What to Expect Following an Accident
By nature, accidents are unexpected events. Although you do not know for sure what will happen after an accident, there are some general things you can expect if you pursue a personal injury claim in Virginia.
For nearly 35 years, Blaszkow Legal, PLLC has helped clients in Alexandria, Virginia, and in Fairfax, Woodbridge, Arlington, and Manassas, understand what to expect when the unexpected happens to them. This may be the first time you have been injured by a negligent driver. Rest assured that we have guided victims like you through the claims process hundreds of times. Although each client’s circumstances are unique, here are some general things you should know.
Virginia Is an At-Fault State for Insurance
As an at-fault state for insurance, Virginia law provides that injury victims can hold those responsible for their injuries financially accountable for their damages. You can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance and attempt to reach a settlement that fairly compensates you for your damages. If the insurance company will not settle for a fair sum, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
You may also file a claim against your own insurance coverage. If you have medical payment coverage, you can claim those benefits to help pay medical bills while you pursue a third-party claim. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may file a claim against those limits if the negligent driver is uninsured or if the bodily injury limits of their insurance policy are not sufficient to compensate you fully.
A Property Damage Claim Is Separate From a Personal Injury Claim
If you have been in an accident, it is likely that your car sustained damage. If an investigation concludes that the other driver caused the accident, their insurance will need to pay for the necessary car repairs. Sometimes, your collision coverage will pay for repairs to speed up the process. Once fault is determined, your insurance company will then pursue recoupment of what it paid plus your deductible from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
In either case, the damages will be evaluated by an insurance adjuster and the mechanic or body shop. An initial estimate for repairs could rise once they begin actually working on the vehicle. Most of the time, payment from your insurer or the at-fault driver’s insurer is made directly to the garage.
Medical Treatment Is Necessary for a Personal Injury Claim
In order to pursue a personal injury claim, you must have been injured by someone who owed you a duty of care, who failed to uphold that duty, whose failure resulted in you sustaining injuries, and your injuries resulted in you incurring medical expenses. Without this, you only have a property damage claim.
It is important that you seek immediate medical attention following a car accident, even if you don’t think you are injured. Some injuries are not immediately apparent or are masked by adrenaline. If you are not examined and treated by a physician who knows what to look for, you risk delaying the diagnosis of injuries that may never heal correctly. In some cases, you may need specialists to prescribe a treatment plan.
That same delay also provides the at-fault driver’s insurance company with an excuse for undervaluing your claim or denying it completely. The insurer will assert that you either were not injured badly enough to seek medical treatment right away or that problems that manifest themselves later were caused not by the crash but by something that happened to you in the interim.
You will need medical documentation of injuries related to the accident to file a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance, as well as to file a claim for medical payment benefits and underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage under your own policy.
Your Personal Injury Attorney Will Help You Recover Compensation
Although you are not required to retain a personal injury attorney to help you recover compensation for your bodily injuries and property damage, it is wise to have one. From the moment you hire an attorney, they handle the work of asserting a claim, from investigating the accident to establish fault and collecting the necessary documentation and evidence, to creating a compelling demand letter to submit to the negligent driver’s insurer.
Your attorney will provide you with the information you need to make decisions about the value of your case. Although your attorney will handle negotiations, you will make your own decisions throughout the process. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement of your claim, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Your attorney will then prepare and present your case to a jury, opposed by attorneys hired by the other driver’s insurance company.
Getting Help From an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
At Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, we are time-tested negotiators and litigators. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying personal injury claims. We know how to fight back for our clients.
If you have been injured by a negligent driver in a car accident in Alexandria, Virginia, or the surrounding area, put us to work for you. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Begin fighting for what’s fair. Call us now.