Why You Should Not Handle Your Own Car Accident Claim in VA
On average, 182 people are injured in car accidents every day in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Drive Smart Virginia. Because injury accidents put unexpected physical and financial strain on the victim and their family, seeking compensation from the responsible party is crucial.
Holding the driver who caused the crash accountable for their actions can be challenging, but that does not stop some people from trying to seek compensation on their own, without the help of an attorney. This decision is almost always a mistake, whether they fear that a lawyer will not take their case, mistakenly think that the process will be simple and straightforward, believe that they’ll get to keep more money if they fight this battle alone, or if they are tricked by insurance company representatives into believing they’ll be taken care of.
People who attempt to handle their own claims often receive only a fraction of what they actually need to cover the cost of the crash. You should be confident that you are truly getting everything that you need and deserve, which is why we’ve provided the following information to help you understand why you should hire a lawyer to help you after an injury accident in Virginia.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Virginia Beach
One of the first things you need to understand about any kind of accident claim is that Virginia is one of only five states in the country that recognizes contributory negligence. Put simply, this means that a person cannot recover any damages in a case if they are determined to have been at all at fault for the accident. A person who is only 1% responsible for an accident will not be able to recover anything from the party who was 99% at fault.
Contributory negligence is the very first thing an insurance company will look for when it investigates a case. One of the easiest ways to find it is directly from the victim’s own mouth. The insurance company will try everything to get the victim to say something that can be twisted or taken out of context and used to show that the victim was at least a tiny bit to blame for the crash.
For this reason alone, you should never speak to an insurance company, or provide a recorded statement, until you have consulted an attorney.
A lawyer can handle all conversations with insurance companies on your behalf. They will also perform independent investigations into crashes, determining the true causes, preserving evidence, and identifying every single liable party.
Remember that an insurance company is only committed to its profits, but an experienced lawyer will act “with diligence and dedication” and “with respect and courtesy” toward their clients, meaning that the client’s best interests come before the attorney’s, as dictated by the Virginia State Bar.
Common Mistakes and Risks of Handling Your Own Car Accident Case in Virginia
One of the biggest mistakes people make is admitting to fault in some way, either at the scene of the accident, or in conversations afterward. Keeping in mind the threat of contributory negligence, be especially careful what you share about your accident on social media websites, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The information you post online can be viewed by insurance companies, who will then use your own statements against you to prove contributory negligence and refuse to pay a thing.
When people attempt to resolve car accident claims on their own, they will often be offered a lump sum settlement from an insurance company, one which they are told will help them avoid any court appearances. The problem with most of these settlements is that insurers offer much lower amounts than the injured person actually deserves. Many simply accept the lump sum without realizing that they should have recovered far more.
Another negative impact on recovering potential damages occurs if a person fails to seek medical attention immediately after their accident. Insurance companies are often unwilling to compensate people for injury claims when medical treatment after a crash was not provided right away.
An experienced attorney can handle all settlement negotiations in your case because they have a far better understanding of the legal system and the tactics that insurance companies will use to deny or underpay claims. An attorney will recognize the full value of your claim, and will work toward recovering that amount. They will also identify the time when filing a lawsuit becomes necessary in order to get fair and full compensation.
Benefits of Having a Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyer
When you have an attorney who is able to perform their own investigation into your accident, you’ll be in a much stronger position when it comes to recovering compensation. Your lawyer can deal with the insurance companies for you, so you won’t need to worry about saying anything that might hurt your case.
An attorney’s investigations can also lead to the discovery of additional parties who are liable for an accident. An attorney can help you navigate the many issues that arise when there are multiple parties to be held liable, a situation which is especially common in multiple-vehicle accidents.
Another very important aspect to legal representation for car accident victims is the medical attention they receive, and continue to receive, after an accident. Many injuries require weeks, months, or even years of rehabilitation and therapy. An attorney can help negotiate discounted charges when their clients are having difficulty with the costs of necessary medical care.
A lawyer could possibly help obtain a medical lien, allowing a person to continue receiving treatment at no up-front cost, as payment will instead be deducted from a settlement or jury award.
Contact Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. for Help After a Car Accident in Virginia Beach
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Virginia Beach, you don’t have to fight for compensation alone.
The car accident attorneys at Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. have more than 30 years of experience and a record of success that includes significant seven-figure settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. We know that results matter, and we’re confident in our ability to represent you and pursue the outcome that you and your family deserve.
Take the first step and let us review your case during a free, no-obligation consultation. Just call us, or reach out to us online, and you’ll see that hiring a qualified attorney with the right resources is the right decision for you.