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One of the first questions that our Fairfax auto accident lawyers are asked by perspective clients is “is it worth filing a lawsuit for my case?”  We answer the way that lawyers answer most questions – It Depends!

When is it not worth it to file a lawsuit in Virginia?

In Virginia, a lawyer can get you compensated for a number of things after an auto accident.  In most cases, the categories of damages are:

  1. Medical costs
  2. Lost earnings
  3. Pain, suffering, and inconvenience.

We say “most cases” because there are some cases where damages are also available for scarring, future medical costs, future lost earnings, and other categories of damages.  However, in the vast, vast majority of cases, the victim of the crash is able to make a full recovery.  (By the way – we think this is awesome!  Our hope for every case that walks through our doors is that the client makes a full recovery and is able to get back to living their life).

If your medical costs and lost earnings are low, the insurance company usually expects that your pain and suffering will also be low.  For cases that have limited medical care, it is not worth filing a lawsuit.  While cases move through the court system pretty quickly in northern Virginia, there are still significant costs to bringing a case.  If you make are able to get back to normal with a few months of physical therapy or chiropractic care after an auto accident, we are usually able to get your case settled without having to file a lawsuit. 

When is it worthwhile to file a lawsuit in Virginia?

The first thing that makes it worthwhile to file a lawsuit after an auto accident in Virginia is if the insurance company denies liability.  If they simply refuse to pay because it wasn’t their fault or because they say that your own negligence contributed to the crash, it is always worth it to file suit.  After all, you can’t settle a case if there is no offer.  So if liability is contested after a crash, you definitely want to hire a Virginia personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit for you.

The other thing that makes it worthwhile to file a lawsuit is a disagreement over the value of the case.  In many cases, when the insurance company evaluates the case and makes an offer, their offer is a far cry from what we know is likely to be the result in a courtroom.  If we are disagreeing over the reasonableness of medical bills or the relatedness of the medical care to the crash, we are almost always going to file a lawsuit.

Can we sue the insurance company in Virginia?

No!  This is a fatal mistake.  Your lawsuit will always be against the driver of the vehicle, not against the insurance company.  We have seen cases where the injured party thought they could handle the case on their own and filed suit against the insurance company and then called us after the statute of limitations to ask if we could help.  We could not!  A lawsuit must be filed against the proper party before the statute of limitations in order to preserve your claim.

How do I hire the best law firm in Fairfax for my case?

Our lawyers review every file before we let a client retain us.  We want to make sure that we are going to add value to your case before we take it on!  Our Fairfax auto accident team will review the file with you, gather information, and provide a strategy session where we tell you exactly what steps we’re going to take in order to maximize compensation for your Virginia car crash case.  This strategy session is part of our No Fee If No Recovery contingent fee arrangement.

Brian Glass
Virginia personal injury lawyer selected to SuperLawyers Rising Stars List and the NTLA's Top 40 Under 40.