Should I file my car accident claim or talk with an attorney first?

Frustrated Woman on the Phone With a LawyerYou may be in a hurry to settle your auto accident claim if you suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, have mounting medical bills, and cannot work. You may think you will speed up the process by filing your claim first, especially if you need to search for an experienced car accident lawyer to assist you. However, it would be best to hire an attorney before contacting the insurance company.

What Are the Dangers of Contacting the Insurance Company First?

If you want to receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law, you should avoid filing your claim with the insurance company before you hire a lawyer to represent you. You could make mistakes when speaking to the insurance company that weakens your case and gives them ammunition to dispute your claim. Here are the dangers of contacting the insurance company first:

  • Your statements. You could inadvertently say something, such as “I’m sorry,” that the insurance company can argue is an admission of your negligence in causing the auto crash.
  • Your injuries. Right after your collision, you do not know how serious your injuries are, the treatments you need, or whether you will make a full recovery. If you discuss your injuries with the insurance adjuster when filing your claim, you may make statements suggesting your injuries are not severe.
  • Recorded statement. You could agree to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session with the insurance company that is recorded and transcribed into a written document. Even if you are careful, you could make a damaging statement that hurts your case.
  • Quick settlement. You could agree to a quick settlement of your case for far less compensation than you are entitled to.
  • Other mistakes. You could make another mistake, such as agreeing to sign the insurance company’s medical release, that raises disputes in your case.

What Are the Benefits of Talking to a Lawyer Before Filing Your Claim?

There are many advantages of retaining a skilled car accident attorney before filing your insurance claim. The process of settling your claim could go faster. Other benefits include:

  • Your best interests. Your attorney will have your best interests at heart. The insurance company’s goal is to save money by denying your claim or paying you less compensation in your settlement.
  • Communications. Your lawyer will take over all communications with the insurance company and file your claim. This will help you avoid making damaging statements or agreeing to something that weakens your case.
  • Evidence. An attorney will collect the evidence you need to prove your case so that you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement.
  • Value of your claim. A lawyer can advise you on the strength of your case and how much money you can realistically expect to receive from the insurance company.
  • Settlement. Your attorney will negotiate your settlement for you and have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s unfair tactics to deny your claim. If necessary, they would file a lawsuit and litigate your claim.

Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company after a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you.