Most people injured in auto accidents have never pursued an auto collision injury claim in the past. Many injured vehicle occupants have not even spoken to an attorney prior to their car accident. This unfamiliarity with the situation makes it normal to ask people you know about your rights and the process. While people who have been through the claims or litigation process might have valuable information to offer, there is a risk you also might receive information that was reported by a third party rather than experienced firsthand by your friend or family member. A significant number of cases can be compromised because the injury victim relies on common myths about car accident injury claims. Speaking to an experienced auto accident lawyer constitutes the best way to get accurate information about your right to compensation and the insurance claims or litigation process. Since the law limits the time that a person has to file a car accident injury or wrongful death claim or lawsuit, injury victims should move with haste to obtain legal advice. In this blog, we dispel several common myths about car accident injury claims.
Myth 1: Since you did not file a lawsuit right away, you have forfeited your right to pursue a claim.
Although it is true that car accident legal claims must be filed within a specified time after the injuries were incurred or the victim dies, you have a limited period to commence a lawsuit. The best practice is to seek legal advice as early as possible to avoid running afoul of important deadlines and to provide your attorney with the ability to begin building your case. All states have a statute of limitations that specifies the amount of time an injury victim has to file a lawsuit after a car accident that causes injury. The exact time limit will depend on the state as well as the nature of the legal claims being brought against the at-fault parties. Even if you think you have gone past the time limit to bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim, you should talk to an experienced auto accident attorney because there are narrow exceptions.
Myth 2: Working with the other driver’s insurance company offers the best way to resolve your accident claim.
Although insurance adjusters often seem friendly and accommodating, a key aspect of their job is to deny or minimize the amount paid out on claims. The adjuster works for the insurance company, so he or she has absolutely no incentive to help you protect your claim or maximize its value. Experienced and successful car accident injury lawyers understand the strategies insurance carriers use to deny valid claims and minimize pay outs. If you hire a car accident lawyer, the job of the attorney is to work for you and fight for your interests.
Myth 3: Hiring a personal injury lawyer will just cost more and reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
Insurance company representatives love to suggest this idea to injury victims to discourage them from seeking legal advice and representation. This myth is misleading in two respects. Attorneys that handle car accident injury claims generally work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe no attorney fees unless you receive a recovery. Further, the attorney fees are paid out of the settlement or judgment, so you do not need to pay legal fees up front. In fact, you should be extremely cautious if you speak to an attorney who asks you to advance attorney fees rather than handle the case on a contingency fee basis when pursuing a car accident injury claim. The prospects of recovery and the value of a claim also improve dramatically with representation from a skilled and experienced car accident lawyer. A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that 85 percent of the claims that were paid by the insurance industry went to injury victims represented by an attorney. Further, the study also revealed that people who have an attorney recover 3.5 times more than those without legal representation. Given these statistics, the real question is whether you can afford NOT to hire an attorney.
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