Being involved in a car accident can be stressful and traumatic. You may not know what to expect if you’ve been injured in an accident. So, it’s natural to turn to friends and family for advice.
Unfortunately, some of the information you get from people you know may not be true, especially if someone offers something they heard about accidents but have never experienced firsthand.
Many myths surround auto accidents and the process of seeking compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Some of these myths could compromise your case and make you unable to recover compensation for your injuries.
This article will debunk some of the most common myths about car accidents in the United States.
Myth: You Can Sue for Millions If You Are Minorly Injured
Fact: Although there is no specific limit to how much a claimant can seek in a car accident lawsuit, it is infrequent to see settlements of millions of dollars. A car accident victim can sue the responsible party for the full extent of their legal damages, ranging from a few thousand dollars to millions in some cases—but these cases are few and far between.
Factors like the severity of the victim’s injuries, the size of the insurance policies, and even the extent of the other party’s negligence influence the settlement or verdict.
In most states, some laws limit settlements to reasonable amounts. Note that there are always stipulations—for example, a reasonable claim for a child will be different than the same for an adult.
Myth: You Don’t Need to See a Doctor If You Feel Fine After a Car Accident
Fact: Even if you feel good physically after a car accident, you may have internal injuries that only a doctor can diagnose. See a doctor as soon as possible to rule out or treat serious injuries. This may also help increase the value of your insurance claim.
Myth: Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident Won’t Affect the Outcome of the Settlement
Fact: Statistics show that settlements with insurance companies are made for much more money when there is a lawyer involved with the case. For car crash claims, having an attorney can get you three times more on average than if you negotiate and handle them yourself.
Myth: You Do Not Need to Contact the Police in a Minor Accident
Fact: The truth is that failing to file a police report could get you into a considerable amount of legal trouble. For example, in many states, you must pull over your vehicle at the scene of an accident and contact law enforcement as soon as possible, even if you have no apparent injuries or the damage appears minimal. If you fail to do so, it could result in misdemeanor charges.
Myth: After a Car Accident Your First Call Should Be to Your Insurance Company
Fact: While it is true that you must call the insurance company to make a car accident claim and that there is a time limit to do so (each state has a limit on its statutes of limitations), a car accident lawyer can make the accident claim on your behalf. This may be the best way to ensure that your interests are protected and you don’t say anything that could endanger or reduce your claim.
Myth: In Cases Where No One Is Hurt You Should Deal Directly with the Other Driver
Fact: If the other driver offers to pay you directly without going through the insurance company or a car accident lawyer, you may lose a lot more than you think. In addition, the damage to your car may be much worse than you realize at the time.
What might look like a minor fender-bender can result in more severe and expensive internal damage. You may feel the car is fine immediately after the accident, but you may start to notice the effects of the crash later.
Myth: Photos Are the Only Evidence You Need to Get Maximum Compensation After an Accident
Fact: Photos are crucial, but the more detail you have, the better. After a car accident, write down anything you can remember; no detail is too small. For example, write down the exact time of the incident, the weather conditions, what direction you were going, what lane you were in, what traffic conditions were like, and what the other driver said or did.
You also need to keep track of any pain you’ve experienced after the accident and the visits you made to the doctor, including how long it took you to go to the doctor.
In addition, you must specify how long you were away from work, how much money you’ve had to pay out of pocket, and even how much you spent on the phone talking to the insurance company about accident-related matters.
Myth: It’s Too Late for You to Do Anything
Fact: It’s true that there is a limited period to file a personal injury lawsuit, but this period might be longer than you think. For example, people injured in car accidents must file a claim in a court of law approximately 5 years from the date of the collision. Therefore, it is recommended to call an attorney to learn about the time you have to file a claim in your state. Don’t assume it’s too late unless you know.
The sooner you act, the more empowered your attorney will be to collect and preserve critical evidence—and ensure that your rights are protected and vindicated to the maximum extent permitted by law.
Fact: Don’t be fooled for a second into thinking that the insurance adjuster for your accident claim is on your side. Instead, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and will try to save the insurance company as much money as possible. So be careful what you say and never admit guilt or declare anything you’re unsure about.
Myth: Your Insurance Company Will Always Represent You
Fact: In general, car insurance policies incorporate language specifying that the insurance carrier will provide a lawyer for the policyholder if they get into a car accident and are sued for damages resulting from the crash. This is part of the insurance company’s contractual “duty to defend,” which is an obligation that results from all different liability insurance policies.
After all, users acquire liability insurance to ensure they’re not directly on the financial hook if they have a vehicle mishap.
Still, car insurance policies incorporate fixed exceptions to the insurance company’s duty to defend. These policies describe circumstances that will completely void the insurer’s duty to defend the policyholder.
Fact: While it is true that not taking out auto insurance would save you the annual or monthly payment of a premium, the reality is that it could be much more expensive not to have proper auto insurance coverage. This is especially true if you’re involved in a car accident.
Having a coverage plan for your vehicle is like enrolling a family member in a medical plan. Of course, you do not know when you will need it, but it gives you the peace of mind of knowing you’ll have a backup against any eventuality.
The same goes for vehicle insurance: you will never know when an accident will happen (and we hope it never happens), but it will always be better to have the support that can cover you—from minor crashes to cases of total loss.
Myth: Car Accident Laws Are the Same Nationwide
Fact: Not all states have the same laws regarding car accident claims. Virtually all car insurance policies in the United States will cover you regardless of where you have an accident if you have at least the minimum insurance coverage in your home state. Nevertheless, if you move to a new state, you must update your registration and get car insurance in your new state.
Myth: Your Insurance Will Pay for Everything
Fact: Many people mistakenly assume that if they are involved in a car accident, especially one they didn’t cause, the insurance company will pay for everything. However, the truth is that insurance is fault-based, which means you’ll have to prove that the other driver was the one who caused the accident to begin the recovery process.
Also, the insurance company will likely try to pay you as little as possible, even if that amount doesn’t fully cover the damage you suffered.
If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries from a car accident, you must seek legal advice. An experienced attorney can provide the best possible representation for individuals and families seriously injured or killed.
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