When interviewing new or potential clients, personal injury lawyers are told a number of reasons as to why the victims or families of victims feel they do not need a lawyer or why they delayed in seeking counsel. When the truth is realized, these clients quickly come to realize that their reasons were really just myths – with no real basis in fact! Understanding a few of these myths may help in avoiding the problems that can be created by refusing or delaying proper representation in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

I don’t need an attorney, I can handle it myself!

Rarely can anyone get away with self representation. Insurance companies require unrepresented victims to play by their rules. Representing yourself will likely just result in simply losing time and money.

I can’t afford an attorney!

Most personal injury attorneys work on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that the attorney only receives a fee if there is a settlement or favorable verdict. If there is no recovery, there is no attorney’s fee.

I will save money by not going to an attorney!

Many victims (or families of victims) will likely only lose money by not seeking proper representation. Victims or families of victims are not familiar with settlement and verdict histories for that type of case in the venue most likely favorable to them. Victims or families of victims have no experience in negotiating with trained adjusters or attorneys in these types of cases. Victims or families of victims are not familiar with the multiple avenues of recovery available to them. Victims or families of victims are not aware of the liens that may have to be satisfied with the proceeds (including health insurance, workers compensation, Medicare and Medicaid). Victims or families of victims are not aware of the repercussions the settlement may have on public benefits.

I can handle it for now and get an attorney later if I really need one.

Early hiring of an attorney will preserve your right to pursue an action and protect you. A personal injury attorney can make sure that your case is properly investigated early – including locating and interviewing witnesses and the police officer, as well as photographing the scene, vehicle and injuries (in the case of a motor vehicle accident). A personal injury attorney can prevent the unnecessary release of your life-long medical and employment records that most insurance companies try to obtain prior to litigation. A personal injury attorney will prevent the insurance company from obtaining a recorded statement outside of litigation. A personal injury attorney will protect a victim or victim’s family from the premature settlement of a claim, making every effort to include every element of damages the victim is entitled to recover.

I don’t need an attorney since I was not at fault!

Whereas you may think you were not at fault, the other side will work diligently to prove you were at least partially at fault. In Virginia, if they can prove you were even partially at fault, you are prohibited from any recovery.

The insurance company says I don’t need an attorney – that they will make sure I am fully compensated!

Sadly, many defendants and insurance adjusters take advantage of kind, injured, upset or grieving victims. Adjusters are trained to say what you want to hear and what will allow them to settle the case for the lowest amount possible. Don’t ever forget that insurance companies are businesses and that paying out claims takes away from their profit!

If you have any questions about personal injury or wrongful death, contact one of the personal injury attorneys at MG Law for a free consultation.

K. Ruppert Beirne

The materials on this website are meant for informational purposes only and nothing contained in this site is to be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly. Do not act upon the information on this site without seeking professional guidance. Information on this website about specific matters or success in previous cases is not meant to be a prediction or guarantee of similar results in any other case. Each case consists of factors and applicable law unique to that case and you should consult an attorney.