Common Misconceptions About Auto Accidents
After an Arizona auto accident, it’s normal to feel confused or lost. Navigating the aftermath of a crash is an inherently challenging affair, and can be stressful for many even with the assistance of a legal professional. In these trying times, it’s important to familiarize yourself with as many aspects of the claims process as possible—however, rather than the matters you know nothing about, the most dangerous bits of information are oftentimes the misconceptions that motorists may carry about their crash which can lead to hazardous misunderstandings and completely jeopardize one’s compensation.
How Fault and Compensation Work
Arizona adheres to a system of pure comparative fault, which means that, contrary to popular belief, liability in an accident isn’t nearly as simple as “this or that person is to blame.” Instead, involved parties are assigned a percentage of comparative fault for damages and the accident overall, which can grow very complex, very quickly.
For example, let’s say you were hit almost exclusively by the negligence of another driver, making them 90% at-fault for the crash—you’d be able to recover 90% of your overall damages since you’d be 10% to blame yourself. Simple, right? However, let’s also say that you weren’t wearing your seat belt, and as such, your injuries were severe. Although not wearing a seat belt didn’t influence the crash overall, it did severely impact your injuries, and thus you’d be liable for the difference between how you would have been hurt if you’d worn a seat belt and how you were actually injured; this means you couldn’t get full compensation for your medical bills.
However, even if you’re not at fault for your damages, you might not get full compensation. Insurance policies have limits, and might not cover all of your categories of damages, especially if the at-fault driver only carried Arizona’s auto insurance minimums. Furthermore, settlements with insurance companies are inherently up for debate and tend to involve extensive negotiations. They might offer you less than you actually need, based on reasonable doubt or lack of evidence.
How Insurance Companies Can Cheat You
Insurance adjusters usually conduct themselves in a friendly, patient fashion, leading many to believe that they can trust their adjuster—however, you also need to remember that they’re employees at for-profit insurance companies. Even if your adjuster is a polite, kindly individual, their ultimate goal is still to minimize the amount you’re able to receive using whatever dishonest insurance adjuster methods they can. To combat this, you should avoid giving formal statements to your adjuster, and don’t accept the first settlement offer they give you (these initial “fast cash” offers are usually undervalued and prey on motorists who don’t know better).
The Value of Arizona Auto Accident Attorneys
Despite the tone many attorneys take, you don’t always need to hire a legal professional to represent you; in some cases, such as when your damages are extremely minor and straight forward (less than ~$1,000 with no injuries), there might be so little room for debate that neither an attorney or insurance adjuster can do much to your compensation.
However, the value of an Arizona auto accident attorney can’t be understated; you should always schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at (623) 877-3600, even if only to get your questions answered. Getting help from ELG is objectively proven to increase average settlement payouts significantly, even if you come to the conclusion that employing a lawyer isn’t in your best interest.