How much is my personal injury case worth?

How much is my personal injury case worth?

In my years of practicing accident injury law, two questions come up the most: how long will my personal injury case take and how much money will I get?

Major factors shaping the value of your personal injury case include the nature of the injury, whether it is permanent, your health insurance and/or car insurance carrier, the amount of your medical bills, and whether or not the issue of liability is clear.  Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash may involve an emergency room visit with x-rays or CT scans and physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. If the injury heals in a few weeks or months, a very rough estimate of the claim’s value is the total of the medical bills multiplied by two or three.  To reiterate, this is a very rough guideline, not a guarantee, and the other factors mentioned above can change this equation drastically.

For permanent injuries the rough formula of medical bills times two or three is usually too low.  More factors come into play, such as loss of earning capacity, loss of quality of life, and future medical expenses.

In both types of injury, the permanent and non-permanent, liability, or the issue of who was at fault, serves as a potential limitation of claim value.  Where both the personal injury plaintiff and the defendant were driving vehicles and both claimed to have had a green light at an intersection, the chance of an outright loss for the plaintiff can significantly discount the value of the claim.

One factor that contributes to the value of your injury claim is the lawyer and law firm representing you. This factor is often overlooked or misunderstood.  Personal injury firms in Hampton Roads and Virginia may boast about having a great reputation or the resources to pursue your claim aggressively.  As in so many other aspects of life, the bark and the bite are not coextensive, that is, loudness and quality of representation do not directly correlate.   A law firm’s name or lawyer’s name means little to a juror, and can even be harmful.

There is no such thing as a personal injury settlement calculator.  Every case is unique and will have its own strengths as well as challenges.  In the final analysis, an injury claim is worth whatever the jury says.  Having a skilled car accident attorney will maximize your claim’s value, whether it settles out of court or goes before a judge and jury.

Norfolk Traffic: New Bike Lanes on Llewellyn

For the past several weeks, the city of Norfolk has been altering Llewellyn Avenue, converting two automobile lanes into bicycle lanes between downtown and 35th Street.  I was excited about this development when it was first announced, and I wrote about it in my personal injury lawyer blog last year.  “Putting the sexy back in being downtown,” is how Norfolk Planning Director George Homewood described the strategic plan for city bike paths.  I confess that I feel somewhat bamboozled.  The city did not so much create bike lanes; rather, it cannibalized automobile lanes, cutting the number of lanes on Llewellyn from four to two.  Throw in a price tag for taxpayers approaching $500,000 and I find myself not caring about bringing sexy back.  I would rather the city bring my lane back!

What do you think?

Norfolk Attorney Settles Knee Injury Case for $62,600

Norfolk-car-accident-attorneyI am pleased to report that one of my all-time favorite clients accepted a settlement offer in her personal injury claim against a driver who rear ended her small car back in December 2014 in Virginia Beach.  My client is not a rich lady.  She is in her early sixties and works at a local pet supply store.  She is on her feet for much of the work day.

Immediately after the accident, she knew something was wrong.  Initial treatment at the hospital was followed by a course of physical therapy, stem cell injections and eventually, a surgery called a partial meniscectomy (the meniscus is a part of the knee joint often susceptible to traumatic injury).  In the end, my client finds that her remaining pain is managed through injections to the knee itself every few months or so.

One of the things that made this personal injury claim more complicated is that fact that my client already had arthritis in her knee.  If the case had gone to trial, lawyers for the insurance company would have argued that the knee was bad to start with and was going to worse regardless of the accident.  Skeptical jurors might have concluded that car accident in question had little to do with the permanent knee injury.  Fortunately, we were able to negotiate an excellent personal injury settlement with the insurance carrier.

With the financial compensation for her pain and suffering, my client plans to support her daughter and her grandchildren with life’s many expenses, and to save for her retirement.  I will still see her when I stock up on dog food and shampoo.

Disclaimer: every personal injury claim is different and settlement values depend on many factors.  No particular results are guaranteed.

Attorney wins $25,000 in car accident case | Norfolk General District Court

Norfolk personal injury car accident lawyerIt has been too long since I last posted on the Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer blog, but I have been very busy taking car accident cases to trial, settling other personal injury matters, and moving into my new office location in downtown Norfolk, right across from the new courts building.  Now that I have settled in a bit, I am pleased to report an excellent trial result yesterday in Norfolk General District Court.  I represented a young working class man, a mechanic for the military who works on large guns.

One day last April he was headed to work, leaving his home on Oceanview Avenue.  As he was slowing down to make a left turn, he felt a massive impact from behind him that pushed him forward into oncoming traffic.  He hit another vehicle head on, causing him to lurch violently inside his vehicle, a compact pickup truck, and hit his head on the window.  In addition to this head injury, my client injured his neck, left wrist, left leg and his chest, the last one probably from the tightening of his seatbelt upon impact.

At trial, we proved that a driver of a large SUV was immediately behind my client, but the judge did not find that this driver caused the accident.  Rather, she was also an innocent victim of a third driver, who negligently crashed her smaller car into the rear of the SUV with enough force that the SUV in turn struck my client’s pickup, crushing the bed of the truck like an accordion.  After causing this pile up, the third driver told my client, “I can’t stay here” before she fled the scene.  She did return to pick up her car’s bumper, which fell off due to the impact.

My client’s trusty girlfriend came to the scene and drove him to DePaul Medical Center, where triage nurses placed him in a C-collar to protect his spine from trauma.  He was dizzy and in pain.  There were cuts on his head and leg.  Hospital staff took CT scans of his head and neck.  Thankfully there was no brain injury or spinal trauma.  His chest was x-rayed and an EKG was taken of his heart.  Again, thank goodness, the young man suffered no permanent injuries to the head, neck or chest.  He and his girlfriend did get to spend the day at DePaul while he underwent various evaluations and was filled with all sorts of medicines, from strong painkillers like Morphine and Percocet to the anti-nausea drug Zofran and the muscle relaxer Flexeril.

For several weeks following the accident, my client suffered from left wrist pain.  It interfered with his job and his day-to-day life, from maintaining military hardware to driving to simply opening doors.  Everything that involved twisting the wrist caused pain.

The woman who caused the accident and fled the scene had no insurance coverage — wouldn’t you know it!  Therefore, my client was forced to name his own insurance company as a defendant in the lawsuit, and an attorney from that company defended the case.  He argued that this young man should not be entitled to much money for his pain and suffering.  He did not get any additional medical treatment and did not miss time from work.  Also, he did not use a splint for his wrist…

Whatever that means.  I argued that my client should not be penalized for toughing it out at work, and fighting through the pain so he could get his work done.  And so what if he did not get additional medical treatment?  Was the lady who caused the accident and fled the scene offering to give him a ride to the doctor?  No!  Was she in any position to say how the accident affected him?  Nope.  She was more interested in picking up her bumper that she left at the scene than she was in anyone else’s safety or quality of life.  Not to mention, the whole situation of being slammed in a multi car motor vehicle accident and taken to the ER was no day at the beach.

Guess who the judge agreed with?  See above!  We won the jurisdictional maximum of $25,000 plus 6% interest from last April.

On to the next one…

Disclaimer: case values vary depending on many factors and results are not guaranteed

Virginia: Dogs that bit five-year-old child were Belgian malinois

WAVY 10 news reported this Sunday that a dog attack in Chesapeake, Virginia left a five-year-old girl with a bite on her neck that required an airlift to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.  The girl later underwent surgery at CHKD.  According to WAVY, the child and her mother were visiting with friends at the home where the bite happened.  The girl was playing with the dogs prior to the attack.

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Ed Atkinson named a 2016 Super Lawyer Rising Star

Virginia dog bite lawyer

I am pleased to report that I was named for this peer-nominated award presented by the Thompson-Reuters company.  While the representative from the company did not specifically say so, I feel certain that the 2016 Rising Star award confirms that:

“I’m rocking my peers, puttin’ suckers in fear” in the great tradition of LL Cool Jay.

Many thanks to my wife and family, my office staff, and my friends and colleagues in the legal profession.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Compensation for Virginia Victims of Eugenics Sterilization

Attorney Representation for Virginia Eugenics Sterilization Victims

The Commonwealth of Virginia forcibly sterilized over 7,000 people between 1924 and 1981 under the Eugenical Sterilization Act, claiming that they were either “mentally ill” or “mentally deficient.” In an effort to remedy this historic crime, Virginia law now offers up to $25,000 of compensation to sterilization victims who were alive as of February 1, 2015.

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is developing an application that will require those seeking compensation to prove their claim. Requirements will include proof that the applicant was sterilized at Eastern State Hospital, Southwestern State Hospital, Western State Hospital, Central State Mental Hospital or Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feebleminded (Central Virginia Training Center) between 1924 and 1981.

If you or a loved one were sterilized, my law firm will seek maximum compensation in your claim. My office will gather the records and documents needed for your claim and prepare an application package for the DBHDS without any up front charges. Let a licensed Virginia attorney handle your paperwork and deal with the government. Call Atkinson Law at 757-656-3084 for a free consultation.

Virginia Hospital Settles Child’s Medical Malpractice Claim for $1.8 million

Carillon Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia settled a medical malpractice claim with parents of a young child who suffered a brain injury during surgery.  The child, Michelle Zhang, was hospitalized at Carillon Roanoke Memorial Hospital in September 2012 for pneumonia and other respiratory conditions.  Michelle was just 21 months old at the time.  A lawsuit filed on her behalf alleged that the anesthesiologist should have terminated the single lung ventilation procedure when the toddler’s oxygen levels began to rapidly drop.  This lead to a cardiac arrest that in turn caused brain injury.

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Medical Malpractice verdict: obstetrician’s negligence caused mother’s death

A jury awarded nearly $2 million to the surviving husband and children of a 26-year-old Chinese national who died in Garden Grove Hospital Medical Center in Orange County, California as a result of postpartum hemorrhaging following the delivery of a child.

Obstetrician Long-Dei Liu was the main defendant, as the hospital settled before trial for over $3 million.  Evidence at trial showed that Liu left the patient when she was not in a medically stable condition, a charge Liu denied.  He testified that he left the hospital without checking the patient’s vital signs.  He did not make a note in her chart that she was stable when he left.

One factor that may have weighed heavily on jurors’ minds was the fact that the deceased, Ling Nie, and her family had travelled to the United States at great expense seeking the best available conditions for the birth of their child, only to suffer a catastrophe.  If you or a loved one is a victim of medical negligence, contact Norfolk medical malpractice lawyer Ed Atkinson to pursue justice for your loss.

Fatal Truck Accident May Result in Wrongful Death Claim

At around 3:42 a.m. this morning, a crash involving multiple semi trailers on I-64 in Newport News resulted in the death of 69-year-old William E. Robinson of Staunton, Virginia.  Robinson, who was operating a 1999 Mack truck, died at the scene.

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