After an accident in DC, MD or VA, how do you know whether the insurance company will pay you a fair settlement?

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Will an insurance company pay a fair settlement after an accident in DC, VA or MD?

After an accident on the roads in the DMV, you will probably get a call or letter from the other driver's insurance company (the one who caused the accident).  The first thing to deterine is who caused the accident - was the other driver texting, speeding, switching lanes, running a red light, not yielding the right of way, not paying full time and attention - that kind of thing.  

With serious injuries after an accident, the police will often be called and give the driver who caused the accident a citation or ticket (and if he was drunk or driving while intoxicated, they may arrest him and take him to jail).  That's a good start to determining who was at fault.  Practice tip - get the names and numbers of any witnesses, even if the police get witness info, it is sometimes lost and not always accurate.

Once you get the call from the other driver's insurance company, they may tell you their driver was at fault - that's great, but what's next?

You have to determine whether to file a lawsuit against the other driver (his insurance company will actually defend the case and pay any verdict or settlement up to their policy limit -and if the other driver doesn't have insurance or has very low policy limits, you should contact your own insurance company under your uninsured motorist coverage) whether you should try to settle your accident case, and of course, what a fair settlement is.  (We help our clients make these decisions, as well as guide them through the whole process - many times, their injuries are severe and we have them focus on rehab and getting better while we take care of everything else.)

And a fair settlement for any accident case in DC, Maryland or Virginia depends on a number of factors, things like:

  • How hard is it to prove the other driver was at fault?
  • Are your injuries permanent?
  • Did your injuries require surgeries?
  • Can you no longer work because of your injuries?
  • How much did your medical treatment for injuries from the accident cost (and how much will it cost in the future for your ongoing needs)?
  • What do your injuries prevent you from doing?

These questions about your injuries are just the beginning of the analysis of any settlement value for your case - and remember the choice of when to settle and decision on a fair settlement is different for every person and every case.  Don't let some neighbor or relative tell you how much so and so settled his case for because: #1 how do you know that's even true? and #2 and more importantly, so what? Every case is different and injuries affect people in very different ways.

We've published a great resource to help you avoid the critical mistakes insurance companies force some people to make after a serious injury.  Just click on the icon to your left and order your free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in the DMV or call us at (202) 393 - 3320 so we can answer your questions or get you started.

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