It's very easy to assume that after a car accident, your insurance company has everything under control. You should be aware, however, that insurance companies are not on your side and neither is the at-fault driver who caused your wreck. Don't allow the following five common misconceptions about car accidents to cause you to miss out on getting fairly compensated for your injuries. Read on to find out how your assumptions can jeopardize your claim.
1. Since the other side is being friendly and cooperative, you will be compensated fairly.
Maybe you're thinking that the other driver was careless, but seems like a decent guy and is (thankfully) insured, so you can just let the insurance companies handle everything. However, be very careful about being friendly with the other driver, no matter how nice they are. If you say anything about being partially at fault, either at the time of the accident or in a later conversation, you could be ruining your chances to get a full compensation amount. Even if you were partially at fault, your personal injury attorney can use his or her skillful negotiation strategies to get the most fair settlement offer for partial fault, if necessary.
2. The accident report is enough evidence to prove my claim.
The accident report that was prepared by the responding officer has already determined fault for the accident. This report does often contain valuable information, such as the parties' contact information, witness statements, and a brief summary of the accident. The officer's opinion, however, is just an opinion and is not admissible in court. Fault is instead determined by a network of sources such as eye-witness statements, camera footage, vehicle computers, tire marks, and more.
3. It's too late to file a claim.
You experienced some soreness and bruises at the time of the accident, but now weeks later you are in severe pain and worried that it's too late to get compensated for your injuries from the accident. It's not too late; many injuries do not become apparent until much later after an accident. Make sure that you seek medical care immediately. Every state has a statute of limitations, but it is usually about two years for personal injury claims.
4. You can handle this claim yourself.
You don't feel the need for an attorney since you are capable of handling the insurance claims process yourself. But for any car accident beyond a dented fender, you should strongly consider using the services of a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can assist you with matters of partial fault and settlement negotiations and even go to court for you if necessary.
5. You can trust the other driver's insurance company to compensate you fairly.
All insurance companies, no matter how good their reputation or rating, are for-profit entities. It is in their best interest to give you as little as possible and they are counting on you to simply accept whatever they offer.
Take time to fully heal from your injuries and place your accident claim in the hands of a personal injury attorney, such as one from Risley Law Firm, P.C. Your life will soon be back to normal, and in the meantime you can rest assured that your attorney will fight hard to ensure that you get every penny that you deserve.