Being involved in a car accident is always an upsetting experience, and it can be even more stressful when you are concerned about the financial implications. Unfortunately, many myths about car accidents can cause confusion and make it difficult to know what to do next. By arming yourself with knowledge, you will be better prepared if you ever need to make a personal injury claim after a car accident.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our car accident lawyers have worked with many victims who have suffered harm in car accidents involving negligence.
By debunking the following myths about car accidents and compensation, we hope to educate accident victims about their rights and what they should be doing to protect them.
Myth: If another driver was at fault, his or her insurance company will fairly compensate me, even if I do not hire a lawyer.
Reality: First of all, insurance companies are in the business of making money. They will do whatever they can to limit their payouts when settling car accident claims. The insurance company might try to deny or minimize your claim even if another driver was at fault. If you do not have a lawyer who understands how to negotiate with insurance companies, you may be taken advantage of and not receive the compensation you deserve.
Therefore, it is wise to retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer who can accurately assess your claim’s value and effectively negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. Your lawyer can also represent you in court, if necessary, to help ensure you are fully compensated for your car accident injuries and losses.
Myth: You automatically receive compensation for a car accident.
Reality: Compensation for a car accident is not automatic. To receive compensation, you must file a claim with your insurance company and/or the at-fault driver’s insurance company and provide evidence to support your claim.
Myth: The insurance company will offer you a fair settlement.
Reality: Insurance companies are businesses whose goal is to pay out as little as possible. Insurance companies defending personal injury claims against their policyholders are in business to collect premiums, not to pay victims. They are not on your side. The initial settlement offer is often much lower than what you are entitled to, and you may need to negotiate with the insurance company or even take them to court to receive a fair settlement.
Myth: You can settle with the responsible driver and insurance company without a personal injury lawyer.
Reality: It is a common myth that you can settle with the responsible driver and insurance company without a personal injury lawyer. However, this is far from reality, and hiring an experienced car accident attorney is in your best interest for multiple reasons. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and will do whatever they can to limit their payouts when settling a claim. An experienced attorney can help ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses from the accident. They can also help build a solid personal injury case to increase the chances of a favorable outcome. An experienced car accident attorney can help you understand the facts and navigate the complexities of filing a claim so that you have the best chance of receiving fair compensation.
Myth: You can only receive compensation for medical bills and car damage.
Reality: While medical bills and car damage are the most common types of compensation in car accident cases, you may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Contact a personal injury lawyer to find out what damages you may be entitled to.
Myth: You can wait as long as you want to file a claim.
Reality: This is a common misconception about filing claims for compensation in car accident cases. The longer you wait before filing your claim, the more difficult it may be to obtain full and fair compensation. Most states have strict statutes of limitation, which define how long a person has to file a compensation claim. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is two years from the accident date, meaning you have two (2) years to file your case in court and file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In Washington, D.C., and Maryland, the statute of limitations for a car accident is three (3) years.
Myth: It will be too expensive to hire a personal injury to represent you in a car accident claim.
Reality: Hiring an attorney to help you navigate the complexities of a car accident case can save you money in the long run. An experienced attorney can help ensure you receive total and fair compensation for all your losses. Furthermore, many attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if and when they successfully recover money on your behalf.
Myth: I don’t need to see a doctor if I didn’t break any bones
Reality: While some minor injuries might heal without medical intervention, you should seek medical attention after any auto accident, if you feel you have been hurt. Even if you do not feel seriously injured immediately after the crash, and believe your injury will improve with time, some injuries may not be immediately apparent and can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Furthermore, seeking medical attention and documenting your injury helps establish that the accident caused your injury and can be used to support your compensation claim. When victims wait to seek medical treatment or stop treatment prematurely, insurance companies often perceive that as a sign that the person was not seriously injured, or that they were not injured at all.
Myth: Even if I was partially at-fault for a car accident, I can still recover compensation.
Reality: While it is possible to recover compensation if you were partially at fault for a car accident in some states, this is not true in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. These states follow the doctrine of contributory negligence, which prohibits victims from recovering damages from the at-fault driver if they share even 1% of the blame. Although Washington, DC, recently eliminated contributory negligence in cases involving pedestrians and bicyclists injured by motor vehicles, it still applies to vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. To protect their legal rights, accident victims should avoid discussing fault or apologizing after a wreck since they may not have all the facts and should seek the help of an attorney who can defend against allegations of contributory negligence.
Call The Car Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
Believing myths about car accidents and compensation, or acting on them in any way, ultimately puts you at risk of receiving less than you deserve. By working with our award-winning personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., you can benefit from working with proven advocates committed to protecting your rights and maximizing your recovery. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case and how our firm can help you.