Many people who incur severe injuries due to the negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional conduct of others, do not file claims or lawsuits due to several myths and misconceptions that surround the personal injury law. Many legitimate personal injury cases fade away, and the victims do not get their due rights just because of their vague concepts and knowledge about personal injury law.
Life is unpredictable, and you do not know where you find yourself in the very next moment. Auto accidents, slip-and-fall cases, and other premises negligence cases are the most common ways you can get hurt at any time during your lifetime. All these accidents fall under the personal injury law and in genuine claims, victims do receive compensation for their injuries.
Here are common myths and misconceptions that surround the personal injury law and prevent victims from filing claims and lawsuits.
Hiring Personal Injury Attorneys or Firms is Expensive
The biggest reason why many people are reluctant to file a personal injury lawsuit is that they think hiring experienced personal injury lawyers or law firms an expensive endeavor. People believe that an attorney might cost them a lot of money, but there are attorneys and firm that offer contingency fee, which means you only pay when you receive compensation. Most injury law firms demand no upfront fee and charge a percentage of the compensation the victim receives.
In Florida, the standard, Florida Bar approved contingency-fee contract is: 33.3% before the filing of an answer to a lawsuit (i.e. usually before the filing of a law suit itself) and 40% of any recovery up to $1,000,000.00 if the lawsuit is settled or won.
But if the personal injury lawyer does not make a recovery, the client does not pay legal fees.
The At-Fault Individuals Have to Pay Out of their Pocket
Many victims think of their situation from the perspective of the person responsible. The one who was responsible doesn’t always have the means to pay for the lost wages or the medical expenses of the victim, and due to this, the people stop themselves from filing personal injury claims. It is not true as the compensation a victim receives is not from the pocket of the at-fault individual. The insurance companies are the ones that pay the amount of compensation.
It is rare that a personal injury lawyer will be willing to file a lawsuit or even bring a claim against an uninsured individual (unless that individual has significant assets).
Insurance Will Cover the Injured Party’s Costs
If insurance companies paid what they were supposed to pay, even a majority of the time, personal injury lawyers would not be needed. Unfortunately, insurance companies are for-profit and sometimes part of publicly-traded companies.
This means that insurance company adjusters are incentivized to minimize what they pay on insurance claims.
All Personal Injury Claims Proceed to Court
Many people are reluctant to go to court. Understandably so. The litigation process is lengthy and invasive – your life becomes an open book.
Therefore, a common reason why many victims avoid making or filing any personal injury claims is that they think it will lead them to court. But, in fact, a majority of the personal injury claims settle before going to court.
However, make no mistake, a minority of cases (especially those involving serious injuries and large insurance policies) do not settle and trial / litigation is needed if you desire fair compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But, again, this is not needed for all personal injury cases.
Not all personal injury claims proceed to court, and your attorney will present to you multiple settlement opportunities if court is something you seriously wish to avoid.
The Cases of Tort Law are Lengthy
This one is not a myth. It’s usually the reality. While our personal injury law firm has settled cases in 24 hours, the vast majority of pre-litigation cases take 4-6 months to resolve. This is because we typically can’t aim to settle your case before having a clear understanding of how the injury resolves itself (or whether it results in a permanent injury).
Personal injury litigation matters can take 1 to 2 years – or even longer depending on the complexity.
The Personal Injury Attorneys are Unethical
People think that the personal injury attorneys are greedy and all they care about is money, which is not true. Most injury lawyers are passionate about their work. Therefore, they prioritize the interests of their clients. We offer the contingency fee structure, which means you pay a percentage of the compensation you receive. If you do not receive compensation, there is no fee! On the other hand, the more we get for you, the more we earn ourselves – so our interests are aligned.
Make no mistake, there are unethical personal injury lawyers out there. These attorneys will encourage their clients to get unnecessary injections or surgeries to boost the value of these cases. Our firm will never encourage you to get any procedure you do not need. In fact, we keep ourselves out of the medical decision-making process. The decision to get aggressive treatment is between you, your family and your doctor.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Filers are Greedy
Many victims believe that if they file a lawsuit, it will make them look greedy and money-grubbers. It might seem that the primary purpose of a personal injury claim is to get monetary compensation, but it is much more than just money. If you look at the bigger picture, a personal injury lawsuit ensures that the responsible entity is held accountable for their negligence or recklessness.
All in all, the personal injury claims are a way to help the victims make up for medical expenses they had to incur, the wages they lost (or will lose in the future), and the pain and suffering caused by the resulting long-term injuries. By filing a claim, you are not just demanding for money, but you are contributing to making a safer environment for all.
Other Common Personal Injury Law Misconceptions
Minor Injuries Don’t Require a Lawyer
Victims who incur what they perceive to be minor injuries such as whiplash think that it is not worth to file a personal injury claim, and it will just waste their time. It is important to understand that the minor injuries have the potential to turn into something big, making you pay a lot more than you think. An attorney will help you understand all the possible ways your minor injury can turn into a big problem – or not… you just don’t know. That’s why our philosophy is: if you want medical treatment then you should also want a personal injury lawyer. Small injuries result in small compensation. But that’s OK. Because if it turns out that the injury is more serious that you originally thought, you will not have forgone the possibility of getting fair compensation.
As an aside, whiplash can be extremely debilitating and long-lasting. When someone tells you that they (or you) have whiplash, take it seriously.
There is No Time Limit to File Lawsuit
All personal injury claims come with statute of limitation. A personal injury statute of limitation is the time frame within which a claim has to be made. After the statute of limitation is over, any claims made will be denied and not considered. Therefore, ask your attorney about any time limitations of your case so that you can proceed accordingly.
For most personal injury actions based on ordinary negligence (i.e. car accidents, slip and falls, trip and falls) the statute of limitations is four years from the date of injury. In medical negligence matters, you only have two years from the date you knew, or should have known, that the doctor committed malpractice.