How Do I Know if I Even Need a Lawyer?
Most legal cases these days seem to arise from automobile accidents. Yet victims of auto accidents quickly find that if the accident is clear cut, the insurance companies will take care of the damage. This may seem odd coming from an accident attorney, but frequently matters work themselves out, and no attorney is needed to arrange for repairs, rental cars, etc. In other accident cases insurance companies will voluntary arrange for payment of medical bills, lost wages, and even for pain and suffering. If all of these benefits can be obtained without an attorney, why would anyone ever hire one? Consider the following:
If you have an injury case how will you know what it is worth? Unlike property damage cases, there is no readily available source to figure out what an injury case is worth. Even if the insurance company voluntarily agrees to pay compensation how much should you ask for: How much should you accept? How can you be completely sure that you are receiving a reasonable settlement? The final evaluation of personal injury cases has a great deal to do with the manner in which the evidence is presented (and the permissible court venue (e.g. cases in Norfolk, VA may be worth an amount which is entirely different than Virginia Beach, VA). Only an experienced attorney will be able to objectively evaluate the case.
Injury cases require a substantial amount of time, knowledge and paperwork to conclude successfully. Did you know that you may not be able to keep all of the settlement which the insurance company gives you? Under current law, unpaid health care providers, certain health insurance plans, federal health benefit plans and other claimants are entitled to a portion of certain settlements. Injury victims who have failed to quantify these claims and settle them may be in for a rude awakening. Long after the settlement money has been sent they may be confronted by a reimbursement claim (for example) by Medicare or Medicaid. In certain cases, failing to account for Medicare or Medicaid’s interests may result in the complete disruption of benefits. Why let this happen to you?
An experienced personal injury attorney can frequently enhance the value of a claim. Let’s face it: insurance companies pay according to the persuasiveness of the evidence and the perceived ability of the claimant to present a case. Unrepresented parties may be sympathetic or even persuasive on occasion, but knowing how to present medical testimony and how to quantify the potential for future lost earnings can make all of the difference. On the other hand, failing to present the case in the best possible light can cost an injury victim tens of thousands of dollars. Why find out the hard way?
An experienced personal injury attorney can frequently add substantial value to a claim, many times in an amount well above the fee paid. While no attorney can promise a net benefit, a recent case of ours illustrates the leverage we have. An insurance company attempted to settle with an unrepresented client for $100,000. Sensing that the insurance company was too eager, the client consulted us on the last day before the statute of limitations deadline. We were able to analyze her case quickly and show that the insurance company was under paying her claim by over $145,000. Within several months the matter was resolved and the client had the confidence when she signed the release that she was (now) receiving a fat deal. Not only that, all Medicare and Medicaid claims were fully investigated and compromised. The client also received important ancillary information about state tax issues. She knows now that her case was handled appropriately.
Can certain cases be handled without the intervention of an attorney? Sure. Is it advisable? Sometimes it is. In certain cases, our office affords free consultations to determine if retaining us will be of benefit. Unless an injured victim inquires, they will never know whether retaining counsel will be of benefit.