When you are in an auto collision that is someone else’s fault, you typically file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, dealing with an at-fault driver’s car insurance company can include many traps and plenty of pushback from an adjuster who should be addressing all of your accident-related needs. But you do not have to let obstacles in an accident claim get to you because our skilled attorney at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, can handle your claim and help ensure that you receive every bit of compensation and support that you deserve. Carlton F. Bennett has been in practice for almost 50 years and knows how to take an at-fault driver’s car insurance company to task when you have a claim.
Have Your Car Accident Report Ready Right Away
You should report a car crash to the police as soon as possible after it occurs and acquire a copy of the accident report when it becomes available. The at-fault driver’s insurance company and your car insurance company will likely request to see the accident report before moving forward with investigating your claim. Accident reports are available through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Call an Attorney
You typically fare better in a car accident claim if you have an attorney by your side from the beginning. Anything you do or say could be a reason for the at-fault driver’s insurance provider to withhold the benefits that you deserve. A knowledgeable attorney can protect your interests by advising you on how to proceed after submitting an accident claim.
Call Your Insurance Provider
Collect the insurance information from the at-fault driver right away. And once you have the other driver’s information, alert your insurance carrier about the accident and the at-fault driver’s coverage.
To help make sure the at-fault driver covers your losses, your insurance company can and should deal with the other driver’s insurance provider. You do not want to pay for the harm that a negligent driver caused, and neither does your auto insurance provider. So your provider is likely going to fight to get compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance. However, the best protection you can have is an experienced car accident attorney.
Keep Your Conversations with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company to a Minimum
When an insurance company is investigating your claim, it might want a statement from you. You might also feel inclined to speak to the company about your experience. But you should resist the urge or pressure to speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Why? Because insurance companies look for arguments to deny your claim or diminish your damages. The less they pay you, the greater their bottom line. So no matter how innocuous your words about your collision may seem, an insurance adjuster can find a way to use your story against you to shortchange you on the compensation you deserve. Even something as seemingly simple as saying you are sorry for the crash could be used to argue that you were at fault. Otherwise, why would you be sorry?
This is why you should avoid conversations with an at-fault driver’s insurance company. And if you must have a conversation with them, only do so if you have your attorney present. Your attorney can steer you around the traps that many carriers set and help you present strong justifications for your compensation request.
An insurance company is not likely to take an accident claim seriously unless it believes that it has a poor chance of winning against you in a civil trial. Presenting the insurance company with solid evidence of your position is crucial to proving that you would have the upper hand in court.
Immediately after an accident, you should start gathering evidence of the other driver’s fault and your losses. This evidence can include the following:
- Accident reports,
- Witness testimony,
- Medical records,
- Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses,
- Repair estimates,
- Wage records, and
- Employment history.
Some of this evidence can be easy to collect on your own, while some vital pieces of evidence can be challenging to access. With his decades of experience, Carlton F. Bennett knows the legal tricks and tools to use to obtain all evidence you need to prove your case.
What Do I Do If the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Has Denied My Claim?
If you are dealing with an at-fault driver’s insurance company after a crash and the company denies your claim, you have a few options for obtaining compensation. Your first option is to sue the at-fault driver. Many insurance carriers deny claims because they do not believe their drivers are at fault or they think they have found a loophole in coverage terms. If a provider refuses to entertain your request for payment, you can take them to court. You have two years to file your lawsuit.
If an insurance company denies part of your claim because your needs exceed its policy limits, you can file an underinsured motorist claim with your own auto insurance company. Even though you are handling your claim with your own carrier, you should not handle your claim without the help of a good attorney. Unfortunately, your insurance company is also looking for ways to deny a claim, and a skilled advocate can help you avoid a denial or an insufficient settlement offer.
You also have the option of suing a third party for compensation in a car accident case. For example, an accident victim can sue an at-fault driver’s employer if they caused the accident while performing a task for their boss. Give your attorney as many details as you can about your accident to help them identify all parties responsible for your accident-related losses.
Let The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, Handle Your Insurance Claim
Carlton F. Bennett is an experienced injury attorney who is a certified specialist in civil trial advocacy. And Mr. Bennett has put his extensive skills to good use, including winning the largest jury verdict ($10.2 million) in Norfolk, Virginia. If you need representation, please call our office at 757-486-5454, or contact us online for a free consultation.