DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO DEAL WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANIES?
If you have suffered injury through the fault of another, be it from a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice or the wrongful death of a family member, you have a potential claim. If you have been in an automobile accident with little property damage and minor injuries, then retaining an attorney would not make financial sense. However, if you have serious injuries you should retain an attorney.
Insurance companies are a business and they will take advantage of you to save their company money. Insurance adjusters are professionals who review hundreds of accident claims a year and they will offer you less than what you deserve if you are not equipped to fight them in the legal arena. You need your own professional who will tell you your rights and ensure that you receive your claim’s full worth. If you have ever attempted to settle a claim on your own you know that it is a time consuming affair. No one enjoys being involved in an accident but by hiring an attorney you take some of the worry out of the process. You will have the security of knowing that your claim for injuries, medical bills, lost wages and inconvenience is being organized and fought for, allowing you to focus on what’s important to you.
WHAT WILL THIS COST ME?
The client pays nothing up front for a typical personal injury or medical malpractice case. There will be normal costs involved, such as postage and copying, as well as costs in obtaining police reports and medical records. These costs will be advanced by the firm and deducted once a verdict or settlement is obtained. Our fee is one-third of whatever is recovered for the client. We do not receive a fee unless the client receives a settlement or verdict. No settlement is agreed upon without the client’s informed consent.
WHAT DO I BRING TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION?
Everything. Bring everything that pertains to the accident. Bring everything that pertains to your motor vehicle insurance and health insurance. Bring all medical records and bills that you have in your possession.
HOW WILL I PAY FOR MY MEDICAL TREATMENT?
If you do not have health insurance or medical payment insurance, we will notify your medical provider that you are involved in a claim and that the bills should be placed on hold until the conclusion of your claim. Ultimately, the goal is to have your medical bills paid through the verdict or settlement proceeds.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY CLAIM?
That is the ultimate question that usually cannot be answered until all the facts have been uncovered. Each case is different and each has a different value. The worth of a claim becomes more apparent once it is determined the client is fully recovered or has suffered a permanent injury. These are all topics that are discussed in the initial consultation.
WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
Contact our office to schedule a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. At that meeting we will advise as to whether you have a valid claim and whether it is a claim that deserves my services. We will explain the process that your case will have to go through and recommend how best to proceed. I will make sure that you understand the fees and costs that will be involved in your case.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
If you have ever attempted to settle a claim on your own you know that it is a time consuming affair. No one enjoys being involved in an accident but by hiring an attorney you take some of the worry out of the process. You will have the security of knowing that your claim for injuries, medical bills, lost wages and inconvenience is being organized and fought for, allowing you to focus on what’s important to you. If you would like to protect your rights and to receive the settlement you deserve, hire a personal injury attorney. An attorney shows that you have recourses if the insurance company does not put forth a good-faith, reasonable offer.
If you were involved in low impact motor vehicle accident with little or no damage and treated with a doctor only a few times, it would not be in your best interests to have an attorney since you would most likely receive a reasonable settlement offer, regardless if you had an attorney. Northern Virginia juries are very conservative in their verdicts and insurance companies rely upon that when coming up with the settlement figures. However, if you were involved in a serious accident and suffered major> injuries, the advice and negotiation skills of an attorney becomes worth the one-third contingent fee.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANIES?
Document the accident from the very beginning, get as much information as possible about the accident. Call the police to the scene to document the incident and to later serve as independent witnesses. Get the insurance information from the other driver, as well as all of his contact information. Verify that by looking at his or her drivers license. Take photographs of your vehicles damage and the accident scene. Write down how the accident happened so that you have a fresh recollection. Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses. Record what injuries you are feeling. Contact the Insurance Companies Next, contact your insurance company and let them know what’s going on. Then contact the other insurance company. More than likely, they are going to request a recorded statement from you and will tell you they cannot progress with the claim without it. Our recommendation is to never give a recorded statement unless you have an attorney present since an experienced adjuster can twist something you say. If they cannot move forward without a statement, agree to give one but don?t agree to it being recorded.
Visit a Doctor If you haven’t already, go see a doctor if you are in pain. The longer you wait to see a medical provider, the stronger the argument by the insurance company that the accident wasn’t that bad and that the accident was not the cause of your injuries. Try to go to your family physician or, if you don’t have one, a doctor recommended to you by a family member or friend. Beware of the attorneys that refer you to a chiropractor or a medical doctor. The problem with this is Virginia juries find a doctor’s testimony less credible if they are told that there is a referral relationship with the Plaintiff?s attorney. Make sure to give a thorough account of how the accident happened and the pains that you are feeling to your doctor. Most medical providers keep thorough records of all your visits, which assists the insurance company and your attorney. Do not hide anything from the doctor, including past or present injuries that you might have.
Medical and Wage Loss Authorizations Insurance companies will send you Medical and Wage Loss Authorizations. You do not have to sign them! These authorizations allow the insurance companies to look at all of your medical and employment documents, many of which you may want to keep private. Have an attorney review the authorizations and modify them to ask for only the documents pertinent to this accident. You can request the documents yourself and then send the relevant forms to the insurance company, as your attorney would do if you hire one.