Generally, when a person causes an accident that injures another, he or she may not have the financial resources to compensate the injured party for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages. This is why many states, including Virginia, require vehicle owners to carry automobile liability insurance on their vehicles. It is the insurance company that will cover damages for victims in any personal injury claims should the vehicle owner be liable for a crash. Homeowners and businesses also have liability insurance in order to cover financial compensation for anyone injured on their properties.
When a person is injured by another’s negligence, for example, in a car accident or a slip and fall injury, the first step is to determine whether the negligent party has insurance. This may include auto insurance for drivers or liability coverage for property owners.
Sometimes, the party at fault does not have insurance, or cannot be located, such as in a hit and run. In that event, the injured party’s car insurance may cover the injuries. Many drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage, which can compensate the injured party if the other driver was uninsured or unable to be located.
Underinsured motorist coverage compensates injured drivers when the negligent party has insurance, but it is not enough to fully compensate the victim for his or her injuries. In that case, uninsured motorist coverage can make up the difference.
The next step is to determine whether or not the injured person is covered under the policy, and what the applicable policy limit is. In a slip and fall, for example, the property owner’s policy may cover visitors. Generally, willful acts are not covered by insurance. This includes situations such as battery or when a driver intentionally runs into someone else.
When an injured person files a claim with an insurance company, a claims adjuster from the insurance company is responsible for processing the claim. It is important to remember that the claims adjuster represents the company, not the injured person. Insurance companies are in business to make money. When they have to pay out a claim, that cuts into the company’s profits, so it is the adjuster’s job to pay out as little money as possible.
In order to demonstrate reasons for a higher settlement amount, it is important for the victim and their Virginia personal injury attorney to document as much evidence as possible. This evidence can include medical records, doctor’s testimony, written statements from employers verifying the amount of lost wages from being unable to work while recovering, photos of the accident scene, photos of the victim’s injuries, witness statements, and more.
Should the victim’s attorney and the insurance company come to an agreement regarding a fair settlement amount, both parties will sign a settlement agreement. That agreement states that the insurance company gives the victim the agreed-upon amount for their injuries in exchange for the victim waiving their right to pursue further legal action against them for the accident claim.
If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the victim’s attorney will file the legal documents required to pursue litigation and have a jury decide the case. However, due to the time, money, and stress involved in personal injury lawsuits, the majority of personal injury claims are resolved in settlement agreements.
Speak to a Virginia Accident Attorney
All accidents have the potential to permanently change the trajectory of a person’s life. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by another party, talk to a Virginia personal injury attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to find out all your legal options.
Accident injuries should not be ignored, and you deserve compensation for your suffering. Our firm has more than three decades of experience successfully advocating for injured victims and their families and will work diligently to get you the financial compensation you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We can evaluate your case and determine what type of compensation you may be entitled to.