Car accident settlements are just like fingerprints – no two are exactly alike. A negotiated accident settlement varies depending on everything from personal injuries involved, damages to the vehicle, medical costs, and the insurance claims adjuster’s mood the day your paperwork is processed. Most people are under the impression that insurance companies are on their side, but more often than not insurance companies are doing their best not to give you the money that you’re entitled to. If you’ve been involved in a car, motorcycle or truck wreck in the Richmond, VA area, here are a few things you should know before you file a claim with the insurance company:
- Take your time and do research. In every state you have at least a year or more to settle your claim or file a lawsuit. In Virginia the statue of limitations for a personal injury case in a car crash is two years.
- You can be compensated for damage to your car, the cost of a rental car, and towing fees while your car is being repaired. Take pictures of the damaged vehicles and any injuries sustained. Make sure to take down the names and numbers of any witnesses to the accident who may later be able to help prove your insurance claim.
- Besides being compensated for your current medical bills and fees, you can also be compensated for medical bills and fees incurred in the future. The recommendation and judgment of your doctor or medical treatment provider may establish the value of those treatments that will be required in the future.
- You are entitled to claim the loss of income that may incur because of injuries that prevent you from performing job duties. You can claim the amount that you lost from the time of the wreck to the time of the verdict. Also, you may demand compensation for the loss of being productive in future work if you believe that your sustained injury impedes you to earn money in the future.
Once the insurance claim adjuster has investigated your claim, he or she will typically send you or your car accident lawyer a settlement offer. The settlement offer will tell you what the insurance company is willing to pay on your claim. Most likely if you hired a lawyer, there will be negotiations until a settlement amount is mutually agreed upon. After a settlement amount is established, the insurance company will ask you to sign a form called a Release and Waiver. You want to be certain that the conditions on the waiver are reasonable, and that the amount owed you will be paid promptly. As with any legal document, it is important to have an a car accident lawyer review it and offer advice before you sign the form. After you sign it, it will be too late to question any of the conditions or terminology used. It’s advisable to have a Richmond, Virginia car accident lawyer on your side so that you don’t have to worry about all the legal terms and tricks an insurance company may use.
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