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Frequently Asked Questions

We answer a few of our most-asked questions for you.

Photo courtesy of Burnett & Williams archives

At Burnett & Williams, we receive a lot of questions about how to initiate a personal injury case. We’ve gathered a few of these frequently asked questions and answered them here.

When should I hire a lawyer?

There are time limits on your right to file a lawsuit, and you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible if you believe you have a case. If you have tried to resolve the matter on your own and run into a brick wall with the insurance company, then you may need to hire a lawyer.

What is the process and fee for Burnett & Williams to represent me?>p>

We have an initial meeting with every client where we go over the basic information of your case and make an initial decision of whether or not you need an attorney. If we believe your case has merit, and our firm is the best fit for you, we will send an Engagement Letter, which details the arrangement of hiring our firm. We allow 14 days for you to consider your options before returning the signed Engagement Letter to us. Like most personal injury firms, Burnett & Williams charges a “contingency fee,” which is a percentage of the gross amount our attorneys are able to recover, whether by way of settlement or verdict. These details are also covered in the initial client meeting.

What is a statute of limitations?

Most legal claims have an “expiration date” from the time the event happens until you are no longer able to bring a claim. This “expiration date” is known as the statute of limitations. In Virginia, with very limited exceptions, persons over the age of 18 must file their lawsuit within 2 years of the incident date to protect the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations, however, is different for minors. Generally speaking, in Virginia, if you are approaching 2 years from the date of the event where you suffered injury, you should contact an attorney immediately.

How is the lawyer paid?

Our firm, like most personal injury firms, works on a contingency fee basis. That means we don’t earn a fee unless we get money for you. Our fees are based on a percentage of the amount recovered. While our fees are contingent, the costs associated with the case are the client’s responsibility regardless of the outcome, though many times we will advance these expenses and deduct them from the amount recovered. Those costs might include expert witnesses, depositions, filing fees, and serving subpoenas. Costs vary depending on the complexity of the case. Medical malpractice cases, for example, often require expert testimony, and can be costly to pursue.

What happens after I hire a law firm?

Once your case has been evaluated and a decision is made to proceed, you and your lawyer will gather all the information needed to either settle the case or take it to court.

When you hire an attorney, the insurance company is no longer allowed to contact you directly. We know that dealing with insurance adjusters can be a hassle, especially when you are trying to get your life back together after an accident. While you heal and recover from your injuries, we take over communication with the insurance company and our excellent support staff begins the process of requesting your medical records and bills. Both our attorneys and support staff will maintain regular contact with you throughout the process.

At the appropriate time – which varies depending the nature of your injuries and available insurance coverage(s) – you will consult with your legal team regarding the best approach to resolving your case.

We hope that these answers to questions we often get here at Burnett & Williams are helpful. If you’d like any further information, please don’t hesitate to call or email our offices.