Car accidents happen every second of every day, and it seems like many result in one party suing another. If you’re wondering about car accident claims or you’re facing one yourself, you need all the facts. Don’t believe some of the most common misconceptions on the topic. Here are four to remember:
1. You shouldn’t sue the at-fault party because you’ll appear greedy.
This is absolutely false. Suing for compensation after you’ve been injured at the hands of someone else has nothing to do with padding your bank account. It’s all about righting a wrong and covering the massive expenses that the accident incurred.
“The ultimate goal with any personal injury claim is to recover full compensation for every single loss you’ve endured at the hands of the person who is found to be liable for your damages,” explains David Weissman, Tennessee personal injury attorney. “These damages are often classified as being either economic or non-economic, and there is a possibility that you’ll also be entitled to punitive damages.”
He goes on to explain that economic damages include financial repercussions (medical bills, lost wages, disability that prevents working, etc.), non-economic damages include injuries (both emotional and physical), and punitive damages include the consequences that the guilty party must face (such as jail, fines, etc.) because their actions were particularly dangerous or their intent was to harm you.
Your expenses will continue to build after you’ve been injured. The long-term effects of a car accident can be devastating, and since you’re a careful driver who did your best to avoid injuries at your own hand, you don’t deserve to pay for the consequences of someone else’s actions.
2. Insurance companies will fight for you.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are far more interested in their own best interests.
“Insurance companies are in the business of making money. The money they pay out directly impacts their profitability,” explains an article from The Urban Twist, pointing out that they’ll do whatever it takes to minimize their financial responsibility, even if that means failing to meet market rates for your vehicle. They’ll choose a “figure that’s considered cost-effective for the company.”
The good news is a good attorney can help you get the money you’re owed from the insurance company. Because insurance companies are so concerned about minimizing their overhead, they’re likely to settle with a generous amount rather than going to court.
3. You can trust the police report.
While we want to put all our faith in the fine institution of law enforcement, that’s simply not realistic. Our law enforcement agencies are made up of human beings who have to make judgement calls and often make mistakes.
The police who arrive at the scene of the accident will do their best to give an accurate depiction of the events that led up to the accident. They’ll take photos and interview witnesses (if there are any), and write up a report at the end of the day, but that doesn’t mean their final report is a perfect picture of what happened.
It can be beneficial to write down your own memory of the accident, interview witnesses on your own, and take your own photographs. You might also call an accident reconstruction specialist at the suggestion of your attorney to help clearly document the events of the accident and the at-fault party.
4. You don’t need an attorney – you can make your case on your own.
Herein lies one of the biggest, costliest, and riskiest myths of car accident cases. It’s true that you can legally represent yourself in a car accident claim, but usually, you shouldn’t. You don’t have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to get the best settlement possible.
“It’s possible a minor accident won’t necessitate the advice of an attorney, but if there’s any dispute regarding who was at fault, the damages, or [sic] payment enforcement, you might want a good lawyer on your side,” reiterates Christopher Coble, Esq., contributor for FindLaw. “This is true even if you’re planning on settling your claim out of court.”
And don’t worry about the expense. Most car accident attorneys won’t charge you anything for their services unless you win. Then, they’ll take a small percentage of your settlement, so it’s totally risk-free!
You hope that you’ll never have to face a serious car accident, but if you do, remember these corrected misconceptions. Having an attorney help you gain rightful compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault could prevent serious financial hardship now and in the future.