People tend to associate attorneys with negative emotions, but that’s a bit of a misconception. Most of the time, attorneys assist people through difficult times, and that often results in financial compensation.
But there are common myths attached to that process, especially in the case of personal injury law. If you or someone you know is undergoing a personal injury suit, some common falsehoods might merit correction.
- The attorney will be too expensive
If you’re working with a good attorney, you won’t have to pay a dime for your personal injury case until you’ve won. These lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, which means they take their payment from your victory earnings.
If you don’t win your case, they won’t get paid. That’s a huge incentive for them to do a good job!
- Only greedy people file a personal injury suit
This is one of the most damaging misconceptions. Personal injury lawsuits are undertaken to provide the compensation victims need to survive after an expensive or life-altering accident.
“Suffering an injury through no fault of your own can throw your life into chaos,” says a Chicago law firm article. “In addition to dealing with the pain caused by your injury, you may find yourself facing mounting medical bills and expenses while, at the same time, being unable to work. It can put you and your family members under a tremendous amount of stress.”
That is the purpose of personal injury lawsuits. They provide monetary compensation to get you through the hard times, especially if you’re out of work or your life has been significantly altered by a serious injury.
- You can file your personal injury case on your own or wait to hire an attorney
Many injured persons try to file their own personal injury lawsuit, and expect to hire an attorney only as a last resort. Lawyers are not required to handle personal injury cases, so some people skip hiring one in the hope of saving the contingency fee.
It’s true that you won’t have to pay a contingency fee if you fight the lawsuit yourself, but you’re more likely to receive a smaller settlement if you’re able to win any money at all. An attorney will be familiar and experienced with this type of case, so he or she can help you win.
Expert legal guidance is typically worth the fee, so waiting until the last minute to hire an attorney will make it more difficult to win your case.
- Your attorney should be able to tell you how much money you’ll receive
If an attorney tries to guarantee you compensation, particularly a set dollar amount, you should run the other way. No one can predict how much you’ll get, if you receive anything at all.
Every case is unique. It will feature its own circumstances, and no lawyer will win every battle. It’s better to go with an attorney who says he or she will push hard for a certain dollar amount but remains honest about the potential outcome.
- You have plenty of time to decide whether you want to sue
All states have a law called a statute of limitations. This means that there’s a limited window of time in which you can make a claim against another party.
Usually, it’s between two and four years, but check your state’s law. Once the time has expired, you have no legal grounds to file a case. So don’t procrastinate about calling an attorney and moving the case forward.
- My insurance or the at-fault person will pay all of my medical expenses
Insurance companies can be notoriously difficult to work with when it comes to claims. Sometimes they’ll pay everything and more. At other times, they’ll refuse payment on a technicality or provide less than is necessary to cover all the medical bills and repairs. The at-fault party is usually not required to pay anything upfront unless he or she was driving uninsured, which is illegal. That’s why so many people file personal injury suits after a crash. They are unable to pay their bills, and they need compensation to make ends meet.
- I don’t need to call an attorney about minor injuries
“People tend to downplay their injuries,” according to an article from Crosley Law, a Texas law firm. “At the same time, the costs for ‘minor’ injuries can add up fast…. Minor sprains and strains often become more painful over time instead of less.
“[They] require shots, medication, and physical therapy to treat their injuries,” the article continues. “They end up needing surgery. They see several doctors and get multiple tests done over the course of their medical journey, and they try to get answers about why they are experiencing pain, limited range of motion, and other symptoms. They miss work, miss out on their hobbies, and may even struggle with psychological or emotional issues such as PTSD after being injured.”
Thus, the cost and effect of minor injuries can be as daunting as those for major injuries. Suitable compensation can alleviate some of that pain and suffering.
Author: Oliver Curtis
Hi there. I’m Oliver. I’m just a young boy from the outskirts of… Okay, that’s a lie, I’m not a young boy anymore, although I certainly feel that way at heart.