How do I get more money for my accident claim?+
Hire a Richmond, VA lawyer who is experienced in accident claims. The insurance industry has done studies which show that people with lawyers get more money for their case. The reason is because lawyers have superior negotiating skills than the average person, and the threat of taking a case to court is powerful to the insurance adjuster.
Insurance companies keep calling me. What do I do?+
Tell them to stop. If they do not, get the name and address of the person calling and write a Certified Letter to them asking them to stop. If it continues, call the Bureau of Insurance at the State Corporation Commission and report them.
If you get a lawyer he will deal with the insurance adjusters for you and they won’t bother you any more.
Why does the adjuster keep calling me for information?+
You might want to know that the reason the adjuster wants all this information from you is so the insurance company can find some reason – any reason – to deny or minimize your case.
By the time most injured people get to an offer, the insurance company has a file full of reasons to offer as little as possible – and all the reasons were provided by the unsuspecting injured person.
How do you like that? You dig your own grave.
But the adjuster is so nice and is trying to help me. Why do I need a lawyer?+
If you think the adjuster is on your side, try this:
The adjuster asks you for everything under the sun, including recorded statements, written statements, copies of your medical records, authorization to obtain your work records and your Aunt Susie’s used dentures.
So you have given everything to the adjuster – try asking him for the limits of on the policy they represents. You will hear a long pause and a lot of shuffling and the adjuster will make some excuse why he cannot give that to you. My boss won’t let me do it or company policy forbids it. Well, that’s a bunch of baloney.
So everything you do with the adjuster is a one way street. He or she wants everything from you, but is unwilling even to tell you the limits of liability on his policy.
What is the objective of the insurance adjuster?+
The objective of the adjuster is to make your case as weak as possible, while at the same time smiling, slapping you on the back and laughing with you. The rubber hits the road when the offer comes and you realize how the adjuster has used you.
The driver who hit me did not have any insurance. What should I do?+
You should call your insurance company and report an uninsured motorist claim, and then you should call an attorney. Your attorney will prosecute a claim against your insurance carrier for an uninsured motorist claim, a John Doe Claim. They will pursue the claim under the provisions of your motor vehicle policy. All insurance policies carry uninsured motor vehicle insurance and under insured motor vehicle insurance. The first case applies where the other driver has no insurance, and the second case applies to situations where the defendant’s insurance policy is not big enough to pay for all of the damages. Filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company will not cause your rates to go up. Paying such claims is an obligation of your insurance company, pursuant to your insurance contract.
In the case where a driver fled the scene, assuming he is not caught, the insurance company steps into the shoes of the defendant and proceeds as if it is the defendant. There are significant benefits to cases where the driver flees the scene, because it is hard for someone who fled the scene to say they were not at fault, especially if they are never found. It is hard for an absent man to defend himself.
As a result, such cases are almost never lost completely. It is actually hard to completely lose a John Doe case, because not only is John Doe not there to defend himself, but he fled from the accident and flight is generally viewed as an admission of liability. In these cases, the trial is about damages and not liability. The liability of the defendant is a foregone conclusion, and his attorney is engaged in damage control – trying to reduce the plaintiff’s damages for whatever reasons. Most cases are settled prior to trial, and the same goes for John Doe claims.
Defense attorneys for John Doe claims cannot defend their client’s actions, as they have no client with whom to do so. This is a significant advantage. The only thing they can focus on is the plaintiff’s damages, so the entire focus of the case will be on the plaintiff’s damages, chiefly his medical evidence and bills, and lost wages. In theory, this would mean that they focus more attention to the medical evidence than in a normal case where the defendant is known. Such has not been our experience, nor have we seen that the defendant has any advantages in a John Doe case.
If the other driver has fled, you should not hesitate to call your insurance company and report the claim, and then you should go see a lawyer. This situation is an unusual one and insurance adjustors may try to take advantage of you if you do not see a lawyer right away, trying to make you give statements that you do not have to give. Once you hire an attorney, he or she will notify the insurance company of the representation, and notify them that it is impermissible to contact you for any reason, except sometimes to discuss your car and its repairs. This will enable you to focus on your recovery and your life, and to leave the claim to the attorney and the insurance company.
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