If faced with the ramifications of a car accident, it's all too easy to sit back and allow the insurance companies to hash out the details of the settlement. You should know, however, that insurance companies are not on your side, and they have an express interest in paying out as little as possible for your claim. Be sure that you get involved in the claim process by knowing the 3 common misconceptions about car accidents.
1. The other driver is a very nice person, so getting compensated should be "a piece of cake."
Just because the at-fault driver is pleasant and apparently cooperative doesn't mean that their insurance company will be also. In fact, getting too chummy with the other driver could seriously jeopardize your claim if you have a tendency to chatter too much. Everything you say, from the time of the accident onward, could be used to reduce settlement amount.
For example, if you feel sorry and sympathetic for the other driver at the scene, you may try to make that driver feel a little better by trying to take on some of the blame. Your settlement amount is directly tied to liability, and liability is not a desirable aspect when it comes to insurance claims. Leave the determination of fault to the professionals and allow your personal injury attorney the opportunity to negotiate a fair settlement regardless of your share in fault.
2. You don't need a personal injury attorney, you've got insurance.
Having good coverage is only the beginning; if you've been in an accident that was any more serious than a minor "fender bender," you may need professional legal representation to get fairly compensated. Car accidents can be far more complicated than most people know, from the determination of fault, the gathering of evidence and witness interviewing to the settlement negotiations, and a personal injury attorney can earn their contingency fee many times over by ensuring that you get the best settlement possible.
3. You've waited too long to file a claim.
Some injuries take longer to become apparent, and what might have at first seemed to be minor injuries can quickly escalate into full-blown serious conditions. If you've been in an accident and discover that you are injured, even if it's weeks later, don't delay in seeking medical attention and contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, There are statutes of limitations in every state, which can prevent you from filing a personal injury suit if you wait too long. Most states, however, have a statute of limitations of several years, not weeks or months.
Be sure to consult with a car accident attorney to get everything that you are entitled to for your injuries.
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