Under Virginia Code §8.01-243, when a victim is injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another party or parties, they are entitled to pursue damages against the at-fault party for the losses the injuries have caused them to suffer. These losses can include the costs of medical treatment, loss of income and benefits from being unable to work while they recover from their injuries, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and more.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, these damages can be paid to the victim either through a settlement agreement with the at-fault party/their insurance company or awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. As a Virginia personal injury attorney, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked by potential clients is “What do I have to pay out of my settlement or the money I receive at trial?”
The following is a brief overview to that question. For more detailed information, or to find out how our legal team can assist you with your situation, contact Shapiro & Appleton for a free, no-obligation consultation.
- Collecting Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
- Collecting Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Attorney’s Contingent Fee: Percentage of Gross Recovery
Most personal injury law firms, including ours, work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that the attorney is only paid if they are able to either obtain a settlement or a jury award for the victim. Usually, the attorney will receive approximately one-third of the amount the settlement or award. This amount may vary, depending on the type of case it is or other factors. The benefit to the client with a contingent fee structure as opposed to paying the attorney a retainer and/or hourly billing is that the attorney is only paid if they are successful in obtaining monetary damages for the victim.
Attorney Costs: Firm’s Cost of Pursuing a Claim or Litigation
The reality of pursuing a personal injury claim – whether through negotiations with the insurance company or litigating the case in court – is that there are expenses that arise for materials and other evidence that a personal injury attorney needs to prove the victim’s case. Some of these expenses include obtaining all medical records, medical consultations with the victim’s physicians, fees for experts that may be needed for information or to testify if the case goes to trial, witness fees for the victim’s physicians to testify during a trial, and court fees.
In many other types of legal cases, the client is expected to pay these fees upfront, however, in a personal injury case, the law allows the victim’s attorney to advance these expenses on their behalf. The attorney will pay for all of these expenses and will be reimbursed the costs from any settlement or award that the victim receives. If for some reason there is insufficient recovery amount or no recovery amount, the victim is not responsible for paying these expenses back. Instead, the personal injury law firm will write these costs off as a non-recoverable loss.
A victim should also pay all outstanding medical bills. Our Virginia personal injury law firm will try to negotiate to get reduced amounts. Under Virginia Code §8.01-66.2, when a victim is injured because of the negligence of another party and they receive medical treatment, these medical providers have a lien against any amount the victim may receive from the at-fault party.
The amount of liens include $2,500 for hospital and nursing homes; $750 for each physician, nurse, physical therapist, or pharmacy; and $200 for each emergency medical services provider.
Certain medical insurance providers have the right to recover the amount of benefits paid as a result of the negligence of a third party – ERISA plans, Tricare, Medicare, and Medicaid. Nonetheless, it is always best to use your own health insurance initially because these companies pay a lower contractual rate than the full price of services provided, however, our personal injury attorneys present the full bill to an insurance company or jury so the difference is to the benefit of the client.
If workers’ compensation benefits have been paid, the workers’ compensation insurer will have alien on a third-party case.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
It is important to keep in mind that not all of these are applicable in every case. If you have been injured as a result of another party’s actions, contact a Virginia personal injury attorney at Shapiro & Appleton to set up a free and confidential case evaluation. Our firm has been successfully advocating for injured victims for more than 30 years and will use all available resources to get you the results you deserve.