After a car accident, it’s naturally a confusing time for everyone involved with the wreck. This is true whether the accident is minor or major. People hope and assume that everything will work out well for them, but they are often operating under some false assumptions. Let’s scrape away some of the common myths surrounding car accidents so we can get at the truth of what you can expect in the aftermath. Even though you hope you never get into an accident, it will be good to have this information in your mind in the event that you do.
Myth #1: The Other Driver Is Being Honest
Even though you might be honest about what happened and what caused the accident, it certainly does not mean that the other driver will be quite as honest and forthcoming. Everyone is looking out for his or her own interests, and being dishonest is part and parcel of that. You can’t simply give the other driver the benefit of the doubt and believe what they have to say. For example, if the other driver says to you that he was at fault for the accident and says he will admit that to the insurance company, as long as you don’t involve the police, you could be setting yourself up for some trouble. What happens when this driver disappears and the insurance company claims they never heard of him? Be vigilant and thorough when it comes to the aftermath of an accident. Get all of the pertinent information.
Myth #2: You Don’t Feel Injured, so It’s Okay to Skip the Hospital
This is one of the biggest problems for many people after what they consider to be relatively minor accidents. They don’t go to the hospital because they don’t feel like they are suffering from any injuries. However, a day or two after the accident, the injuries start to manifest. By the time they go to the doctor, the insurance company has ammunition against them saying that they weren’t really injured in the first place. They can claim that any injuries they have now were from something else that happened.
Myth #3: Your Insurance Company Wants the Best for You
Since you are the one paying your insurance company, you imagine they want the best for you and want to take care of your expenses. After all, that’s the reason you’ve been paying them so much for so long. However, this is actually one of the biggest myths surrounding car accident insurance claims. Even though you pay your insurance, it does not mean that the company will provide you with the money you need after an accident. They are a business, and they want to find a way to pay out as little as possible, so they will be trying to poke holes in your story almost as much as the other party’s insurance company. Do not believe that the insurer is necessarily being fair, and be willing to fight for what is right.
Myth #4: The Other Person’s Insurance Company Is Truly Concerned for You
Here’s another common myth. The other party’s insurance company has the potential to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They come to you after the accident and want to know how you are. They seem very concerned about your health and well-being. In a roundabout way, they are. Many times, they are trying to get you to admit that “it’s not that bad,” or that you are “feeling fine”. They will take these words and twist them to mean that you aren’t injured. They use this as a means to pay you less, or nothing at all, in a settlement.
The insurance company might also try to offer you a settlement to take care of your personal injury. The settlement they offer is typically a “lowball” offer, even though you might not realize it at the time. Even though the money might seem tempting, it is not likely worth it, as you could work with an attorney to get what you actually deserve.
Myth #5: You Can Settle the Claim Quickly
How long do you imagine it will take to settle your claim? Well, if the insurance company offers you a settlement in a week or two, you can generally be sure that it is not a fair claim. They are trying to offer you less than you deserve, as mentioned in the previous myth. If the company wants to settle quickly, it generally means that if you did a bit more work and partnered with an attorney, you may be able to get more out of them. They know they are offering a low amount and hope that the speediness of the settlement is enough to entice you. Don’t let it be. While some cases can last for as long as a year, the added money in damages can be well worth the time it takes.
Myth #6: Your Insurance Premium Will Increase If You File a Claim
This is perhaps the most prevalent myth surrounding an accident. People believe that filing an insurance claim will automatically mean that their premiums will go up. That’s not always the case. If you were not at fault for the accident, the insurance company may not raise your rates. However, if you were the cause of the accident, you can then expect the premium to increase.
Myth #7: You Don’t Need an Attorney
Do you think that going through the process of negotiation with an insurance company and their attorneys will be easy? You are mistaken. It’s important to know the law, to know what the companies are allowed to do, and to know the actual chance of winning the case, and that’s really only possible for attorneys. As tempting as it can be to try to represent yourself in these cases, the negotiations can become brutal. You do not have the time, energy, or the experience needed for this. You are always going to be better off working with an experienced attorney.