It's so frustrating.
With all of the car accident websites put up by lawyers and law firms (not to mention the hundreds of lawyer referal websites that are spending millions of dollars to get good search engine placement) you would think that it might be just a little easier than it is to get good, useful information about automobile accident claims. (Information a little more in depth than the typical "help the injured at the scene;" and "don't talk to anyone but the police.")
Have a question? Send a confidential message to attorney Ben Glass here.
How about some straightforward information on how to find the best lawyer for your case? There are some simple steps you can take to get beyond the lawyer advertising.
Personal injury cases are vigorously defended by the insurance industry. The resources a defendant has to fight a case are endless. Insurance companies do not settle cases fairly and fully until you demonstrate to them that you have the expert witnesses, the resources and the attorney who is going to beat them in court. Results matter.
Most Lawyer Advertising is Actually Pretty Silly.
Sadly, most lawyer advertising does little more than shout "we are aggressive" or "we care for you", or "trust us" or "free consultation." (By the way, what's so special about a free consultation in an injury case--EVERYONE DOES THAT!)
This almost total lack of useful information is what drove me to write the many books and special reports on car accident cases in Virginia that are available at this website.
Before you hire a lawyer or deal with the insurance company on your own you should get Five Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Virginia Accident Case.
Here are some essentials of Virginia car accident cases.
In any personal injury or wrongful death case in Virginia the injured person, or plaintiff, must prove that the carelessness or negligence of another caused injury. In Virginia any negligence on the part of the plaintiff will bar any recovery under the legal doctrine of contributory negligence.
Expert testimony may be necessary to prove some parts of your claim. Expert testimony is generally needed to prove the extent of your physical injury and the relationship of any medical bills to the defendant's negligence. Expert testimony is necessary to prove any other issues that are beyond the general knowledge of jurors, such as the extent your ability to earn a living has been impaired.
The day you were injured you entered a war zone.
Insurance companies have declared war on injured people and their attorneys. Some of them write letters to claimants to discourage them from seeking legal representation. They have waged the war in the media and their propaganda has had a tremendous effect on juries and their verdicts. The success that the insurance companies have had in tainting the minds of jurors has emboldened them to not offer fair settlements until you prove to them that you are ready, willing and able to go to trial.
In most cases today, attempting to negotiate with the insurance company before filing suit is not a worthwhile endeavor.
Insurance companies use pre-suit negotiation only to attempt to find out as much about you, your lawyer and your doctor as they can. It is our opinion that too many lawyers waste precious time attempting to negotiate with the insurance company before filing suit. If we accept your accident case it is because we believe it is meritorious and you deserve a trial by jury. We will usually file your suit before negotiating so that if negotiations break down we will already have a trial date in place to head towards.
We believe that it is a dangerous practice to wait until the statute of limitations is almost expired to file suit. We have seen other attorneys do this only to find that the defendant they sued is either not the correct defendant or is now blaming someone else. While there are legitimate reasons for delaying filing suit, there is no excuse for the practice that we sometimes see whereby some attorneys routinely wait until the last moment to see if the insurance company will settle your case.
Unfortunately, we have also seen lawyers not licensed in either Virginia or the District of Columbia attempt to represent people with claims in those jurisdictions. When the claims do not settle, they often panic to find an attorney to file the case on time. We believe that clients are ill-served by hiring attorneys who are not licensed in the jurisdiction where suit must be filed.
Once the lawsuit is filed, both sides engage in the legal process called discovery. Each party is allowed to investigate what it is the other side is going to say at trial. The defendant will be permitted access to your medical and work history, including your income records. You must give a deposition under oath and you may be required to submit to a medical examination by a physician of the defendant's choosing.
The defendant is also subject to discovery. He will answer written and oral questions about his own background and he will have to give sworn testimony about the incident at issue.