Whether you’ve experienced a major car accident or a fender bender with no major injuries, car accidents can be stressful and frightening for everyone involved.
Even if you feel prepared to take on the at-fault party after a car accident, it’s important to take a step back and review the situation. Dealing with the at-fault driver and negotiating with insurance companies can leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed, and misconceptions surrounding car accidents only make it worse. Here are some common misconceptions about handling car accidents that can prevent you from obtaining the compensation you deserve.
A police report is all you need to prove fault.
If you’ve experienced a car accident, one of the first things you should do is call the police and report the crash. After the responding officer arrives at the scene of the accident, they’ll compile a police report with information on how the accident occurred, including who was at fault for the accident.
While a police report establishing fault might seem like enough to prove fault to the insurance company, this isn’t always the case. The at-fault driver’s insurance company might try to avoid paying the full settlement amount by pinning some of the faults for the accident on the accident victim. In most cases, you’ll need to provide other types of evidence, such as witness reports, vehicle damage photos, and medical records, to prove fault.
You’re guaranteed fair compensation for your injuries.
Even if you carry car insurance, or if the other driver was at fault for the car accident, fair compensation isn’t always guaranteed for all accident-related damages. Although at-fault drivers may be held responsible for paying damages under some state’s at-fault car insurance laws, it’s not always that simple. There are many factors that can affect the amount of compensation that an accident victim can recover. These include whether the at-fault driver had liability insurance at the time of the crash, whether you were at fault or partially at fault for the car accident, and whether you have supplementary insurance coverage, such as uninsured motorist insurance.
You don’t need to hire a lawyer.
Most car accident claims require a thorough investigation, collection of evidence, and negotiations with insurance companies to recover compensation for the accident victim. Although you’re not legally required to hire a lawyer to handle your car accident claim, handling your claim on your own might not be in your best interest, especially if you’ve experienced severe injuries.
Hiring a professional accident attorney can help you make more informed decisions, understand your rights, and navigate the legal process without incurring extra stress. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you’re hiring an experienced professional who will advocate on your behalf, handle contacts with the at-fault parties, oversee your property damage and medical treatment, and negotiate with insurance companies to obtain maximum compensation.
If you’re not sure how to get started, try asking friends or family for recommendations. If you don’t know anyone who’s been in an accident, a simple location-specific Google search, like “accident lawyer Miami,“ can help you find a law firm with accident attorneys near you. Before committing to a personal injury lawyer, make sure to read testimonials from previous clients to find an attorney you trust.
You have to accept the at-fault party’s settlement offer.
After your personal injury claim has been filed, the at-fault party’s insurance company may offer you a settlement. Don’t accept the first settlement offer without the advice of an experienced attorney. If you accept the first settlement offer, you won’t have the opportunity to negotiate for more compensation in the future.
In most cases, initial settlement offers are significantly lower than the actual value of the accident victim’s damages. You don’t have to accept a settlement offer and you have the right to ask for more compensation.
Don’t let common misconceptions about car accidents cost you the compensation you deserve. After a car accident, consulting an attorney is the best way to protect your rights and obtain fair compensation for your injuries.