If you were involved in a car accident, you may think that you can competently handle the claim on your own. You might worry about a lawyer taking part of your compensation and want to avoid this. However, by handling your own car accident claim, you might be jeopardizing it in ways that you don’t even know. Below, we discuss five reasons why you should NOT handle your own car accident claim.
1. You Might Be Blamed for the Accident
Virginia has an at-fault insurance system, meaning that the insurance company that covers the driver who is found at fault is responsible for paying for the victim’s damages. Insurance adjusters work diligently to try to deny all claims on any legal grounds possible. If multiple vehicles are involved, each insurance company may try to pass off liability to another driver so that it does not have to pay on the claim. So, even if you are injured in the accident, one of the insurance companies may try to blame you, and the driver may even try to file a lawsuit against you.
Additionally, Virginia has a pure contributory negligence law that says the other driver has to be 100% at fault in order for you to recover damages for the claim. If the insurance company can blame you for even 1% of the accident, you can be completely barred from recovering any damages.
2. You Might Lose Crucial Evidence
The moments immediately after an accident can be confusing and frightening. You may be confused about what to do. Adrenaline may be coursing through your veins and masking symptoms of an injury. You might choose not to seek medical treatment, which can damage the potential value and success of your claim. You may be encouraged by the other driver’s insurance company to quickly get your vehicle repaired and lose crucial evidence in the process. Skilled personal injury lawyers know how to preserve evidence and can gather additional information to support your claim.
3. Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Can Negotiate a Higher Settlement
Insurance adjusters deal with accident claims every day, so confronting them on an equal playing field requires hiring a seasoned negotiator who can fight for maximum compensation. A large study conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that 85 percent of all settlements made by insurance companies were to clients who were represented by legal counsel. Additionally, awards for represented parties were 3.5 times greater than awards for unrepresented parties. These statistics indicate that most people are much better off hiring an attorney than trying to handle the claim themselves.
4. You Might Leave Money on the Table
Depending on the accident, there may be more than one party at fault. An investigation may uncover evidence that may reveal the liability of other parties, such as:
- The manufacturer of a defective vehicle
- The manufacture of a defective auto part
- An employer when the driver was working at the time of the accident
- A road maintenance department
- The owner of the vehicle
- Your employer if you were working at the time of the accident
An experienced personal injury lawyer can identify all parties that may be responsible for an accident and can help you recover maximum compensation. He or she can also consider all avenues of possible compensation, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim to maximize your recovery.
5. Personal Injury Claims Are a Hassle
When you are trying to recover after being injured, maintain your work after losing wages and taking care of other responsibilities, adding an insurance claim to the mix is often overwhelming. Virginia Beach personal injury attorney Jeffrey Brooke is here to help. At The Jeff Brooke Team, we dedicate our practice to helping injured victims and their families. Contact us by phone at (757) 552-6055 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.