Hurt In A Car Accident?
Our law firm can handle the insurance
After an auto accident, you have every reason to believe your bills will be paid. After all, that's why you have insurance. You pay them a premium, and they take care of you when you need coverage. The reality, though, is that insurance companies are often looking to protect themselves, even if it comes at the expense of an injured person.
Even dealing with your own insurance company can be much more difficult than you might expect. And if your accident was someone else's fault, you'll be dealing with the other driver's insurance company. They're interested in protecting their own interests and their client, not in paying you what you need. They have attorneys and adjusters on their side with one goal: to reduce or deny your claim.
That's why you need an auto accident attorney on your side. That's why you need Recht Law Offices. We've been standing up to insurance companies since 1952. They know us, and they know just how hard we fight for our clients. We're a family law firm that people can put their trust in.
Some of the insurance-related issues we can help with include:
- Understanding Insurance Coverage in West Virginia
- Arguments Insurance Companies Make
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
- Insurance Bad Faith
Remember, anything you say to an insurance company can and will be used against you. If you've been hurt in an accident, call your insurance company to report it, but stick to the facts of what happened. Tell them you've retained an attorney who can answer any additional questions. If the insurance company representing the other driver calls you, don't answer any of their questions. Just direct them to your attorney.
If you don't yet have an attorney, simply contact us. We'll be in your corner, protecting your legal rights at every step of the claims process. Call 1 (877) 321-7324 today.
Understanding Insurance Coverage in West Virginia
West Virginia law requires all motorists to carry insurance in order to legally operate their vehicles. After a car accident, several different types of coverage can come into play, depending on the circumstances.
Liability coverage pays for injury and damage in an accident that you cause. West Virginia requires all drivers to carry 25/50/25 coverage, which means up to $25,000 for injury or death per person, $50,000 for injury or death per accident and $25,000 for property damage per accident.
So if you cause an accident, your liability coverage will pay for the injuries you cause. Likewise, if you are hurt in an accident caused by someone else, the other motorist's liability coverage should pay for your injuries, up to the policy limit.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides for damage caused by a motorist who does not have insurance. This comes into play in hit-and-run accidents, as a motorist who cannot be identified is considered uninsured by default. You may also be hit by a driver who is illegally driving without insurance. The legal minimums for this type of coverage in West Virginia are also 25/50/25; that is, $25,000 for injury or death per person, $50,000 for injury or death per accident and $25,000 for property damaged by the uninsured motorist. Insurers are required by law to offer higher limits as well, up to $50,000 for property damage, $100,000 for bodily injury per person and $300,000 for injury per accident.
Underinsured motorist coverage compensates you if you are hit by a driver who has some insurance, but not enough to pay for the full cost of the accident. You are not required to have this type of coverage in West Virginia, but your insurance company is required to offer it to you.
Collision and comprehensive coverage pay for damage to your vehicle. Collision coverage pays for damage sustained in an accident, and comprehensive coverage pays for non-accident-related damage such as theft, vandalism or fire. West Virginia law does not require you to purchase this coverage. However, if you have an auto loan, the lienholder will likely require you to have this coverage to protect their own liability.
Note that Ohio and Pennsylvania have slightly different legal requirements for coverage. Our attorneys are familiar with the laws and regulations governing insurance coverage in all three states.
Understanding your own coverage is the first step toward getting the compensation you need after an accident. If you have any questions about your insurance policy, give us a call today.
Arguments Insurance Companies Make
In the wake of an accident, insurance companies are always looking for ways to reduce their own liability - and they have plenty of experience making arguments to do just that. Here are some of the most common challenges we see when dealing with insurers:
- Pre-Existing Conditions: The insurance company may argue that your injuries actually existed before the accident, or alternatively that they were sustained afterward. That's why it's so important to see a medical professional as soon as possible after the accident. In addition to being the best decision for your health, getting that immediate attention will help you prove that your injuries really did result from the accident.
- Accident Factors: Sometimes, the insurance company will try to argue that the accident could not have possible caused your injuries. This is common in rear-end accidents, as you may have been hit at a low speed.
- Fault: Especially if you're dealing with an insurance company representing another motorist, they may try to argue that you caused the accident. Anything you say about what happened can be construed as an admission of fault. So stick to the facts and decline to answer any questions from the other motorist's insurer.
These arguments are why you need an experienced legal advocate on your side, protecting your rights. Our attorneys have heard every argument the insurance companies use, and we know how to anticipate and counter them. When you retain us after an accident, you can rest assured that we will handle any questions or concerns from the insurance company in a manner that protects your rights.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Again, the law requires all drivers to have insurance. However, some motorists break the law and put themselves and others at risk by driving without insurance. If you are hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you may think you're out of options. Hit-and-run accidents are also considered uninsured driver accidents from a liability perspective. Since the driver who caused your accident is unknown, he or she is considered uninsured by default.
Finally, there are cases in which the driver who caused your injuries has insurance, but not enough to actually cover the full cost of the accident. West Virginia law requires $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury per person. An injury requiring an extended hospital stay or months of time away from work can easily exceed that cost, to say nothing of injuries causing long-term disability or chronic pain.
If the other driver doesn't have coverage, or doesn't have enough coverage to pay for all of your losses, you have legal options. You may be able to recover compensation directly from the driver's assets. You may also be able to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. However, these cases can be legally quite complex. Turn to our attorneys to help you navigate those complexities.
By law, insurance companies are required to adhere to certain standards of fair treatment when processing your claim. When an insurance company fails to adhere to those standards, they are said to have acted in bad faith. Some common instances of bad faith handling of car insurance claims include:
- Denying your claim without giving a valid reason.
- Failing to perform a diligent investigation.
- Delaying or refusing to pay a valid claim.
- Offering much less money than the claim is worth.
- Requiring a burdensome amount of documentation.
- Deliberately misrepresenting your policy language.
- Making threatening statements.
- Refusing to comply with reasonable requests for documentation.
You can only make a bad faith claim against your own insurance company - not the insurance company for the at-fault driver. If your insurance company has acted in bad faith, you may be able to sue for damages in excess of the usual policy limits. However, you'll need to prove it, and doing so can be quite complicated. That's why you need an experienced attorney on your side. That's why you need Recht Law.