Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, and Insurance Disputes
Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact BenGlassLaw. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find the answers here, you can either use the Live Chat option on the left or send attorney Ben Glass a confidential message.
If you would like to talk with our team of experts today, you can contact us by phone at (703)584-7277.
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What Credentials Should A Lawyer Have?
When looking for the best lawyer for your case, look at credentials. Being a great lawyer takes more than graduating law school and remaining in good standing with the Virginia State Bar. There are many resources and organizations dedicated to helping consumers find the right lawyer – but not all of them factor equally as a sign of quality legal help.
Certification from the National Board of Trial Advocacy
The NBTA allows attorneys to obtain lawyer credentials in specialty areas such as civil litigation. Some of the best lawyers in America boast proudly on their websites and profiles that they are NBTA certified, and with good reason. The United States Supreme Court said, “There is no dispute about the bona fides and the relevance of National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) certification.”
Ratings by AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell
AVVO is easy to search, and even easier for the lawyers to post their AVVO rating directly on their website. AVVO ratings are developed by legal experts for consumers looking for a lawyer – it’s simple to understand and simple to get (if you’re a good lawyer, that is!).
Martindale-Hubbell’s ratings are gold standards in lawyer credentials. Also known as an “AV Rating” they use classifications such as “AV Preeminent” (the highest) to place lawyers on different levels of approval. These ratings can’t be bought –lawyers become eligible for an interview five years after admission to the bar. They must receive favorable opinions from their peers as well as judges.
Listings on Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America
Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America are invite-only and only include those who meet their standards.
Super Lawyers relies on peer nominations and evaluations combined with third-party research to create lists of Super Lawyers. Search for your city in their directory and see who pops up – this should be your short list to begin evaluating. Similarly, the Best Lawyers in America publication is based on nominations from existing members. Peer review surveys help evaluate and rate the top lawyers in 135 practice areas across the U.S.
Is It Too Late for an Attorney to Help with My Accident Case?
You may hire a personal injury lawyer at any time. That’s your right. But there are points in the accident case settlement process where a lawyer may not have the legal ability to help you.
There are two points in the accident case process where everyone, lawyers included, are pretty powerless to do anything. The first is when the statute of limitations runs out. For Virginia, that’s two years. If you’ve waited that long, even the best Fairfax personal injury lawyer may not be able to help you obtain a settlement.
The next event that may reduce a lawyer’s ability to assist you is when you’ve already signed the settlement release. In a typical settlement release, the fine print prohibits you from taking any further legal action against the insurance company or the defendant.
If you sign the release and incur additional medical expenses that were not accounted for in the settlement, you typically have no legal recourse to file an additional claim.
However, I’m going to go ahead and say it doesn’t hurt to ask an attorney for help if you’re facing these or any other situations throughout your accident case. Sometimes, when you’re settling your case on your own it’s best to get a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when you have questions about your case, and lawyers like me can provide that advice.
No decent injury attorney will turn a potential client away without offering an opinion or guidance on an accident case. Whether you’ve just been in the accident and have yet to take action or you’re nearing settlement, it never hurts to seek the opinion of someone who’s dealt with cases such as yours.
If I Don't Like My Insurance Company's Settlement Offer for My Accident Case, Can I Still File A Lawsuit Without a Fairfax Accident Lawyer?
I often tell people that a Fairfax accident lawyer may not be necessary. You can probably obtain a settlement offer without an attorney, but not all offers may cover the full extent of your damages. If you’re unhappy with the offer, you may have to go to court. This is where an accident case turns into a lawsuit, which may necessitate hiring a lawyer.
Most people need an attorney when taking any serious legal action within or related to the court system. This may be the case if the settlement offer from your insurance company isn’t enough to cover your legitimate damages and the adjuster refuses to budge. You still may not need a lawyer if your lawsuit is seeking damages under $5,000 – it will go to Small Claims Court where lawyers are not allowed.
For lawsuits seeking damages over $5,000 but less than $25,000, you’ll be dealing with the General District Court. Whether or not you need a lawyer is up to you – the insurance company or another party you are suing may have legal counsel of their own, so you may want to do the same.
If you’re seeking damages greater than $25,000 your lawsuit will be handled by the Fairfax County Circuit Court or the Circuit Court of the county where the accident took place. These high-stakes lawsuits can become complex and I highly suggest that you retain a Fairfax accident lawyer at this point to protect your rights and guide you through the legal system for personal injury lawsuits.
If You’re Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit You May Need a Lawyer
When the settlement offer from the insurance company for your accident case is too low and they just won’t compromise, it may be time to take the matter to court. You may need a lawyer if you couldn’t settle your case on your own and that’s okay – we’re here to help!
What Kind of Damages Should I Be Seeking in My Virginia Accident Case?
Don’t want to use an accident attorney to settle your accident case? Some cases may be successfully handled without a lawyer, thus avoiding attorney fees and ultimately increasing the amount of the award that goes to cover damages.
For a simple accident case, consider the following expenses you may have incurred:
- medical bills resulting from treatment of your injuries;
- special equipment you had to purchase for your recovery;
- estimated costs of future medical needs (i.e. physical therapy); and
- the estimates on repairs or replacement of your damaged vehicle or property.
There are also several other types of potential expenses you could seek in a claim, such as travel expenses to get to doctor’s appointments or costs of hiring personal care support, like a house cleaner, if you can’t take care of basic household needs.
Examples of losses you may experience include any pay you are losing if you are unable to work as you recover from injuries, or even the cost of classes missed if you are a student.
Other damages that may be sought in an accident case include emotional damages, also known as “pain and suffering.” This loss does not have rigid parameters for payment and so it is best handled by an accident attorney.
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own I encourage you to visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book, Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case Without Hiring a Lawyer. Of course, I won’t leave my clients hanging in the wind – if you think you need an injury lawyer to help you settle your case, contact Ben Glass Law at our website, or give us a call at (703) 584-7277 and we’ll set up a consultation.
Who Will Pay My Medical Bills While I Try to Settle My Fairfax Accident Case on My Own?
No Virginia personal injury lawyer is going to pay your medical bills for you. In fact, if you’ve got a simple Fairfax accident case with minor injuries or property damage, you may not even need a lawyer – but you still need those medical bills paid.
While ultimately the other drivers’ insurance company or property owner’s homeowners/business insurance should pay your medical expenses, you will likely have to wait before you see that settlement check.
In the meantime, your health insurance or your car insurance may pay your expenses in the meantime. Submit the bills to both and see what they say. Depending on your coverage they may pay all, some, or none of the bills.
In some cases, when you have no alternate insurance to pay your medical bills, and you are trying to settle your case on your own, you may be able to work out a deal with your doctor. They will provide the necessary treatment and charge you the full amount, but you will pay once your settlement is reached. Not all doctors and hospitals do this, so it’s not something you want to rely on.
Keep a case file of what bills come in, who you submitted copies to, whether or not they were paid, and how much was paid. Also, keep track of any personal expenses or payments you make – this will be important to support your settlement demands.
A Basic Fairfax Accident Case May Settle Without a Lawyer
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own I encourage you to visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book, Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case Without Hiring a Lawyer. Of course, I won’t leave my clients hanging in the wind – if you think you need a Fairfax injury lawyer to help settle your case, contact Ben Glass Law at 703-591-9829 to set up a consultation.
What Evidence Do I Need to Settle My Own Case?
If you’ve been in an accident in Fairfax and want to settle your case on your own without a lawyer, be sure that you’ve collected all the critical types of evidence for an accident case: photographs, witness information, medical records, and police reports.
Here’s why these types of evidence are so important:
- Photographs – The insurance adjuster is not going to be at the scene. Document the property damage, area conditions, and injuries either with pictures or video to support your case.
- Witness information – Unless you have witnesses, it’s your word against that of the other driver(s). Make sure you at least get a name and phone number so you can refer the insurance adjuster to the witnesses for further evidence of what caused accident.
- Medical records – Request copies of your medical records to give to the insurance company; don’t authorize them to access your records on their own. Only give them what they need so they can’t pry into your past medical history.
- Police reports – The police officers who document your accident will be an authoritative source of evidence to explain what occurred to cause the accident.
Even if you do not have all of this evidence, you still may not need a lawyer. Of course, if you’re in doubt about your accident case, you always have the right to consult with a Fairfax injury lawyer, but in most cases you can settle your case on your own with a few photos and doctors’ evaluations.
Get the Important Accident Case Evidence without a Fairfax Injury Lawyer
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own, visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book, Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case Without Hiring a Lawyer. Of course, I won’t leave my clients hanging in the wind – if you think you really need a Fairfax injury lawyer to help you settle your case, contact Ben Glass Law at 703-591-9829 to set up a consultation.
What Should I Be Compensated for In My Accident Case?
There are three major things you should be seeking compensation for in an accident case, your:
- medical expenses
- lost wages; and
- damaged property.
This means you’ll need to provide evidence of these losses and damages, but not all evidence the insurance adjuster will ask for will be necessary.
When seeking compensation for medical expenses all the insurance adjusters and insurance companies need are your:
- current bills;
- doctor’s prognosis for future treatment expenses; and
- medical records related to the accident injuries only.
Any past medical records unrelated to your accident are NOT necessary and in fact, can be used against your accident case by your insurance company.
Claiming property damage compensation is where you’ll need repair estimates or a statement for a mechanic that your vehicle is beyond reasonable repair.
Your insurance company may say they require you to go to a certain facility, and that may not always be the best option. Make sure you give them the estimates from your own mechanics to help get the most value for your settlement.
Before You Talk to Your Insurance Company, Read My Book!
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own I encourage you to visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book, Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case Without Hiring a Lawyer. Of course, I won’t leave my clients hanging in the wind – if you think you really need a lawyer to help you settle your case, contact Ben Glass Law at our website, or give us a call at 703-584-7277 and we’ll set up a consultation.
Who Do I File My Accident Case With? My Insurance Company or Theirs?
Report an accident case to your own insurance company as soon as your basic medical issues are addressed. If the accident was the other driver’s fault, you’ll file a claim with their insurance company first but don’t forget about your insurance coverage. You may need a lawyer to file for you if you’re seriously injured or are too busy trying to recover and retain your previous responsibilities.
In many cases, you may be able to receive a faster payment from your own insurance company if you have the right insurance coverage. You should have the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, also known as comprehensive coverage or “medical payments.” This coverage will help pay for your medical expenses up to the limits on your policy.
As long as your medical bills are under your policy limit, your car insurance should pick up the tab. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company.
If the other driver filed a claim with their insurance company, they will be contacting you to verify information. At this time, you can attempt to file a claim with them as well, especially if your own insurance didn’t cover all of your expenses.
Remember that you should be reporting your accident case to your own insurance company regardless of whether or not the other drivers’ insurance company has contacted you.
When you want to do the “settle case on your own” thing, it’s your responsibility to seek out the channels for compensation of your injuries. Don’t expect the insurance companies to just stick a check in the mailbox. There’s some legwork to be done, but it’s worth it when you don’t have to pay lawyer fees!
Why hire a lawyer to settle your accident case when you don’t need one?
A minor accident case can typically be resolved without the need for a lawyer. When you settle your case on your own, it’s important to know how to deal with approaching the insurance company to begin your claim and work on getting a fair settlement.
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own, I encourage you to visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book, Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case Without Hiring a Lawyer. If you think you need a lawyer, contact Ben Glass Law at our website, or give us a call at 703-591-9829 and we’ll set up a consultation.
Do You Need A Lawyer Or Can You Settle A Case On Your Own?
How’d you like to receive an accident case settlement check and keep all of that money to yourself? This won’t happen if you have to hire a lawyer to settle your case – which is why you need to know about the types of accident cases that don’t need a lawyer.
There are a few basic guidelines to tell if you can settle your case on your own.
- Was there only minor property damage and no injury?
- Are your injuries no more than minor bruises, sprains, and strains?
- Did you only have one or two visits to a doctor or the E.R.?
- If you need physical therapy or treatment, is it for less than four months?
- Have you been given the “all clear” from a doctor and expect no further need for treatment?
- Did you miss less than five days of work?
If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, your accident case probably won’t settle for more than a few thousand dollars, because your expenses just won’t be that high.
Don’t be afraid that you won’t get enough money in your accident case settlement to pay all your bills. As long as you have the proof of your expenses and you follow through with what the insurance company requests for evidence, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue getting reimbursed for those bills.
The bottom line for settling your accident case without the need for a lawyer is money. If your insurance coverage is enough to provide for your bills and you’re not looking at long-term health issues or disability, your settlement will most likely just cover your basic bills.
Why hire a lawyer to settle your accident case when you don’t need one?
If you’ve only suffered minor damages, your accident case probably won’t be worth more than a few thousand dollars. Why should you have to give part of your settlement to a lawyer who probably didn’t do any more work than you could have done on your own?
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own I encourage you to visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book, Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case Without Hiring a Lawyer. Of course, I won’t leave my clients hanging in the wind – if you think you need a lawyer to help you settle your case, contact Ben Glass Law at our website, or give us a call at 703-584-7277 and we’ll set up a consultation.
Why Would A Personal Injury Lawyer Tell You How to Settle Case on Your Own?
I may not know you, but I bet that you’re a pretty competent person who can open a bank account, file your taxes, and handle health insurance claims. If you can do these sorts of things, you can settle your case on your own.
That is, as long as you’ve only suffered minor damages and injuries.
Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of serious accident cases that I see on a regular basis that DO need a lawyer to obtain a fair settlement. However, if your case is something I believe you can handle on your own, I’ll tell you just that. Why?
Don’t Want You to Waste Your Time or Money
Minor accident cases aren’t going to settle for more than a few thousand dollars if they require compensation at all. Remember that when you hire a lawyer, you have to pay them out of your settlement once your case is resolved.
I don’t think you should be spending your settlement on lawyer fees, and you’re going to want that money to pay for your crutches or the few days you miss from work.
Don’t believe those lawyer advertisements that say they take every accident case no matter what. While it’s true they’ll take your case, and they’ll also take your money for services you could handle on your own. They may even charge you for extras like document handling fees!
This is why I wrote my book, to give clients like you the power to settle your case on your own. This way you don’t lose out on keeping your full settlement money, and I can devote my time to the accident cases that need a lawyer to reach a fair settlement.
Why Hire a Lawyer to Settle Your Accident Case When You Don’t Need One?
It may sound crazy, but I want you to succeed in settling your accident case WITHOUT a lawyer. Why? As much as I’d love to help every client that comes into my office, I just don’t have that kind of time.
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own I encourage you to visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book, Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case Without Hiring a Lawyer. Of course, if you think you need a lawyer to help you settle your case, contact Ben Glass Law at our website, or give us a call at 703-584-7277 and we’ll set up a consultation.