There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding car accidents, as common as they are. Within the car insurance industry, it’s estimated that people will get into three or four accidents within their lifetime, so let’s diffuse some untrue myths surrounding the seemingly unavoidable phenomenon.
It’s up to me whether or not to report the collision to the police or my insurance company.
The Truth: By law, you have to report a collision to the police only if the damage is over $1,000. However, your insurance company requires you to report every accident, regardless of the amount of damage.
I can collect pain and suffering damages simply from being in pain.
The Truth: Most provinces have specific requirements that a victim has to meet in order to receive compensation related to pain. Normally, you have to meet one of the following criteria:
Death, Permanent serious disfigurement, or Serious impairment of body function.
Million-dollar settlements are simple if my injuries are severe.
The Truth: There have been plenty of cases in which victims with serious injuries have gotten no compensation; insurance companies are becoming more aggressive with challenging injuries. Every case is different, and severe injuries don’t guarantee you specific settlements, even with a good attorney.
My insurance company will settle for a higher amount if I wait it out.
The Truth: There are many aspects of the situation that affect an insurance company’s reimbursement, including the attorney’s reputation and company protocol. Length of time isn’t the only thing that factors into the amount of reimbursement. Again, every case is different.
My case can be handled by any personal injury lawyer.
The Truth: Laws surrounding car accidents are constantly changing, and consequently so is the practice of this law. This makes cases confusing and difficult to gage. For this reason, it’s crucial to have someone who specializes in automotive accidents—this way you’ll make the best of an unfortunate situation.
I can’t afford a lawyer.
The Truth: Before making assumptions, you should always seek advice. Many law firms offer free consultations, giving you the information you need to make a decision on your situation.
I can handle my insurance claim on my own.
The Truth: While this may be true if your injuries are minor, you should always seek legal assistance if you suffered from serious injuries. You want to get all the treatment and compensation you need, however your insurance company wants to pay as little as possible. You need someone who’s not only familiar with the procedures and practices involved in insurance claims, but who’s an expert.
If I make a claim, my insurance premiums will go up.
The Truth: Your insurance premiums won’t go up if you make an Accident Benefits claim. They may go up, however, if you were at-fault, but that could happen regardless of whether you make a Benefits claim or not.
The responsible party has to pay for my car in full—regardless of how much I owe.
The Truth: The responsible party is required by law to pay the retail value of the vehicle, but no more, which means that a fair settlement of your property damage claim might not be enough to pay off your car.
If the other driver is at fault, I’m entitled to punitive damages.
The Truth: They’re rarely recognized in an accident case; jurors commonly view demands for punitive damages as unnecessary except in an extreme case.