Former janitor Teodora Tapia wasn’t expecting to become pinned between two cars as she mopped Tesla’s assembly plant floor. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happened. The result was a $13 million settlement.
If you’ve been in a car accident, chances are you’ve heard rumors you could expect some beaucoup dollars . . . But should you?
From misleading advertisements to confusion over fault, here are five misconceptions most people have about car accident trials.
5 Misconceptions You Should Know in a Car Accident Trial
Be informed when you consider litigation by understanding what not to expect.
My Insurance Will Cover It
Whether or not your insurance will cover your accident depends on the facts involved and the policy you have. Damage caused by a falling tree, for instance, may not be covered by your policy.
Then there are the questionable efforts of insurance companies themselves. Even if you’ve never missed a payment, the goal of most insurance companies is to make as much money as possible. That means paying out as little as they can.
I’ll Receive Enough to Cover All Damages
Damages reflect the other driver’s insurance, the accident itself and its aftermath.
Although cases of individuals “winning” exorbitant damages make headlines, most people do not win that much-and those who do usually don’t see it all. The woman who suffered third-degree burns from McDonald’s coffee, for instance, was awarded $3 million but received less than $480,000 after trial court and a settlement.
Those individuals who do receive large sums of money often do so because they suffered severe injuries.
Hiring a Lawyer Means Less Money
You may also hear the myth that hiring an attorney is an expensive process.
Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis where car accidents are concerned, meaning they only receive money if they win your case for you. Contingency fees are typically around 33%.
If you hire an attorney paid through contingency fees, that lawyer is invested in the case. Generally, that means you will receive a higher settlement amount.
Fault Is Simple
The assignment of fault is far from simple. State laws agree there is no such thing as “right of way,” and police reports can mean little in court if other evidence is available.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to admit fault for a car accident. Even if you think you are partially or wholly responsible, admitting fault may mean you are unable to file a claim.
It Doesn’t Matter if the Other Driver Has Insurance
An estimated 13% of uninsured motorists drove in 2015.
Most likely, underinsured and uninsured individuals do not have enough assets to cover your damages. Pursuing litigation against individuals without assets is usually not worth the time, costs to you, and stress.
Separating myth from reality is the easiest way to help you make decisions about a car accident. Move forward with a clear understanding of what you’ll face.