How the American Legal System Contributes to Safety: Motor Vehicle Safety - AJJ Reports

An American Association for Justice Report: Driven to Safety

Introduction by Attorney P. Christopher Guedri

We hear a lot these days about the costs that the American legal systems imposes on the economy, in terms of supposedly unnecessary additional expenses, such as medical tests, safety equipment, large verdicts, and ridiculous warnings.  Those claims support the views of those who want to limit legal rights of consumers and who want to be able to ignore safety with little risk of being held responsible for the results of their actions.   What we don't often hear about is the tremendous benefits of the American legal system in terms of making us all safer.   Nowhere is this…

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Handling An Automobile Injury Claim on Your Own: What are the Risks?

 If you're involved in an accident that wasn't your fault and you suffer injuries, it's possible that a claim representative from the at-fault person's company may contact you immediately afterwards and try to settle your claim.  Be careful dealing with the insurance company on your own, because you may need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you.   Many people have settled their claims shortly after an accident, only to find out later their injuries are much more serious than they thought when they settled.

You probably don't need an attorney if your collision is a simple "fender bender" and you aren't injured, or if  your injuries are truly minor.   If your minor injuries heal quickly, you have only one or…

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The Evolving Law of Contributory Negligence: "Putting One Foot in Front of the Other"

 Author: R. Clayton Allen

Contributory Negligence is the legal doctrine in Virginia which provides that a plaintiff's negligence, no matter how slight, that contributes in some way to her injuries, no matter the extent of the negligence of the Defendant, bars the plaintiff from recovery for those injuries.  Most states have the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, which says that if both the plaintiff and the defendant are negligent, then you compare the negligence of each to determine the percentage of the plaintiff's losses that the plaintiff can recover.[1]

The law of contributory negligence in Virginia continues to evolve.  Many of the harshest aspects of the doctrine have been further…

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What is mesothelioma? Why am I seeing so many commercials related to it?

Author Attorney Jason W. Konvicka

"Mesothelioma" is a rare form of cancer that typically involves the lungs, but can also affect the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and the lining of the heart (pericardium).  The only known cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos.

The recent increase of mesothelioma advertisements is due in part to the unusually long latency period between the exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma.  The National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control estimate that latency period to be between 30 and 50 years.  Asbestos use in the United States peaked in 1973 when an estimated 1.6 trillion pounds were used.[1] Thus, when you consider…

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Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen: Serving Southside Virginians for 100 Years

The year 2010 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the personal injury law firm of Allen & Allen. In 1910, George E. Allen opened his first law office across the street from the Lunenburg County Courthouse. Since that day, Allen attorneys have represented thousands of Petersburg and Southside Virginia residents in their fight to obtain justice under the law.

Although George Allen moved both his law practice and his family to Richmond during the Depression, he continued to handle legal work for his old constituents in southern Virginia. This tradition continued as his firm grew and other lawyers, including his sons and grandchildren, joined him.

By the late 1980s, the Allen Firm served residents from all over…

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Do I Need An Attorney After My Accident?

Author: Attorney Charles Littlepaige ("Litt") Allen

Often I am asked by people who are injured in accidents that are someone else's fault whether they will benefit from being represented by an attorney. Generally, the answer is yes. However, I always encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity for a free consultation that most personal injury law firms offer, and to use that free consultation to gather enough information to make an informed decision about whether to retain an attorney.

Sometimes people are only slightly hurt in an accident, and fortunately make a full recovery quickly. In these instances, I often explain to the injured person how they can handle their claim with the insurance…

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Historic Sites in Petersburg, Virginia

Located along the banks of the Appomattox River and straddling Interstates 85 and 95 at the gateway to Southside Virginia, Petersburg is a town with a long and illustrious history. In its heyday during the first half of the nineteenth century, Petersburg was the eleventh largest city in the South. It was a manufacturing center and a railroad hub, and was well-known for its tobacco market and warehouses.

Today, one hundred and fifty years later, sightseers can catch a glimpse of what life was like during both the city's "golden age" and its time of misfortune during the Civil War. The City operates three museums which celebrate these periods of history.

Sitting majestically on a hill dominating the cityscape, Centre…

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Legislative "Caps" on Recoveries: An Unseen "Bailout" Taxpayers Pay for Every Day

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from the British Petroleum platform is a catastrophe of growing proportions. Recent projections that the spill could turn the corner of Florida and cover the beaches of the East Coast bring this disaster uncomfortably close to home. Nobody should make political hay out of a disaster, but we cannot ignore the history lesson before us.

Since the 1990's, there has been a concerted effort to limit the rights of juries to assess full and fair compensation for injured persons. 1 It all started with the infamous McDonalds' hot coffee case, where an elderly woman suffered third degree burns on her genitals when she accidentally spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee in her lap.…

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Interstate Rest Stops to Reopen Allowing Truck Drivers to Catch a "Break"

An Update on Virginia Rest Stops

Shortly before taking office, Governor Bob McDonnell announced he will reopen the interstate highway rest stops closed last summer because of Virginia's budget shortfall. 1 As of April 15, 2010, all 19 have now been re-opened. 2 Although all tired motor vehicle drivers will benefit from this development, long distance tractor trailer operators should benefit the most.

At The Allen Law Firm, our tractor trailer accident attorneys often see the terrible injuries and ruined lives caused by crashes involving truck driver fatigue. Every year, 5,000 people or more are killed in truck crashes. If the new governor's decision ultimately prevents even a few truck…

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Virginia Traffic Laws: Virginia Set to Raise Speed Limit to 70 MPH


Author: Fredericksburg Attorney David M. Williams

Governor Bob McDonnell recently signed a bill passed by this year's Virginia General Assembly that allows the speed limit to be raised from 65 mph to 70 mph on certain sections of Virginia's highways. 1 While this law is set to take effect July 1st, it is likely to be months - or even longer - before drivers are allowed to push their accelerators a little harder.

§ 46.2-870 2 of the Code of Virginia was amended to read in relevant part as follows:

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the maximum speed…

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