Have an auto accident with GEICO where they’re refusing to pay your medical bills? Our team of auto accident lawyers in Fairfax have dealt with that issue! We will meet with you either virtually or in preson to discuss your case in a free strategy session. If we’re able to add value to your claim and put dollars in your pocket (instead of GEICO’s), we will take on your case on a contingency fee basis.
Why does GEICO deny auto accident claims in Virginia?
One of the most common reasons for GEICO to deny an auto accident claim in Virginia is called contributory negligence. In Virginia, you must be 100% free of any fault for the crash. If you made a mistake that contributed to the happening of the crash (even by 1%), the insurance company can deny your claim. This is unlike just about every other state in the nation where negligence is compared between the two parties.
There are legitimate contributory negligence denials and then there are more specious denials. Our team of experienced trial lawyers will review the facts of your case with you and help determine whether we can win the case on a “No Fee if No Recovery” basis.
Legitimate reasons for denying a claim based on contributory negligence include:
- The other driver ran a stop sign but you were speeding and should have seen him coming
- You were hit as a pedestrian by a car but were not crossing in a crosswalk
- You were rear-ended, but you had just recently changed lanes and did not leave the other driver enough space.
- You had the right of way, but were looking down at your phone and didn’t see the other car run a red light.
But there are many illegitimate denials that we see based on contributory negligence, including:
- Is it contributory negligence to drive without a seatbelt? No. In Virginia, wearing a seatbelt or not is not admissible in court. Now, we believe that you should wear a seatbelt 100% of the time, but it isn’t contributory negligence.
- Is it contributory negligence to drive a few miles over the speed limit? Maybe! This is a very fact-intensive question. We have seen insurance companies deny claims because the police officer wrote that our client was speeding. The line that the insurance company will use is from a Virginia statute that says “a motorist exceeding the speed limit forfeits the right of way.” However, there is a second question in this analysis – was the fact that you were a few miles per hour over the speed limit a proximate cause of the crash? In many cases, we are able to argue that any excessive speed was not a cause of the crash.
The second major reason that GEICO denies auto accident claims is that they simply don’t believe you were hurt. A GEICO adjuster might make arguments against your case like:
The damage to the car was not great enough to have caused your injury
In our experience, this is an argument that is generally limited to low-level insurance adjusters. As cases get into litigation and are evaluated by defense attorneys and higher-level litigation adjusters, this problem tends to go away. Still, our Virginia auto accident lawyers have tried dozens of cases in which the insurance company argued – without any evidence at all – that the injuries either should not have occurred or that they should have resolved quicker than they did because the damage to the car was not very large. We prove to the Judge or jury that you were injured by presenting medical evidence from your records or calling on your doctors to give testimony on your behalf. We bring in friends and family to discuss how the injuries from your auto accident impacted your life.
You had a similar previous injury – that must be why you were hurt.
The "pre-existing injury" argument is one that we hear over and over from insurance adjusters. We combat this by providing evidence from your previous doctors that your earlier injury had resolved or was getting better when you were hit in this car accident.
Most commonly, this comes up in the context of a cervical or lumbar disc bulge or herniation that appears on an MRI. In many, many cases, the radiologist who reads the study may describe the hernation as "degenerative." The reality for the car crash victim is that they did not have pain in that area of their body, or did not have the radiating symptoms to their arms or legs before the crash. Whenever the word "degenerative" appears on an MRI report, we know that we are in for an uphill battle.