The Difference Between Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence


Author: Tammy S. Ruble, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

In order to pursue a claim for injuries sustained in an automobile accident under Virginia law, there must be negligent behavior by the other party.  Negligence is a determination that the other party didn’t use “ordinary care” in his behavior.  Virginia law says that “[o]rdinary care is the care a reasonable person would have used under the circumstances of this case.” [1] But what if both parties to an automobile accident failed to use ordinary care?  Can an injured plaintiff recover despite his own negligence?  In many states, the answer is yes.  Those states follow the doctrine of “comparative negligence.”  Virginia, and a few…

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The Dangers of Left Hand Turns: Alternative Traffic Patterns Seek to Reduce Intersection Collisions Nationwide


Author: Tammy S. Ruble, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

I grew up and obtained my driver’s license in New Jersey, so I’m very familiar with the roadway design known as a “jug handle.”  Although a few other states use them as well, the design is primarily associated with New Jersey.  A jug handle[1] allows drivers to make a left turn at an intersection controlled by a traffic light by having them turn right off the main road onto a sort of access road, then turn left onto the crossroad, and wait for a green light to drive back across the main road.  The effect is the same as turning left from the main road onto the crossroad. 

Advantages of the Jug Handle

One advantage of the jug…

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Seatbelt Safety: Back to the Basics

Author: Tammy S. Ruble, Richmond VA, Personal Injury Attorney

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when there were no smart phones posing distractions for drivers.  In an earlier day, motor vehicles didn’t have CD or tape players.  My first car was a hand-me-down from my grandparents, a 1964 Belvedere without air conditioning, tape player, or even a radio. One very important feature that car did have, though: seatbelts.

The installation of seatbelts in vehicles wasn’t mandated by federal law until January 1, 1968.  Even then, the use of those seatbelts wasn’t required by any state until New York passed such a law in 1984.  Today, every state except one has some form of mandatory seatbelt…

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Recent Studies on Distracted Driving - The Risks are Greater Than You May Think

Author: Tammy Ruble, Personal Injury Attorney

 In early June, 2012, a Massachusetts man was convicted of homicide in a car crash that happened when he was texting while driving.  His testimony was that he was distracted and looked away from the road for "one quick second." [1]

Several years ago, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted a study of distracted driving which indicated that even minor distractions, such as reaching for a cell phone, measurably increases the chances of a driver being involved in a crash or near-crash event. [2]   More significant distractions, such as texting while operating a heavy truck, increase the risks of a crash by more than 23 times.  Many states, including Virginia,…

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The Grand Jury in Virginia

Author: Attorney Tammy S. Ruble

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just…

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Jury Duty in Virginia - A Privilege and A Responsibility

Tammy S. Ruble, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Author: Tammy S. Ruble, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Recently my son received a summons to serve as a juror in Chesterfield County. "I'm exempt, of course," he said to me. "Why?" "Because my mother's a lawyer," he responded. Sorry, son, it's not quite that easy.

I've always wanted to serve as a juror, but others dread the thought and would sooner walk across a bed of hot coals than get that letter. So how did that juror summons end up in your mailbox, anyway? A popular belief is that the juror pool is drawn from the voter registration rolls, but that is just one source. Virginia Code §8.01-345[1] permits jurors to be chosen from the voter registration rolls, the Department of…

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RESPONSIBLE PARENTING: Providing Alcohol to High School Students Has Stiff Legal Penalties

Author: Attorney Tammy S. Ruble

As the mother of a high school senior, I know this time of year is filled with exciting events and activities for students.  Graduation is just weeks away and many parents will throw parties to celebrate this milestone.  Knowing the allure that alcohol holds for some teens, it may be tempting for parents to try to ensure their children's safety by providing alcohol at these parties, eliminating the need for some teens to drink in secrecy away from home. After all, if they're going to get together and drink, isn't it better for them to drink at home where parents can ensure no one drives or engages in some other dangerous activity while under the influence?

This approach…

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Women in Law

Author: Attorney Tammy Ruble, Esquire

When I graduated from high school in 1977, I was honored to win a scholarship for a "Woman Going Into a Non-Traditional Field" from a local women's group.  I was a bit surprised by the name of the award, as it had never occurred to me that a woman in law was considered unusual.

The year I started college, only 30.1% of the persons entering law school were women. When I started law school in 1981, the number had risen to 37.2%.  The percentage continued to edge up and was 47.1% for the entering class in 2009.[1] Despite this increase, in 2009 the U. S Bureau of Labor statistics reported that only 32.4% of all lawyers were women, although it is encouraging to…

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Career Days with Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen

Author: Attorney Tammy Stafford Ruble

Every year our Firm is invited to participate in a large number of school career days at elementary, middle and high schools, and I have had the pleasure of speaking at many of these events.  I particularly enjoy the opportunity to tallk to the elementary school students.

Usually I start by introducing myself, telling the children where I work and my title, and then asking if any of them know any lawyers.   Older students will often mention President Obama, Governor McDonnell, or former Governor Kaine, and nearly every child is familiar with Judge Judy or one of the other television judges.

I then explain the educational requirements to earn a law degree,…

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