Fear and Reality: Should you accept the insurance company’s offer, or file a claim?
Accidents bring a lot of emotions: anger, depression, anxiety, stress, fear. Most people just want to get back to life before it happened and wish they could avoid the pain and costs altogether. Many think they just have to handle most of the expenses themselves because they expect the insurance companies to lowball them.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. Insurance companies hope you will accept a low offer or their rejection, even when their policies completely cover your accident and injuries. You may have many fears about filing a claim for a car accident even if you suffered a serious injury and believe that another driver was responsible for it.
Here are the most common fears many people have, and the realities that you should know before making any decisions.
Top fears about filing an accident claim (and the realities you need to know)
- Fear of the legal system. Most people have anxiety about our legal system, either from the media or personal experience.
Reality: There is help out there. We agree our legal system is complex, but we have also seen that it can work in your favor. It comes down to having the right legal representation and guidance throughout the process. You don’t have to walk through it alone.
- Fear that you may not have a valid claim. Many people feel that any time they have had to talk to the police, they were on trial. They wrongly believe that their actions must have led to the accident, even when it was the opposite. Others feel that if they contributed to the accident at all, then they can’t prove the other driver caused the wreck.
Reality: Finding out more information may help you make a better decision. You can’t be sure what evidence is available in a car accident. The police report may attribute the fault to the other driver, and your own medical records could show that your injuries were caused by the accident. There may be surveillance camera footage, witness statements, driving records, and maintenance reports that all point to the cause of the accident and who is to blame for your pain and suffering.
But you may not know this unless you start the process by speaking with a personal injury attorney. We have access to a variety of experts, from medical professionals to accident reconstructionists, who can help piece together the evidence and determine if you have a case.
Reality: Fault may not be obvious. Even if you did contribute to the accident, say by looking away from the road briefly or driving above the speed limit, that doesn’t mean you are 100% at fault. The other driver could have run a red light or been under the influence of alcohol. While your actions may decrease the amount of compensation you receive, it doesn’t mean you are barred from filing a claim. Virginia does recognize contributory negligence, but the insurance adjuster may try to talk you out of your claim before you even file.
- Doubting your injuries. Others doubt their injuries, thinking they can just walk off a torn rotator cuff, or that the back pain will go away. Some don’t even get a checkup afterward, fearing the costs of an ambulance or emergency room bill.
Reality: Often, people are injured in wrecks. Statistically, 30% of all reported car accidents involve injuries, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Agency (NHTSA). So, if you were in an accident, you have a one in three chance of having had some type of injury that needed treatment, and that is an injury you should be compensated for.
- Fear about if you should file a claim against someone else. Many people may know the at-fault driver, and they don’t want to file a claim against a friend or neighbor.
Reality: The focus of most claims will be the other driver’s insurance company. While it’s perfectly understandable to want to avoid filing a lawsuit against a friend or neighbor, your case will likely be with your friend’s insurance company. He might have to deal with a penalty on his driving record or a fine from the police, but he would likely deal with that even if you didn’t file a claim. While you may discuss the nature of his actions during the accident, your claim will primarily be with an insurance company and the policy that covers the other driver. These policies are designed for car accidents and to provide funds for people injured in car accidents. Why would you suffer through your injuries or let a claim pass you by when there is money out there that can help you recover?
But to ensure you get a fair deal and that the policy is enforced, you will need the aid of a skilled personal injury attorney.
How we can help you
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, my partner Ken Gibson and I are car accident attorneys who have dealt with our own personal injury claims. We know firsthand what it is like to lie awake at night worried about injuries and how our future will be affected. We too just wanted the whole accident to go away. Now, we know that often the best chance people have at full recovery is going through the claims process.
When you have a free meeting with us, we try to put you at ease. We let you know that we are here to guide you through the events that follow an accident. We will ask how you are handling your injuries, and how they have affected your life. We want to know if you have difficulty playing with your kids, or if you are worried that you won’t be able to go on a morning bike ride anymore.
Most of all, we want to give you an objective view of your case. We don’t encourage every person to go through the claim process. Instead, we work through the facts with you, from the insurance policy to the police report, to help you make informed decisions. If you decide to work with us to file a claim, we’ll encourage you to focus on recovering while we worry about collecting evidence, preparing a demand package, and negotiating with the insurance company.
When you are ready to find out more, give us a call at (804) 413-6777. Our team is ready to advocate for your best interests.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.