What are the myths, errors, and general guidance for your personal injury claim?
In the legal business, we often confront a variety of misconceptions about personal injury claims. We’ve compiled a list of seven myths about personal injury cases we frequently hear. Hopefully, it will shed some light on the process if you’re considering filing.
- I don’t need a lawyer to settle my case. This statement is technically true. However, it’s important to understand everything you are entitled to. If you accept an insurance settlement and call it good, you might be leaving money on the table. Worse, if you settle before the full extent of your injuries is known, you won’t be able to get payment for your ongoing medical needs. In this instance, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- You need to pay an attorney lot of money up front. Most lawyers take cases on a contingency basis. In these instances, the attorney is then reimbursed as a percentage of the monies he or she has recovered for you. You pay little (or nothing) up front to kick off your case.
- If you go to court, you’ll get more money. Most personal injury claims are settled outside of court. Because you aren’t obligated to take the first offer they make, you can go through negotiations for a fair bit of time until arriving at a mutually agreeable conclusion.
- Your lawyer decides which offer to accept. You are always in control of your decisions. A lawyer should give you their opinion, letting you know if they think you’re qualified for more than what is on the table. However, they should never, ever, decide for you. And it never hurts to seek outside counsel and obtain a second opinion if you and your lawyer are in disagreement over what to do next.
- If I settle now, I’m still entitled to more money in the future if my medical bills go up. Also false. Once your claim is settled, that’s it. There are no do-overs, and no extra money for lingering pain, suffering or injury. On rare occasions you can get some medical bills covered, but the circumstances for this are rare, and quite convoluted.
- I have to file my lawsuit immediately. Mostly false. The timeframe for filing varies from state to state, so you should check out the particulars for where you live. However, the most common timeframe is generally between one and three years.
- I caused the accident, so I’m not entitled to anything. Mostly false. Depending on the laws of your state, and in cases where fault is mutual, you can still recover all, or a percentage, of what you’re entitled to. Because the laws can vary, you should ask a legal professional for the particulars of where you live.