Will My Car Insurance Rates Go Up if I Make a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia?

In Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, car insurance rates are much higher than in other parts of the country. Insurance fees are a major expense for many families. So, it’s only natural to want to avoid doing anything that could cause your car insurance rates to go up.

Statistics show that insurance rates can increase between 20-50% after an accident. That makes many people hesitate to file a claim after an accident, even if they’ve been injured. However, it is the circumstances that matter in determining the effect on your car insurance rates, and the laws provide some protection against unfair rate increases after an accident claim.

Fault Matters, Particularly in Virginia

Lawmakers in Virginia have enacted a statute that prohibits insurance companies from increasing your premium or charging points under a safe driver insurance plan due to an accident unless the accident was caused by policyholder, a resident of their household, or someone else who has been regularly allowed to operate the vehicle. In addition, if the person who caused the accident is covered under a separate policy, the insurance company is also prohibited from raising the rates of the vehicle owner.

That means that if you or your authorized drivers were not at fault for causing the accident, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for harm caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist and they cannot raise your rates on the basis of that claim.

In D.C. and Maryland, insurance companies could raise your rates if you file a claim with your own insurance company for damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, although Maryland prohibits rate increases based on claims filed for personal injury protection(PIP) coverage. Any increase is usually much less than if you had been found to be at fault.

Moreover, any rate increase will be of limited duration. For instance, Maryland law prohibits insurers from raising rates on the basis of an accident that occurred more than three years ago.

Filing a Claim with Another Driver’s Insurance Should Not Not Impact Your Rates

If you are seeking compensation from another driver’s insurance company, a lawsuit or settlement will not affect your car insurance at all. So, if you are working with a personal lawyer on a claim based on an accident caused by another individual, you don’t not need to worry about the effect on your insurance.

However, you do need to be concerned about what you say to the other driver’s insurance company, because they will be looking for any possible reason to deny your claim. It is wise to let your attorney handle communications with the insurance company to avoid jeopardizing your claim.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident

There are many methods that can be used to determine fault—accurately or inaccurately—for a car accident. If a driver says something at the accident scene such as “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see you,” these statements could be used as evidence that the driver was at fault. Even statements taken out of context can be used as self-determined fault.

When the police file a report after an accident, the observations and opinions of the police officer carry great weight in assessing fault for an accident. The report may include a diagram of the accident scene and the statements of witnesses and those involved in the accident. If police do not take a report at the scene of an accident, it is a good idea to file a report on your own because then you can officially submit your side of the story for the official record and it can make it harder for the other driver to make a contradictory claim.

Insurance companies also have their own methods of assessing and negotiating fault issues among themselves. When they can’t reach their own agreement, they may settle the issue through arbitration.

Sometimes the only fair way to determine fault for a car accident is to bring all the evidence to court and let the jury or judge weigh that evidence and make an unbiased decision. In these situations, advocacy from an experienced personal injury lawyer can make a huge impact because a skilled attorney will know how to uncover and present evidence to support your case persuasively.

Talk to Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC About Your Claim After a Car Accident

The dedicated team at Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC can demonstrate fault for an accident and work effectively to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and future needs. For a free consultation to discuss your claim for an accident in Virginia, D.C. or Maryland, contact our team online or call us at (571) 532-9070 today.