Frequently Asked Questions
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Who pays for my medical bills that I’ve incurred as a result of the accident?
Your medical bills will always be your responsibility, so if you have health insurance, you should use that insurance when you get medical treatment. If you do not have insurance and cannot pay your bills, you should make arrangements with the medical providers to set up a payment schedule you can afford. We seek reimbursement of any medical bills that you’ve paid, but often times the legal process moves slower than the billing process from the medical providers, so you should not “hold” all medical bills until your case resolves.
How long does it take for a typical case to settle or get decided in court?
Each case is different, but our Norfolk personal injury law firm's default policy is to wait at least until our clients have finished the medical treatment before beginning the negotiation process with the insurance company unless there are extenuating circumstances dictating otherwise. Once the insurance company has received our demand package, it takes between 2-4 weeks to for a review. Almost always, your attorney will be able to tell if you case is going to be one that will settle without the filing of a lawsuit, or will need to undergo litigation to resolve. Either way, your attorney will keep you informed as to the progress of your case. Some cases resolve in a matter of months, other cases take over a year or more.
Why are premises liability cases tough in Virginia?
In order to win a premises liability (slip and fall) case in Virginia (VA), a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney must prove that the premises owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused your fall, and that you as the injured person could not have seen or appreciated the slip, trip or fall risk before you fell. This creates a narrow set of circumstances under which a person can expect to have a successful case, but an experienced attorney can help you understand if your case fits the right criteria.
Are costs and fees the same thing in a contingency basis fee?
No. An attorney’s fee in a contingency contract is a set percentage of whatever is recovered on behalf of the client. The costs are litigation costs advanced to that client in order to process his or her claim, and those costs must be recovered separately from any fee. A client always has the right to pay his or her own costs if preferred.
I was hurt in an auto accident, but what about my property damage? How is that handled?
Most, if not all major car insurance companies have separate departments for property damage (PD) and bodily injury (BI). You want to make sure you’re talking to the PD adjuster if you have questions about the property damage to your vehicle. Damage estimates are performed by someone from the PD department of an insurance company, usually within the first week after an accident. If you disagree with the determination made by the adjuster as to damage, you have the right to file a lawsuit for whatever you believe the damage estimate should have been, but usually those lawsuits are time consuming and most attorneys do not handle that kind of work on a contingency basis.
How much does it cost to pursue a medical malpractice case?
Pursuit of a medical malpractice case can be extremely expensive. The initial review of your medical records by a doctor often will cost between $1500 and $2500, and pursuit of a case all the way through trial may be upwards of $30,000. For these reasons, we have to be extremely careful in the cases we agree to take, because our firm usually fronts the costs of litigation for our clients.
How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
In addition to a review of your medical records and the facts by a qualified medical malpractice attorney, in order to bring a lawsuit you also need a review from another doctor that specializes in the same type of medicine as the one you believe committed malpractice. Usually your Virginia Beach medical malpracitce attorney can assist you in identifying such a doctor.
I had a surgery that didn’t go well, and now I’m worse than I was before the surgery. Do I have a case?
Possibly, but it is hard to tell. There is a large difference between a “bad result” and malpractice, and just because you had a bad result does not mean there was medical malpractice. A review of your medical situation would be necessary in order to tell if you have a case.
What do I need to do if I have a potential medical malpractice case I want an attorney to review?
Medical records are critical for one of our attorneys to review a potential case. You may not need every medical record that has been created regarding your care (or the care of a loved one if you’re contacting us about someone else), but please speak with one of our attorneys about which records are necessary for a proper review.
Do I still have a viable personal injury claim if my health insurance paid my medical bills?
Yes, you still have a viable personal injury case. You have the right to pursue the full value of your medical treatment (i.e. the actual cost of the treatment) rather than simply your co-pay or deductible. For example, if you had a $3,000 medical bill and your deductible was $500, you can claim the full $3,000 bill when filing a personal injury claim against the other party. However, it is important to understand that if you have employer-provided health insurance, you may be required to pay back a portion to the health insurance company. This can be a complicated topic, so be sure to bring it up with one of our experienced Portsmouth personal injury lawyers during your free, confidential consultation.