Car Crash Misconceptions: Debunking The Most Common Myths
If asked about our driving dexterity, most of us would consider ourselves to be quite skilled and safe behind the wheel. Of course, we can't all be right, and the latest federal statistics reveal that car accidents are more common than you might think. Every year, 3 million people are injured in crashes on U.S. roads. While motor vehicle accidents are pretty prevalent, there are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding the proper procedures to follow after an accident and whether or not you should file a claim. We're discussing and dispelling a few of the most common car crash and claim myths in today's post.
MYTH: The police will determine who was at fault for my accident
If you're involved in an accident that has caused damage or injury of any kind, you should absolutely call the police to provide assistance and write an accident report. This report can provide valuable information later on if you do pursue a claim. However, the police themselves won't decide who is to blame for your accident. They'll take statements and may talk to witnesses or document evidence, but police officers don't assign blame. That's ultimately something that is determined by insurance companies and/or court officials. So even though the police report is important to have, it's only one piece of the puzzle.
MYTH: The other driver and I can work out a deal on our own
Minor fender-benders might require only an exchange of insurance information between drivers. But if you are hurt in a car accident, you should not try to negotiate with the other driver directly. Doing so may trick you into admitting fault for the accident (which can be used against you later) and it ultimately won't protect your rights. Plus, at the time of an accident, you may not realize how extensive your injuries actually are. Even car accident cases that are associated with more minor injuries will have a better chance of working out in your favor if you hire a personal injury lawyer. You might think you're being cooperative, but if you're hurt in a car accident, you should protect yourself first.
MYTH: It's better to let the insurance companies work out a settlement
Car insurance can help when your vehicle sustains damage in an accident, but your auto insurance policy doesn't cover injuries you may incur. In addition, it's important to remember that car insurance companies are businesses that have their bottom line in mind. No matter how nice an insurance adjuster is, you are not their top priority. Insurers will find ways to pay out as little as possible (if not avoid settling altogether). In many cases, car accident victims fare better when they work with a lawyer. Your attorney can ensure that a settlement is actually fair or can help you pursue a court case.
MYTH: Hiring a personal injury lawyer is unnecessary and too expensive
If you are seriously hurt in a car accident and have medical bills looming, you may worry that hiring an attorney is a luxury you cannot afford. Although you may not need a lawyer's assistance with very minor car accidents, you should consider hiring one if you were injured, if your vehicle sustained a lot of damage, or you're facing high medical costs and/or have to take time off work due to the accident. In the majority of cases, you can hire an experienced lawyer on a contingency basis. That means that they won't get paid unless you are. Personal injury law can be extremely complex, especially when it comes to car accidents. Your lawyer can help to establish fault and protect your rights.
If you have been hurt in a car accident and need legal assistance, we're here to help. To find out more information or to schedule a consultation, contact the Law Offices of Steve Zwick today.