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Common Misconceptions About the Car Accident Claims Process

Posted in Car Insurance Claims on September 5, 2020

If you’ve recently suffered injuries in a car accident, you are likely in the beginning stages of the car accident claims process. Unfortunately, people you meet and the internet are full of misinformation about how the car accident claims process works. Car accident claims can be complex, so you need accurate information about what is to come. Additionally, following incorrect advice or relying on false information could harm your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries.

The information you’ve learned about car accident claims is likely full of many common misconceptions. We’ve developed this guide to give you peace of mind as you go through the car accident claims process and give you the best chances to secure a fair settlement for your car accident claim. Below is a broad overview of the common misconceptions about the car accident claims process.

Accident Victims Are Guaranteed Compensation

Even though you might deserve compensation for your injuries after a car accident, no legal guarantee exists. Sometimes liability is clear in a car accident, but recovering damages isn’t as clear. The driver who caused the car accident might be underinsured or uninsured. Additionally, the insurance company has every motivation to avoid financial responsibility, so they will likely try to shift the blame to you. Insurance companies also like to downplay injuries and argue they are not as bad as you make them out to be. In some cases, the insurance company might deny your claim for dubious reasons to avoid a payout.

Insurance Companies Offer Fair Settlements

Insurance companies are worried about their bottom line and not about whether the settlement they offer you is fair. As mentioned above, insurance companies will take all measures possible to avoid some or all financial liability for a car accident. When insurance companies know their policyholders are liable, one common strategy they use to avoid a large settlement or large jury award is to offer car accident victims a quick settlement offer.

The offer is typically enough to tempt accident victims, especially those struggling financially, to accept some money and waive their right to sue for damages. Yet, these quick and dirty offers are often predatory and typically are not fair compensation for your injuries. It’s in your best interest to consider an initial offer as a starting off point for negotiations.

You Only Need a Crash Report to Prove Fault

Law enforcement typically arrives at the scene of a serious car accident to complete a crash report, and you must file a report if they do not show up. In any case, an official crash report is only one piece of evidence to prove fault in a car accident claim. A police report records one person’s narrative about the car accident. Other evidence that typically supports car accident claims includes:

  • Eyewitness statements
  • Photos or videos from the scene of the accident
  • Surveillance videos that caught the accident on tape
  • Medical records that prove injury
  • Expert testimony from accident reconstruction specialists
  • Evidence of road, traffic, and weather conditions

Liability Always Lies with the Following Car in a Rear-end Accident

Another common misconception about car accident claims is that liability is always clear in rear-end car accidents. It’s true that the rear driver is often at fault, but the lead driver can also share liability if he or she was driving carelessly. In some cases, the lead driver might be fully liable for damages in a car accident. Some negligent driver behaviors that muddy liability in rear-end accident cases include:

  • Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions
  • Making erratic and unsafe lane changes that don’t allow the rear driver to respond appropriately
  • Slamming on brakes for no reason, sometimes a form of road rage

Hiring a Lawyer Is Too Expensive

Many assume they cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent them in a car accident claim. This is not the case. Personal injury attorneys do not accept upfront retainers like criminal attorneys and other types of lawyers. Instead, personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis. They deduct a percentage of any settlement or court-awarded damages they secure for you to cover attorney fees. If they do not secure any compensation for you, they do not take attorney fees. When you have your initial consultation, your attorney will go over the contingency agreement so you understand exactly how the process works.

You Do Not Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Claim

Many assume that it’s better for them to go it alone with the insurance company after a car accident. This is not the case. It’s always in your best interest to at least consult with an attorney, and in most cases, it’s best for you to hire representation. Lawyers do far more than file paperwork for a car accident claim.

Lawyers investigate accidents to uncover all the relevant facts and evidence to support your claim. Even though it’s likely you won’t have to go to trial, a good lawyer is prepared to litigate when necessary. Car accident lawyers also protect clients from saying something to devalue their claim when speaking to insurance adjusters. Additionally, insurance companies often take claims more seriously when a claimant has representation, especially in terms of negotiation.

Finally, lawyers have experience placing a value on your car accident claim and know how to negotiate with insurance companies who do not want to pay. In most cases, a car accident attorney can secure a larger settlement for a client than what he or she could secure without a lawyer.

We Help Car Accident Victims Get the Results They Deserve

With a better understanding of the misconceptions of the car accident claims process, you have a better chance to get the maximum amount of compensation for your car accident injuries. The team at The Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC has extensive experience helping car accident victims through the claims process and advocating for them with insurance companies. Contact us today online or at  504-500-5000 for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.