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If I hire an attorney will that prolong the resolution of my case or guarantee that it goes to trial?

No. As attorneys, we never know how long a case will last before it resolves. That being said, any attorney's goal should simply be to resolve a client's specific legal conflict. This ought to be done efficiently and without waste. As applied to a personal injury case or insurance claim, attorney involvement should ideally serve to expedite resolution, not prolong it. Although there is no guarantee that a specific case will settle with an insurance company, the attorney's role in case investigation, record gathering and keeping, and settlement negotiation will usually lead to timely case resolution. Finally, attorney involvement should NOT mean that a case gets tied up in court.

We believe that any personal injury lawyer should take a "results oriented approach" by seeking to avoid litigation and settle a client's personal injury case out of court. However, if an insurance company refuses to be fair, the case will not (and should not) settle. For those cases, filing suit and litigating in our court system is the option. This process may culminate in a jury trial. Therefore, once it is established that an insurance company is not willing to settle fairly, the attorney should promptly consult with the client and file suit. Litigation is often the only way to put enough legal and financial pressure on an insurance company to enforce a proper settlement.  In sum, attorney involvement on a personal injury case does not entail delay. It should not mean litigation. 

Andrew Thomas
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Andrew Thomas is an experienced civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.