After being involved in a traumatic car crash, a painful slip and fall accident, or harmful medical malpractice, often the last thing you want to do is to go through the process of hiring a lawyer to pursue a personal injury claim.
However, a successful personal injury claim is necessary to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law. The compensation you can receive from a personal injury case can pay for medical bills and other costs related to your recovery, empowering you to get your life back on track.
Many people are reluctant to file claims because of the public stigma that exists around personal injury claims and lawyers. Below, I’ve listed and debunked five of the most common myths about personal injury law.
Myth #1: Personal Injury Lawyers Are Ambulance Chasers.
Television and movies often portray personal injury lawyers as “ambulance chasers” who shamelessly run after ambulances to try and take advantage of people who have been injured. These no-good attorneys seem more interested in making money than helping their injured clients.
This vilified caricature of lawyers is not only untruthful, but undermines our justice system that protects those in need. Florida has strict regulations that make it illegal to contact prospective clients—and it certainly wouldn’t allow for lawyers to run after ambulances.
A good lawyer relies on their reputation of past successes to attract parties in need. Many decent and reputable lawyers have chosen personal injury law because they care about helping the injured obtain justice and fair reparation for their losses—not because they are interested in a big payout.
Myth #2: Personal Injury Cases Are Long, Grueling Processes.
The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled before they even get to Florida court. If the parties decide to settle the matter outside of court, they can achieve a quicker resolution. While it’s true that sometimes these settlements take years to reach, oftentimes they take weeks or days.
Myth #3: I Don’t Need a Lawyer Because My Injuries Were Minor.
Many people won’t file a personal injury claim because they feel their injuries are minor and unworthy of a lawsuit. But these are precisely the types of injuries that often require additional attention, since insurance companies may try to dismiss minor injuries as only meriting a minor settlement.
Oftentimes, the settlement amount offered by insurance companies for minor injuries won’t even cover basic medical expenses. And remember—your minor injury could turn into a major one down the line.
Myth #4: The Individual at Fault Will Have to Pay Out of Pocket.
It’s highly unusual that the individual who caused the accident will end up paying any money. In most cases, the guilty party’s insurance carrier will pay compensation. That’s because most individuals don’t have the assets to make suing them worthwhile. Even if they do, these assets can be very difficult to access.
Myth #5: I Don’t Need a Lawyer Because I Have Insurance.
Like any business, insurance companies are trying to make a profit. In almost all cases, the first settlement offer from the insurance carrier will be less than the full amount of your coverage. Often, this offer isn’t enough to cover medical bills and all the costs related to recovery.
Negotiating with insurance companies on your own can be tough, since they have a team of claim adjusters, investigators, and lawyers on their side. In addition, statements you make to them could potentially harm your case. Your best bet is to hire a personal injury lawyer with years of experience dealing with big insurance companies, who can defend your rights and advocate aggressively for just compensation.
About the Author:
Ben Murphey is a personal injury lawyer and a partner at the firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphey. Mr. Murphey has 10.0 Superb AVVO rating, was named Top 1% of Car Accident Attorneys by Car Accident Lawyer, and was named a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers in 2014. Mr. Murphey is based in South Florida but represents people and businesses across the state who have been harmed by the wrongful acts of others.