Understanding the Worth Of Your Car Accicdent Case in the DC Area

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 factors that go into getting a fair settlement for your accident case.

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

There are a number of things an experienced lawyer who helps people with serious accident cases will need to determine in order to gauge the settlement value of your claim.

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.

Have You Been Seriously Injured By The Accident?

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?

The facts of the accident are important. 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.

The investigation is something that can be done by an experienced car accident lawyer. 

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. You need someone on your side who will be able to push back and prove you were not at fault if you didn't contribute to the accident.

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 even  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. Medical bills can quickly get into the hundreds of thousands with surgery and rehab, and your personal insurance will require they get paid back what they spend on you. This is called a lien and it will get paid out of your settlement. This practice is called subrgoation.

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 an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer  

Most people are terrified of losing income after an injury keeps them out of work. We provide financial stability and medical treatment while you can’t work so you can pay your bills and recover. 

We are here to guide you through the process and help you stand up to the insurance company. 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. We make it really easy to get started. Just contact our office today. You'll speak to a real person who wants to hear your story and will give you the next steps to make your car accident case successful.

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