You will always be better off working with an experienced personal injury lawyer., Your insurance company will rarely offer you the compensation you could get with a help of a great lawyer. A good personal injury lawyer will prove liability, identify all sources of insurance coverage, and maximize your compensation by collecting proceeds from all sources.
For example, did you know that in Virginia, in certain circumstances, you can have your health insurer pay for your medical bills, then you can collect the full amount of the same paid medical bills from your auto insurance MedPay coverage, and then collect the same amount from the third party liability insurer? And you would not have to reimburse the health insurer. In effect, you can collect three times the amount of your medical bills from insurance companies. This is only one aspect of personal injury law that an experienced traffic accident lawyer in Virginia can help you with.
Most insurance companies have different adjusters handling pro se cases (unrepresented by attorneys) as opposed to cases where the claimant is represented by an attorney. Why is that?
The bottom line in every personal injury case is: “What will happen if a lawsuit is filed?” “What will the jury award?” While the insurance company knows you can retain an attorney and file a lawsuit, they are not under any pressure to compensate you fairly until you hire an attorney to represent you.
In other words, unless you have a reputable and aggressive lawyer on your side, the insurance company probably won’t believe that you will file a lawsuit and, therefore, that you will be more likely to accept what they offer. They know they can still increase their offer if you file a lawsuit.
In cases where the at-fault party denies liability for your injuries, it is usually necessary to file a lawsuit in a State or Federal court to receive the compensation you deserve. A great traffic accident lawyer will keep up the pressure on the other side’s adjusters and attorneys throughout the litigation process and present your case to a judge and jury if necessary to receive fair compensation.
Insurance companies know that people without legal representation have a very small chance of success in court, so there is very little incentive for them to make a fair and reasonable settlement offer before an attorney is hired.
As a general rule, if the liability is undisputed, you are entitled to the amount of your current medical bills, your lost wages, your reasonable future medical expenses, your reasonable future lost wages, and compensation for your past and future pain and suffering.
Certain injuries – such as concussion, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, scarring, and injuries that cause permanent mobility and lifestyle limitations – deserve compensation that goes well beyond your medical bills, both because of the severe pain experienced by the injured person and the long-term effects the injured person must endure.
When your injuries are severe, the amount of available insurance coverage becomes important. It also becomes important to determine all possible liable parties, so that you can have more insurance coverage for your losses.
The laws on the sources of coverage are very complicated. For example, in certain circumstances, you may be able to stack up your Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage. You may also be able to recover from the liability insurer your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage in addition to your damages. You may also be eligible for additional coverage under the insurance policies of your household members. The liable party may also have an additional “umbrella” coverage, which would not be disclosed to you unless your damages meet a certain threshold.
An experienced and diligent personal injury lawyer will untangle all these issues and identify all possible sources of insurance coverage available to you.
I.S. Law Firm will not charge you legal fees unless we recover compensation for you. This is called a “contingency fee”. There are many twists and turns along the way, and the insurance company will try to use every new fact and circumstance to undercut the compensation you deserve. A contingency fee means that you can rest assured that your attorney will fight for you to the very end, and obtain every dollar of compensation possible.
Our team of personal injury lawyers will be sure to take the following crucial steps to protect their client’s interests and maximize the outcome:
- Protect the client from insurance questioning seeking to obtain damaging statements.
The minute a claim is filed or the insurance carrier becomes aware of an accident, the insurance company begins its quest to poke holes in your case, exploring every possible way to minimize or deny the claim. They will trick the injured claimant into believing that providing a recorded statement to the insurance company will somehow speed up the process or increase the chances of higher compensation. This is a trap! The adjuster will play your friend and try to seem compassionate about your injuries. However, the true intent is to use every trick in the book to mercilessly deny your claims. The insurance adjuster will record telephone conversations, lure you into making damaging statements, and misinterpret and misconstrue your every word so as to favor his employer – the insurance company.
Therefore, to balance the scales, it is important to secure a team of personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. Our law firm has a team of exceptional lawyers and paralegals. They begin working on your case the minute you decide to hire us. As a first step, our personal injury and traffic accident lawyers ensure that no derogatory information has been given or leaked to the opposing side. Even if you provided a statement or information, our skilled lawyers will explore ways to formally retract or nullify any information obtained by the opposing side prior to hiring our law firm.
- Investigate and secure the evidence promptly and identify potential witnesses.
In cases involving injuries and damages to the vehicles involved, it is imperative to secure the evidence and identify witnesses as soon as possible. Every minute counts! Insurance companies are hoping the claimants fail to secure the evidence in a timely way or identify witnesses in support of their claim. It is important to secure the evidence, take photographs, and obtain statements from all potential witnesses as soon as possible, before their recollections fade.
Our team of professionals, including traffic accident lawyers, takes immediate action to identify witnesses and secure evidence, which may be crucial to prove liability and the extent of injuries suffered by our client.
Our attorneys and investigative team often visit the sites of the accident to take photographs, search for evidence and question potential witnesses. We send spoliation notices to all parties who may hold anything that can be used as evidence in the case. For example, it may be imperative to send notices to the EMS and Police Department to preserve 911 call recordings as well as any notes or photographs that officers may have taken at the scene of the accident. It may also be necessary to notify the insurance company and the salvage yard of intent to examine the negligent driver’s vehicle. Although the actual records are obtained through court subpoenas in the course of litigation, it is important to notify the custodians to preserve such records. The subpoenas may take a long time and, unless a spoliation notice is duly provided, there may be no duty on the holder’s part to preserve the evidence that may end up being crucial for the outcome of the case.
- Determine all available insurance policies and coverage available.
Your insurance policy may include Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UIM/UMI), which can have additional insurance coverage available to you from the third party. If UIM/UMI coverage exceeds the negligent driver’s liability insurance policy, then you have additional insurance coverage available. In that case, the UIM/UMI carrier steps into the shoes of the uninsured or underinsured party (the negligent driver) and provides you with additional coverage. However, it is important to notify the UIM/UMI carrier as soon as possible to avoid denial of excess coverage. A special notification procedure must be followed in a case involving a lawsuit. Determining the amount of UIM/UMI insurance available may get tricky if you have multiple cars or multiple insured members in your household, of if you were a passenger in another car which also had UIM/UMI insurance.
Your insurance policy may also contain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage. This excellent coverage provides additional coverage to you for your medical bills and lost wages. Additionally, if you have a medical insurance, in Virginia, you may legally recover triple the amount of your medical bills and retain two thirds of the amount for yourself, in addition to the compensation for your other damages. Determining the amount of PIP/MedPay available may vary depending on the number of vehicles in the household and other factors.
The driver of the vehicle, which caused the accident, may also have an additional excess liability coverage, called an “Umbrella Policy”. There are certain ways – often complicated – to determine the availability of an Umbrella Policy. This may involve submitting a statutory demand for disclosure to the insurance company, submitting interrogatories to the defense in litigated cases, or exploring other ways to determine all policies available to the negligent driver. Furthermore, if the driver of the vehicle which caused the accident was driving someone else’s car that driver may have a policy of his own, with possible umbrella coverage, all of which would stack up on top of the third party liability coverage of the vehicle which caused the accident.
There may be additional sources of recovery, such as an employer’s liability insurance policy, liability based on principal/agent theory, additional coverage for lost wages through Worker’s Compensation Insurance, or policies through third party providers such as credit companies, enrolled programs, sponsoring organizations and so on.
Determining all available insurance policies and additional coverage is undisputedly one of the most complicated areas of personal injury law. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers thoroughly investigates the availability of all of the above policies and utilizes every possible avenue to maximize the net pay-out to our clients.
- Ensure adequate notices to all insurance companies and parties involved.
This step ensures that all insurance companies and coverage providers are duly notified so that they will not be able to deny any available coverage claiming a lack of notice. This includes timely filing of claims, notifying insurance carriers that may have additional insurance coverage available on behalf of the third party, and providing letters of representation and spoliation letters to secure the evidence. If this is not done promptly , there is a risk of coverage denial.
- Communicate and work closely with the client’s doctors, physicians, and other medical providers to ensure adequate treatment, medical reports and detailed diagnosis of the client’s injuries.
A substantial part of the attorney’s work on a personal injury case involves collaborating and dealing with medical providers, doctors, and their support staff. A competent personal injury lawyer and their paralegals must have excellent communication skills and be able to deal and collaborate with doctors and physicians who treated the injured client. Personal injury lawyers and paralegals must also have the necessary skills to understand medical records and radiology reports, identify injuries detected by medical providers, and communicate with medical staff to obtain further information.
Our team of professionals maintains constant contact with the client’s physicians and their staff members, providing letters of protection and lien agreements to ensure that our clients receive treatment even if they do not have medical or health insurance coverage.
- Collaborate with team of expert witnesses, investigators, and litigation support specialists.
A good personal injury lawyer should have a network of excellent medical experts, which can independently evaluate injuries, consult the lawyer on all medical aspects, and testify as needed to explain and illustrate the client’s injuries to the opposing side, jury, and judge. A testimony of independent medical experts serves an important role in increasing the amount of the jury award or settlement. In handling personal injury cases for our clients, I.S. Law Firm works closely with a team of professional experts, investigators, court reporters, interpreters, skip tracers, and litigation support specialists. This ensures the speediest and maximum monetary compensation for our clients.