If you were involved in an auto accident in Virginia, you will likely wind up filing a claim with either your auto insurance carrier or the other motorist’s insurance carrier. The information below is an overview of what to do — and what not to do — throughout the auto insurance claims process. If you were injured in the accident, make sure to reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer in Virginia to get a better sense of your legal options and whether you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim seeking financial restitution for your harms and losses.
What To Do for Filing an Auto Insurance Claim After an Accident
- Try to obtain the full names and contact information of all parties involved (e.g., the other motorist, any passengers, any witnesses, etc.).
- Get the other motorist’s auto insurance information.
- If possible, take pictures (using your smartphone) of the damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, and your bodily injuries.
- Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to inform them of the collision.
- Speak with an attorney prior to providing any sworn or recorded statements with the insurance company.
- Understand the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated or actual cash value (your attorney can help explain the difference as well). If your auto insurance policy provides replacement coverage, do not settle a personal property loss claim for “actual cash value.” You may be required to replace the lost items before getting your full reimbursement if you have replacement cost coverage.
- Maintain a copy of all documents related to the accident. This includes medical reports and invoices, wage statements reflecting time missed from work, any out-of-pocket expenses associated with not having a vehicle, etc.
What NOT To Do When Filing an Auto Insurance Claim After an Accident
- Do NOT give any recorded or written statements to your insurer until you are sure you understand your coverage. You are NOT required to allow the insurance company to record you during a phone call.
- Do NOT automatically accept the estimate or appraisal of your losses given to you by the insurer. Insurance companies will often try to get you to accept their estimator’s or contractor’s repair or replacement estimates, which might be a bit low.
- Do NOT sign any releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice.
- Do NOT skip the details contained within a settlement agreement or waiver. Take the time to read the fine print on any payment from the insurance company.
- Do NOT accept any check that says “final payment” unless you are ready to do so.
- Do NOT ignore the time limits related to filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Under Virginia law, you typically only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
Benefits of Speaking to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Virginia
The insurance claims process can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially when you are attempting to recover from serious injuries endured in a car crash. This is why it makes sense to retain the services of a seasoned and knowledgeable car accident lawyer in Virginia. You can speak directly to an attorney for free during a confidential case review to get a better sense of your legal options. Contact our office today to schedule a no-cost consult.