Virginia Courts: A Brief Overview

Author: Attorney David M. Williams, Jr.

As a Virginia personal injury trial attorney, I spend the majority of time in the circuit and district court levels. However, there are four (4) levels of courts in Virginia; here's a brief overview of the court system. The four levels of courts in Virginia are: the District Courts, the Circuit Courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.

DISTRICT COURTS The District Courts are organized into thirty-two (32) districts and consist of two courts: the general district courts and the juvenile/domestic relations (JD&R) district courts. There is a General District Court and a JD & R District Court in every county and city. All cases at this level are heard…

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Virginia Boating Safety: New Required Operator Licenses and Education

Summary by: Robert L. Mertig

As summer approaches, it's important to be aware of recent changes in the boating laws in Virginia pertaining to the operation of personal water craft (PWC) such as Jet Skis and motorboats. These changes include a schedule of required licenses and boating safety instruction that begin to take effect this summer. Over the next few years, eventually all users of PWC will be required to have licenses and take courses to obtain these licenses.

By July 1, 2009, all operators younger than 21 and are operating a PWC of 10 horsepower or more will be required to have a license. If you have a PWC like this and are in this age group, you should sign up now for a class, so you get your license…

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Defamation Liability and the case of Vicki Iseman v. The New York Times - A Recap

Author: Attorney W. Coleman Allen, Jr.

The tort of defamation occurs when an individual, corporation or media outlet negligently publishes a false statement concerning a private individual, or in the case of a public figure, publishes a false statement with malice. The higher standard that must be met with regard to a public figure reflects the court's efforts to balance the privacy rights of individuals with the First Amendment values that favor the free flow of information and robust debate of issues of public importance. In the case of Vicki Iseman v. The New York Times newspaper, the issue of whether or not the plaintiff Vicki Iseman was a public figure was central to the litigation.

The case was settled without…

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The Recorded Statement: A Trap for the Unwary

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Author: Attorney Elizabeth Morrell Allen

You've been in an auto accident that wasn't your fault. One day shortly thereafter, an adjuster for the insurance company of the person who hit you calls on the telephone and wants you to give a recorded statement telling her how the accident happened and provide her with some personal information. She says she wants to help you, and you certainly need help. She says that all she needs before she can pay you is a brief statement to "firm up liability". She's pleasant and seems so nice. Besides, you have nothing to hide because the crash wasn’t your fault. What could be wrong with answering her questions on tape? Plenty!

As a general rule, you should not…

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Damages Cap Now on Tap - A VA Lawyers Weekly Article

Article Summary by Attorney Malcolm P. McConnell

In Virginia, there is no justice for catastrophically injured victims of medical malpractice. Since 1976, their inalienable rights as American citizens to trial by jury and to equal justice under the law have been stripped from them for no better reason than to keep insurance companies profitable. Meanwhile, insurance companies charge higher and higher premiums to doctors, blaming victims' lawyers and American citizens who sit on juries, hear evidence, and make careful decisions.

Virginia's "cap" on the amount of money a victim of medical malpractice can recover in a lawsuit guarantees that the most horribly injured victims will never be able to pay their bills.…

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What is Tort Law?

By Attorney Melinda H. South

A tort is a wrongful act resulting in injury or damages, for which the civil law provides that the injured person (or the person suffering damages) may seek recovery from the person who caused the injury. The person or "party" who suffers harm from the wrongful conduct of another is known as the plaintiff or claimant. The person or "party" who caused the injury is known as the defendant or tortfeasor. The lawsuit is called a "tort action".

There are three elements of a tort action, which are often referred to as the three-legged stool. All three must be present to have a valid claim. These are (1) a duty; (2) a breach of that duty; and (3) damages resulting from the breach of that duty.…

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What is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

By Attorney Charles L. Allen

"What is my case worth?" I am often asked this question by clients when I am first getting to know them. The simple answer is this; whatever a jury says it is worth.

Some people with personal injury claims are surprised to find out that they are not automatically entitled to a settlement from the insurance company. In fact, their only legal right is a trial to determine the amount of their recovery. The only way one can force an insurance company to pay is to successfully sue the person or company they insure. Cases involving very modest injuries are sometimes resolved by a judge in General District Court. However, more significant cases require Circuit Court trials which, in Virginia,…

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Should You Carry Medical Expense Coverage On Your Policy?

Kathleen M. Smith, Fredericksburg, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Author: Kathleen M. Smith, Fredericksburg, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Medical Expense coverage (sometimes known as "Medical Payments") is an optional coverage available on Virginia Automobile Policies. This coverage covers all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision, or even arising out of the use of a motor vehicle. Medical Payments coverage covers anyone named on the policy (the "named insured"), a spouse, and any relative residing in the household. It also covers anyone occupying a vehicle on the policy. It will pay the medical expenses regardless of any other insurance and regardless of who is at fault. Medical Expense coverage covers medical…

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Why I Became a Trial Attorney

By Malcolm "Mic" McConnell I am a Richmond, Virginia native. I am a product of Henrico County Public Schools, having attended Skipwith Elementary, Tuckahoe Middle, and graduating from J. R. Tucker High. My father taught handicapped children for Henrico County Schools and supervised the County's programs for those students.  My mother was a surgical nurse. I grew up attending and serving as a youth leader of Monument Heights Baptist Church (corner of Monument and Libbie Avenues), which my grandfather, a Baptist minister, founded in 1950.

How did the son of a teacher and a nurse and the grandson of a preacher become a medical malpractice trial lawyer? It all seems quite natural to me, especially when you add the endless…

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Chesterfield Personal Injury Law Firm Relocates to Hull Street and 288

The law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen is pleased to announce the relocation of the Chesterfield office to 6123 Harbourside Centre Loop, Midlothian, VA 23112. The newly constructed office is located west of Interstate 288 in the Harbourside Centre shopping plaza on Hull Street Road next to Glory Days Grill.

Almost 20 years ago, Allen & Allen opened its first Chesterfield branch on Route 360 near Courthouse Road in Rockwood Park. Since then, Allen & Allen attorneys and their experienced staff have handled over one thousand personal injury cases for residents of South Richmond and Chesterfield. As the years have passed, Chesterfield has become one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, and Metropolitan…

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