Statistically speaking, there’s a pretty good chance that you will have some sort of car accident at some time in your life. And if you do, you want to be sure you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to dealing with the aftermath of an accident.
Here are five common car accident myths and the real story:
Myth: You should always work with your insurance company to get the best settlement offer.
If you have only minor injuries and the harm to your vehicle is also minor, you may be able to handle the claim on your own, without the help of an attorney in some cases.
In those situations, you can try to work directly with the adjusters from the insurance companies to quickly resolve your claim. The adjuster will make you an offer to settle your claim, which you can either accept, or not.
You do not have much bargaining power when handling your claim on your own without the help of an injury lawyer. If you reject the adjuster’s offer as unfair, you may want to contact an
injury lawyer to proceed with your claim.
However, don’t make the same mistake as many others and attempt to handle your claim alone while thinking you are “saving” money in attorney fees. It has been our experience that a high majority of claims settled with the assistance of a capable injury lawyer results in the client receiving a larger “net” check — even with attorney fees — than they would receive on their own.
Myth: If you were even partially at fault, you won’t have a claim.
Most states have contributory negligence statutes that allow plaintiffs who may be partially at fault in an accident to still recover damages for a personal injury claim and Texas is one of them.
Texas is one of 20 states that recognize what is known as the “51% Bar Rule.” Under this rule, a plaintiff is not entitled to any compensation if he or she is more than 50% at fault in an accident. In other words, if you are involved in an accident, you can only be compensated if the other driver was 50% or more at fault. If you were less than 50% at fault, you can still be compensated for your personal injury claim.
Myth: The police will determine who was at fault in the accident.
This is not necessarily true. While the police do need to file an accident report, the thoroughness of their investigation can vary. This is why it is important that you document as much as you can immediately following the accident, including taking photos with your phone and writing down a detailed description as soon as possible.
Myth: You can’t make a claim for any injuries that happen well after the accident.
Sometimes injuries don’t crop up until some time after the initial trauma from an accident. To be sure your rights are fully protected, you should contact a car accident attorney immediately following your accident to help establish the chain of events.
Myth: Engaging an attorney to help you with a claim cost more than it’s worth.
In most cases you should net out more money even when you pay an injury lawyer than if you handle the claim yourself. Many insurance adjusters will tell you that you don’t need to hire an attorney, or that you will end up with more money if you handle your claim by yourself.
The truth they don’t want you to know is this: statistics reveal that most people who hire injury attorneys will have more take-home money than people with the same injuries and damages who choose to handle their claims themselves.
And not just a little bit more – victims represented by a lawyer receive up to 3 1⁄2 times more settlement money, as reported by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), although all cases are different and results vary.
If you want to know if you have a case, please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.