FAQs / TIPs
Please read the following "Social Media Alert," "Vehicle Accident Advice," and "Legal Representation Points" ASAP. Thank you.
Social Media Alert
Q: What should I do about Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media posts?
A: Be careful! Savvy defendants, defense lawyers, insurance companies, claim representatives, risk managers, and other opponents regularly search sites for incriminating evidence against victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Immediately privatize all social media, scrutinize all existing content, and limit all future posts until your claim has been resolved completely. Deleting current posts obviously will keep them from being saved and downloaded by your opposition, yet still will leave traces on hard-drive that ordinarily are recoverable by computer forensics.
Vehicle Accident Advice
Q: What steps should I take after being in a vehicle accident?
A: Take ten. Too often what happens after the accident affects the final outcome of what happened during the accident. Hopefully you already are on the right track, but be sure to consider the following:
- Immediately notify authorities about the accident and the wrongdoer;
- Do not decline medical attention offered at or after the accident scene;
- Comply with all medical prescriptions, restriction, and follow-up;
- Do not discuss the accident with any wrongdoer's insurer or investigator;
- Cooperate with your personal insurance company representatives;
- Photograph physical injuries, property damage, and accident scene;
- Write down what happened in the accident and what problems you are having;
- So not sign any agreement with, or accept any check from, the opposition;
- Save all receipts and other documents; and
- Contact an experienced lawyer like Mr. Waterman as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Following these simple directions can be the difference between you being revictimized and you obtaining restitution for your vehicle accident.
Legal Representation Points
Q: What do I owe for attorney fees if the case does not allow you to recover anything?
A: Absolutely nothing. Mr. Waterman handles all personal injury cases on a "contingency fee" basis. That means whether he is paid any attorney fee is determined solely by what he is able to recover. If he is able to recover money for you, his attorney fee is the percentage of that recovery stated in your retainer agreement. If he is unable to recover, you owe him no attorney fee for his time and effort, regardless of how much and long. Fortunately, Mr. Waterman has recovered in the vast majority of cases, especially vehicle accidents; though his historic results cannot guarantee future returns.
Q: What if I cannot come into the office for an initial visit?
A: No problem. Thanks to modern electronics, Mr. Waterman can receive the necessary information from you and convey the necessary material to you by telephone, email and/or telefax. At some point, however, you may need to visit the office.
Q: Do I have a good case?
A: You may. Sometimes it is clear. Vehicle accidents often are that way. If the other driver ran a red light or stop sign, rear-ended you, or otherwise drove recklessly - and your driving did not contribute to the accident - then you probably have a good case. Common sense can be a good guide. On the other hand, sometimes it is not obvious. Medical malpractice often is that way. Despite healthcare not seeming right to a layman - or even to a lawyer - is it necessary to collect the medical records and retain an expert before forming an opinion. Further, a case that first appears promising may not prove to be a good one, such as when crucial facts not disclosed initially are discovered subsequently. Hence case reevaluation along the way is as important as case selection from the start.
Q: How long do I have to file suit?
A: It varies. Time deadlines differ dramatically between states and may be as short as one year. Moreover, some types of cases, such as those against governmental entities, also have pre-filing deadlines for giving formal written notice that are as little as six months. Under Virginia law, most personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the underlying incident. But there are various exceptions to the general rule depending on case type and facts that may shorten or lengthen the time. For example, children usually but not always are allowed more time.
Q: How long will my case take?
A: That depends. There are a wide variety of factors that dictate the appropriate amount of time for individual case handling. Those include the type of case, the probability of liability, the extent of personal injuries, the duration of healthcare treatment, the amount of money sought, the amount of insurance coverage or personal assets, the insurer and adjuster, the defendants and defense counsel, the court and judge, the situation and preference of the victim, etc. Generally, speaking, medical malpractice and other cases take longer than vehicle accident ones; more protracted and/or otherwise serious injuries take longer than ones smaller in duration and/or size; greater amounts of money sought and/or lesser probabilities of liability take longer than the opposite; etc. For example, vehicle accidents involving clear liability, relatively modest personal injuries and short treatment windows usually can be adjusted fastest, often without any suit. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.
Q: Will the wrongdoer reimburse my lost wages, healthcare expenses, rental car, etc. now?
A: Rarely so. Even when the wrongdoer has medical expense benefits coverage, that rarely is offered when it is expected you will make a liability claim. So it best for you immediately to call upon any employment-related benefits and any insurance coverage available to you, such as annual leave, health insurance, AAA coverage, etc. Although ultimately the wrongdoer is liable for your damages, traditionally there is no compensation until your case is concluded. However, a common exception is payment for any vehicle collision damage, particularly when you notify the wrongdoer's and your insurers of it promptly.
Q: Do you handle your cases personally instead of passing them to associates or others?
A: Every one. For such individual service, client understanding and patience is necessary.
Q: Is information that I give you confidential even if you cannot take my case?
A: Almost always. The attorney-client privilege protects communications with actual and even prospective clients. The crime-fraud exception to that broad general rule provides no confidentiality for communications about seeking to commit a crime or fraud.
Q: Is more information readily available from you before I can speak with you?
A: Sure is. Mr. Waterman publishes a legal blog related to his practice at VirginiaInjuryAttorneyBlog.com, which he updates regularly and you can subscribe easily. But each case has its own nuances, so be sure to contact us.