We can all agree that getting into a car accident isn’t on the top of our to-do for the start of a day. But when it happens, emotions are high and judgment can easily get clouded depending on several factors including the severity of the accident and who’s involved.
Unfortunately, we can’t contact the myth busters for the 8 myths below but we can attempt to clarify the truth behind them and educate you in case you get stuck in similar situations.
1. The accident was minor, so it’s okay to leave the scene
The love tap that you accidentally gave the car in front of you was harmless, right? We know that dealing with the process behind filing an accident report is not easy and especially when it could potentially impact your driving record and lead to higher premiums.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime and can lead to serious charges being filed against you and other consequences. This can later incur costs to you in the form of vehicle repairs and physical treatment if underlying conditions become apparent.
2. Rear-end collisions are always the fault of the rear driver
Seems pretty obvious that if the back of your vehicle is damaged in a rear-end collision it’s the person behind you whose fault it is. Factors such as third party vehicle’s actions, front cars having issues with their breaks, and a manufacturer defective breaks can all debunk this myth.
3. The police report is always correct in identifying who’s at fault
The first thing that should occur when you get into an accident is call the police and file a report for the accident.
However, just because the police report is the only evidence that the insurance receives, does not necessarily mean the other person’s insurance will not fight back. In this case, accessory evidence will be asked of both parties such as eyewitnesses, vehicle damage and skid marks, and a story comparison of the accident from both parties.
4. Car accident laws are the same in every state
Doesn’t matter what license plate is on your car. If you have an accident in a state with strict rules, like the “at-fault” system in Tennessee, then you are liable for all costs of damages and injuries.
Each state has their own set of rules and laws regarding accidents and injuries. Visit your local state government directory to learn about road offenses and other topics concerning accidents in your state.
5. You have to give a statement to the insurance company
You are not required to give a statement about any details to the other driver’s insurance or your own. Putting yourself at risk of a false statement when answering a recorded conversation by the insurance company can make you a higher risk candidate to hurt your own claim.
6. My insurance rate will go up if I file a claim with my insurance company
Despite common belief, insurance providers are not always out to get you. Your insurance premium will not go up just because you file a claim. Now, if you’re at fault for the accident and you file a claim, then yes your premium will more than likely go up.
7. You have to accept a settlement offer
Following the file of a claim, the insurance provider of the person at fault will offer you a settlement. As the settlement may be an enticing amount of money, do not accept the settlement until speaking with a lawyer. Unfortunately, in most cases, the settlement is more often less than the desired amount. Therefore, accepting the first settlement the insurance offers leaves no room for negotiations.
8. Hiring an attorney is too expensive and not worth the headache
Some accidents turn out worse than expected and when they do, more attention and action is required to settle the injuries, expenses, and insurance matters. In cases such as these where a party involved has to pay medical bills and extended time off work, it’s often better to hire an attorney to digest all the details and create a plan for you so you don’t become a high risk to your insurance company.
Remember – a car accident is never planned for. So don’t let emotions or circumstances get in the way of assessing all of your options whether you are at fault or not. Ensure the safety of yourself and those around you, call the authorities, and seek professional counsel to handle situations you are unsure about. Drive safe and stay calm!