Car Accidents

Seven Common Myths About Car Accidents

Read on for the truth behind some common misconceptions.

There are a lot of ideas about car accidents that we just accept as fact. Unfortunately, believing in any of these myths can hurt you when you've been in a car accident. Read on for the truth behind these common misconceptions.

My Car Crash Was Minor, So I Shouldn't Call the Police

Every state requires that car accidents that cause injuries or cause over a certain threshold in damage be reported to the police. That seems clear-cut, but the problem comes from the fact that it's often impossible to gauge the extent of injuries or the cost of repair from the scene of the accident.

It's better to err on the side of caution and call the police, no matter the apparent extent of the accident. That way, if you wind up being injured or needing a car repair, you handled everything exactly as you were supposed to and aren't at risk of being fined for not obeying the law.

You can find out more about reporting requirements here.

If I Don't Request Medical Care At the Scene, It's Too Late

If you're injured in a car accident, it's not always obvious right at the scene of the accident. It's always better to get checked out if there are medical professionals on the scene, or to go to the emergency room or your doctor right afterward. Many injuries have the best chance of recovery if you catch them quickly.

However, if you find that you're having medical issues days (or even weeks) after your accident, it's not too late to get medical care. If the issues are urgent, go to the emergency room. If they're not urgent, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

Make sure you let the doctor know that you were in an accident, and keep records and receipts of any appointments. These could be useful for you later on.

The Driver In the Back Is Always Responsible for a Rear-End Collision

It's true that the driver in the back is often responsible for rear-end collisions, but that's not always the case. For example, if a car cuts in front of another car, it can cause a collision, but in this case, the responsible party would be the car in front. Don't make assumptions about a case just based on the position of the vehicles involved. Check out the articles here and here for more information.

My Insurance Company Is On My Side

Well, yes and no. Car insurance companies are just that — companies. They're in business to make money. So, as long as your interests line up with their interests, they'll be on your side.

However, if your best interests no longer line up with theirs, there's a possibility they'll put their own best interests (and the best interests of their shareholders) over yours. It's not personal. It's business.

In these cases, you need someone who understands the system and has your own best interests at heart. This is where a personal injury lawyer can help. Once again, nothing personal against your insurance company. It's just a way to help ensure that your best interests are respected, as well.

If a Traffic Law Is Broken, The Person Breaking the Law Is Always Responsible for an Accident

Like with rear-end collisions, this statement is often true, but not always — and it depends on what state you're in.

Sometimes the law that was broken has nothing to do with the accident.

For example, imagine that Jim signals but doesn't look behind him to see if anyone is coming before he pulls into oncoming traffic. Luckily, there are no cars behind him, but, as he's pulling out, Lisa hits him in a head-on collision after swerving into his lane.

Jim broke a law by not checking for any vehicles behind him, but that didn't have anything to do with the accident he and Lisa were in.

In some states, you can be awarded damages even if you broke a law in a way that contributed to the accident; in other states, if the accident was even slightly your fault, you may be ineligible to collect damages. This article goes into more depth about negligence laws by state.

A Minor Accident Can't Cause Major Injuries

This one is totally false! Even a seemingly minor accident can cause life-altering injuries for people.

Don't ever assume that you can't be hurt because the accident seems minor, or because there wasn't much damage to either car. Any sort of accident can potentially cause major injuries.

As mentioned above, always make sure you get medical attention after a car accident.

I Can't Collect Damages If I Have a Pre-Existing Condition

This one is also definitely false. People with pre-existing conditions may be more likely to receive injuries (or more likely to receive severe injuries) in a car accident. This doesn't mean they're not entitled to having their medical bills covered. The law in the U.S. requires that people are taken "as they are" — that means even with a pre-existing condition.

However, any sort of pre-existing condition might give the insurance company an opening to try to limit or reduce claims. If you have a pre-existing condition, it's important to have an injury attorney on your side.

Don't Let These Myths Impact Your Health or Cost You Money!

Don't avoid bringing a case because of any of these myths. If you've been injured in a car accident, you have certain rights and responsibilities. A qualified attorney will be able to help you navigate your personal injury case. Did you know that you can have your case evaluated online in just a few minutes? Check out today to find out if you have a case!