing everyone in the vehicle.  The family's products liability claim against Toyota was later settled for an undisclosed sum.[1]

Over the past decade, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA) has received over 3,000 reports of sudden acceleration incidents involving Toyota manufactured vehicles.  Upon investigation, many of them appear to have involved…

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Do As I Say, Not As I Sue - An AAJ Report on the Myths of Tort Reform

Big business spends billions of dollars every year in efforts to restrict laymen's access to the civil justice system to prevent them from being able to sue corporations for negligence.  They work hard to create the myth of a jury system that is "out of control," and in desperate need of tort reform.  The Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), composed of many large and recognizable corporations, tries to convince the public that American businesses cannot prosper under the current legal system, because there are too many frivolous lawsuits and not enough laws restricting these lawsuits.

The recent report by the American Association for Justice, Do As I Say, Not As I Sue: Exposing the Lawsuit-Happy Hypocrites of the U.S. Chamber's…

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