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    D. Michael Mullori Jr.:

  • Cares About You
  • Has Lots of Trial Experience
  • Wants to Dedicate His Time to Your Case
  • Is a Local Woodbridge Resident

PERSONAL INJURY FAQS

How do I know if I have a case?

Sometimes it is hard to tell. However, if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, it is worth a call to our office to find out.

So why don’t I just try to settle the case myself and then, failing that, hire a lawyer?

Most lawyers are not very interested in handling cases that have already been presented to insurance companies. Why? Because once the insurance company sets a value on the case, it is difficult to get them to pay more. Invariably, folks who handle cases for themselves reveal too much information, make statements which destroy the value of their claims, and provide the insurer with personal information that makes it very difficult for even an attorney to get the true value of the case.

I already tried to settle my case and failed, will you still speak with me about it?

Sure. We’re always happy to speak with potential clients and we love what we do. However, if we don’t think we can help you, we won’t take the case because the last thing we want is to fail to make a client happy. Amazingly enough, folks who would never try to repair their own car, file their own tax returns, or do their own plumbing are willing to try to act as their own attorney. The easiest way to deal with this dilemma is to avoid the urge to try to handle your case by yourself. Call us first. We think that once you have had a chance to speak with one of our attorneys you’ll be convinced of the benefits of hiring a lawyer. By the way, if we think you don’t need a lawyer, we’ll tell you so. Handling cases that folks can handle without our help isn’t going to make anyone happy.

I already have a lawyer, but I want a new one, will you still speak with me about the case?

We’ll be happy to speak with you, but when the relationship between a lawyer an client breaks down the breakdown sometimes suggests that something is wrong with the case. If we think that we can help you and that your present lawyer can’t help you, we’ll consider taking your case. Remember that your lawyer should treat you fairly and professionally, should return your calls and messages within reason, and should keep you abreast of the status of the case. If you feel like those things are not happening, it could be that you and your attorney are not right for each other.

My lawyer seems to be doing a reasonably good job, but I would like a second opinion, will you speak with me?

Sure. However, unless we have the entire file (which we would need to get from your present lawyer) any opinion we give you will only be based on the material we have at hand and we are reluctant to give advice based on limited information.

What should I bring along to my first meeting at your office?

Bring the following:
  • Anything you got from the police officer.
  • Anything you got from any medical provider (like prescription sheets or discharge papers).
  • Any bill you’ve received from any medical provider.
  • Any photos in your possession of your vehicle or the other vehicle.
  • Any photos you took of your own injuries.
  • A copy of your own auto insurance policy.
  • A copy of your driver’s license.
  • A copy of your health insurance policy.
  • A copy of your health insurance card.
  • Any notes you took at the scene and anything that the other party gave you.
  • Any correspondence you’ve received from any insurance company following the accident.
What if I only want to settle, and don’t want to go to Court?

The truth is that most cases don’t go to court, but good lawyers treat each case like it could end up in court. In any event it is always your decision whether to actually file suit or settle. We’ll advise you and you’ll decide. So if you don’t want to go to court that is okay. However, in a limited number of cases there is no chance that the case will settle. If we can see that your case will go to court for sure we’ll let you know. If you want us to handle it and we want to handle it, we’ll try to make sure in advance that you are ready to stay in for the long haul. The last thing we want to do is send the insurer a demand and then walk away if they deny the claim or make a bad offer. Developing a reputation with the insurance companies for bluffing will hurt our chances of helping our other clients.

If I hire you, will you delegate my case to a paralegal?

No. Although there is administrative assistance in the office, only an attorney will handle your case.

Someone else in my family members got hurt too. Can I bring a claim for them?

Generally a child’s guardian brings claims for them. Usually the guardian is a parent or relative. Bringing a claim for an adult is more complicated. Generally you need a special type of guardianship agreement to get representation for an adult.

What do I get when I settle or win my case?

Once you are done treating we’ll know better what your case is worth. Until you are done treating, unless you have reached maximum medical improvement, we can’t know. We’ll consider the force of the impact in car accident cases, the presence of broken bones, scars, burns and permanent conditions. We’ll consider whether you want to go to court or are anxious to avoid it. We’ll consider the court you will likely be in. We’ll consider any future treatment you may need. We’ll consider how well your doctor has explained your condition and your difficulties. We’ll consider whether the driver that hit you was drunk. We’ll consider your medical history. Then, we’ll sit down with you and tell you what we think. You can be as involved, or uninvolved, as you like.

If your case is successful, generally speaking you get your medical bills paid, reimbursement for lost work, payments for pain and suffering (physical and mental), and repayment for out of pocket expenses. However, you should remember that the insurer is entitled to fight you on all of these claims if they don’t agree to your characterization of your damages. For example, they may argue that you got too much therapy, that the treatment was too expensive, or that you missed too much work. You should be prepared to prove each type of damage you suffered.

How long does it take to settle a personal injury case?

It depends first upon how long it takes you to get better. We can’t tell you how long that will take. However, once you are healed we can prepare your case and get it submitted. Once of the best things about hiring an attorney is that we do the work for you so you can concentrate on getting better which makes your claim progress faster.

I think my case is pretty small. Do you still want to talk with me about it?

Sure. We always say that there is only one requirement to hire us: you must really, truly be hurt. If you got hurt we’ll speak with you. If your injury is so minor that we cannot really add value to your case we’ll let you know. In any event, there is no fee for a consultation, so you really have nothing to lose by speaking with us.

How do I pay my lawyer?

First of all, we never charge personal injury victims for first consultations with our attorneys. Every initial visit is completely free, regardless of whether or not you decide to hire our firm, and there is never any obligation to hire us following that initial consultation.

If you do decide to hire our firm we will ask you to sign a retainer agreement that clearly explains the work we will do, how we will do it, and how we will get paid. Accident victims usually come to us, at least in part, out of concern for their finances. We know that getting hurt, incurring medical bills, missing work and losing your car usually won’t leave you in any position to pay us an hourly fee. So, instead of charging you by the hour, we always charge a contingency fee for representing personal injury victims. A contingency fee is a fee that is based on the amount of money you collect from the claim. That means that we don’t get paid an attorney fee unless and until you either settle your case or win it in court. Instead of worrying about how much you are paying your lawyer you can concentrate on your recovery and treatment.

Generally, our fee is one-third of the total recovery, although there are circumstances where either higher or lower contingency fees might be appropriate. Also, the law requires you to reimburse us for out-of pocket expenses. Whatever the amount, it will be explained to you in clear, concise terms before you hire our firm and you can be sure that only an experienced attorney will be making the decisions that ultimately lead to the conclusion of your case.

I’ve heard about contributory negligence. Does it affect my case?

The contributory negligence rule exists in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The rule generally states that if the claimant was negligent and that negligence contributed to the cause of the accident, the claimant cannot win in Court. The rule applies even if the defendant was 99.9 percent responsible. So certainly the rule could affect your case. Have you ever considered why insurance adjusters are so eager to take a “recorded statement” instead of just speaking with you about an accident? Sometimes honest, well-meaning people with a conscience ruin their cases in an attempt to answer fairly. While no one should ever lie to an insurance adjuster, or anyone for that matter, you don’t have to give a statement to the other party’s insurance carrier.

I have medical payments coverage on my own policy (or Personal Injury Protection “PIP”). I also have health insurance. Should I use my own coverage, or should I wait for the other person’s insurance to pay me for the accident?

You should use them for two reasons: (1) you can still claim the value of the treatment from the defendant’s carrier, and (2) if you wait to submit your bills they could be in collection by the time your case is over; don’t let the accident ruin your health and your credit.

Will I have to pay my medpay, PIP or health insurance carrier back?

It depends on the contractual relationship you have with the carrier. An attorney can determine that relationship but it takes a reading of the contract and an understanding of state and federal law to do it right. The possibility of a claim by your health insurer for repayment is another reason you should consider not handling your case alone. What would happen if you settled your case for $20,000 and then got a notice in the mail from the health insurer asking for $25,000?

The insurance company is saying the guy that hit me has very limited coverage or no coverage at all. Can you still help me?

It depends, but it is important to ask because we may be able to point you to other forms and sources of coverage that you will never learn about on your own. Don’t rely on the adjuster to tell you. Sometimes the most important and satisfying work we do is in situations where it initially appears that there is limited coverage.

Want answers to more questions? CONTACT US, we can help.