For anyone who’s been injured, the thought of filing a personal injury claim can seem like a nightmare since there is so much information floating around the internet that it’s hard to make that decision. Yes, personal injury lawsuits are complicated, but you can also receive the settlement you deserve and maximize your benefits if you sort out the myths from the realities.
Here, we’ll cut through the confusion by looking at some common misconceptions about personal injury claims.
Myth 1. You can file a personal injury claim at any time.
So many personal injury victims lose their right to get compensation for their claims because of this misconception. Contrary to what this myth suggests, you have limited time to file your claim against whoever is responsible for the accident, and that limited time is called the statute of limitation. This is the time you have to file the case. This time limit is statutory and differs with different cases — it also varies with the state. But generally, this statute of limitation is three years.
If you exceed this time limit, depending on your case, your claim will be dismissed, and you can no longer sue for damages.
Myth 2. The first settlement offer is the best offer the insurance will give.
Another typical myth about personal injury lawsuits is that insurance companies provide reasonable settlement offers. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, most of the time, insurance companies will lowball the injured person with a low-valued settlement offer so they avoid paying out more money than they should.
You need to remember one thing; insurance companies are trained to be compassionate at first, right after the accident. They’ll often sweet-talk you and “act” helpful so you don’t pursue a lawsuit resulting in a higher settlement. The job of the insurance is to close out as many claims as low as possible, which translates to offering an initial settlement offer that is much lower than the actual value of your personal injury claim.
Myth 3. The person at fault will have to pay you.
One of the most prevalent myths about personal injury claims is that the person responsible for causing an accident will always be required to pay out of pocket. However, this myth is completely false. When you get into an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault party is the one to pay a settlement. The insurance will usually cover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses resulting from the incident.
You should also remember that you only get a settlement if the case settles in your favor. Otherwise, your expenses are on you.
Myth 4. Compensation is guaranteed for all personal injury victims.
When you suffer a personal injury, it only makes sense to get fair compensation. While that may seem like the only possible outcome for a personal injury lawsuit, it’s not always the case. Why? The chances of getting compensated in a personal injury case are determined by the nature of your case and the facts surrounding it. The court needs to establish who is at fault and charge both parties accordingly. This is demonstrated in the modified comparative fault doctrine, where both parties will take responsibility for as much damage as the court decides. Take, for instance, if a plaintiff is found to be 40% at fault for an accident, the defendant will be asked to pay 60% compensation. However, in this specific case, the plaintiff will be barred from claiming compensation if he/she is found to be over 50% at fault. Hopefully, this illustration is clear enough.
Myth 5. Personal Injury claims are easy money.
It’s hard to understand why people would think in this direction. Compensations for personal injuries are intended to relieve the plaintiff of the pains and suffering suffered from an accident.
Personal injury damages are paid to compensate for:
1. Medical costs
2. Wages lost as a result of the injury
3. Loss of deceased company, and
4. Compensation for physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering.
Personal injury compensation is money that you get when you are hurt as a result of an accident, and it is imperative that you don’t think of it as easy money because it is meant to help reimburse you for your losses. Also, note that compensation can be lower than your medical expenses considering the outcome of the case. So, you see how talks about personal injury claims being easy money are false.
Myth 6. Personal injury lawsuits always go to trial.
This is also not true because many personal injury cases are settled before going to court through settlement negotiations. Trials are lengthy and expensive, and they are also unpredictable, which can result in an outcome that neither party is satisfied with. Although there are certainly some personal injury cases that do go to trial, the majority get settled out of the courtroom. For example, if both sides cannot agree on a settlement that reflects the actual value of the case, then a trial could be a better alternative.
Myth 7. Only physical injuries are compensable in personal injury cases.
Personal injury cases can also include compensation for emotional distress, mental anguish, and other non-physical damages that may result from an accident. A perfect example is a wrongful death claim. This means that if you have suffered emotional or psychological harm due to someone else’s negligence that resulted in the death of a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for those damages.
Myth 8. Personal injury lawyers are too expensive.
Contrary to popular belief, many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement, which means you don’t have to pay them anything upfront. Their fee is only taken from your settlement or award amount, which is typically between 33% and 40% of the compensation you’ll receive. This fee arrangement motivates attorneys to get the best possible outcome for their case and maximize compensation.
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