Navigating the legal landscape after a car accident can be a complex and intimidating journey. Many individuals are hindered by prevailing myths surrounding the process of hiring a car accident attorney. These misconceptions can lead to hesitation, poor choices, and even a lack of legal representation altogether.
Don’t Fall for These Pervasive Myths
Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts in-depth research to calculate car accident statistics and fatality facts to get a clear picture of what’s happening on American roads and highways.
Their latest findings explain that, “A total of 42,939 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021. These deaths occurred in 39,508 crashes involving 61,332 motor vehicles. This was a 10 percent increase in deaths compared with 2020.”
In total, there were more than 5.4 million motor vehicle incidents in 2021, producing estimated injury costs of $498.3 billion. In other words, it’s a big deal – impacting every corner of society.
As you might guess, anytime you have billion-dollar car insurance companies, health insurance companies, and legal professionals involved, things get a little sticky. The road to legal resolution after an accident is anything but straightforward, and separating fact from fiction is paramount to securing the protection and advocacy you deserve.
While there are plenty of myths out there about car accident attorneys, what they do, and how they operate, it’s necessary to understand the facts. The best way to do this is by exploring some of the common myths and explaining the truth behind them.
Myth 1: Car Accident Attorneys Are Too Expensive
One of the most common myths is that car accident attorneys are just too dang expensive. People complain that they charge exuberant rates and tack on tons of fees, making it nearly impossible to squeeze any value out of the claim to pay for medical bills, car repairs, etc.
However, this simply isn’t true.
While there might be a few bad apples out there, don’t confuse the lawyers on the lower rungs of the industry with the industry as a whole. The majority of car accident attorneys charge based on a contingency fee. This means their fees are calculated as a percentage of the overall compensation that you receive. In other words, they get paid based on how much you get paid. This means they have an incentive to help you maximize your payout.
It should also be noted that a contingency fee basis means you don’t pay anything up front. And if you don’t get a payout, you don’t owe a dime. This is incredibly powerful, especially when you’re already dealing with medical bills and other expenses.
Finally, you should think about this from a big-picture ROI perspective. Yes, you’ll owe your attorney their fair share after the settlement or payout occurs. However, research shows that auto accident victims with legal representation receive settlements worth 3.5x more than those without. In other words, you’re probably going to net more than you would have without an attorney, thereby offsetting the fees you pay your attorney (and then some).
Myth 2: You Only Need a Car Accident Attorney for a Major Accident
The second big myth is that you only need a car accident attorney after a major accident. But again…not true. This myth stems from a very limited understanding of the legal complexities involved in these cases.
In reality, the need for legal representation isn’t based solely on the scale of the incident. Instead, it’s tied to all of the unseen legal complexities that could create disputes with insurance companies. An attorney is tasked with gathering all of the evidence, assessing the damage, and then advocating on your behalf using their specialized set of skills.
Myth 3: Car Accident Attorneys Only Care About Their Wallets
Perhaps one of the most damaging myths surrounding the hiring of car accident attorneys is the belief that they are opportunistic individuals solely interested in capitalizing on others’ misfortunes for financial gain. This perception casts a shadow of mistrust on an essential profession and undermines the genuine commitment many attorneys have to helping accident victims navigate the legal aftermath.
While it’s natural to be somewhat skeptical and wary, you can rest assured that experienced car accident attorneys care way more about their reputation than shaving a little extra off the top on one singular case.
Attorneys are bound by a code of ethics that places the clients’ interests at the forefront. They have a legal and moral obligation to provide competent and zealous representation while avoiding conflicts of interest. This means that their duty is to advocate for you and protect your rights, not to exploit your situation for personal gain.
Finding the Truth
At the end of the day, speaking with a car accident attorney after a collision is one of the smartest things you can do. While you don’t always need an attorney, having these conversations early on in the process will give you the information you need to make a wise decision on how to proceed.