Opinions abound – but what are the facts? In this article, we expose five misconceptions that can hinder a victim on their road to recovery and fair compensation
A person who has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another person or group of people has every right to seek fair compensation through all available legal means. This often includes filing a personal injury claim. However, some of those who have legitimate reasons to do so may feel hesitant or unsure if pursuing justice in this manner is really the best course of action. Of course, the aftermath of any accident can be extremely stressful and confusing – undergoing medical treatment and managing subsequent financial losses, often combined with a temporal inability to work, can already be more than overwhelming. Thus, a person may feel that dealing with all the procedures and formalities of a legal case would be an exhausting enterprise that they are not prepared to undertake. Also, the reluctance to pursue a personal injury claim may be based on popular opinions about how such claims work, what constitutes a good basis for them, or what social consequences such legal action may have for the plaintiff. In addition, those opinions may often convey a feeling of distrust towards the process of seeking compensation. Unfortunately, many of the notions and ideas people have about personal injury claims are, at best, based on mere misconceptions. At worst, under some scrutiny, they turn out to be outright falsehoods. While opinions vary, however, facts are non-negotiable. Moreover, while misconceptions can be harmful, trustworthy information may help those who have a legitimate reason to file a claim to stop hesitating and confidently step onto the road leading to compensation and recovery. This article will endeavor to overturn 5 wide-spread myths concerning personal injury claims.
Myth #1 – You Can’t Sue Somebody Who Doesn’t Have a Lot of Money
This notion is often connected to another misconception – that the at-fault party will have to pay for the compensation out of their own pocket. Many people feel that introducing a claim against a private person is counterproductive either because they think that costs of legal proceedings will outweigh the amount of damages that the defendant is able to pay or because they fear that the compensation awarded would drain the at-fault party’s financial resources and throw them into poverty. Both ideas, however, are incorrect. First, in the grand majority of cases, it is the defendant’s insurance company who will pay the settlement awarded to the plaintiff. Second, even if the insurance policy of an individual defendant doesn’t provide much coverage, the nature of a specific personal injury case may merit a claim against multiple defendants with multiple insurers, thus increasing the chances that the amount awarded in compensation will correspond to the damage sustained and cover the expenses incurred by the injured party. To identify all possible parties that a personal injury claim may be brought against, the assistance of a skilled attorney will be needed.
Myth#2 – If Your Injuries are Minor, the Case is Not Worth Pursuing
Physical injuries and bodily damage are often not the only consequences of an accident, nor are they the only factors that may merit a personal injury claim. Even though an injury may appear mundane, it may still require medical treatment or rehabilitation. By virtue of a claim, the injured party may seek compensation for the cost of medical care that the injury necessitated. In addition, injuries such as a broken finger may have a catastrophic effect on the professional potential of a pianist and a broken leg may prematurely end a career of a dancer. In any case, injuries that are not extensive or serious may likewise result in a temporary inability to work and a claim may seek compensation for past and future lost wages that arise from that inability.
Moreover, apart from visible injuries and tangible losses, the accident may have resulted in extensive emotional damage. This could include post-traumatic stress disorder, the aftermath of which encompasses sleep loss, anxiety, or fear. The injured party could potentially have to endure this for months or even years to come. Thus, a personal injury case may help the victim seek emotional damages to compensate for the psychological symptoms experienced as a result of the accident.
Myth #3 – If I Bring a Claim, People Will Think I’m “Sue-happy”
The decision to file a claim and seek compensation does not make a person “sue-happy”, neither does it mean that they are after “easy money”. The pursuit of a personal injury claim, when needed, is a well-accepted course of action across all communities, races, and income tiers; there is much less stigma surrounding the topic than many people fear. A personal injury claim is a well-established and recognized legal procedure designed to help victims on their road to recovery. Of course, while a small percentage of cases may seem frivolous to some, most people who bring a claim have legitimate, serious reasons for it. If a person is unsure if the circumstances of their particular case merit a personal injury claim, an experienced attorney will be happy to offer assistance.
Myth #4 – I Can’t Afford a Lawyer
Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means that the client will only have to pay the attorney for his or her legal services if the case is successfully resolved – that is, either in settlement or in a court verdict favorable to the injured party. The attorney’s fees will be based on a percentage of the award paid to the injured party in damages, so if the defendant is not awarded any kind of compensation, the attorney will not charge them any money. The consequence of this is that if a personal injury lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis is willing to take on a case, he or she believes that the chances of a successful outcome are considerable. In addition to that, many attorneys will offer the initial consultation free of charge.
Myth#5 – A Lawsuit Will Take Up All My Time and Drag on For Years
It is true that some personal injury cases may be complex and time-consuming. However, in many instances, the case will be resolved through a settlement and will never have to involve the courts. Even i a settlement is not possible and the case will be heard by a court of law, the resolution may sometimes be reached in weeks, rather than months or years. If the case does take time, it is the lawyer who bears the responsibility to perform most court-related work and to take care of all the red tape. Thus, if a defendant has a skilled attorney on their side, any ongoing legal proceedings will not interfere with their daily life in an overly inconvenient way.
Many who have to deal with the stressful and confusing aftermath of an accident, may be all too easily swayed by popular opinions and misconceptions about personal injury cases, thus impeding the process of recovery and losing the chances of receiving a fair and just compensation. Striving to stay properly informed is of utmost importance. Of course, this article countered only 5 of many myths about personal injury cases. In reality, wrong ideas are much more abundant. For that reason, victims of accidents should not hesitate to discuss all of their doubts with an experienced attorney who will help them to make an informed decision about whether or not to pursue a personal injury claim.