If you have been injured in an auto accident in Virginia, then before you contact the insurance company or visit another attorney for that first "free consultation" (you know, the one that everyone offers), order our free book The Five Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Virginia Accident Case.
You can also call our office at 703-591-9829 to order.
You can send a confidential message to attorney Ben Glass here.
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 the injury. In both Virginia and the District of Columbia, 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 of your ability to earn a living has been impaired.
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.
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.