If you’re getting this message, you’ve recently been involved in a Virginia car accident. And you reached out to us here at BenGlassLaw for help. First, I want to personally thank you for taking the time to contact us. Second, I want to tell you that you’re already making good decisions about your case. Because, at BenGlassLaw, we thrive on educating the public about their rights - even if it means not necessarily taking them on as a client. Lastly, I wanted to take a little time to explain to you what happens next.
Given that your accident recently happened, you are likely still recovering from your injuries. You may not have even seen a medical provider. And even if you have, that provider has not given you a specific “game plan,” to guide you back to physical health.
Because your recovery (and therefore your injuries) are still unclear, we at BenGlassLaw think that you need to further pursue treatment and get more information from your doctors before we can recommend getting us on board in your case. (To be clear, if your recovery proves smooth, you may not even need to hire an attorney at all!)
So here’s our “game plan” for you:
- Pursue your treatment as prescribed by your doctors.
In doing so, you’ll maximize your chances of getting back to 100%. You’ll also be documenting your injuries, which will help out in proving your case if the insurance companies contest your injuries at a later date.
- For those of you that have health insurance, use it!
I can’t tell you how many people tell me their doctors/providers told them not to use their health insurance because they were injured in a car accident. Assuming your doctor/provider(s) is an “in-network-provider,” they are obligated by Virginia law to accept your health insurance. (Check out the law by clicking here). Make them. It will save you money in the long term, and it will also protect your credit because your bills will get paid.
- You don’t need to give a recorded statement or sign a HIPPA release for the defendant’s insurance company.
If the adjuster for the defendant’s insurance company is calling you, just be polite, tell them you’re still treating, and you’ll get back to them when you’re ready. Of course, they have a right to investigate the claim. But not right now! If they are jerks, politely tell them you’ll likely have to get an attorney and end the call with them.
- Get your car fixed.
Typically, making your property damage claim will be pretty straightforward. You’ll either get the defendant’s insurance company to pay for it, or you’ll go through your own insurance. And don’t worry, by settling the property damage portion of your claim, it doesn’t waive your personal injury claim rights. Just be clear with them that your settlement is for the property damage portion only. (NOTE - for those of you unhappy with the insurance company’s offer for your car, this isn’t unusual. Typically your car is worth more to you than it’s “blue book value.” But the courts define your car's worth by that market value rate. You can hire an attorney to help out. But you’ll likely end up paying the attorney any premium you make.
- Check to see how much "UIM" and "MedPay" coverage you have.
When you bought your car insurance, you likely bought multiple types of insurance. Given your circumstances, you'll want to check your insurance policy for two types right now. The first is medical expense coverage or "MedPay." This policy will provide you additional cash to help pay for bills that your health insurance hasn't covered, in the event that you have unpaid medical bills. The second type of coverage is under-insured motorist coverage ("UIM"). This is coverage that you can tap into in case it turns out the defendant who hurt you doesn't have enough insurance. By knowing your UIM coverage, you'll be in a better position to know if you'll have enough insurance even if the defendant is underinsured.
- Get your police accident report and preserve any photographs you took of property damage to your vehicle and/or the accident scene.
At some point, you'll need your police report and photographs. So do yourself a favor, and get those documents together immediately and preserve them. It will save you time in the long run.
- Call us back in about three to four weeks.
Look, given that your accident just happened, it’s unlikely that we will be able to advise you regarding whether you should bring us on. That’s because we simply don’t have enough information about your case. If your recovery proves smooth, you may not even have to hire an attorney (and pay their fee). If things get complicated, we will talk about what your best options are, including hiring us. At BenGlassLaw, we typically represent individuals with the most complex/devastating injuries because that’s where we find we can add the most value. Hopefully, you recover well and you don’t even need us! NOTE - we get a lot of calls every day. So in situations like yours, we put the responsibility on the potential client to reach back out to us. Otherwise we’ll assume they don’t need us. This is because if we tasked ourselves with reaching back out to every potential client, we’d never get any work done! Just keep in mind, in Virginia, there’s generally a two (2) year statute of limitations for personal injury cases (and in some instances it can be shorter). So don’t sit on your rights!
- Download our book, "Get it Settled."
Whether or not you need an attorney (and even for clients we hire), I always recommend everyone to download and read our book, "Get it Settled." For individuals that end up pursuing their own claims, it walks them through the settlement process, drafting demand letters, and Virginia personal injury law. It helps people understand "how the sausage is made." I'd recommend you read it now because it will give you a better idea of what to expect as your case progresses. You can download it here.
But, James, I Don’t Want to Deal With This Insurance Stuff! I Just Want an Attorney Right No.
I can certainly understand this desire. However, as I said above, we at BenGlassLaw, generally focus on the most complex injury cases. We are not a volume business, and our goal is to make sure that we only take on cases where we are confident that we can add value to their claim. This typically happens in the high complexity cases.
That said, we know some people just want to pay for someone else to “take care of it,” regardless of whether it saves them money. I get it - I take my dry cleaning into the cleaners because I have no desire to iron and dry clean my shirt! If that’s the case, we have a network of great attorneys whom we can refer you to immediately if you don’t want to wait. Simply call our office at 703-591-9829, and we’ll get you to a good friend of ours right away.
Thanks, again, for reaching out!
The BenGlassLaw family does wish you smooth recovery. And, of course, if something urgent comes up, feel free to call us right away. We just find that three to four weeks generally gives you enough time to get a better handle on your injuries and recovery.
Until we chat again, take care!