What can O’Bryan Law do for me?+
I can’t speak for every Richmond, VA personal injury attorney, but I can tell you what I do for my own clients in any given personal injury case:
- Talk to my clients and return their phone calls promptly. If I am available in the office I will talk to you when you call.
- Meet with you to discuss your case whenever you feel the need.
- Educate and teach clients about personal injury claims. We will let you know what to expect and how long things will take.
- Gather written records and documents to support the claim, including medical records, police report, and employment records. We will contact our client’s doctors to get all the necessary medical documentation and contact our client’s place of work in order to document loss of wages for time missed from work.
- Perform investigation of the client’s claim, including gathering witness statements, photographs, diagrams, and physical evidence. Also we can find a missing defendant if necessary.
- Examine the client’s own car insurance policy to see what coverage is available to pay for the client’s damages, like medical, hospital and wage loss benefits. We can offer advice about how you might get better car insurance coverage.
- Meet and confer with the client’s own medical doctors and other healthcare providers to fully understand a client’s condition.
- Obtain specific reports from experts to support the client’s claim.
- Analyze any pertinent legal issues that may affect client’s case, like contributory negligence, assumption of risk, comparative fault, etc.
- File necessary claim forms with the at-fault governmental agency.
- Analyze client’s own health insurance or governmental benefit plan to ascertain whether any money they spent must be repaid.
- Analyze and address any liens asserted against the client’s settlement recovery. Various healthcare providers, insurers, and/or governmental agencies may file liens seeking to be repaid money for benefits already paid to or on behalf of the client. Some examples of this are if you have an ERISA healthcare policy or Medicare.
- Communicate to the client the amount of total medical bills and lost wages that we are sending to the insurance company.
- Contact the insurance company about the claim and conduct periodic discussions with the carrier about your case so that appropriate reserves are set aside to settle the case. We will stop the adjuster from calling you and bugging you about the case.
- Conduct negotiations with the insurance adjustor in an effort to settle the claim, either short of litigation or short of trial.
- Communicate all offers of settlement to you and give legal advise on weather you should settle your claim or try and get more money. We will never settle your claim without your consent.
Can I talk to Mr. O’Bryan directly?+
Yes. Feel free to call O’Bryan Law at any time at 804-643-4343. We love to talk to our clients.
If I call for information or a consultation, what do you need to know about my case?+
Names and dates are always important and we will want to know as many details about the accident as you can remember, including the events leading up to it, the accident itself, and what happened immediately afterward.
We also need to know about your injuries, your doctors, and your medical treatment, as well as whether you have missed time from work due to your injuries. We want to hear as much detail as you can provide about your case so that we can make informed decisions about whether to accept your case and, if so, developing the most effective strategy to be applied to it under the circumstances.
If you do not have some of this information we can get it later from the police report or insurance company, so don’t feel it is necessary to have every detail to call us.
Am I better off with or without a lawyer?+
Any answer to this question coming from a lawyer would be suspect, so I just let the insurance industry – no fan of lawyers – answer the question. They say that cases with lawyers receive on average over six times as much money as those without lawyers. Now you know why that adjuster is telling you not to get a lawyer.
What if I already have a lawyer, but I am dissatisfied with them?+
You have the right to change lawyers at any time you wish. You do not have to pay two lawyers fees. The old and the new lawyer charge only one fee together and they work out how the fee is split between them. You do not pay twice. Changing lawyers is simple.
If you are not happy with your Richmond, Virginia lawyer and want to hire a friendly lawyer who you can talk to about your case and will keep you informed then contact Richmond, VA injury lawyer Wayne O’Bryan today. If we think you have a case we will be happy to work out the transfer from your old lawyer to us. We don’t take every case, but we may consider taking yours.
We highly suggest you read our book Accident Injury Book: Hidden Inside Secrets Big Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know About Your Injury Claim. It is free for Virginia residents and $16.95 for people outside the state of Virginia.
What is the statute of limitations in Virginia?+
Every state has a limitation of time within which a personal injury claim must be made. In Virginia this limit is generally two years from the date of the accident or injury.
However, there are some special exceptions to this rule so it is important for you to determine what time limitation applies to the facts of your case. Wayne O’Bryan Law will discuss the specifics of your insurance claim with you. If the claim is not settled or suit filed within the correct time limitation, the injured person’s claim will be stopped forever.
What is discovery?
Discovery is a formal process of collecting information engaged in by the attorneys for each side of a lawsuit, once the suit has been filed. There are five main parts of discovery: Interrogatories, Requests for Admission, Requests for Production of Documents, Subpoenas, and Depositions. They are all used as devices to obtain information. Unlike in court where the lawyers can only inquire into relevant information, in discovery they can inquire into all matters reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. The process starts with the lawsuit, and the lawsuit will normally include Interrogatories, Requests for Admission and Requests for Production of Documents, and the response from the defendant will contain the same.
Interrogatories are simply questions. Plaintiff’s Answers To Interrogatories are due within 21 days of receipt. Interrogatories almost always inquire into background information as well as the facts of the accident and the injuries caused by it. In Interrogatories, virtually all defense attorneys will inquire into your date of birth, address, social security number and employment. They will also call for a description of the accident and your injuries. The defense attorney will also send questions concerning prior accidents, injuries, and previous medical problems and treatment. These are requested in an attempt to minimize your damages by attempting to show that your injuries were partially caused by other accidents or pre-existing conditions, such as a bad back or a bad knee.
The defendant is entitled to your records of treatment for your injuries, and we have to provide them to him. In addition, the defense attorney will subpoena all records from any physicians or medical care providers that you listed in your answers to the interrogatories. Sometimes, the defendant will be so bold as to ask for all of your medical treatment since you were born. This is not discoverable. Discovery is not supposed to be unduly burdensome, so most plaintiff’s attorneys will not comply with such a broad request, but will self-limit the time to 10 to 15 years. So, in addition to receiving all your medical records from the accident, the defendant will receive all your records for the past 10 or 15 years, maybe longer, depending on the treatment and the condition. Should a dispute arise as to how far back the subpoenas can go, each side can request a hearing with the Judge. This does not often happen, as these matters are normally settled by an agreement between the attorneys.
It is very important to answer Interrogatories truthfully and completely, and to take the effort to properly list your prior injuries and treatment. This is harder than it may seem at times, as you may not remember all of your prior treatment. It is also important to list all prior medical providers and all prior injuries. Withholding information concerning previous injuries and previous medical treatment can be disastrous to your case, even if you just forgot. You will later be required, in a deposition, to explain your discrepancies under oath, and having to do so takes the focus off of the defendant’s misconduct and places it onto the plaintiff’s credibility. The defense attorneys seek for any opportunity to imply that the plaintiff is lying, which puts the plaintiff, and not the defendant, on trial. It is essential to take the time necessary to properly recall and record your prior treatment and injuries. Remembering injuries and treatment is not easy, especially for those with extensive background of treatment, and elderly people, and it takes effort to properly list the information.
Requests For Admissions will also be sent to the plaintiff. These are chiefly answered by the attorney, as they contain legal conclusions, but input will often be sought from the plaintiff. In Requests For Admissions, the defendant seeks to pin down the plaintiff and cause him to admit certain points of contention. Where there is any room for denial, the plaintiff’s attorney will deny a request for admission. There is no limit on how many Requests For Admissions that can be sent to another party, and failure to respond in a timely fashion can result in admissions being admitted against the non-responding party. Answers To Requests For Admissions are due within 21 days of receipt. Like all other discovery, Requests for Admission are not limited to admissible evidence , but any information reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
Requests For Production Of Documents are also extremely useful to each party to the lawsuit. Of these the defendant will ask the plaintiff (and we will ask the defendant) to provide documents in support of plaintiff’s claim. Responses To Requests For Production Of Documents are due within 21 days of receipt. The defendant cannot ask for documents not in our possession, such as medical records from previous doctors, but they can get that information through the use of a subpoena.
All discovery is subject to the rules of court, and any disputes that cannot be resolved between the attorneys are taken to the Judge.
What is a deposition?+
A deposition is an out of court proceeding in which the plaintiff and defendant, and sometimes witnesses, give sworn answers to questions from the opposing lawyers. The questions and answers are taken down by a court reporter. Unlike in court, where questions can only inquire into relevant matters, at a deposition the attorneys can inquire into “any matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” This gives both sides broad latitude.
Both the plaintiff and the defendant may sit in on the entire depositions, no matter how many witnesses that may be testifying. Witnesses can only attend their own depositions, and family members are not allowed, except in the case of an juvenile or someone under an incapacity, such as an elderly person. Family members can be present by agreement. The parties must attend their depositions or they will be subject to sanction by the court, including, potentially, dismissal of their case. Witnesses must be subpoenaed by the attorneys. The parties must appear regardless of whether they are subpoenaed. The other party simply issues a Notice To Take Depositions and the party must appear.
A deposition is a powerful tool. It is the best chance to settle the case for both parties. If you do well at a deposition, your odds of settling the case without having to go to court increase. If you show that you are a credible person and that your injuries and damages are legitimate, the defense attorney isn’t likely going to want to go to trial with you, but to settle. If, on the other hand, you can’t remember your medical records, the attorney may feel that he has some ammunition to attack your credibility in court. Many cases are settled after depositions.
Depositions are also used to impeach a party’s or a witness’ credibility at trial. In the relatively unlikely event that you should have to go to trial, the defendant will attempt to impeach you with your deposition testimony. The deposition is a most useful tool for settlement and for trial.
What Secrets Don’t Insurance Companies Want You to Know?
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“ I was very thankful for the personal attention that was given to me by all of your staff. When you go through something like I did in the fire, people’s attitudes can make a difference! Thanks for everything! ”
— Patricia Hedrick
“ I feel that my case was handled in a very quick but professional manner. I was very pleased and would recommend your firm to anyone in need. ”
— Robin Truitt
“ My case was handled in a very professional manner, it did not have any of the more common aggravations. ”
— Thomas Queen Jr.
“ I like you as my lawyer because you are always there when I need you. ”
— Iman Saleem
“ I’m proud to say that the lawyer I had was very professional and took his job very personally. I will highly recommend him to any person. Very honest man, tells you the truth, not what you many want to hear. Prayers are with the company. ”
— Nadine Green