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Our office recently settled a legal malpractice case against a local attorney which demonstrated once again why you should only hire an experienced personal injury attorney for your case.

In this case, the client had been seriously injured in an automobile accident several years ago.  The attorney had settled her case but in doing so he had miscalculated the liability insurance available to her for the accident.  As a result of his error, the case was settled for far less than its actual value.  During one of her many surgeries to repair her injuries, her surgeon committed medical malpractice and caused her additional injury. 

The attorney she had retained to work on her automobile accident case never thought to investigate a potential medical malpractice claim.  When it came time to settle the automobile case, he had the client sign a general release.  When our office undertook representation of the woman, we first sued the surgeon who had injured her in the operation.  The surgeon claimed that the general release which the automobile accident attorney had the client sign also released him from any negligence claim.

Virginia law seemed to support his argument.  As a result of the general release, the medical malpractice case against the surgeon was settled for less than its true value. When we sued the attorney, we claimed that not only had he miscalculated the available insurance proceeds in the automobile case but his negligence had also seriously impaired the value of her medical malpractice case.

An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney would have correctly seen that there was more insurance available to the client and he never would have let her sign a general release to settle the automobile case.  He also should have recognized that the client had a potential medical malpractice case in order that she could be referred to an experienced malpractice attorney.  You also may want to consider hiring an attorney who is Board Certified.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.