Getting into an accident and suffering a serious injury is always traumatic. But add the need to file a personal injury lawsuit into the mix, and things go from bad to worse.
If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, you will very likely find yourself thrown into a confrontational and stressful situation in which you will be confronted by legal terms and procedures you know very little about. If you try to handle the entire situation without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may find yourself prey to any number of myths that surround personal injury law and personal injury lawsuits.
Separating fact from fiction with regard to how personal injury cases are handled isn’t always easy. But it is important to know what is true and what is not when it comes to personal injury litigation. This is because unless you understand how personal injury actions really work, some of the common myths can prevent you from pursuing the compensation you deserve.
3 Myths About Personal Injury Lawsuits
I Have Insurance, So My Insurance Will Pay for it and My Insurance Company Will Handle Everything
The first myth that trips up many injured plaintiffs is thinking that because they have insurance, they do not need to hire a personal injury attorney. They think that their insurance will simply pay for their damages. The myth is that the insurance company is on your side.
True, you may have insurance. But that does not mean that your insurance will cover all the costs of your damages.
Also, the truth is that the insurance company —its attorneys and insurance adjusters—are not on your side.
Far from it.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money —not spending it. They routinely pull every trick in the book to avoid paying out on claims. Quite often they will simply deny a valid claim. Other times, they will give you a low-ball offer. Sometimes, they simply won’t respond at all—hoping to make you run out your time to file a lawsuit.
Insurance adjusters will do their best to appear compassionate and reassuring in an effort to establish a rapport with you to keep you from hiring a personal injury attorney.
Whatever tactic they use, the point is that insurance companies are not interested in you or your injuries or in paying your claim. They do all they can to throw the blame for the accident and your injuries back on you so they can keep your money.
Don’t fall for the myth of the helpful insurance company. When you work with a personal injury attorney, you have an advocate on your side who can negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement with the insurance company or who can take your case to trial if necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.
I Can’t Afford to Hire an Attorney.
This myth is perpetuated by society’s misconception that all attorneys charge massive hourly rates for handling cases or lawsuits. This isn’t true and it certainly does not apply to personal injury lawsuits.
It is true that litigation is expensive and that many attorneys charge by the hour for the cases they handle which can be expensive.
But personal injury cases are not the norm when it comes to attorney’s fees.
Because in personal injury cases, unlike most legal actions, attorneys are allowed to, and do, work on a contingency fee basis.
In a contingency fee arrangement, you do not pay the attorney up-front for the time he spends working on your case. Instead, the two of you agree that your attorney will take a portion of any recovery you may receive as compensation for his time. If you win, your attorney’s fees are paid out of your award. If you lose, your attorney does not get paid for the time he spent on your case.
You will frequently see this put as, “if you don’t win, you don’t pay anything.”
While you do not have to pay attorney’s fees if you lose, you do still have to pay for litigation costs in most cases. Litigation costs include (are not limited to) things like court filing fees, expert witness fees, and copying costs. Generally, these costs also come out of any award you may receive.
So, you can afford an attorney because in a personal injury lawsuit you generally do not have to pay anything up-front, and all fees will be taken out of any award you receive.
I Cannot Recover for My Injuries Because I Was Partly at Fault
Another myth that often stops people from pursuing compensation for their injuries, this simply is not true.
Florida is a comparative negligence state. In Florida, the way this works is that if you are partially at fault for your accident, you are not prevented from recovering for your injuries, but the amount you can recover is reduced by your percentage of fault.
So, if you are 80% at fault for the accident, you can still recover, but only 20%.
So don’t let being partially at-fault for your accident prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries. You can still receive a recovery.
Myths are just that —myths. It is important to know what is true and what is a myth if you are injured due to the negligence of another. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney about your situation is the best place to start to distinguish fact from fiction.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Orange Park, Florida.
John Fagan and his experienced team are dedicated to helping those who have been injured due to the negligence of another. Contact us now for your free consultation or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park. We have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.