but action isn’t easy.
We don’t always like to take action when we become disabled or are victimized by the negligence of another that could have been avoided. We particularly don’t like to call on disability lawyers, personal injury lawyers, workers compensation lawyers, or wrongful death lawyers when tragedy strikes our families. Our society is predicated on the principle that we should all behave in a way that does not needlessly endanger others. And, we should honor our obligations to make things right.
But when the unthinkable happens—in an instant—your life can be forever changed.
Maybe you saw it coming and braced yourself. Maybe you tried to avoid the oncoming car but there was nothing you could do. Perhaps, you were under anesthesia when the doctor left a foreign object inside your body that later caused a severe infection. Or, possibly you were placed in a situation that led to your injury because you were working for the benefit of your employer.
Of course, it may not have been your injury. It could have been that your loved one was unnecessarily placed in that position.
You felt helpless. You didn’t ask for this to happen. You didn’t want it to happen. It is difficult to think that your loved one’s last thought was one of terror or fear. She was helpless. She certainly didn’t ask for this. She didn’t want for this to happen.
Nobody wants to hire a lawyer.
And you certainly don’t want to talk to an injury lawyer about such intimate details of your personal life. Those injury lawyers are all ambulance-chasing greedy selfish hacks who just want to make money on your misfortune anyway. I know, right? How can a lawyer who doesn’t know me actually care about me and my case? We’ve all seen the commercials, the billboards, and other vanity marketing screaming “We Care.”
Maybe we believe it, maybe we don’t. What I’ll suggest here is that you should evaluate more than just “caring” when you are deciding whether to hire an injury lawyer.
I’ll bet you didn’t expect to see that on this page. Well, here’s the thing about us, we like to cut to the chase. And, to be honest, there are a few things you need to know before you even consider hiring a lawyer.
1. Not every injured person needs an injury lawyer
All right, now you might be confused. Isn’t this an injury lawyers’ website? Yes, yes it is.
But unlike most injury lawyers, we don’t take every case that comes through the door. Our focus is on adding value to an injury claim. If we do not feel that we can add value to your settlement or verdict, we will not take your case.
But you have to be careful out there because almost every other lawyer will take your case and take 1/3 of your recovery along with it. I’m not saying it is always foolish to speak with an injury lawyer to determine if hiring one would be wise. What I am saying is, there is a potential that you may not need to hire a lawyer for your case and you may be able to accomplish a better net result without a lawyer. You need to be aware of that whenever you meet with an injury lawyer because some lawyers will try to sign you up right out of the gate.
We don’t do that at Osterbind Law. Case in point, we track every single person who calls into our office asking for representation. We accept less than 1/4 of them. Some of them are not good cases. Some of them are not within our practice areas, in which case we refer these people to other lawyers we trust. Some of them just don’t need a lawyer to get a good result.
2. Injured people need information.
What injured people like you need is information. Armed with the right information, normal people can easily negotiate a good settlement with an insurance adjuster in most smaller value cases. If you don’t have good information, the insurance company wins every time.
We once consulted with a potential client and the insurance company told him he couldn’t prove his concussion was from the car wreck. And he believed it! So he settled for virtually nothing. That potential client didn’t know that you can prove causation of a medical condition by expert testimony. If your doctor says it is related, then you can prove it. In the higher value cases, the insurance company may hire a doctor to say the opposite, but then it becomes a jury question. Until the insurance company has that doctors opinion in hand, it cannot disprove causation. If the jury believes your doctor, instead of the hired gun from the insurance company, then you win.
It is this information inequality that prompted Brandon Osterbind to write The Ultimate Guide to Medical Treatment After a Car Wreck In Virginia. You can start first by leveling the playing field and eliminating the problem of information inequality.
3. What type of case do you have?
Some cases require different things. For example, personal injury cases require that you prove that the other person was negligent. Workers compensation cases require that you prove that your injury arises from an “accident” and that the accident arose out of and in the course of your employment. Medical Malpractice cases require that you prove that the offending doctor violated the standard of care and that violation proximately caused your injury. ERISA Disability cases require that you prove that you are unable to work in your regular occupation or, in some cases, any occupation.
Knowing what type of case you might have is essential to know where to start. For example, if your case is a workers compensation case, then you need to see a workers compensation lawyer. You wouldn’t see your family doctor to perform spine surgery, would you? There are certain things that general practitioners can do well and there are things that you should seek out a specialist for. An injury lawyer is different than a general practice lawyer because all that injury lawyer does on a daily basis is injury law.
I’m not saying that a generalist can’t be an excellent lawyer. I know several PCP’s who are excellent doctors. But part of being an excellent PCP is knowing when to refer their patients to a specialist. The same is true in the law. Now, we don’t have board certifications or anything like that as doctors do. But the Virginia State Bar does allow lawyers to focus and specialize on certain types of cases. And many lawyers today do just that.