Statistically, every single person in the United States will be involved in a car collision at least once in their lives. Despite this staggering estimate, most people are genuinely unprepared for the reality of a car accident. Car accidents can be startling events, and even the most composed person may have trouble navigating the aftermath. The various myths surrounding car accidents and personal injury lawsuits often make these situations more stressful.
To alleviate your concerns, the Austin car accident attorneys at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC have compiled a list of 4 common myths to help you separate fact from fiction.
Myth #1: It’s Okay to Leave the Scene
Even if an accident doesn’t cause property damage or physical injuries, it’s still important to call emergency services and complete an accident report with a law enforcement officer. Leaving the scene of an accident can put you in a delicate legal situation that may result in a misdemeanor charge.
Before leaving an accident scene, it’s important to complete the following steps, especially if you want to file a claim:
- Make sure all vehicles safely pull over
- Do not admit fault
- Call 911
- Note the other driver’s insurance information, license plate number, and car model
- Take photos of the vehicles involved, the accident scene, and any injuries you sustained
- Write down witness names and information
- Make a statement to the police officer
You can leave the scene once the police say that it’s safe to go. If you can, seek immediate medical attention and notify your insurance company about the accident within 24 hours.
Myth #2: I Don’t Need a Doctor
You are incredibly lucky if you’re able to walk away from an accident without a serious injury. However, it can take days or even weeks for injury symptoms to manifest after a car collision. It’s imperative that you seek medical attention immediately after a car collision because doctors are trained to look for signs of head, neck and back injuries. These injuries are notoriously difficult to detect without diagnostic testing, and forgoing medical care often leads to exacerbated health complications. Even minor aches and pains can be the early symptoms of dangerous chronic conditions that require treatment.
Plus, if you don’t visit the doctor within 7 days, the defendant’s insurance company may claim that your personal injury case does not warrant damages.
Myth #3: Insurance Companies Offer Fair Settlements
An insurance company is just that—a company. Its key priority is making and saving money. Once the accident is reported, the defendant’s insurance company is already investigating the case and planning various ways to undermine your claim if you don’t accept their substandard settlement. The only way you can avoid being under-compensated is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer.
Myth #4: Whiplash Doesn’t Exist
Whiplash is a non-medical term that indicates the collective symptoms a person may experience when their head and neck are violently jerked back and forth. This sudden motion can cause extreme and lasting damage to the soft tissues in a victim’s neck. Whiplash is a common car accident injury, but for some reason many people refuse to believe that it’s an actual condition. Interestingly, 60% of all car accident claims include neck injuries related to whiplash.
Symptoms of whiplash typically appear within 24 hours but can affect a victim for months. If you haven’t recovered after 6 months, you may be suffering from “chronic whiplash.” This is a condition that a medical professional will need to address.
Injured by a Negligent Driver? Contact an Experienced Attorney
There are countless myths surrounding car accidents, insurance companies, and personal injury claims. It can be overwhelming to sift through the various misconceptions when you’re also trying to recover from your injuries. The only way to truly protect your interests and secure compensation is to retain the services of an experienced car accident lawyer.
At The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC, our Austin car accident attorneys can address all your questions and help you file an effective claim. We can be by your side through each step of this complicated legal process and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
Don’t leave your future to chance. Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 if you require legal representation.