How Do I Know I'm Getting a Fair Settlement From the Insurance Company After a Car Accident?

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Getting a Fair Settlement From the Insurance Company 

Getting a fair settlement from the insurance company after a serious accident can be difficult - you really have to understand how insurance companies work and know the law on accident cases and insurance in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Accident cases can be more complex in the DMV than in other areas of the country because we often have the accident occuring in Maryland, hospitalizations and medical treatment in D.C. and the driver who caused it (and his insurance company) being in Virginia.

But there are a number of critical things that go into getting a fair settlement for your accident case.

Settlement of a Car Accident Case Depends on a Few Basic Questions

A good settlement will depend on a lot of factors. so there are a number of things an experienced lawyer who helps people with serious accident cases will need to determine (or you if you are trying to settle a case for minor injuries yourself - and don't believe what other lawyers tell you, or the TV commercials - for some cases you don't need a lawyer).

Are There Serious Injuries Caused By The Accident?

We're a lot different than most lawyers.  That starts with the first thing we want to talk to you about, evaluate and help you with - you. We want to know how you're doing.

Are you still in the hospital or did you have a long hospital stay? Did you have surgery caused by the trauma of the crash? Do you need more surgeries in the future? Are you facing a long and painful rehab?  Do you have to stay home or quit your job because you can't physically do it anymore? How has this affected you and your family? How are you paying for the medical treatment you need?

There is a lot to ask and find out about.  And we want to help people who are the most severely injured - that's where we can really make a difference in someone's life.

How Did the Accident Happen?

Were you rear-ended?  Did the other driver run a red light? Were you a pedestrian hit by a car?

The facts of the accident should be investigated immediately - getting the police report, talking to witnesses, going to the scene of the crash, taking photographs of the cars are all important steps in the process. 

All three local areas in the DMV - DC, Maryland and Virginia have their own laws, courts and procedures, so where the accident happened may be a factor.  But DC, Maryland and Virginia all are contributory negligence states, meaning that if someone is at all responsible for or at fault for (even 1% at fault) an accident that they are hurt in, they won't be able to win their case.

It's a harsh law, but the way it is.  So insurance companies are always looking to blame you for the accident, or say that you were partially at fault (one of the reasons not to give a recorded statement to the insurance company without talking to a real accident lawyer first).  They investigate the accident and try to blame you.

Is There Enough Insurance Coverage For a Fair Settlement?

If you have serious injuries and the accident was clearly caused by the other driver, you need to make sure there is enough insurance coverage to get a fair settlement.  In this area of DC, Maryland and Virginia, the policy limits for car insurance are relatively low - $25,000 (and Virginia doesn't require auto liability insurance).

If you've been hospitalized, had surgery, have permanent injuries and can't work, that $25,000 won't go very far.

So it's critical to determine whether there is additional insurance coverage available - was the person who caused the accident on the job at the time? If so, his employer may be responsible.  Some people have umbrella policies - an extra liability insurance policy, usually $1,000,000.00 or more that will pay in very serious accidents - but you have to understand to ask for that.

And every driver should have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage on his own insurance policy.  This coverage protects you by providing additional insurance coverage over the limits of the person who caused the accident. UM and UIM is a little different in every state but is usually inexpensive and can really protect you if you're in a serious accident.

If You Have Serious Injuries Caused by an Accident, Talk to a Serious Injury Lawyer  

Let's face it, these are just basic tips and to make sure you don't make a mistake or get taken advantage of by the insurance company, reach out to us today at (202) 393 - 3320 or fill out our short contact form and we'll get in touch with you. We know a lot about these cases, and we're happy to talk to you personally, confidentially and with no obligation to make sure you get the best information for you and your family.    

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer