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5 Myths About Car Accidents That You Shouldn’t Believe

Car accidents are stressful enough without the added confusion of navigating the claims process and the myths surrounding it. From misconceptions about insurance coverage to misunderstandings about legal rights, these myths can significantly impact the decisions you make after an accident. 

Myth 1: If You're Not at Fault, You Don't Need to Worry About the Claim

Many people incorrectly believe that if they didn't cause the accident, everything will naturally fall into place as it should. In other words, the other party's insurance will cover all expenses, and there won't be any need for personal involvement. However, this is a dangerous assumption with risky consequences. 

Even if you’re not at fault, you have to actively participate in the claims process to ensure you receive fair compensation. Insurance companies are businesses, first and foremost. Their aim is to minimize payouts (and they’ll do anything to see that through). Regardless of whether or not the other party was clearly at fault, you need to gather evidence, such as photos of the accident scene and witness statements, and possibly negotiate with insurers to protect your interests.

Myth 2: Hiring a Lawyer Means Going to Court

The thought of hiring a lawyer can be intimidating. And if you’re anxious about the idea of calling a car accident attorney and working with them – you’re not alone. For many, there’s a fear that hiring a lawyer makes you look desperate or will inevitably lead to a courtroom battle. But this is not always the case. 

Even when you hire a lawyer, most car accident claims are settled out of court. A car accident attorney can provide guidance through the claims process, negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. They can also help you understand your rights and the full extent of your claim. (This includes potential compensation for damages that you might not have considered.)

Another misconception some people have about lawyers is that they can’t afford a good one. But again…simply not true. 

“The good news is that most car accident attorneys get paid a prearranged percentage of the total compensation until after the claim is successfully resolved,” attorney Steve Foley explains.

In other words, you don’t owe anything upfront. And if you don’t win the claim, you don’t owe anything. This ensures everyone can afford an attorney to help them battle greedy insurance companies.

Myth 3: Minor Accidents Don’t Need to Be Reported or Need Legal Advice

Many people think that if an accident is minor, with little to no damage and no immediate injuries, it doesn't need to be reported or warrant legal advice. But be very careful with this myth, as it can lead to significant problems down the line. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Some injuries, like whiplash, may not be apparent immediately after an accident. When you have adrenaline coursing through your body, pain can be masked. The full extent of your injuries might not be known for several hours or days.
  • Failing to report an accident can also violate state laws and your insurance policy terms, potentially resulting in denied claims or legal penalties. 
  • Without a formal report, proving the accident's cause and other details can become challenging if compensation for late-onset injuries is needed in the future.

While it can seem like a big inconvenience at the time, even small accidents need to be reported. A failure to do so could lead to an even bigger headache in the weeks and months ahead.

Myth 4: The Insurance Company Will Always Offer a Fair Settlement

There's a common misconception that insurance companies are on your side and will always offer a fair settlement. However, insurance adjusters are trained to minimize the company's payout. (Remember: These are for-profit entities.) 

Initial settlement offers are often lower than what you may be entitled to, especially if you haven't fully assessed your damages or future medical needs. Before accepting any settlement, make sure you thoroughly evaluate the offer and consider consulting with a lawyer to ensure it covers all your expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Myth 5: You Can Only Claim for Physical Injuries

Finally, many believe that compensation in car accident claims is limited to physical injuries. Once again, this is not true. You can also claim for property damage, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things. 

For example, if the accident has left you with psychological trauma, such as anxiety or depression, you may be entitled to compensation for these non-physical injuries. Similarly, if your ability to enjoy hobbies or time with family has been affected, you might be eligible for compensation for these losses as well.

Adding it All Up

Car accidents are complicated events with complex outcomes. Don’t assume that everything you hear is true. Instead, consult with an experienced car accident attorney and get their professional opinion on how you should proceed. This is how you protect your best interests every step of the way.

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