In most cases, fault is automatically assigned to a driver who rear-ended someone. After all, being rear-ended is something you have no control over. Most likely, the other driver was following too closely, or they weren’t paying attention.
We’ve been told that it’s never our fault, and the other insurance company will cover all of the damages. So, why would anyone need an attorney in such a black and white case?
It can get complicated.
In this article, we’ll explore three reasons why you might not get an immediate (or fair) payout for your injuries and what you can do about it.
The Other Party’s Insurance Company Claims the Accident was Your Fault
It’s important to keep in mind that the other party’s insurance company will do everything in its power to avoid paying you the total value of your claim. If they can get away with it, they’ll try to avoid paying you altogether.
To do this, they’ll try to exploit any possible crack in the armor of your case. They might claim that you had faulty brake lights or a burned-out blinker. They could potentially argue that you made an unsafe lane change, or you made an erratic maneuver on the roadway that caused the other driver to collide with your vehicle.
Even though this wouldn’t put you fully at fault for the accident, Virginia has contributory negligence. This means that if you are even 1% at fault for an accident, you are not entitled to any money for your damages. In a scenario like this, an attorney will investigate all aspects of the accident, review the police report, and triple-check witness statements to get to the bottom of what happened.
The Other Party’s Insurance Company Claims Your Injuries Aren’t as Bad as You Claim
Car accident injuries are unpredictable, and everyone’s situation is different. A low-speed collision can leave one person unscathed and another facing long-term catastrophic injuries. The only thing that’s consistent is that the insurance company will aim to pay you as little as possible. By minimizing their payout to you, they maximize their profit for their shareholders and executives.
There are countless tactics that the lawyers representing the insurance company can utilize, and it’s our job as personal injury attorneys to do the investigative work to assign a real value to your claim that’s difficult for them to argue with.
The Other Party Didn’t Have Insurance
Virginia doesn’t require that drivers have car insurance. Instead, they have the option of paying a $500 fine every 12 months for the privilege of driving legally without coverage. Unfortunately, this can put you in a precarious position if an uninsured driver rear-ends you!
If this happens, you can file a claim with your insurance company using your uninsured motorist coverage (if you have it), or you can sue the other driver personally to recover. Suing the other driver will definitely require an attorney. You might also need an attorney if your insurance company tries to deny your claim or pay less than what it’s worth. The insurance company cannot increase your rates for using your insurance to pay for damages from an uninsured motorist claim.
What to do Next
A skilled attorney can give you an idea of what your claim is worth and help you navigate the complications that can arise from the aftermath of a rear-end collision. Get in touch with Geoff McDonald and Associates at 866-369-9051 for a free consultation.