Auto Accident Settlement Myths: Four Things You Should Know
For something as common as auto accident injuries, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what a victim can expect from a lawsuit. Before you decide whether or not you're going to pursue a case for your auto accident, you should be sure that you understand the truth about the process. Here's a look at a couple of the most common misconceptions that could be holding you back and the truth you need to know about them.
"It's Going to Cost You Money Before You File."
Most attorneys require retainers for their services, so it's only natural that auto accident victims would suspect that they might have to pay a retainer and other fees before they could file a personal injury case for their accident. The truth is, most auto accident cases are taken on contingency, which means that the attorney takes the case without any up-front payment and only gets paid if you receive some kind of settlement in the case. And, most attorneys will even offer one consultation for free, allowing you to discuss the case and your potential success before you decide what you're going to do.
"You Can't Get a Settlement Without Spending Hours in Court."
Some auto accident cases do, in fact, have to be heard in court. However, that doesn't mean that you'll be required to appear in court for your settlement. The truth is, if you hire an attorney who is skilled in settlements, you might be able to negotiate the claim out of court and come to a reasonable settlement agreement with the other driver's insurance company. This can make the process less intimidating and may even save you many hours spent in the legal process.
It's important to understand, though, that even settlement negotiations can take time. You'll find that the insurance company will probably start with a very low offer, and your attorney will have to issue a counter-offer. This can go back and forth a few times with some discussion over your claim before a final amount is agreed upon.
"You Have to Do Everything Your Attorney Says."
It's important that you understand that retaining the services of an auto accident attorney doesn't mean that you're giving up your say in the process. If you're at a point where you are unclear about something, uncomfortable with a decision or want to see something handled a different way, you have the right to speak up. If you are unhappy with the results you're getting from your attorney or the advice you've received, you also have the right to talk with another legal professional at any time.
"If You Contributed to the Accident You Can't Get a Settlement."
This is a pretty significant misconception, because it can potentially cost victims thousands of dollars in financial support. The truth is, even if you were found to be partially at fault for the accident, that doesn't mean you aren't entitled to some restitution. Unless the accident was entirely your fault, you might still be able to get some support from the insurance company. If you did contribute to the accident, the insurance company will just adjust the amount you receive to account for your responsibility in the accident. For example, if the analysis determines that you are thirty percent to blame for the accident, you will receive a payment that amounts to seventy percent of the otherwise eligible settlement money.
If you've experienced a car accident and you're trying to determine what to do next, don't let the misconceptions and false information keep you from getting the money you deserve. Talk with an auto accident attorney today about these misconceptions and any others you've heard of to find out the truth that you need to know.