After an auto accident you might find yourself exposed to various sources of information and advice from well-meaning relatives and friends. While some of the input you’ll receive may be helpful and important, every case is unique and there are several popular myths about filing a car accident claim.
Being knowledgeable about what information is fact-based and what is simply speculation is imperative to your success in filing your claim and reaching a fair settlement for your damages. In many cases, a qualified auto accident attorney is the best source of information when you have questions about your case.
Auto accident law is a specialized legal field. It is the complexity of the claims process and surrounding regulatory impact that makes general advice or incorrect perceptions dangerous for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
The following popular beliefs regarding car accident claims have gained enough credibility to be classified as bona-fide myths. Be cautious when taking general advice from anyone other than your attorney and be on the lookout for these fallacies.
1. My Insurance Premiums Will Increase if I File a Car Accident Claim
While a possibility, filing a car accident claim does not automatically increase premiums.
Car insurance companies consider many factors before adjusting your premium after a car accident claim.
- driving record.
- determination of fault for the accident.
- policy details.
- and, the severity of the damages is included in this decision.
In addition, many modern policies include accident forgiveness clauses that prohibit the insurance company from raising your rate for first time accidents.
2. Every State Has Identical Laws for Car Accident Claims
This is simply not true. Some states, like Pennsylvania, operate under comparative negligence (which means that you can collect for damages from another driver even if you were partially at fault) while others use contributory negligence (which does not allow a partially at-fault driver to collect from other parties at all).
In addition, some states follow no-fault rules, which require your insurance company to pay for medical expenses related to your accident no matter who is at fault. Others operate under fault-based rules. Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state.
3. I Can Handle My Own Claim, No Matter How Complicated
Many people believe that their property damage or bodily injury claims will be simple and that they should avoid the costs of an attorney by handling it themselves. Unfortunately, for serious bodily injury cases or larger property damage claims, this might approach could end with you settling for less than you deserve.
Simply “holding out” or refusing to accept a settlement will not necessarily encourage the insurance company to offer you a better deal. An auto accident attorney can help you build a strong case and knows how to negotiate with insurance adjusters to secure the compensation you deserve.
4. My Insurance Company Will Automatically Pay My Car Loan if Totaled
Again, assuming that your insurance company will do what’s best for you when filing a car accident claim is a dangerous approach. Insurance companies and their employees are in the business of protecting the company assets.
In other words, it’s in their best interest to keep their payouts low. You will be offered the fair market value for your vehicle, which doesn’t always cover the cost of your loan. If you have GAP coverage, though, this can cover the difference.
5. Any Attorney Can Help File My Car Accident Claim
Hiring any attorney who you drive past on the street is not the best idea. As noted earlier, auto accident law is very specific and only an attorney who is familiar with in this niche area of the legal field is properly prepared to advocate for you when filing a car accident claim.