Do I need to hire an attorney to handle my car accident case?
Car crash cases really break down into three categories when you’re deciding whether or not you want to hire a lawyer.
Property Damage Only
Usually, if you suffered no personal injuries, you should be able to settle your car accident case with the opposing insurance adjuster for approximately the same amount of money that an attorney could obtain for you. In property damage cases, you are entitled to money to repair or replace your car and for the use of a rental vehicle until your car is repaired or replaced. This type of work really does not require much, if any, legal skill. For repairs, simply get quotes from reputable repair shops and compare them to the amount offered by the adjuster. If your car has been totaled, determine the fair market value of your car by consulting reference sources such as the Kelly Blue Book, NADA Used Car Guides or Edmunds. Unfortunately, Virginia has very poor law on getting your car replaced if it is totalled and so you’ll probably end up with less money that it takes to actually purcahse the same car that was involved in the crash, but this is not typically something an attorney can help you with anyway.
Minor Injury Cases
If the injures are minor and you fully recover from the injuries in a few days, you probably do not need an attorney. Our firm considers “minor” to mean that you had less than $3,000.00 in medical bills. To obtain a fair settlement for your minor injury claim, read our website or order our free book on settling your Virginia car accident case and simply execute some of the strategies that are discussed. Like the property damage only type cases, minor injury cases usually do not justify the use of an attorney. If you have less than $3,000 in medical bills, we likely will not accept your case. We do this because we know that our fee will take up too much money to be worth it and you’ll end up with less in your pocket than you might have had without us. And that’s the last thing we want.
Major Injury Cases
If your case involves more than just property damage and minor injuries, it is likely that you will benefit by hiring an attorney. We’ve found that most people involved in motor vehicle crashes do not have the necessary negotiation skills, knowledge of the law and experience in evaluating damages to obtain a fair settlement value for major injury cases. Remember that the deck is stacked against you in these cases because of how much more than insurance company knows about the law than you do and the tricks the insurance companies play with car accident victims.. Do not be misled by the adjuster’s statements that hiring an attorney will reduce your net settlement or delay payment for your claim. This is simply not true in larger accident cases. In 2004, the Insurance Resource Council completed a study that found that people who used an attorney received an average of 3½ times more money in settlement than those individuals who settled on their own.