Personal Injury Claims Aren’t About Revenge, They Are About Protection
At Wakefield Law, we have been practicing personal injury law in Northern Virginia for thirty years. In that time, we have been exposed to the full gambit of thoughts and feelings that people have about personal injury. As lawyers, we have pretty thick skin, but there are a couple of misconceptions about personal injury that we feel compelled to clear up.
After an accident, there is a common calculation that people make: is it worth my time and money to meet with an attorney about this claim? Of course, this calculation is important for all individuals to make. However, there is often an undercurrent that can cloud good judgment. People don’t really trust lawyers, and there is a general feeling that the act of hiring (or even just talking to) an attorney is a confrontational act. This misconception is common, but it’s dangerous. So, we are here to set the record straight. Here are the top four myths that we encounter in our personal injury work:
1. “I don’t want to meet with an attorney. They will just charge me to tell me that I don’t have a substantial enough claim for them to get involved.”
At Wakefield Law, we do not charge for an initial consultation. So, we can put that fear to rest right away. We never charge for an initial phone call to discuss your potential claim. In fact, we don’t charge for communications at all. Our firm performs personal injury work on a contingency basis. This means, if we enter into a client-attorney relationship with you, we charge a percentage of whatever amount we are able to obtain on your behalf. Basically, we don’t get paid until you do. It’s important to note, too, that this contingency relationship begins with an engagement letter that clearly outlines this fee arrangement. Before we’ve signed any engagement letter, you don’t need to worry about owing us a thing.
There is another important worry that is articulated in this myth: my claim is too small to interest an attorney. In fact, that may actually be true. You may give us a call, describe the nature of the accident and your injuries, and we may decide not to take on your claim. This decision isn’t just based on the size of your potential claim or the extent of your injuries. There are a lot of factors that go into our decisions about taking on new clients. However, as we mentioned, there is no charge for a consultation, so you have nothing to lose by asking the question. We are always happy to talk through your potential claim. If it’s not something that we can take on, we may be able to refer you to someone who can better suit your needs. It never hurts to ask!
2. “I am just not a confrontational person. I would rather let the insurance companies work it out amongst themselves.”
Personal injury claims are not about confrontation. In fact, many of the personal injury claims we handle settle in amicable, collaborative resolutions. However, it’s important to remember who is on your side in a negotiation and who is not. Insurance companies are focused on what is best for their bottom line, not for you. Often, insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly as possible, so they will attempt to resolve these matters before you have finished receiving medical treatment for your injuries. When you hire a personal injury attorney, you have someone involved in those negotiations whose only interest is your benefit. An attorney can not only ensure that you get the best possible settlement offer, but he or she can also negotiate with health care providers over any outstanding medical bills. You can read more about this process here. In short, hiring a lawyer can end this process with more money in your pocket.
3. “I am too busy to meet with an attorney. I’ll just handle it myself.”
If having a busy schedule is what’s keeping you from reaching out to an attorney, then we encourage you to take a closer look. Working with an attorney may take a little time at the beginning of your representation to bring the attorney up to speed and answer any questions she or he may have, but, once the intake is complete, you are off the hook. You can return to work, continue your medical treatment, and focus on what matters most to you while your attorney handles all communications and negotiations with health care providers and insurance companies. In many instances, the attorneys at Wakefield Law will even assist you in resolving your claim for vehicle damage and related expenses. Our years of experience and our committed, skilled team allows us to advocate for your interests and resolve personal injury claims efficiently and effectively.
4. “I know my injuries are the result of an accident. I am not looking for revenge.”
Again, pursuing a personal injury claim through an attorney isn’t about exacting revenge or squeezing the negligent party for as much money as you can get. It’s purely about protecting yourself. Even if the negligent party’s actions were understandable (maybe they were even the result of the same kind of mistake you’ve made in the past), that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be appropriately compensated and receive the medical care you require. An experienced and passionate personal injury attorney will advocate for your interests every step of the way, making sure that you receive the treatment you require, time to rest and recuperate, and compensation for your losses. It just makes sense.
If you were injured in an accident and you aren’t sure whether you need a personal injury attorney, reach out to Charles and Michael, the experienced attorneys here at Wakefield Law. We make every effort to ensure our clients are well cared for and vigorously represented. Remember, we don’t charge for a consultation, and it never hurts to ask. Give our office a call at 703-771-9740.