Car Accident and Personal Injury Myths
Mesa Injury Attorneys Debunk Injury Myths
MYTH: Your Insurance WIll Pay for Everything
TRUTH: You need to check your auto insurance policy to see what kind of coverage you have. The state minimum insurance coverage for Arizona is $25,000 bodily injury liability for one person and $50,000 for two or more, and $15,000 in property damage liability. This is the amount your insurance company will pay the other driver(s) if you are at fault in an accident. If you hit a high end vehicle or cause someone a serious injury, your liability could easily exceed your insurance policy coverage by thousands. You can add higher coverage limits, as well as coverage for when you are hit by an uninsured driver. You may also want to add MedPay coverage, which will reimburse you for medical costs after an accident.
MYTH: Insurance Companies Always Offer Fair Settlements.
TRUTH: The insurance company will usually start by replying to a demand letter with a far lower counteroffer. Adjusters know that you may desperately need your settlement funds, and not be able to hold out for a higher pain and suffering settlement. Don’t let an insurance company profit off undercompensating you- an experienced personal injury attorney will advocate for your highest possible settlement.
MYTH: I Don’t Need a Lawyer, the Insurance Company will take Care of my Claim.
TRUTH: Your auto insurance policy will cover up to a certain amount of financial liability for bodily harm and property damage. However, that doesn’t mean your insurance company will represent you in a personal injury claim after you’ve been injured in an accident. You will either need to represent yourself or hire your own attorney if you’d like to pursue a personal injury claim.
MYTH: I Feel Fine, I don’t need to seek Medical Attention.
TRUTH: Rear end collisions are the most common type of car accident in Arizona, and often result in whiplash and other neck injuries. You may not feel pain from these injuries for days, or even weeks or months after your accident. You should see a doctor after these types of accidents, even if you aren’t currently in pain.
MYTH: If I am in pain from my Accident, I will receive Pain and Suffering Payment.
TRUTH: The insurance company isn’t likely to just offer you pain and suffering, and you may need to meet certain requirements for a pain and suffering settlement. Pain and suffering is usually the value of your medical bills, time off work, and other damages multiplied by a number between 1 and 5. More serious injuries are assigned a higher multiplier. You may need to have suffered a permanent injury or disfigurement. You should hire a personal injury attorney if you are planning on pursuing damages for pain and suffering.
MYTH: The Insurance Adjuster is on Your Side
TRUTH: The other driver’s insurance company signs your insurance adjuster’s paychecks. Insurance adjusters are paid to get you to settle for the lowest possible amount. The adjuster will be looking for cracks in your case in all of your communications with them. You absolutely should NOT count on the insurance adjuster to be looking out for your best interests. The only person who will serve as your advocate in your claim is a personal injury attorney that you retain for services.
MYTH: All Drivers Have Insurance, It’s the Law.
TRUTH: Unfortunately, some drivers let their insurance lapse or don’t have coverage at all. You may also be the victim of a hit and run, where one driver causes an accident but drives away without exchanging insurance information. You should call the police to the scene to issue a report with the information of all involved parties if either of these situations applies to you. If you do have the driver’s identity, you will need to pursue a personal injury claim against them personally instead of through an insurance company. Negotiating a settlement will likely be more difficult and you will probably have to secure a court award against the other driver, which is done more easily with attorney representation. An attorney can also help you collect an award against an uninsured or hit and run driver.
MYTH: Minor Injuries Don’t Require Medical Attention.
TRUTH: There are plenty of reasons that you should seek medical attention for even minor injuries after a car accident. An unmonitored concussion could lead to permanent brain damage, and even a small cut could develop a serious infection. You may have an injury that a doctor will be able to detect, even if you won’t feel the symptoms for months or even years. You may feel slight pain from your injuries that you don’t think is serious enough for medical treatment. However, this slight pain could persist or even worsen over time. You deserve compensation for future injury symptoms from your accident.
MYTH: I Should be able to work it out with the other party, I shouldn’t need an Attorney.
TRUTH: If you don’t have an attorney, you will need to handle all settlement negotiations yourself. If negotiations fail, you will need to file your lawsuit yourself and proceed with trial on your own. This process is simply too complex and intensive for most people who didn’t graduate from law school and who don’t have an entire office staff supporting them. Insurance adjusters know that and will therefore offer lower settlements to parties unrepresented by an experienced Mesa injury attorney.
MYTH: All Auto Accident Laws are the same, regardless of the state.
TRUTH: Auto accident and personal injury laws vary by state, so don’t assume the same rules apply to you that apply to your friends and family members in other states. For example, the statute of limitations, or the deadline by which you need to file your lawsuit, is 2 years from the date of accident in Arizona, but is as low as 1 year or as high as 6 years in other states. Some states are comparative fault jurisdictions, meaning a plaintiff can recover even if they were partially to blame for the accident. Other states are contributory negligence jurisdictions, meaning the plaintiff may not be able to recover if they are even 1% at fault for the accident. Take advice from your peers with a grain of salt, but know that you can consult with a personal injury attorney about the laws applicable to your case free of charge.
MYTH: If the Other Driver is given a ticket in an accident, the Other Driver is automatically “at fault”.
TRUTH: The other driver’s insurance company won’t automatically pay out all of your damages just because the insured was cited as “at fault.” They may choose to deny coverage, or deny coverage for some of your injuries. The insurance company may also argue that you were partially at fault for the accident, which is known as comparative fault. In that case, you and your attorney will need to find evidence that demonstrates that the accident was mostly or entirely the other driver’s fault.
MYTH: I can sue the “At Fault” driver’s insurance company if I am not able to settle my bodily injury claim.
TRUTH: If you are unable to reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you will actually be filing against the other driver as an individual. Their insurance will hire an attorney to represent them. Your damages may also be much higher than their insurance coverage.
MYTH: You DO NOT need a Personal Injury Attorney for your case.
TRUTH: Many accident victims are hesitant to hire a personal injury attorney because they charge up to one third or more of the settlement or trial award. However, a skilled personal injury attorney can get you a much higher settlement than you would’ve gotten on your own with no contingency fees deducted. An attorney will handle all the correspondence in your case, so you don’t miss any important communications or say anything that could hurt your claim. An expert attorney will find evidence you didn’t even think of to get you a higher settlement. A personal injury attorney doesn’t get paid unless they win, and the initial consultation is free. Call today for your free consultation to see what one of our experienced personal injury attorneys can do for you!