The “Three Legged Stool” Evaluation

Personal Injury Attorney in Williamsburg Virginia

When evaluating cases, personal injury attorney Pat Kelley believes there are always 3 major issues to consider: liability, damages, and coverage – otherwise known as the “3-legged stool”.  If all 3 issues are in the plaintiff’s favor, then there is an excellent chance of a significant recovery so let’s explore each of those areas below.

Liability, Damages, & Coverage

Liability is always the first issue to evaluate. This is particularly true in Virginia as we still adhere to the Common Law doctrine of Contributory Negligence. Essentially what this doctrine means is that one seeking to recover monetary damages for injuries received in an automobile accident must be totally without fault in the accident. This issue frequently arises in intersection accidents. For instance, Pat recently represented a young man who suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a defendant who clearly ran a red light. The insurance company attempted to maintain that his client was speeding and therefore not entitled to any recovery whatsoever.  In a similar situation, the insurance company claimed that another client could not recover because, although she clearly had the right of way, she should have seen their speeding client who was about to run a red light. In both of these cases, Pat was able to secure a significant recovery for his client because he recognized the issue in time for the client to be prepared to answer questions appropriately at their deposition. These two cases clearly illustrate Pat’s experience and preparation in handling personal injury cases.

Damages Or Injuries are the second issues that must always be addressed. This seems to be obvious – surely no one would call a personal injury attorney unless they were injured? Unfortunately, this is not true. Many people involved in motor vehicle accidents call an attorney before they even see a doctor! Pat Kelley has the experience to realize that these are the types of claims are doomed from the beginning. Another type of claim that he usually will not get involved in is where the client, although injured, calls looking for a particular doctor. Finally there are some clients who do have minor injuries, but it simply makes no economic sense to retain an attorney to handle the claim. Pat has on many occasions provided a free consultation to these individuals and advised them how to resolve their claim without incurring a fee. Pat simply has the knowledge and experience to recognize clients who have suffered serious injuries and deserve to be compensated.

Insurance Coverage  is the final issue that must be evaluated, and unfortunately it is the one that is least understood. A plaintiff can be severely injured in an accident in which they are totally without fault, yet they may not receive the recovery they deserve unless there is adequate insurance coverage available to pay the claim. Virginia only requires the owner of an automobile to maintain $25,000 in liability coverage to pay for injuries they (or the driver of their cause) may cause in an accident. Individuals who maintain such a low amount of coverage generally do not have assets available to satisfy a claim should they cause injuries in excess of $25,000. This can lead to absurd results – plaintiffs only receiving $25,000 for devastating injuries. Pat Kelley has received extensive training and understands how to locate additional sources of coverage. This is called “Underinsurance” and is the coverage that many people have on their own insurance policies. Often, he is able to find this coverage and help his clients receive an adequate recovery on their claim.

Trust Pat Kelley of Montgomery, Kelley & Dennett

There are many other issues that can arise in the context of a personal injury case – such as liens, med pay claims, pre-existing injuries, etc. If you have been injured in an accident, contact Pat Kelley and let him put his years of experience to work in helping you receive the monetary recovery you deserve. Call Now! 757-229-8284