When it comes to injuries sustained in a car accident, many people find themselves confused about how to proceed. After all, with so many misconceptions out there, it would be no surprise if you find yourself wondering where to go next. Here's a look at what you should know about five common misconceptions related to auto accident injury lawsuits.
You Don't Need to Pay a Retainer to File
One common reason that many people don't pursue an injury case after an auto accident is because they're concerned about affording the retainer. The truth is, you shouldn't have to pay one in most cases. Many auto accident attorneys will take the case without requiring any retainer up front.
The case is usually filed on a contingency, so the attorney's only chance to get paid is by winning your case. It's also important to note that most accident attorneys will even offer you a free consultation to see if your case has merit. Don't settle for someone who wants up-front payment without looking for an attorney who will take the case on contingency first.
You Can Settle Outside of Court
You may have been told that you can't get a settlement for your case without going to court. Luckily, if you work with an attorney who is skilled with negotiation and settlements, you can avoid the courtroom entirely. Many insurance companies will negotiate and settle the case for a fair amount to avoid having to go to court, particularly because avoiding court can save money on legal fees.
It's important to remember, though, that negotiations aren't always done in single sessions. You may have to meet with the insurance company and their attorneys a few times before you come to an agreement on an amount. Many insurance companies start with a low offer to see if you'll accept it, and then they are more willing to discuss alternatives if your lawyer counters the offer.
You Don't Have to Follow the Attorney's Orders
It's important that you understand that retaining an attorney doesn't mean that you give up your say in things. Your attorney may suggest that you refuse an offer and counter in an effort to get more money, but if you believe that the amount offered is fair and you're willing to settle, you have the right to do just that. The attorney is there for legal guidance, but that doesn't mean that he or she has the final say.
Once You Settle, You Can't Get More Money
Some people think that they can take a settlement now and then go back and ask for more money later. In some cases, this mistake leads to a premature settlement in the interest of getting money now to pay for urgent expenses. Don't make this mistake. Remember that once you settle and you sign the contract, you cannot go back and ask for more money later. Even if you find yourself facing additional medical costs due to complications long after the accident, you won't be able to seek more support.
You May Still Qualify Even if You Were Partially to Blame
Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't eligible for any support because you were partially at fault for the accident. Even if you were partially to blame, you may still be able to seek restitution. In situations like this, the insurance company considers something called comparative negligence. If you were determined to be 25 percent to blame for the accident, the insurance company will reduce the settlement amount you receive by that 25 percent. Your auto accident lawyer can help ensure that you still receive a fair amount, even if you did contribute to the accident.