Posted on July 2nd, 2020 by Zane Cagle
After a car accident, you need to be aware of some false assumptions or myths.
Few people question those myths until they are actually involved in a car crash. According to the auto insurance industry information, the average person will be in in a crash every 18 years–thus about four crashes in one’s life. Hopefully, those are all door dings at the grocery store and not serious injury crashes. Since few people make it their entire life without some type of auto accident, it is prudent to know what you would do after a crash and what to avoid. Planning your steps and gathering information is absolutely not “jinxing” yourself. In fact, knowing how to respond may greatly reduce your stress levels at the scene of a crash. Download our free iPhone/Droid app for just such occasion–Injury Attorney. It’s why we develop fire escape plans in our homes and schools and the chance of an actual fire is far lower than each of our chances of being in a crash.
After many years of talking to literally 1,000’s of people involved in car crashes, there are still pervasive myths and misunderstandings about the car accident injury process. We happily explain the process and steps you need to take to protect yourself. Our goal is to make sure that your claim is done right from the beginning. You only have one chance to make your claim and do it correctly. In spite of the clever jingles and quite entertaining commercials provided by auto insurance carriers, they will not always cover a thing or two just because they have seen a thing or two. And, you cannot count on the adjuster being on “your side” even if it is your auto insurance carrier.
While your friend that sells insurance may be your best golfing buddy, your sales agent has very little if no impact on whether or not the adjuster offers you a fair amount. Insurance sales agents are a part of our communities and frequently, your friends. This is why the salesperson is not the adjuster. You may have a friend that is an adjuster and they may be really great people, but the company goal and your goal usually part ways after an injury in which you are seeking fair compensation.
Myths-Commonly Believed Assumptions About Auto Injury Claims
Your Insurance Will Pay for Everything-False
Many people assume if they are involved in a car accident in Missouri or Illinois, which was not their fault, the insurance company will pay for everything including the property damage, medical bills and lost wages. Even in the most egregious driving behaviors resulting in serious injury, an insurance carrier is very reluctant to pair fair compensation. If you are hurt, you need legal assistance and should not discuss your injuries with the adjuster. It is required by law that if you operate a motor vehicle, you must be insured. The concept of a group of people all paying premiums on chance that they will need insurance to cover property or injury is part of a social agreement. Participating in auto insurance is supposed to be a way to stave off financial ruin should you be injured in a crash. Thus, if you are injured in a car accident, the idea is that the insurance company will compensate you for your injuries, financially. However, if you’ve ever been injured in a motor vehicle crash and have had an experience with an insurance company, you will find that they are not always very cooperative about covering loses.
All Drivers Carry Insurance-False
Yes, every driver is supposed to have auto insurance in order to legally operate the vehicle. However, there are MANY uninsured drivers on the roadway. Thus, it is ESSENTIAL that you always have auto insurance. Seems unfair, correct? Honestly, if you are hit by an uninsured driver and you do not have auto insurance, it is almost impossible to collect compensation from an uninsured driver for property damage, medical bills and lost wages. While the driver may be ticketed for failure to have insurance, it is generally quite difficult to collect compensation from the individual driver. Generally speaking, if someone does not have auto insurance, they also do not have a lot of assets to pursue in getting compensation for you. The most meaningful compensation is through their or you own insurance carrier, so be sure that you are insured.
The Insurance Adjuster is On Your Side-False
You would think so, right? You might have spent 30 years with your auto insurance company and have a great driving record. You may even be friends with the auto insurance sales person. However, you need to know that the insurance adjuster is not taking up the flag for your cause. Do not be fooled for one minute that the adjuster is looking out for your best interests. The adjuster may be a really nice person, but their goal and yours are often different. The insurance company’s goal is to save as much money as possible. Be very careful what you say and you can count on your conversations being recorded. Be careful in giving statements and providing any information about your injuries.
I Have Plenty of Time to Bring a Claim- False
Depending on the state in which the crash happens determines your “Statute of Limitations”. It is NEVER a good idea to wait to begin your claim or put off medical treatment. In Missouri, the Statute of Limitation is five (5) years from the date of injury. Meaning if you are in a crash on March 3, 2020, your statute of limitations will expire March 3, 2025. You must not just make a claim but have a petition filed in the appropriate court on or before 3/3/25 in this example. In Illinois, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. However, if you are hurt and need to have much medical treatment, you absolutely should consult an attorney immediately. When you wait months and months or worse, years; then it greatly limits your attorney’s ability to assist. We work immediately securing evidence and statements that will simply disappear or not be remembered months after a crash.
You Do Not Need to Seek Medical Treatment for Minor Injuries- False
Many think they can treat minor injuries at home and do not need to seek medical treatment. This is a very big mistake. Clearly, if you have a minor cut that does not require medical treatment, then an ER visit would be wasteful. However, the most common problem I find in talking to people is that they didn’t think it was much, so they put it off for several months and then their condition got worse. There are two major problems with failing to seek medical treatment. First and most importantly is that you do not get the medical help that you need to get better. Second, if your injury is not documented through medical treatment, then there is no proof that you are hurt due to a car accident. Saying you don’t like doctors or needles thus you did not go does not advance your claim. Do not ask your auto insurance adjuster for medical advice.
You Do Not Need an Attorney-False
Many people think they can handle their own car accident claim, especially if they do some research online. There are Do-It-Yourself projects but handling an injury claim on your own is not a good idea. It is not a reflection or your intelligence or business sense. Unless you are a car accident lawyer, you do not deal with insurance companies daily and most have no idea what to expect. While we can tell you what to expect, the insurance company just deals differently with attorneys than they do individuals. If you are seriously injured, you absolutely will need an attorney. If surgeries are involved and multiple doctor visits and physical therapy, it can get complicated quickly.
Without a doubt, all of the above are FALSE. These myths create large pitfalls for those seeking fair compensation. If you are in a car accident and are injured, our attorneys are more than happy to answer your questions and advocate for you. We would much rather talk with you and give you guidance at the beginning of your process.