If you are one of the thousands of Virginia residents who are in a car accident, you might wonder when you should consider hiring an attorney. Generally, you should do so after any accident injures you or a loved one to ensure the insurance company doesn’t drag its feet or fail to pay you what you deserve.
Virginia Car Accident Statistics
Across the Commonwealth of Virginia in one recent year, more than 105,000 accidents occurred on Virginia roadways. As a result, more than 52,000 people suffered injuries. While these numbers have shown improvement over prior years, it means a significant number of people are living with the impact an accident had on their lives. When the accident is not their fault, the aftermath of an accident can wreak havoc on their family.
Virginia has a low minimum auto insurance coverage requirement and that means victims often have to negotiate with insurance companies to be reimbursed for their out-of-pocket costs. If an at-fault driver carries only minimum coverage, your expenses can outweigh the insurance coverage very quickly. This is particularly true if a victim suffers serious injuries.
Insurance Company Issues Are Common
As any Virginia auto accident lawyer will explain, dealing with insurers is not always easy, even when the customer, the driver who struck you, is clearly at fault for the accident. In many cases, the insurance company denies the initial claim outright. This type of action would require you to immediately consider contacting an attorney and discuss your case during a free consultation.
Victims of car accident injuries often do not understand their legal rights. Too often, they accept the initial settlement offer from the insurer without knowing what compensation they need. Victims may also feel that that it is not worth the effort to call a lawyer.
Those who do hire a car accident lawyer quickly see the advantages of experienced legal representation.
Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
The benefits of hiring a car accident attorney are numerous, but some of the best reasons to make this decision include:
- Protecting your rights – victims of car accidents have rights and no insurance company, including your own, is going to explain them to you.
- Investigation of accident – an attorney who has experience handling auto accident claims knows what investigative tools are available to seek out the root cause of the accident and hold the right parties accountable.
- Higher settlement offers – insurance companies know when you have hired an attorney you are not going to accept their first offer. Not only is the first offer usually less than what you lost in the accident, the adjuster might tell you it is the best offer. This is seldom the case.
- Focus on healing from injuries – rather than going back and forth with an insurance adjuster and potentially harming your case, you can turn all of the negotiations over to someone who has a proven track record of success while you focus on healing.
Keep in mind, while a law firm’s successful results do not always mean they will be successful in every case, a successful track record can help you rest assured they will do everything possible to ensure a successful outcome for your case.
What Contributes to Claims Demands
When a car accident seriously injures you, several factors can affect how well your recovery will progress: your health before the accident, the rate of speed at which the vehicles were traveling at the time of the accident, and the type of injury you suffer.
Here are some items that make up many insurance claims:
- Medical expenses – one of the most expensive parts of an accident claim is the associated medical cost. The more severe the injury, the more expensive the claim. Even a victim with medical insurance may need to pay for some care out of pocket. These expenses typically rank second highest.
- Lost wages – the wages a victim loses while recovering from an injury are normally the largest portion of an accident injury claim. Some victims, such as those who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), may never regain their pre-accident abilities. Even after considering disability or other payments a victim may receive, the financial losses can be substantial.
- Property damage – you must repair the damage to your vehicle following an accident, even if you can no longer drive. Depending on the severity of the injury, these costs can be substantial.
- Other expenses – some car accident victims need to hire help to perform chores they would normally handle themselves. Landscapers, babysitters, even pet sitters may be necessary, and those costs may be part of a claims demand following a car accident.
As you can see, the high cost of suffering an injury in a car accident can add up quickly. Victims often do not know what expenses they may include in their insurance claim, which makes hiring an attorney even more important.
Hiring an Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later
While no auto accident victim is required to hire an attorney, victims should consider doing so as soon after an accident as possible. In fact, in most cases, it is highly recommended that once you have completed a medical evaluation and reported the accident to your insurance company, your next call should be to a lawyer.
When you are in an accident that was not your fault and you suffered an injury, contact a Virginia car accident attorney for your free consultation. Not only can you learn what legal options you have available to you, but you can also see the advantages of hiring an advocate to represent you going forward. In most cases, hiring an attorney makes sense for those who suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence.