Richmond Insurance Claim Lawyer
The first minutes after a car accident are often chaotic. Once the initial shock has worn off, and pending any severe injuries, both drivers usually exchange contact information, including insurance information.
This is not just a formality, but it is so both parties can discuss the accident with their respective insurance companies (besides filing a police report.) Before you reach out to the insurance company though, speak with one of our Richmond insurance claims attorneys.
Why Hire an Insurance Claim Lawyer?
In clear-cut cases of responsibility, insurance companies tend to move quicker. An insurance claim lawyer knows what evidence they need to present to force insurance companies into a fair and fast settlement.
A lawyer can also protect you from making an error in the settlement process that could jeopardize your claim. Insurance companies have a lot of tricks to get you to settle for less than what you truly deserve.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Virginia and need assistance in dealing with insurance, contact a Richmond insurance claims attorney before you speak with the insurance company.
Is The Other Driver Insured?
Another reason to hire an insurance claim lawyer is because of Virginia’s odd insurance laws. Virginia is one of two states in the nation where drivers are not required to carry auto insurance. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that all drivers have vehicle insurance, but those who don’t must pay a penalty
The uninsured driver must pay the Department of Motor Vehicles an annual fee of $500. This fee does not provide any insurance or liability assistance in the case of an accident, but only allows drivers to operate a vehicle without insurance at their own risk.
If a driver does not have insurance and does not pay the required state fee, the driver may be subject to severe penalties, as well as potentially surrender their license plates to the state. It also opens them up to an enormous amount of liability if they get into an accident.
Virginia Personal Injury Claims
After most personal injury accidents, the insurance company of the responsible party will jump in directly to attempt to negotiate a settlement. Keep in mind that insurance companies are in the business of making money; they do not necessarily care about your well-being and often have no qualms about approaching you during recovery.
It is important to speak with an attorney during this time who can better advise you on what an outcome would be from a personal injury trial versus what the insurance company is offering. Going to trial in a personal injury case is tricky in Virginia because of the fault laws.
If the other driver is uninsured, then your options are much more limited. However, an insurance claims lawyer can advise you on whether it would be worth it to pursue a lawsuit against the other driver. Sometimes it is, if they have the assets to pay you.
Strict Contributory Negligence
Virginia is a strict contributory negligence state, meaning that if the victim driver was even two percent at fault for the accident there will be no available personal injury claim recourse. This means you’d get nothing. In this situation, it is better to settle with the insurance company.
A Richmond insurance claims attorney can better assist you in negotiating the settlement to be closer to the true cost of damage. Don’t let an insurance company intimidate you away from what you truly deserve.
With a skilled Richmond car accident lawyer by your side, you can decide whether it would be worth it to pursue a full lawsuit against the insurer. Should you win your case, you could receive far more than what you could from a settlement.
How Can I Protect Myself From an Uninsured Driver?
Since there is no way to know which drivers are insured, one way you can protect yourself is by adding Med-pay to your current insurance. This is a type of coverage that deals with medical bills after an accident.
Med-pay, also known as medical payment benefits, can also cover lost wages. Best of all, it will help cover your bills no matter who was at fault in your accident. While every insurer must offer it to you, you are not required to take it.
Another significant thing about Med-Pay is that payments from that fund are not typically disputed by insurers and are paid quickly with proper documentation. Plus, collecting Med-pay benefits doesn’t prevent you from making a 3rd party personal injury claim against the other driver.
Contact Our Richmond Insurance Claim Lawyers
If you or a loved one were recently involved in an accident and have questions about filing an insurance claim, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at the Richmond personal injury law firm of Christina Pendleton & Associates.
Our lawyers have assisted numerous clients in either working with insurance companies to negotiate a settlement or filing their own personal injury claims. We will help you decide which is the best option for you and your family. For your initial free consultation, contact us today.