Personal Injury Cases: 6 Common Myths, Debunked
Reviewed by Carina Jenkins, J.D.
Personal injury attorneys are greedy ambulance chasers who only care about the money. Insurance companies have your best interests at heart. Personal injury cases will cause rifts between friends.
Have you fallen for some of these personal injury myths? Personal injury law often gets a bad rap, but working with a personal injury lawyer to file a claim could be your best option.
Personal injury law covers accidents and injuries caused by someone's negligence. It can include everything from dog bites to car accidents. Many myths surround these cases, and lots of people believe them. Debunking these myths can help you have a better understanding of the situation so you know how to proceed.
Some people believe personal injury cases are only for major injuries. But sometimes, minor injuries turn out to be more than you realize. That whiplash you got in a car accident that someone else caused could lead to ongoing pain and suffering. The severity of an injury isn't always evident right away. Even if your injuries are comparatively minor, you still deserve fair compensation for them, which sometimes doesn't happen unless you file a claim.
If you accept an offer from an insurance company, you'll likely get the check quickly. People are often tempted by that quick cash and fear that filing a case with a personal injury attorney will take too long. Sure, the negotiations will extend the timeline. However, most cases don't drag on for years and years. The case could be settled in a few months. Some cases take a year or more. Every case is different. If you get a much larger settlement, the wait will be worth it.
Injured parties avoid hiring a personal injury attorney for a variety of reasons. Some people don't think the insurance company will offer more money, so it's not worth hiring an attorney. Others might think a personal injury lawyer will use sneaky tactics. You might think you'll get less money by the time you pay an expensive lawyer.
Your attorney will keep a portion of your settlement as their payment. But you're more likely to get a higher payout, so you could still come out ahead. Plus, you have a legal expert on your side who knows how to go up against insurance companies. A lawyer can protect your rights and help ensure you're treated fairly, so hiring one is often worth the legal fees.
Insurance adjusters often try to build a rapport with you initially so you trust them. You might feel like they're looking out for you. However, the only thing they're protecting is the company's financial interests. They typically offer a low amount first in the hopes that you'll accept it and move on. If you accept an offer, you sign an agreement that you won't come after them for more money later.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can make it easier to fight the insurance company and get a fair amount based on your injuries. Experienced attorneys have a variety of negotiation strategies they can use, and they understand how to work with the insurance companies to get you more.
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Some people don't realize there's a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. They think they can decide at any time in the future to file a claim. Unfortunately, waiting too long could get your claim dismissed. Each state sets its personal injury statute of limitations. Many states allow a two-year window, but these windows vary. Louisiana's limit is only one year, for instance.
Personal injury attorneys are often thought of as ruthless and greedy. You might feel like you're being greedy or filing a frivolous case if you file a claim for a personal injury. Many high-profile cases, like that of Stella Liebeck, the woman scalded by McDonald's coffee, are often mocked.
However, many people who file personal injury cases suffer severe injuries. Lieback, for instance, suffered third-degree burns and underwent multiple skin grafts. Regardless of the severity, many of these cases receive offers from insurance companies that don't even cover the cost of medical treatments. Receiving compensation to recover from your injury isn't greedy or frivolous. Filing a claim is often necessary to get what you deserve.
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