Dispelling Myths about Florida Personal Injury Law
Even if you have never had to use the personal injury law in Florida, there’s a good chance that you have an opinion about this area of the law and that your opinion isn’t a positive one. After all, the media inundates us with stories about “frivolous” personal injury lawsuits. It may lead you to believe that people are getting rich by faking injuries and being scam artists.
And we’ve all heard the stereotype of the “ambulance chasing” car accident lawyer.But while fraud is a problem, it only makes up a small percentage of overall claims. And even those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt because they tend to be put out there by the insurance companies themselves or organizations closely affiliated with them.Of course, that’s not the only misconception that people tend to have about personal injuries and this branch of the law. Below, we’re going to dispel several common myths.
My insurance company will cover everything, or will they?
You got insurance because you wanted to make sure you would be taken care of if something wrong ever happened to you. But far too many people are shocked to discover their insurance doesn’t even come close to covering the cost of their medical bills – let alone money they lost out on due to missing work and other problems. Unfortunately, if they put all of their faith in their insurer, they may discover they have waited too long to file a claim in court. All too often, a client comes into my office and proudly tells me that they have “full coverage.” All that means to me is that you have the minimum amount of insurance legally required to drive. This does not mean you are fully protected.
My injuries are too minor to necessitate a lawsuit.
The truth is you never know how severe your injuries are until you get a doctor to check you out – and even then there may be something they miss that can bother you later. Plus, as mentioned above, people are often surprised by how little their insurance ends up covering. You never want to be in a situation where you end up having to pay because you underestimated the extent – or cost – of your injuries. I tell all my potential clients: if you are not in pain, you do not need a personal injury lawyer. But if you are in pain, even minor pain, you are likely entitled to compensation.
My injury isn’t worth spending years in court.
People often assume that personal injury lawsuits are long, grueling affairs, but often, this isn’t true. Many of them never even go to trial. An experienced injury attorney will do whatever it takes to get you fair and just compensation, but frequently it is possible to hammer out a favorable deal reasonably quick and with minimal interruption to your daily life. You need to contact Neufeld Law Firm for a realistic approach to Florida’s personal injury law.
My injury isn’t worth having to deal with an “ambulance chaser.”
No arguments here! If a lawyer shows up in your hospital room with promises of making you wealthy, you should stay away. If a hospital staff member or volunteer hands you a lawyer’s card, you can bet they are being paid to do so (this is highly illegal). Skilled, successful personal injury lawyers don’t do this though. We rely on our reputation for bringing in new clients, and we carefully vet people before taking on cases to ensure the claim is valid and justified. Our goal is to make sure you don’t have to suffer financially because someone causes you physical or emotional harm. And, of course, to shine a light on these kinds of issues, so they are less likely to happen to someone else.
If I get into a car accident, I automatically get $10,000.00.
This one has been perpetuated by a variety of TV and radio jingles. This is not how the law works. But, primarily, your PIP / no-fault coverage provides up to $10,000 that will pay 80% of your medical bills or 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000. This means that most of the 10K you have heard so much about really winds up going to your doctors (certainly for your benefit, but not in your pocket).Personal injury lawyers have gotten a bad rap. Like any profession, there are good personal injury lawyers and bad ones. But if you or someone you love has been injured, don’t suffer because you’re afraid/hesitant to ask for help. We’re experts in Florida personal injury law. This is why we only charge if we are successful. Plus, why should you have to pay for someone else’s mistake?One bonus myth is:
Personal injury attorneys routinely file frivolous personal injury lawsuits
In 2012, a California woman had hot McDonald’s employee coffee spilled all over her lap and decided to sue them for over $2 million.Sound frivolous? McDonald’s typically keeps their coffee between 170 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that can cause third-degree burns. Moreover, they know the coffee is dangerously hot. But they’ve done little more than putting a small warning label on the side of their coffee cups.
Once you get the details of the incident, it certainly doesn’t seem so frivolous anymore.Of course, this isn’t the first time this has happened at McDonald’s. In 1992, a woman made headlines when she sued McDonald’s after a spilled cup of their coffee caused third-degree burns and required her to get skin grafts.Both those specific details were largely kept out of news reports, and the case quickly became the poster child for frivolous lawsuits.
Many argued you shouldn’t be able to sue for being burned by a beverage that you know is going to be hot. Others believed that it was the victim’s fault because she was driving when she spilled – but she wasn’t. She was a passenger. In a parked car.People just heard the money awarded to her and saw a greedy American attempting to manipulate the legal system.
But the truth is she only went to trial when McDonald’s wouldn’t even offer her the $20,000 she originally asked for to cover her expenses. She also ultimately only received $500,000 – not the millions reported.But due to misinformation, she had to endure being criticized and lampooned by the media over what was a completely legitimate lawsuit. Fear of this kind of treatment has no doubt prevented countless people from filing personal injury lawsuits. In fact, McDonald’s had received over 700 complaints about coffee burns before that 1992 case.
Why do we dismiss personal injury lawsuits as frivolous?
A frivolous lawsuit is a case that has no real merit due to lack of evidence or a valid legal argument. Frivolous lawsuits take valuable time away from other more deserving cases, use up legal resources, and waste money.But while many media outlets make it seem like frivolous injury lawsuits are clogging up our courts, personal injury claims make up only about 5% of all civil cases in our country.
That includes all types of personal injury claims, not just the frivolous ones. Although there’s not an exact statistic, it’s safe to say that the percent of truly frivolous personal injury cases in our country is much smaller. Our courts even have rules in place designed to keep out frivolous lawsuits.The problem is that truly frivolous cases get snapped up by the media because they make for an entertaining story.
This makes it look like both plaintiffs and the entire United States legal system is corrupt. But what’s even worse is that people who do suffer serious personal injuries due to an individual’s or a business’ recklessness or negligence may not even bother filing a lawsuit because they worry it will be dismissed as frivolous. Very few people want to be the butt of media jokes.
Coming forward with personal injury cases
If you’re in any sort of accident and suspect that you may have suffered an injury, it’s important that you seek medical attention rather than just ignoring symptoms and hoping they go away. In the case of many injuries, such as a concussion, you might not immediately realize there was any damage, but ignoring the injury can lead to severe health problems later on. You really need to contact a firm that knows Florida personal injury law.