After an accident: Do I need an attorney?

Before we go into detail about your options lets define what exactly is a personal injury case. A personal injury, car accident, or wrongful death case is any type of claim where a person has been injured or killed due to someone else’s carelessness. If your car was damaged but you were not injured, that is a property damage claim not a personal injury case, and we do not handle those cases (there are other attorneys who do).  If someone’s negligence causes the death of another, it is called a “wrongful death” claim.  Each state has different laws regarding what can be recovered from a wrongful death case so it is imperative that you find an attorney who understand the specialized wrongful death laws of Virginia.

So by now you might be asking yourself whether or not you need an attorney for your case. Well, not necessarily. If there is little or no property damage or the injuries are minor, you may be better off without one.  In these cases hiring an attorney might leave little or nothing for you after your medical and attorney bills. This is just not fair for you and that is why we do not take every small injury case that comes to our office. However, if you would still like some advice on how to handle your case yourself, we can consult you for a small fee, which may save you thousands of dollars!

If you do however have a bigger injury case, it is very important for you to find an attorney. In fact, a 1999 study found that insurance companies pay higher settlements to injured people who use an attorney than those who do not. So if you do find yourself in a situation where you need an attorney, make sure that you choose the right professional for your case.

So how do you find out who is good in your area?

  1. Get our book, The Truth about Lawyer Advertising 
  2. Get a referral from a trusted attorney and ask him to refer you to an attorney that specializes in your area of need. If you need an attorney in an area of practice that we do not offer, call us and we will help you find the right attorney for your case.
  3. Your local bar association is not a good source for a lawyer referral service. Any lawyer can place their name on that list.
  4. Interview several attorneys before you make your decision
  5. Be careful about any attorney who rushes you to sign a contingent fee agreement
  6. Run from any attorney who calls you first
  7. Beware of “runners”
  8. Beware of attorneys who try to solicit your case right after you have had an accident
  9. Beware of any attorney who has many doctors that he would like to refer you to