While most car accidents are preventable, they’re unavoidable for most drivers at some point in their lives. It’s estimated that the average driver will experience 2-3 accidents in the course of their lifetime— a scary thought with fatalities on the rise.
Unfortunately, several pervasive myths prevent people from getting the care they need after car accidents. Here are five of the most common myths about motor vehicle accidents— and the truth.
Myth One: You Can’t File a Claim if You’re Partially Responsible
One of the leading myths is that you can’t file a claim or lawsuit if you’re partially responsible for the crash. While the legislature varies from state to state, many regions follow the comparative negligence model or a modified version.
For example, Texas uses a modified comparative model negligence rule with a 51% bar. If you’re less than 51% responsible, you can file a claim. This rule also affects your insurance. Your settlement will be reduced by your responsibility percentage.
Properly documenting the scene and capturing data that disproves your liability is essential for getting a higher claim and settlement, but you still have options if you’re partially at fault.
Myth Two: Insurance Covers Everything
There’s another myth that your insurance has your best interests at heart. Generally, an insurance company will offer a settlement that seems fair at the time without further review. This settlement is a lowball offer to close the case.
Insurance settlements rarely cover ongoing medical needs, lost income, and other expenses caused by the ripple effect of a car accident. Consider talking with an attorney before accepting the settlement. Many car accident attorneys offer a free consultation and only take a commission if you win your case.
Myth Three: Injuries Are Obvious
Car accidents don’t always seem like a big deal at the time. When you experience an accident, adrenaline kicks in and temporarily protects your mind and body from the events.
Then, days or weeks later, you might show signs of whiplash or anxiety. Some severe injuries like concussions or internal bleeding aren’t apparent until hours later.
If you get in an accident, you should consider visiting a physician as soon as possible. This appointment will also start a paper trail for your insurance claim.
Myth Four: Minor Accidents Shouldn’t be Reported
Many police forces have a set threshold for when you should report an accident. Depending on the state, this threshold ranges between $1000 and $2500 in damage.
However, damage isn’t always apparent. Small fender benders often cause thousands of dollars worth of damage in body and frame repairs. It’s imperative to exchange information with the other driver, regardless of how minor the accident seems.
Myth Five: Human Error Is the Cause of All Accidents
One of the long-standing beliefs in motor vehicle legislation is that driver error is the cause of almost all accidents. This claim has been brought up for debate as the number of autonomous vehicles on the road increases.
While drivers can help prevent accidents, things like poor road design, inappropriate speed limits, and obstructed signage contribute too. This is another reason why documenting the scene and working with an attorney is advised.
Remember these myths when you get in an accident. The truth could save your health and money.