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Winning Personal Injury Claims

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Winning Personal Injury Cases

Brien Roche

Facts Are Facts

Winning personal injury claims is a function of how well “armed” you are.  Being well armed means being represented by competent counsel and also having a set of facts that justify your claim.  A favorable set of facts is not something that you can make up.  The facts are the facts as they say.  The other party is at fault. You are not at fault. The fault of the other party caused your damages. Finally your damages are substantial and provable.

Assuming that describes your case and it is presented by competent counsel you should end up with a verdict that makes you whole. Being made whole means you are awarded a sum of money that restores you to your prior status to the extent money can do so. Keep in mind all the court can give you is money. The court can’t restore you physically to your prior condition. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Value Is Varaible

You need to keep in mind that a case that may be worth $100,000 in one locale. In another locale it may be worth only $10,000.

Your lawyer must advise you as to what your case may be worth in the locale where it will be tried. In that regard there are two values that should be looked at. The settlement value of your case is going to be less than what a local jury may award. The verdict value or range may be higher. However to get within that verdict value or range means incurring the cost and risks of going to trial.

Common Mistakes That Make Winning Personal Injury Claims Difficult

There are many elements to a personal injury case.  There likewise are countless ways that a truly injured person can harm his or her own case.  This harm may come through mistake or it may be the result of the claimant thinking that she knows what is best.

Gaps in Treatment

One thing that insurance adjusters look for in injury claims is gaps in treatment.  For instance if after the collision you go to the emergency room and then do not seek any further treatment for two (2) months, that gap in treatment will be focused on.  The insurance adjuster is going to claim that you must have recovered from the injury. Otherwise you would have sought more prompt treatment following the ER visit. Certainly you should not be seeking treatment if you do not need it.  However if you do need it, you need to get it. In addition it needs to be continuous.  Arguing to the jury that you were trying to tough it out may win the day. But it also may not.

Misstating the Facts

When you go to the ER or when you go to see a doctor you will be asked what happened.  You need to state consistently what happened.  Facts are facts.  Do not be adding to those facts.  Do not be subtracting from those facts.  What is so often seen in medical records is the injured party will report the striking vehicle was going 5 miles per hour. Days later at the time of the first doctor’s visit, that speed has increased to 40 miles per hour.  You need to set in your mind what the facts are. Thereafter remain true to those facts.

Failure to Follow the Recommended Treatment

If your treating doctor advises that you go to see a neurosurgeon, then you need to do so. Where your treating doctor advises home exercises, then you need to do them. If you fail to do so that may hurt your claim.

Over or Under Stating Symptoms

Your symptoms are your symptoms.  If you have intense back pain then it should be described as being intense back pain.  If your back pain has changed from day to day then you need to point that out to the doctor.  This does not mean that all of your comments are going to be correctly recorded. A common problem is that some people minimize their symptoms.  Other people may expand them.  Either way, this is going to hurt your claim. Stick with the facts.

Signing Away Your Rights

An insurance adjuster may show up on your doorstep within days of a crash. He wants to either take a recorded statement from you or to get you to sign a medical release. Sometimes they will even wave a check in front of you. They may try to get you to sign a release of all claims.  You need to be careful. 

In most cases you do not want to settle a injury claim until you have either recovered 100% or gotten as well as you are going to get.  If you are thinking about hiring a lawyer you should not be dealing with a claims adjuster except for the damages to your car.  You should not be giving any recorded statements.  Claims adjusters, in their own way, attempt to be honest. They have a habit of asking leading questions when they are taking a recorded statement.  A leading question is one that suggests what the answer is.  In doing that they may get the injured party to say something they did not mean.  Once they have a recording reflecting that then at that point your case has been hurt.

Pursuing Chiropractic Care

I am not a big fan of chiropractic care.  Insurers tend to look closely at chiropractic care.  Some chiropractors have a practice of over treating.  They can quickly run up a huge bill and the insurance company will then contest the reasonableness of the bill.  If you are going to pursue chiropractic care, you need to advise your lawyer. You need to also be conscious of the fact that chiropractic care like physical therapy should be of a focused duration.  Chiropractic care that goes on for weeks or months may be challenged by the insurer.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. For more information about personal injury claims see the other pages on this site.  In regards to personal injury in general see the pages on Wikipedia.

Winning Personal Injury Claims For $50,000 or More

How you say something is some times of greater import than what you say.  That is true as to how you present your claim to an insurer. That is especially true in the Fairfax, Virginia area.

Fault and Injury

Evaluating an injury case is a function of the liability picture and the scope of the injury.  If your injury is minor, then there probably is no way you are going to achieve a $50,000 settlement.  If you have a serious injury, then you may be able to achieve that type of result.

What insurers are looking at is the medical bills incurred and the scope of any temporary or long term disability.  How do you prove the scope of that impairment?  The best evidence may be the physical therapy records.  Those records are written in code. However what they show is the progress of the patient. This status is reported in numbers. The numbers show the level of impairment.

Claims people are well attuned to reading these records.  The records should state what limits in motion the patient is having, and the level of pain the patient reports and what level the therapist sees proof of.

Permanency

Any proof of being permanently impaired has to come from a medical doctor.  In order to get such a report the doctor will do a calculation as to the extent of disability based on guidelines from the AMA.   The doctor may opine that the body part has a permanent partial disability to which the doctor ascribes a number.  Five percent is the smallest that most doctors will give. Anything over that may equate into a loss as to the whole body.

A video showing the actual movement of the person provides graphic proof of the extent of disability. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Winning Personal Injury Claims With Demands For Settlement

Demands for settlement in any injury case are challenging. The demand should state a dollar amount. In Fairfax, Virginia claims adjusters certainly realize this is a tight fisted area.  It is not unusual for Fairfax juries to award plaintiffs simply their medical bills and lost income and nothing more.  That has contributed to the insurers “low-balling” any demand.

However the rule of thumb in terms of making a demand is to start with a figure that is on the high side of what is reasonable. You must recognize that you will have to compromise from that figure. Beginning on the high side gives you some wiggle room.

If your opening demand for settlement is “out of the ball park” that sends a message to the insurer that there may not be any sense in talking. There is nothing that compels the claims person to speak with you. If they refuse to talk that puts you in a  position where either you reduce your demand or file suit.

What is considered reasonable as a demand is something that is within the potential jury verdict range for that locale.

Claims Adjusters Are Not On Your Side

Claims people are either direct employees of the insurer or employees of so-called adjusting firms. These third party adjusters (TPA) contract with insurers to adjust their claims. Many smaller insurers and self insured companies employ TPAs.

There is another category of adjuster which is called a public adjuster.  A public adjuster normally is involved only in property damage claims. These adjusters represent the claimant against the insurer. They will investigate the claim, determine the scope of coverage, itemize all of the damages and then put a value on those items. They deal with the insurer for settlement.  Most public adjusting firms take a percentage of of the final recovery. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Vehicle Total Loss

The concept of a auto being a total loss is of minor import if it an older car and of low value.  However the extent of physical damage may be of import. This may bear on the severity of impact and the resulting injury to the plaintiff.

Insurers declare an auto a total loss if the repair costs exceeds more than 70% of value.  Value is set by books put out by the National Automobile Dealers Association. If  a car is worth $5,000 and the repair cost is $3,500 then that may be totaled even though the damage is not much.

Cyber-Settling Personal Injury Claims

The concept of cyber settling personal injury claims is not new.  A lawyer by the name of James Ring from Boston has a website that is based upon game theory. The goal is to eliminate all of the back and forth that tends to go on in the course of settlement discussions.

Each party confidentially submits what that party believes to be the true value of the case.  Each value is referred to as being final. There is no chance to dicker off that number.  The value of the case then is set at the median between those numbers. The flaw in this system is that the parties may not be honest in the number they submit. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Getting Affordable Medical Care

Affordable medical care is an issue for someone who is injured. Medical costs drive an estimated 60% of personal bankruptcies across the country.

Some attorneys refer clients to doctors for treatment. The doctor may take on the patient based on an assignment. This means the doctor does not get paid until the case is over. If there is no recovery then the patient owes the doctor his fee. I normally do not make such medical referrals.

Returning To Work

The issue of a return to work while you have a personal injury claim pending should be straight forward. You return to work when your doctor allows such. My advice to clients is that you need to make decisions like that as if the injury claim did not exist.  If in fact  you are able to return to work and have been medically cleared for such then you should return to work.

If you are not able to return to work even though medically cleared you must take this up with the doctor.

Secrecy of Personal Injury Settlements

Many insurers request that plaintiffs in injury actions sign secrecy or confidentiality agreements.  These can be innocent if they only cover the basic terms of the settlement.  However, many go much further and bar disclosures of relevant evidence to other claimants. These may violate what are called the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 3.4(f) states that an attorney cannot request that any person, other than the lawyer’s own client or client’s relatives or employees, refrain from voluntarily providing relevant information to another party.  The term party in this context does not just refer to a party to the suit but means any person with a current or future claim against that same defendant.  As such, when an attorney for a defendant drafts an agreement requesting such non-disclosure the plaintiff’s attorney can rightfully object.

Rule 5.6(b) states that lawyers cannot take part in any settlement agreement that restricts a lawyer’s right to practice law.  The purpose of this rule is to provide broad access to legal talent. This rule covers settlements that may have the effect of making a lawyer unavailable to others who wish to pursue a claim.

Such restrictions on the flow of information is contrary to our American system of justice. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Winning Personal Injury Claims For Older Plaintiffs

Older plaintiffs can be challenging in terms of being able to prove their damages.  They may be at the end of their life. Therefore their injuries may be thought of as having lesser value.  That is mistaken and needs to be overcome.

The groundwork needs to be laid by showing the context in which the older plaintiff was injured.  That is, was the location one that advertised or sought patronage from seniors.

In looking at the effect of an injury upon your plaintiff you must consider several factors:

    Convalescence

  • The plaintiff may not have local family members to help them convalesce and as such the stress of the injury is greater.
  • Fractures put senior into a sedentary life which alters their daily routine, takes away their mobility and creates a host of other health problems.
  • Seniors that are diabetics tend to heal more slowly than those that are not. In addition the effect of injury to a diabetic is much worse due to circulation problems.
  • An injury can convert a happy marriage into a nurse/patient relationship. This puts strain on the injured party and the care giver and the relationship.
  • The overall frequency of visits to health care providers as a result of the injury is compelling proof of injury. It shows how the elderly plaintiff now has a diminished outlook of good health into the future.

    Dignity

  • A sense of dignity and ability  to care for oneself is basic to the elderly.  The loss of that provides compelling testimony that must be derived from the plaintiff.
  • The inability to drive is a huge loss as a person gets older.
  • The inability to interact with other seniors isolates the elderly plaintiff.
  • Elderly people know that the last place they want to end up is in a nursing home.  If that is where they are as a result of the injury, then their worst nightmare is upon them.
  • Life Expectancy

  • In looking at the life expectancy of an elderly plaintiff it is important not just to rely upon the life table. The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published by the Department of Commerce, contains life expectancy figures that are more generous than what is in the State Code.
  • Call, or contact us for a free consult.

    The Logic of Settling

    In most cases, it makes sense to submit your claim to the insurer to see if the matter can be resolved prior to filing suit. There are some exceptions to that.  For instance, if there is an issue as to who the at fault party is then you need to file suit promptly. You need to clarify who are the at fault parties so that there is no chance for the statute of limitations to expire.

    That process of attempting to settle with an insurer can be a lengthy one. On the short end it may be concluded within 30 days. However it is not unusual for this to take several months.

    Defending Personal Injury Claims

    Defending personal injury claims where you have been sued first involves giving notice to your insurer. You must submit the lawsuit or claim letter promptly. Your insurer will appoint defense counsel for you if you have been sued.

    The defenses to an injury claim are contributory negligence meaning that the party bringing the claim is guilty of some fault which may be a bar to that claim. Assumption of the risk means that the party bringing the claim has assumed the risk of injury. That may be a bar to the claim. The statute of limitations governs when suit must be filed. Sudden emergency applies where you were confronted with a sudden emergency not of your making and you reacted in a reasonable fashion.

    There are a number of other defenses that may exist.  The more basic defenses consist of the fact that you did not do it. In other words you did not run the red light. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

    Dealing With Debt Collection Firms

    Starting in January of 2013 the U.S. began regulating 175 debt collection firms that account for nearly 63 percent of the debt collection market.   Outstanding medical bills are commonly turned over to debt collection agencies.

    The companies subject to these new rules are those that buy debt. In addition the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun accepting complaints from individuals who have had problems with collection agencies wherein they have improperly reported info to the credit bureaus.

    However the consumer must first contact the credit reporting company and go through their complaint process. If the matter cannot be resolved informally then a complaint may be brought to the federal agency.

    One public interest group reports that 79 percent of credit reports have been found to have some type of error.  You should check your credit report each year for errors.  This can be obtained from the three different major credit bureaus by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.

    Personal Injury and Divorce

    In the Fairfax, Virginia area, as is true throughout the state of Virginia, a spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s personal injury or workers’ comp settlement. These personal injury divorce issues need to be addressed before the case is settled

    Equitable Distribution

    Virginia has adopted what is known as an Equitable Distribution statute. This provides for a fair distribution of what is referred to as marital property.

    A personal injury settlement or a workers’ compensation settlement may be marital property to the extent it is attributable to lost wages or medical expenses not covered by health insurance accruing during the marriage and before the last separation of the parties.

    For instance one spouse is injured during the course of the marriage while the parties are still living together. There is resulting loss of income and medical expenses that are not reimbursed by health insurance.  To the extent that the settlement involves reimbursement for those items they are deemed to be marital property. The non-injured spouse may have a right to a portion of that money. It becomes a matter of discretion for the trial court to decide what is equitable.

    Call, or contact us for a free consult. For more information about personal injury see the pages on Wikipedia.

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Winning Personal Injury Claims

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Winning Personal Injury Cases

Brien Roche

Facts Are Facts

Winning personal injury claims is a function of how well “armed” you are.  Being well armed means being represented by competent counsel and also having a set of facts that justify your claim.  A favorable set of facts is not something that you can make up.  The facts are the facts as they say.  The other party is at fault. You are not at fault. The fault of the other party caused your damages. Finally your damages are substantial and provable.

Assuming that describes your case and it is presented by competent counsel you should end up with a verdict that makes you whole. Being made whole means you are awarded a sum of money that restores you to your prior status to the extent money can do so. Keep in mind all the court can give you is money. The court can’t restore you physically to your prior condition. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Value Is Varaible

You need to keep in mind that a case that may be worth $100,000 in one locale. In another locale it may be worth only $10,000.

Your lawyer must advise you as to what your case may be worth in the locale where it will be tried. In that regard there are two values that should be looked at. The settlement value of your case is going to be less than what a local jury may award. The verdict value or range may be higher. However to get within that verdict value or range means incurring the cost and risks of going to trial.

Common Mistakes That Make Winning Personal Injury Claims Difficult

There are many elements to a personal injury case.  There likewise are countless ways that a truly injured person can harm his or her own case.  This harm may come through mistake or it may be the result of the claimant thinking that she knows what is best.

Gaps in Treatment

One thing that insurance adjusters look for in injury claims is gaps in treatment.  For instance if after the collision you go to the emergency room and then do not seek any further treatment for two (2) months, that gap in treatment will be focused on.  The insurance adjuster is going to claim that you must have recovered from the injury. Otherwise you would have sought more prompt treatment following the ER visit. Certainly you should not be seeking treatment if you do not need it.  However if you do need it, you need to get it. In addition it needs to be continuous.  Arguing to the jury that you were trying to tough it out may win the day. But it also may not.

Misstating the Facts

When you go to the ER or when you go to see a doctor you will be asked what happened.  You need to state consistently what happened.  Facts are facts.  Do not be adding to those facts.  Do not be subtracting from those facts.  What is so often seen in medical records is the injured party will report the striking vehicle was going 5 miles per hour. Days later at the time of the first doctor’s visit, that speed has increased to 40 miles per hour.  You need to set in your mind what the facts are. Thereafter remain true to those facts.

Failure to Follow the Recommended Treatment

If your treating doctor advises that you go to see a neurosurgeon, then you need to do so. Where your treating doctor advises home exercises, then you need to do them. If you fail to do so that may hurt your claim.

Over or Under Stating Symptoms

Your symptoms are your symptoms.  If you have intense back pain then it should be described as being intense back pain.  If your back pain has changed from day to day then you need to point that out to the doctor.  This does not mean that all of your comments are going to be correctly recorded. A common problem is that some people minimize their symptoms.  Other people may expand them.  Either way, this is going to hurt your claim. Stick with the facts.

Signing Away Your Rights

An insurance adjuster may show up on your doorstep within days of a crash. He wants to either take a recorded statement from you or to get you to sign a medical release. Sometimes they will even wave a check in front of you. They may try to get you to sign a release of all claims.  You need to be careful. 

In most cases you do not want to settle a injury claim until you have either recovered 100% or gotten as well as you are going to get.  If you are thinking about hiring a lawyer you should not be dealing with a claims adjuster except for the damages to your car.  You should not be giving any recorded statements.  Claims adjusters, in their own way, attempt to be honest. They have a habit of asking leading questions when they are taking a recorded statement.  A leading question is one that suggests what the answer is.  In doing that they may get the injured party to say something they did not mean.  Once they have a recording reflecting that then at that point your case has been hurt.

Pursuing Chiropractic Care

I am not a big fan of chiropractic care.  Insurers tend to look closely at chiropractic care.  Some chiropractors have a practice of over treating.  They can quickly run up a huge bill and the insurance company will then contest the reasonableness of the bill.  If you are going to pursue chiropractic care, you need to advise your lawyer. You need to also be conscious of the fact that chiropractic care like physical therapy should be of a focused duration.  Chiropractic care that goes on for weeks or months may be challenged by the insurer.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. For more information about personal injury claims see the other pages on this site.  In regards to personal injury in general see the pages on Wikipedia.

Winning Personal Injury Claims For $50,000 or More

How you say something is some times of greater import than what you say.  That is true as to how you present your claim to an insurer. That is especially true in the Fairfax, Virginia area.

Fault and Injury

Evaluating an injury case is a function of the liability picture and the scope of the injury.  If your injury is minor, then there probably is no way you are going to achieve a $50,000 settlement.  If you have a serious injury, then you may be able to achieve that type of result.

What insurers are looking at is the medical bills incurred and the scope of any temporary or long term disability.  How do you prove the scope of that impairment?  The best evidence may be the physical therapy records.  Those records are written in code. However what they show is the progress of the patient. This status is reported in numbers. The numbers show the level of impairment.

Claims people are well attuned to reading these records.  The records should state what limits in motion the patient is having, and the level of pain the patient reports and what level the therapist sees proof of.

Permanency

Any proof of being permanently impaired has to come from a medical doctor.  In order to get such a report the doctor will do a calculation as to the extent of disability based on guidelines from the AMA.   The doctor may opine that the body part has a permanent partial disability to which the doctor ascribes a number.  Five percent is the smallest that most doctors will give. Anything over that may equate into a loss as to the whole body.

A video showing the actual movement of the person provides graphic proof of the extent of disability. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Winning Personal Injury Claims With Demands For Settlement

Demands for settlement in any injury case are challenging. The demand should state a dollar amount. In Fairfax, Virginia claims adjusters certainly realize this is a tight fisted area.  It is not unusual for Fairfax juries to award plaintiffs simply their medical bills and lost income and nothing more.  That has contributed to the insurers “low-balling” any demand.

However the rule of thumb in terms of making a demand is to start with a figure that is on the high side of what is reasonable. You must recognize that you will have to compromise from that figure. Beginning on the high side gives you some wiggle room.

If your opening demand for settlement is “out of the ball park” that sends a message to the insurer that there may not be any sense in talking. There is nothing that compels the claims person to speak with you. If they refuse to talk that puts you in a  position where either you reduce your demand or file suit.

What is considered reasonable as a demand is something that is within the potential jury verdict range for that locale.

Claims Adjusters Are Not On Your Side

Claims people are either direct employees of the insurer or employees of so-called adjusting firms. These third party adjusters (TPA) contract with insurers to adjust their claims. Many smaller insurers and self insured companies employ TPAs.

There is another category of adjuster which is called a public adjuster.  A public adjuster normally is involved only in property damage claims. These adjusters represent the claimant against the insurer. They will investigate the claim, determine the scope of coverage, itemize all of the damages and then put a value on those items. They deal with the insurer for settlement.  Most public adjusting firms take a percentage of of the final recovery. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Vehicle Total Loss

The concept of a auto being a total loss is of minor import if it an older car and of low value.  However the extent of physical damage may be of import. This may bear on the severity of impact and the resulting injury to the plaintiff.

Insurers declare an auto a total loss if the repair costs exceeds more than 70% of value.  Value is set by books put out by the National Automobile Dealers Association. If  a car is worth $5,000 and the repair cost is $3,500 then that may be totaled even though the damage is not much.

Cyber-Settling Personal Injury Claims

The concept of cyber settling personal injury claims is not new.  A lawyer by the name of James Ring from Boston has a website that is based upon game theory. The goal is to eliminate all of the back and forth that tends to go on in the course of settlement discussions.

Each party confidentially submits what that party believes to be the true value of the case.  Each value is referred to as being final. There is no chance to dicker off that number.  The value of the case then is set at the median between those numbers. The flaw in this system is that the parties may not be honest in the number they submit. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Getting Affordable Medical Care

Affordable medical care is an issue for someone who is injured. Medical costs drive an estimated 60% of personal bankruptcies across the country.

Some attorneys refer clients to doctors for treatment. The doctor may take on the patient based on an assignment. This means the doctor does not get paid until the case is over. If there is no recovery then the patient owes the doctor his fee. I normally do not make such medical referrals.

Returning To Work

The issue of a return to work while you have a personal injury claim pending should be straight forward. You return to work when your doctor allows such. My advice to clients is that you need to make decisions like that as if the injury claim did not exist.  If in fact  you are able to return to work and have been medically cleared for such then you should return to work.

If you are not able to return to work even though medically cleared you must take this up with the doctor.

Secrecy of Personal Injury Settlements

Many insurers request that plaintiffs in injury actions sign secrecy or confidentiality agreements.  These can be innocent if they only cover the basic terms of the settlement.  However, many go much further and bar disclosures of relevant evidence to other claimants. These may violate what are called the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 3.4(f) states that an attorney cannot request that any person, other than the lawyer’s own client or client’s relatives or employees, refrain from voluntarily providing relevant information to another party.  The term party in this context does not just refer to a party to the suit but means any person with a current or future claim against that same defendant.  As such, when an attorney for a defendant drafts an agreement requesting such non-disclosure the plaintiff’s attorney can rightfully object.

Rule 5.6(b) states that lawyers cannot take part in any settlement agreement that restricts a lawyer’s right to practice law.  The purpose of this rule is to provide broad access to legal talent. This rule covers settlements that may have the effect of making a lawyer unavailable to others who wish to pursue a claim.

Such restrictions on the flow of information is contrary to our American system of justice. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Winning Personal Injury Claims For Older Plaintiffs

Older plaintiffs can be challenging in terms of being able to prove their damages.  They may be at the end of their life. Therefore their injuries may be thought of as having lesser value.  That is mistaken and needs to be overcome.

The groundwork needs to be laid by showing the context in which the older plaintiff was injured.  That is, was the location one that advertised or sought patronage from seniors.

In looking at the effect of an injury upon your plaintiff you must consider several factors:

    Convalescence

  • The plaintiff may not have local family members to help them convalesce and as such the stress of the injury is greater.
  • Fractures put senior into a sedentary life which alters their daily routine, takes away their mobility and creates a host of other health problems.
  • Seniors that are diabetics tend to heal more slowly than those that are not. In addition the effect of injury to a diabetic is much worse due to circulation problems.
  • An injury can convert a happy marriage into a nurse/patient relationship. This puts strain on the injured party and the care giver and the relationship.
  • The overall frequency of visits to health care providers as a result of the injury is compelling proof of injury. It shows how the elderly plaintiff now has a diminished outlook of good health into the future.

    Dignity

  • A sense of dignity and ability  to care for oneself is basic to the elderly.  The loss of that provides compelling testimony that must be derived from the plaintiff.
  • The inability to drive is a huge loss as a person gets older.
  • The inability to interact with other seniors isolates the elderly plaintiff.
  • Elderly people know that the last place they want to end up is in a nursing home.  If that is where they are as a result of the injury, then their worst nightmare is upon them.
  • Life Expectancy

  • In looking at the life expectancy of an elderly plaintiff it is important not just to rely upon the life table. The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published by the Department of Commerce, contains life expectancy figures that are more generous than what is in the State Code.
  • Call, or contact us for a free consult.

    The Logic of Settling

    In most cases, it makes sense to submit your claim to the insurer to see if the matter can be resolved prior to filing suit. There are some exceptions to that.  For instance, if there is an issue as to who the at fault party is then you need to file suit promptly. You need to clarify who are the at fault parties so that there is no chance for the statute of limitations to expire.

    That process of attempting to settle with an insurer can be a lengthy one. On the short end it may be concluded within 30 days. However it is not unusual for this to take several months.

    Defending Personal Injury Claims

    Defending personal injury claims where you have been sued first involves giving notice to your insurer. You must submit the lawsuit or claim letter promptly. Your insurer will appoint defense counsel for you if you have been sued.

    The defenses to an injury claim are contributory negligence meaning that the party bringing the claim is guilty of some fault which may be a bar to that claim. Assumption of the risk means that the party bringing the claim has assumed the risk of injury. That may be a bar to the claim. The statute of limitations governs when suit must be filed. Sudden emergency applies where you were confronted with a sudden emergency not of your making and you reacted in a reasonable fashion.

    There are a number of other defenses that may exist.  The more basic defenses consist of the fact that you did not do it. In other words you did not run the red light. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

    Dealing With Debt Collection Firms

    Starting in January of 2013 the U.S. began regulating 175 debt collection firms that account for nearly 63 percent of the debt collection market.   Outstanding medical bills are commonly turned over to debt collection agencies.

    The companies subject to these new rules are those that buy debt. In addition the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun accepting complaints from individuals who have had problems with collection agencies wherein they have improperly reported info to the credit bureaus.

    However the consumer must first contact the credit reporting company and go through their complaint process. If the matter cannot be resolved informally then a complaint may be brought to the federal agency.

    One public interest group reports that 79 percent of credit reports have been found to have some type of error.  You should check your credit report each year for errors.  This can be obtained from the three different major credit bureaus by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.

    Personal Injury and Divorce

    In the Fairfax, Virginia area, as is true throughout the state of Virginia, a spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s personal injury or workers’ comp settlement. These personal injury divorce issues need to be addressed before the case is settled

    Equitable Distribution

    Virginia has adopted what is known as an Equitable Distribution statute. This provides for a fair distribution of what is referred to as marital property.

    A personal injury settlement or a workers’ compensation settlement may be marital property to the extent it is attributable to lost wages or medical expenses not covered by health insurance accruing during the marriage and before the last separation of the parties.

    For instance one spouse is injured during the course of the marriage while the parties are still living together. There is resulting loss of income and medical expenses that are not reimbursed by health insurance.  To the extent that the settlement involves reimbursement for those items they are deemed to be marital property. The non-injured spouse may have a right to a portion of that money. It becomes a matter of discretion for the trial court to decide what is equitable.

    Call, or contact us for a free consult. For more information about personal injury see the pages on Wikipedia.

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