You don’t have to deal with insurance after an accident on your own. Between playing phone tag, assessing your damages, and knowing your rights, it can be tricky to navigate the claims process, especially if it’s your first time.
Instead, a personal injury attorney on our team can manage communication and represent you during settlement negotiations. We know how these companies operate and can protect you from their bad faith tactics so that you can obtain the compensation you need.
You Do Not Have to Deal With Opposing Insurance Agents
After a car accident, you must report it to your insurance provider. However, you are not legally obligated to discuss your accident with the other party’s insurance company.
While the at-fault driver’s insurer will need to know about your crash, you do not have to give them details about your accident or injuries. In fact, answering questions or providing a statement could hurt you in negotiations, as the insurer may use what you say to fit their bottom line—which could lead them to undervalue or deny your claim.
An attorney can take care of all communications with insurance agents or legal counsel and advise you before you agree to make any official statements. If an insurance agent contacts you directly:
- Be polite
- Give them your name and contact information
- Tell them the date, time, and location of the crash
- DO NOT discuss your injuries, medical treatment, or any other specific information about the crash
- Tell them to direct further communications through your lawyer
You Do Not Have to Accept an Initial Insurance Settlement
Insurance agents know that you may be under a lot of financial pressure after a car accident, particularly if you have injuries that prevent you from working. Therefore, insurance adjusters may offer you a lowball settlement hoping you will accept less than you deserve in exchange for a quicker payout.
Do not accept any initial offers, agree to a settlement, or sign paperwork without first consulting with a lawyer. Most lawyers will offer to consult with you about your case for free, and these consults are typically a good first step if you are filing an accident claim.
Damages You Can Pursue in a Car Accident Claim
If you or a loved one was harmed in a crash, your attorney may pursue damages for:
- Past and future medical treatment bills
- Loss of income
- Lost future earning capacity
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
If your loved one passed away from their injuries due to the accident, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death case. Typical damages these claimants seek include burial expenses, final medical costs, and loss of support.
Establishing Negligence After an Accident
The insurance company will NOT just hand you a check. You must prove that their policyholder’s negligent actions led to your car accident and resulting injuries. Examples of negligent driving include:
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to obey traffic lights and signs
- Failing to yield
- Passing illegally
- Driving distracted
- Driving recklessly or aggressively (“road rage”)
When you hire a lawyer, that lawyer will gather evidence of the other party’s negligence. At Parrish Law, we collect documents, interview witnesses, review your injuries, and much more, as we prepare to negotiate with the insurance company.
Virginia is one of only four pure contributory negligence states. If you are injured in an accident in Virginia and you are 1% at fault for your injuries, the insurance company can deny your claim entirely. That is why it is important for you and your attorney to establish clear fault in a car accident case.
Virginia Car Insurance Laws
According to Va. Code § 46.2-472, Virginia motorists are financially responsible for accidents they cause. For drivers whose policies began before Jan. 1, 2022, they must have $25,000 per injury or death per person, $50,000 per injury or death of two or more people, and $20,000 in property damage.
If the policies started on or after Jan. 1, 2022, drivers must have $30,000 per injury or death per person, $60,000 per injury or death of two or more people, and $20,000 in property damage. On and after Jan. 1, 2025, mandatory coverage for new policies goes up to $50,000 per injury or death per person, $100,000 per injury or death of two or more people, and $25,000 in property damage.
Your attorney can examine your and the other party’s insurance policies to determine your options for compensation.
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Filing a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Virginia
If you file a lawsuit, you must comply with deadlines the state has imposed.
According to Va. Code § 8.01-243, in general, you have up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Similarly, under Va. Code § 8.01-244, wrongful death claimants typically have two years to file suit, as well.
You could qualify for an exception to the deadline, but in any case, get started now. Waiting too long could jeopardize your right to collect compensation from the other party. However, given enough notice, a lawyer on our team can help you meet the deadline.
Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, for Help With Your Insurance Claims
An attorney with our firm can help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve following a crash. We can file your claims and deal with insurance after an accident so that you can focus on getting better. Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, to get started today with a risk-free, no-cost consultation.