There are many myths about personal injury claims. For most people, filing a personal injury lawsuit after being involved in an accident is new and unfamiliar territory. Without personal experiences, ideas and misconceptions about how a personal injury case may be handled may hold people back from filing a lawsuit or even contacting a personal injury attorney.
9 Myths About Personal Injury Claims
Some of the common myths stem from false narratives perpetuated by insurance adjusters and representatives, and other groups generally opposed to civil litigation for various reasons. These myths can, unfortunately, mean much-needed money is not obtained when it is available and deserved.
Some of the biggest misconceptions about a personal injury claim are listed below.
1. The insurance company will not offer any more than their initial offer, so there is no point in hiring a lawyer.
It is common for insurance adjusters to tell accident victims that a settlement offer is the highest and best that will be presented. The adjuster will do their own investigation and research to establish their value of damages. However, the first offer is typically an undisclosed percentage of what the insurance company believes is the final value of the case. This first offer is usually the lowest amount that the adjuster believes you will accept. The adjuster may tell you it is the best offer you will be given because they want you to accept it so that the claim can be quickly closed, before you have an opportunity to talk with a personal injury lawyer about what your case is really worth. The representative may quickly change their tone and employ delay, deny, and defend tactics to minimize the value of your claim once you reject an initial offer.
2. If your injuries are minor, it's not worth talking to an injury lawyer.
It is not necessary to be catastrophically injured to want to be fairly compensated for injuries. It is also possible that what you believe to be a minor injury may be more serious or permanent than you think. For example, whiplash can lead to chronic neck pain and headaches which can cause significant pain and suffering. Do not downplay your injuries, or assume they are minor. Seek medical care and talk to a lawyer about your rights and options.
3. The insurance company wants to be fair.
Insurance adjusters are trained to be initially compassionate, empathetic, and reassuring. This establishes a rapport with you and may keep you from reaching out to a lawyer. They may say "we believe you," or "we accept responsibility" in an effort to gain your trust. In all conversations with insurance adjusters, remember the insurance company is a profit-driven business. Their goal is closing out claims as cost-efficiently as possible. One former Allstate adjuster famously disclosed that adjusters were told by supervisors to lie to policyholders. Adjusters who denied fire claims by blaming arson were "rewarded with portable fridges."
4. A claim through a lawyer will take forever.
It is true that a personal injury claim through a lawyer will take longer than the immediate, lowball payment the insurance company offers you. A quick payout may pay a few bills right away, but will not compensate you for the long-term effects of your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney will consider the full impact of your injuries, and make sure you have medical documentation supporting your bodily injury claim and projected future needs. Building a solid case takes a little time, but can mean significantly more compensation is recovered.
5. The at-fault party will have to pay out of pocket.
One common situation is being injured as a passenger in a vehicle driven by a family member, friend, coworker, or acquaintance. The myth here carries the assumption that filing a lawsuit will make the at-fault individual's life miserable or cause financial hardship. In most situations, the at-fault party's insurance handles the payout and settlement.
6. You'll have to make court appearances.
If your court goes to trial, you may need to appear. However, the vast majority of personal injury cases settle before trial.
7. You have unlimited time to file a claim.
Every state has a specifically allowed window of time, called a statute of limitations, in which a person can file a lawsuit after an accident. These laws are established to ensure evidence is still available and to ensure litigation is handled within a timely manner after an event occurs. In Georgia, you have two years from the date of an injury to file a lawsuit. Once the window passes, any claims will be dismissed.
8. People who file personal injury cases are frivolous.
Frivolous lawsuits are claims with no legal foundation. For example, if someone was involved in a car accident that was their fault, but then sued a local sign company and claimed a nearby billboard was distracting and caused the accident, the claim would be frivolous. Ethical and reputable personal injury lawyers don't have any interest in wasting any time handling a claim that is not legitimate.
9. Personal injury lawyers are greedy.
Insurance companies are happy to allow people to believe attorneys are greedy or dishonest. And while the occasional bad apple lawyer makes headlines, the vast majority of personal injury attorneys are ethical advocates who are passionate about justice. Personal injury lawyers play a critical role in holding negligent parties accountable, and recovering fair compensation for compensatory damages for medical bills, lost earnings, as well as non-economic pain and suffering damages. In rare cases where conduct was particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish a defendant.
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer To Get The Compensation You Deserve
If you've been injured in a trucking accident, auto accident, slip and fall accident, or any other accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact The Graham Firm for a free case evaluation. Our award-winning trial lawyers have recovered millions for personal injury victims in Marietta, Griffin, Atlanta, and most of Georgia. If we handle your personal injury case, we will not charge any fees unless we recover money for you.