The Hidden Pitfalls: Why Handling Your Own Car Accident Claims Can Backfire

In the wake of a car accident, navigating the complex terrain of insurance claims and legal procedures can be challenging. Many individuals opt to handle their own car accident claims, believing it will save them time, money, and stress. However, what may seem like a straightforward process often conceals hidden pitfalls that can lead to disastrous outcomes.

In this article, we delve into why handling your own car accident claims can backfire. It will shed light on the risks and consequences that individuals may face.

The Complexity of Legal Procedures

One of the primary reasons why handling your car accident claims can backfire is the complexity of the legal procedures involved. The process requires a deep understanding of legal terminology and regulations, from filing paperwork to negotiating with insurance companies.

Without proper legal expertise, individuals may struggle to navigate this intricate system, leading to mistakes that could jeopardize their claims.

For instance, Missouri is a fault state, where crash victims can pursue a case against a motor vehicle that caused the crash. According to Forbes, it also follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This means the victim can file a suit for the collision even if they are partially responsible.

Knowing all this information might not be possible without the right legal expertise and knowledge. So, getting an attorney is the best option.

Insurance Companies and Their Tactics

Car insurance is mandatory in most US cities and states. In St. Louis, Missouri, for example, it is mandatory for all vehicles on the road. Missouri state law requires insurance of $25,000 per person per bodily injury. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, those who don’t comply with this rule make insurance costly for those who do by an estimated $78.

MarketWatch reveals that the average cost of minimum-coverage car insurance in St. Louis is $71 per month or around $855 per year. This insurance is required to ensure that any car owner doesn’t have to pay a fortune for settling any accident caused by them. So, when a collision occurs, the insurance company has to pay the settlement amount.

However, insurance companies are adept at minimizing payouts and protecting their bottom line. When individuals handle their car accident claims, they may unknowingly fall victim to the tactics employed by insurance adjusters. These tactics often involve delaying settlements, downplaying injuries, and shifting blame onto the claimant.

According to TorHoerman Law, individuals may be disadvantaged in negotiations without legal representation to counter these strategies. An attorney has the expertise and skills to negotiate the best compensation possible. Since they have been fighting such cases for several years, they know what amount is appropriate and when it is not.

So, in the above case, it will be best to hire a car accident lawyer In St. Louis to negotiate on your behalf. If you do it on your own, there is a possibility that you end up saying yes to the first offer you get. The amount may sound tempting, but it can be lower than the standard. And you might say yes because you might not know how much damage has occurred and how much you should claim.

Legal Deadlines and Statute of Limitations

Another critical aspect of car accident claims is adhering to legal deadlines and statute limitations. Failure to file a claim within the specified time frame can result in the forfeiture of rights to compensation.

Individuals who choose to handle their claims may struggle to meet these deadlines, especially if they are unaware of the applicable laws and regulations. This oversight can have dire consequences, leaving them with no recourse for seeking compensation.

Complexity of Evidence Gathering

Gathering evidence is essential for building a strong car accident claim. This includes obtaining police reports, medical records, witness statements, and other documentation to support the claimant’s case. However, collecting and organizing evidence can be complex and time-consuming.

Without the resources and expertise of a legal professional, individuals may overlook crucial evidence or fail to present it effectively. This can weaken their claim in the eyes of insurance companies and courts.

For example, almost 80% of pedestrian accidents and deaths occur in the black and minority areas of St. Louis. According to First Alert, around 55% of fatal car crashes occur here. If there is a jury trial, this information can help swing in the favor of a black and minority victim. It can also help increase the claim amount.

However, someone who has not practiced law for a long time may not collect such information and other evidence. On the other hand, an experienced attorney can collect all such pieces of evidence and data to strengthen your case.

Emotional Stress and Mental Strain

Handling a car accident claim can be emotionally draining, especially for individuals who are dealing with injuries, trauma, or financial hardship. PTSD is a very common psychiatric condition that affects one after a traumatic event. As stated by Safer America, about 6% of the population suffers from PTSD at some point.

On top of that, the stress of navigating legal procedures, negotiating with insurance companies, and advocating for oneself can affect mental well-being. Without the support and guidance of a knowledgeable attorney, individuals may find themselves overwhelmed by the process, leading to frustration and anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Claim Insurance if I Damage My Own Car?

Generally, you can’t claim insurance for damage caused by your own actions unless you have specific coverage like comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance typically covers accidents involving another vehicle, while comprehensive insurance covers damage from non-collision incidents like theft or natural disasters. Always review your policy to understand what is and isn’t covered.

What Is the Reason Behind Car Accidents?

Car accidents can occur due to various reasons, including distracted driving, speeding, reckless behavior, adverse weather conditions, mechanical failures, and road hazards. Understanding the factors contributing to accidents can help in prevention and mitigation strategies, emphasizing the importance of safe driving practices.

Can Car Insurance Be Claimed Without Accident?

Yes, certain types of car insurance can be claimed without an accident. For instance, comprehensive coverage typically includes non-collision incidents like theft, vandalism, fire, or damage caused by animals. However, insurance claims for these incidents are subject to policy terms, deductibles, and coverage limits. It’s essential to review your policy to understand what situations are covered.

To conclude, It may seem tempting to handle your car accident claims to save time and money. However, the hidden pitfalls of this approach can have serious consequences. 

From navigating complex legal procedures to negotiating with insurance companies, individuals who choose to represent themselves may find themselves at a significant disadvantage. By seeking the guidance of a skilled attorney, claimants can protect their rights, maximize their compensation, and avoid the pitfalls.