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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SCREECH! CRASH! WHAT TO DO NEXT - 10 Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Crash

 Author: Scott Fitzgerald, Law Clerk

Experts estimate that one in every eleven drivers will be involved in a motor vehicle accident this year.[1] There are over six million reported car crashes in the United States each year, and many other minor accidents that go unreported.[2] Yet most people do not know what to do if they are involved in a motor vehicle collision.

In the aftermath of a car crash, there is often chaos and confusion.  Without planning, it can be difficult to think of what do to.   Knowing in advance the right steps to protect your interests is critically important.  Here are ten steps to take if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident:

1.    Call 911. …

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Proposed Virginia Legislation Would Have Banned All Cell-Phone Use While Driving

 Author: Scott Fitzgerald, Law Clerk

Currently, the law in Virginia is that texting while driving is a secondary offense, punishable by a fine of $20.00 for first-time offenders and $50.00 for all subsequent offenses.[1] This year  legislation was proposed  in the Virginia General Assembly which would extend that ban to prohibit all cell-phone use while driving, except for a  "hands-free" device that is  configured for "hands-free" operation and is in that mode.  As proposed, the law would  not apply to emergency vehicle operators, drivers who are lawfully stopped or parked, or anyone who is using a cell phone to report an emergency.[2] The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 26-13, but in the House of…

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Precious Cargo: Children and Car Crashes

Author: Scott Fitzgerald, Law Clerk

The leading cause of death for children between the ages of 2 and  15 in the United States is car crashes.[1] In 2005 alone, 1,451 children under the age of 15 perished in motor vehicle accidents, while 184,000 more sustained injuries.  Each day, about  500 children are injured in car crashes.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, over half of children killed in car crashes were not wearing a seat belt or any other type of restraining device.[2] Only 10% of children under age five travel without a seat belt, but they account for more than half of child deaths in car crashes.[3]

Even when children are restrained, studies…

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Texting While Driving: A Deadly Message

By Scott Fitzgerald, Summer Associate

On September 3, 2008, Linda Doyle was killed instantly in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, when a 20-year-old driver ran through a red light and struck her car in the driver's door at approximately 45 mph. The driver who ran the light told police he was typing a text message on his cell phone and never saw the red light or Linda's small SUV.  1 In the aftermath of this tragic car accident, the National Safety Council put up billboards with Linda's picture and created a YouTube video to warn of the dangers of texting while driving. 2

The statistics are horrifying. Studies have shown that texting while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. 3

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