Should I Call My Insurance Company After an Accident?

Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Author: Scott D. Fitzgerald, Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer

Yes.  Regardless of who is at fault, it is important to call your insurance company and report any accident that involved injuries or property damage.

A common myth is that you do not need to contact your insurance company if you were not at fault.  This is false, because there are several coverages on your insurance policy that you may want or need to use. In order to use any of these, you are required to notify your insurance company of a collision. 

Collision Insurance Coverage 

The first type of coverage you may want to use is our collision coverage.[1] If the at-fault driver's insurance company is slow to accept…

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Why do I need an attorney to represent me in my personal injury case?

The insurance policy requires the person who caused your accident to contact the insurance company promptly. As soon as the accident is reported to the company, they begin an investigation and begin preparing to defend the company against your claim. Insurance company employees are knowledgeable about claims and are trained to make your claim cost the insurance company as little as possible.

You need someone knowledgeable working on your claim and looking out for your interests as soon as possible also. If you've been injured after an accident, you should consult an attorney right away. A lawyer can help you decide whether it is in your best interests to pursue a claim and how to do so.

What can a personal injury…

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INSURANCE INDEX DATA BASE SYSTEM: How insurance companies are using your personal information


Author: Egena T. Younger

You have been involved in an accident and are contacted by the insurance company. The adjuster requests your full name, address, date of birth and social security number. You feel uncomfortable providing such private information, but you are told that the information is required to handle your claim, or maybe you are told that it is required to properly issue your check upon settlement of your claim. No matter what the reason, this information is stated to be essential to the investigation and processing of your claim. So you give the adjuster the requested personal information.

What you don't know (and aren't told) is that this information is being put into a national…

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You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too


You have often heard the expression "you can't have your cake and eat it, too." (1) But that's exactly what the insurance companies try to do in handling claims. Whatever the situation, they try to argue that means the injured person wasn't hurt very much. Sometimes they create a problem, and then try to benefit from it. Just the other day I had a case with a claims adjuster where this expression applies.

To give you a little history, the claim involved a motor vehicle intersection accident where our client sustained soft tissue injuries. The collision was so hard his car was totaled. Even though there was an independent non-biased eyewitness who told the police officer at the scene that the…

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Contributory Negligence: A Trap for the Unwary Claimant

It's often been said, and with good reason, that the contributory negligence defense is "an insurance company's dream" and plaintiff's "worst nightmare." Under the common law doctrine of contributory negligence, there is no comparison of fault between the wrongdoer and the injured person. If the injured person is even 1% at fault in a way that significantly contributes to cause the injury, the injured person loses. Technically, this prohibits an injured person from making a recovery from an accident claim even if the other person (the defendant) is 99% responsible for causing the accident.

For example, let's say that the defendant was driving on a one-way road the wrong way, and the plaintiff, a pedestrian, was walking…

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The Recorded Statement: A Trap for the Unwary


Author: Attorney Elizabeth Morrell Allen

You've been in an auto accident that wasn't your fault. One day shortly thereafter, an adjuster for the insurance company of the person who hit you calls on the telephone and wants you to give a recorded statement telling her how the accident happened and provide her with some personal information. She says she wants to help you, and you certainly need help. She says that all she needs before she can pay you is a brief statement to "firm up liability". She's pleasant and seems so nice. Besides, you have nothing to hide because the crash wasn’t your fault. What could be wrong with answering her questions on tape? Plenty!

As a general rule, you should not…

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Securing Witness Information After an Accident

Author: Chris Cloude

You are driving to the grocery store taking your time and following your normal route. As you approach an intersection, the stoplight is green and you proceed into the intersection. Out of the corner of your eye you see a flash, and your car is hit on the passenger side.

A few days later, an adjuster calls you from the insurance company for the person that hit you. The adjuster informs you that the insurance company is denying your claim from your auto accident because their insured says they had the green light, not you.

This story is one we hear almost every day. Without other witnesses, often there is not much that can be done to make a recovery. If the insurance company won't discuss…

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How Much Auto Insurance Should You Buy?

Author: Elizabeth Morrell Allen

How much automobile insurance should you buy? The answer is easy: As much as you can afford.

The primary reason to buy automobile insurance, both liability and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, is to protect you and your assets. Your insurance company will almost never pay more in damages, to you or to a person you negligently injure, than the dollar amount of the coverage you paid for, no matter how high a verdict there may be either against you or for you. Sound complicated? I'll illustrate with two hypothetical examples, one involving liability insurance coverage and one involving underinsured motorist coverage.

Liability Coverage Example Suppose…

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What is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

By Attorney Charles L. Allen

"What is my case worth?" I am often asked this question by clients when I am first getting to know them. The simple answer is this; whatever a jury says it is worth.

Some people with personal injury claims are surprised to find out that they are not automatically entitled to a settlement from the insurance company. In fact, their only legal right is a trial to determine the amount of their recovery. The only way one can force an insurance company to pay is to successfully sue the person or company they insure. Cases involving very modest injuries are sometimes resolved by a judge in General District Court. However, more significant cases require Circuit Court trials which, in Virginia,…

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Should You Carry Medical Expense Coverage On Your Policy?

Kathleen M. Smith, Fredericksburg, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Author: Kathleen M. Smith, Fredericksburg, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Medical Expense coverage (sometimes known as "Medical Payments") is an optional coverage available on Virginia Automobile Policies. This coverage covers all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision, or even arising out of the use of a motor vehicle. Medical Payments coverage covers anyone named on the policy (the "named insured"), a spouse, and any relative residing in the household. It also covers anyone occupying a vehicle on the policy. It will pay the medical expenses regardless of any other insurance and regardless of who is at fault. Medical Expense coverage covers medical…

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