Common Myths About Car Accident Claims
What’s not a myth is that car accidents are a common occurrence and can happen to anyone at any time. When involved in a car accident, it is natural to have questions and concerns about your legal rights and how to handle the situation. However, there are many myths surrounding car accident claims that can lead to confusion based on misinformation. It’s important to understand the truth behind these myths, as it can greatly impact the outcome of your claim.
Myth 1: You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Many people believe that they don’t need a car accident lawyer to handle their car accident claim. They may think that hiring a lawyer will be too expensive or that they can easily navigate the legal system on their own.
However, this is far from the truth. Car accident claims involve complex legal procedures and it can be difficult for an individual without proper knowledge and experience to navigate through them successfully. Hiring a lawyer can greatly increase your ability to recover compensation, and also the amount of compensation, because of an experienced lawyer’s knowledge and experience handling other similar cases.
Myth 2: Insurance Companies Always Have Your Best Interests
Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses and their main goal is to minimize the amount of money they have to pay out in claims. They often employ tactics to minimize, delay or deny valid claims. They do this by offering lowball settlements, and using hardball talk to intimidate claimants.
It is important to remember that insurance adjusters are not on your side and their priority is to protect the interests of their company. This is why having a lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf and ensure that you receive fair compensation is crucial.
Myth 3: All Car Accident Claims Go to Court
Contrary to popular belief, not all car accident claims end up in court. In fact, the majority of them are settled out of court through pre-suit negotiations or post-suit mediation. Litigation can be a lengthy and costly process, which is why both parties often prefer to reach a settlement agreement without going to trial. Attorneys that are experienced with car crash cases are adept in these processes. They know what documentation to gather and how to present it to achieve leverage in negotiations. This also allows for a more expedient resolution, as lawsuits can take a year or more to reach a verdict.
However, if negotiations fail and a fair settlement cannot be reached, then your ultimate leverage is for the case to proceed to trial. If this happens, you want a lawyer who also has experience trying cases as well.
Myth 4: You Can’t File a Claim if You Were Partially at Fault
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. Although some states follow contributory negligence laws (which bar any claims if the victim was even slightly at fault), most states, including Ohio, have adopted comparative negligence laws.
Comparative negligence means that compensation can still be received so long as the victim is not more than 50% at fault for the accident. The amount of compensation you receive is reduced according to the percentage of fault you are determined to have, but it does not completely bar you from seeking compensation.
Myth 5: Medical Treatment Can Wait
It is important to seek medical attention immediately after a car accident, even if you do not think you are seriously injured. Injuries sustained in car accidents may not always present immediate symptoms, and delaying treatment can worsen the severity of the injury.
Furthermore, insurance companies will argue that if you delayed seeking treatment, that the delayed treatment is not related to your injuries, or that your injuries were not as serious.
Myth 6: You’ll Receive a Quick Settlement
The amount of time it takes to settle a claim can vary greatly depending on various factors such as liability, the time it takes for your injuries to fully manifest themselves, other complexities of your case, availability of evidence, and cooperation from the opposing parties.
In all cases, settlement negotiations cannot begin until your injuries are fully manifested and you reach “maximum medical improvement.” That varies from case to case. Once negotiations commence, your case may be resolved within a few weeks, or a few months. However, if the opposing party is not willing to negotiate in good faith, a lawsuit may need to be filed. In this circumstance, it can take much longer to resolve your case, either through court mediation or a jury verdict. It is important to have realistic expectations and understand that the claims process may not be as quick or straightforward as commonly believed.
Myth 7: You Can’t Recover if the other Driver is Uninsured
If you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, it is still possible to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. One option is to pursue a claim against the driver’s personal assets. While this is often not a practical course of action, another option is to file a claim through your own insurance company if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is designed to protect you in the event that you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or sufficient coverage.
Myth 8: No Injuries Means No Compensation
It is a common misconception that only visible injuries, such as broken bones or cuts and bruises, are eligible for compensation in a car accident claim. However, non-visible injuries can be just as impactful and may also warrant compensation.
Injuries such as whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, and internal organ damage may not always present immediate symptoms but can have long-lasting effects on a person’s physical and mental well-being. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention even if you do not have any visible injuries after a car accident.
Myth 9: All Lawyers Are the Same
Choosing the right attorney can greatly impact the outcome of your car accident claim. It is important to select a car accident lawyer who has experience handling cases like yours with success. Additionally, good communication and trust between you and your attorney is important for a successful working relationship.
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If you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice from Arthur Law Firm. Our team of experienced attorneys has helped numerous clients receive fair compensation for their injuries and damages. Contact us right away (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.