Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Personal Injury Law

We have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and answers on a broad range of Virginia personal injury and wrongful death topics. Take some time to get informed on personal injury law, railroad worker injury law, and more by browsing our FAQs.
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  • What is a contingency fee?

    A contingency fee is how personal injury attorneys get paid for the work they do for accident victims. Instead of billing the client by the hour, a personal injury attorney will enter into an agreement with the client that they will be paid a percentage of the final settlement or award the client receives. This means that the client is only responsible for the attorney’s fees and any other case-related costs unless the attorney is successful in obtaining financial compensation, either through a settlement with the insurance company or through an award determined by the court in litigation.

  • I have been injured in an accident and would like to retain a personal injury attorney. How much does a consultation cost?

    At Shapiro & Appleton, we offer free and confidential consultations to all potential clients. We will discuss and evaluate your case to determine what legal options you may have. It cost nothing to find out where you stand legally.

  • What if I want to change attorneys in the middle of the case because I am not happy with their performance?

    If you are having issues with your attorney and are thinking of changing, the new attorney will contact the current attorney. One of the main issues that they will address is what that attorney is owed for their services. This will depend on a few factors, including:

    • What stage is the case in
    • What are the number of hours the attorney has spent on the case
    • What are the state laws addressing this issue

    The former attorney will be paid from the settlement or judgment amount received.

  • What is the difference between fees and expenses in a personal injury case?

    There are other expenses besides the attorney fees which are associated with a personal injury case. These expenses include:

    • Obtaining copies of reports and records, such as police reports and medical records
    • Database maintenance, copying, and other office costs
    • Legal research costs
    • Fees for expert witnesses and investigators
    • Court costs, such as filing fees and deposition costs

  • How are the costs handled between the attorney/client relationship in a personal injury case?

    The majority of personal injury law firms do not charge for the initial consultation. This is beneficial for the victim to be able to speak to several different attorneys before making their choice. Personal injury attorneys usually take cases based on a contingency fee basis. This means the attorney is paid a percentage of the final amount received in a settlement of judgment. If there is no settlement or award amount, then the victim owes nothing in attorney fees.

  • Are there different requirements in proving a personal injury claim and personal injury lawsuit?

    When a victim has been injured in an accident caused by another party or parties, they are legally entitled to pursue damages for financial compensation for the losses their injuries have caused. Many people use the phrases personal injury claim and personal injury lawsuit interchangeably, however, there are differences, including:

    Unlike a personal injury claim, where parties come to an agreement, an attorney needs to prove certain elements in order to be successful in a personal injury lawsuit:

    1. The at-fault party owed a legal duty of care to the victim.
    2. The at-fault party breached that duty.
    3. That breach caused harm to the victim.

  • If I am in a car accident, what should I know about insurance adjusters calling me?

    If you were hurt by another driver, you need to file a claim with that driver's insurance firm. You will receive a call from the company's insurance adjuster. They will want to know about the crash, your injuries and much more.

  • What are my options if I was hurt by a distracted driver using a cell phone in Virginia?

    You can sue them in civil court for your damages and injuries. Our experienced attorneys will investigate the accident, examine phone records and review the police report to determine if distracted driving was a cause of the crash. You could be due substantial compensation, so it is always worth consulting a Virginia personal injury attorney to learn your legal options. 

  • What are the laws in Virginia about driving with a cell phone?

    The state government of Virginia finally took action to prevent needless distracted driving deaths recently. A new law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, which will mandate a $125 fine the first time anyone holds a cell phone while operating a vehicle on a highway in Virginia. Almost any road with a speed limit above 35 is considered a state or federal highway. 

  • What questions should I ask the attorney to determine if he is the best one to represent me?

    1. Do you charge by the hour or do you work on a contingency fee basis? 
    2. Are there any costs associated with the case that I must pay out of pocket? 
    3. How many personal injury cases like mine have you handled? 
    4. How long with the case take to settle? 
    5. What is a rough estimate of the value of my case