Dispelling Common Myths About Personal Injury Lawsuits
A helpful look at the common elements of personal injury lawsuits and the pitfalls that ought to be avoided at each stage.
Recovering from injuries associated with car accidents, slips, falls, or worksite mishaps can be as emotionally straining as it is physically straining. Those who’ve been injured might consider filing a lawsuit to recover the damages they deserve, especially when mounting medical bills and lost income leave newly-injured patients teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Personal injury lawsuits are a great option for those who are injured and in need of compensation. Unfortunately, any person(s) involved in a physically-debilitating accident will have to maneuver the maze of common myths surrounding personal injury lawsuits.
For guidance in your personal injury pursuits and for more information on auto accidents, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, slip & fall, and wrongful death, you should check available resources on the subject. Once you are informed, use the following list to dispel any potentially distorting myths surrounding personal injury lawsuits.
Hiring an attorney is expensive
Oftentimes, lawyers will collect their fees once you win your case. In some instances, your lawyer can actually request compensation for legal fees as part of the settlement. If the defendant isn’t required to pay your legal fees, these fees can be taken out of your total award.
With these payment strategies, you won’t have to pay out of pocket, and you won’t need to pay a retainer fee. As a warning, you’ll want your lawyer to determine how strong your case is before recruiting their services. Otherwise, you’ll be drowning in legal fees with no compensation for your sustained injuries.
Oftentimes, lawyers will collect their fees once you win your case.
Personal injury lawsuits are easy money
Successful personal injury law firms sometimes advertise their services as an untapped gold mine. Despite any flashy confidence on their websites, your personal injury lawyer must still overcome the burden of proof for your case. You may feel as though the case is “open and shut”, but that doesn’t mean that the court or a jury will agree.
The good news is that reputable attorneys will always be honest with you about the prospects of your case, so you should go into your case with a realistic idea of what’s possible. In fact, many personal injury attorneys won’t take your case unless they’re confident they can win, so having an attorney accept your case is a good sign that it is winnable.
Personal injury claims settle within months
Some cases can be settled quickly simply because the defendant is anxious to close the case and is willing to sacrifice compensation in the name of convenience. On the other hand, many cases devolve into a tug of war for compensation or further evidence, which can drag on for months.
Regardless of the situation, don’t expect that you’ll make a lot of money in the blink of an eye. You can ask your lawyer if they have any idea how long it’ll take to close the case, but oftentimes, they won’t be able to give you any specifics. Your lawyer is only working with the information they’re given by the defendant. Some people will be willing to go to court, and some defense attorneys will move slowly on purpose.
There is no rush to file your claim
Personal injury claims are subject to the statute of limitations for the state. When your lawyer takes the case, they’ll need to know when the injury occurred. In most states, the statute of limitations is 2-3 years.
However, there are many cases where an injury-sufferer won’t realise the extent of their injuries until years after the incident. In search of compensation, some injury-sufferers may have even been instructed to not file a claim, or faced retaliation that stalled the progress of their case.
The at-fault driver pays for everything in car accidents
In some circumstances, the at-fault driver may cover all medical expenses and necessary repairs as part of a settlement or insurance claim. However, personal injury cases are handled differently from state to state. For example, some states use a doctrine known as “contributory negligence,” where the percentage of your fault determines the percentage of your award.
For example, if you were to receive $100,000 in a settlement, you’ll only receive $70,000 if you were found to be 30% responsible for the accident. Other states use comparative negligence where both drivers are judged for how much they contributed to the accident. Unfortunately, these figures tend to be less exact.
Most states do not force injured parties to prove that they didn’t cause their own accidents. The injured party is only required to show that someone else’s negligence caused the accident, and that is, oftentimes, enough to recover damages.
You’re guaranteed to win if the other party was negligent
Unfortunately, you’re not guaranteed a win if the other party involved is proven to be negligent. Their lawyer could claim that other mitigating factors should be considered. Those mitigating factors might reduce the award or nullify it completely. A good lawyer won’t guarantee anything, and they’ll be honest with you about the progress of your case.
The insurance company has your best interests at heart
Insurance companies prioritize making money over the well-being of their customers. Your insurance provider will often do anything they can to avoid paying for your injuries.
To dodge payment, insurance companies may record your calls, or the adjuster might try to trap you by asking confusing questions. Insurance companies will even send lawyers to fight any settlement you might receive. Always speak to a lawyer before disclosing any information to your insurance provider.
When you’re involved in a personal injury case, you should make sure that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will research the case, give you all the advice you need, and help guide you through the process. Before recruiting the services of a lawyer, you’ll need to understand how the attorney will be paid and how your insurance works. Most importantly, you’ll need to accept that your innocence does not automatically guarantee compensation.