The insurance adjuster wants to come to my house and write me a check after my crash. How much should I ask for?
Remember that, as a business, the insurance companies first goal is to make money. They do this by collecting premiums from the insureds and then settling cases as quickly and cheaply as possible. The adjuster on his way to your house is probably going to offer you something that sounds attractive today, but that you will regret after you sign the release and need more treatment. In most cases, the week after the accident is way too early to be settling a Virginia personal injury case. This is because you do not know the extent of your injuries or how long it will take to treat them.
In some cases, adjusters will attempt to get you to settle your case for “a sum of money plus your out-of-pocket medical bills up to a certain amount within the next thirty days.” This is a loaded statement that requires some unpacking. First, the adjuster is trying to shortchange you by offering only your out-of-pocket costs. Under Virginia law, you are entitled to the full amount of your medical bills, regardless of whether your health insurance carrier has already paid them. In some cases, this will be really problematic, because you might find that you owe your health insurance carrier back some money at the end of the case. Second, the adjuster is putting two artificial limits on your case – caps on time and on the medical bills. If the bills are too high or your treatment goes on for too long, you’re out of luck. In short, you should never settle a Virginia auto accident case before you are finished with your medical treatment.
If you have already made the mistake of settling your case early, there may be good news. Virginia law allows people who settle their case within thirty days of the injury without help of an attorney to rescind the settlement. However, you must do so in writing within three days of signing the release. If you have made this mistake and are now regretting settling your case, you should call an experienced personal injury attorney in Virginia immediately.