Common Myths About Personal Injury Law

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Navigating personal injury law can be daunting, especially for people dealing with it for the first time. There are some misconceptions about personal injury law that discourage accident victims from taking legal action and pursuing compensation. Those suffering from an injury caused by someone else’s negligence should make a point to understand their legal options and rights so they can make informed decisions. Here are six common myths about personal injury law.

Myth 1: You Only Need a Lawyer for Major Injuries

You should contact a personal injury lawyer after an accident that was someone else’s fault, regardless of the severity of your injuries. There are several reasons to have a personal injury attorney review your injury. 

  • Hidden Costs – A seemingly minor injury could develop into a nagging, long-term health problem requiring ongoing medical care. You may not fully understand the financial impact an injury can have on your life in the immediate aftermath of the accident. 
  • Objective Oversight – An experienced injury attorney can evaluate your injuries, the potential long-term implications, and the amount of money you might need to cover your losses. 
  • Communicate with Insurance Companies – Dealing with insurance companies can add unnecessary stress to the healing process. A lawyer can deal with the insurance company on your behalf and allow you time to focus on your health and recovery. 

Myth 2: Lawsuits Take Forever and Cost a Fortune

The time personal injury lawsuits take to resolve depends in part on the seriousness of your injuries. You must complete your medical treatment before your attorney can accurately calculate your medical costs and any ongoing impact of your injuries.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice,  half of the cases evaluated were concluded within fourteen months.

Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. A contingency agreement allows personal injury victims to obtain experienced legal representation without paying any money upfront. Your lawyer receives a legal fee only if you receive a settlement or court award.

Myth 3: You Can’t Sue Friends or Family

It is possible for you to sue your friends or relatives if they were responsible for an accident and your injuries. Any claim payment would likely come from an insurance company.

Many people are reluctant to pursue compensation from friends or family for several reasons:

  • They worry that a personal injury lawsuit will damage their relationship with their loved ones. 
  • They don’t want to make their loved one a defendant in a case. 
  • They don’t realize they are probably filing a claim against their loved one’s insurance company rather than the person. 
  • They don’t want to add to the emotional pain and discomfort they already feel. 

If a friend or relative’s negligence caused a serious accident, you may need to seek compensation from their insurance company to cover your losses. 

Myth 4: You Have to Go to Court

Few personal injury claims end up going to trial. Most accident victims who have successful personal injury claims receive compensation without having to go through a trial.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately three percent of personal injury cases proceed to litigation. Most personal injury claims are settled out-of-court.

The typical settlement process includes:

  • Settlement Demand – Your attorney will evaluate all your accident-related injuries and losses and estimate the amount of money needed to cover all your losses. The lawyer will submit a demand letter to the insurance company.
  • The Initial Offer – The insurance company may deny the claim or make an initial settlement offer to close the claim quickly and limit the insurer’s liability. The initial offers typically are insufficient to cover your losses.
  • Negotiation – Your attorney will negotiate for a fair settlement. An experienced personal injury lawyer can make a difference during the negotiating process. 
  • Agreement – If both parties agree on a settlement, you’ll receive a document outlining the settlement terms. Your attorney can help you understand all the settlement terms before you sign. 
  • Pay Out – The insurer will send a check to your attorney. The attorney will deduct their agreed-upon fee and expenses and pay the rest to you.

Myth 5: Filing a Lawsuit Makes You Seem Greedy

Some people feel uncomfortable filing a personal injury claim, even if they’re injured and need financial help. If you’ve suffered losses after an accident caused by someone else, you might be entitled to pursue money to cover your losses. Most personal injury cases involve filing an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance company will handle the negotiation and payout. Filing a lawsuit after your personal injury accident does not make you greedy. 

There are a lot of expenses after an injury, and they can make post-accident recovery more stressful and challenging. 

You can file a claim for money for your: 

  • Medical bills
  • Long-term medical expenses related to your injury
  • Lost wages 
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Mental anguish
  • Property damage

You should not face financial hardship or be saddled with medical debt due to someone else’s carelessness or negligence. Texas law recognizes that personal injury victims have a right to be made whole.

Myth 6: Insurance Companies Always Offer Fair Settlements

You may believe the first offer an insurer makes you is the best they can do. Some even try to pressure or scare you into accepting a low offer. 

There are a couple of reasons why insurance companies do this:

  • Profit-Motivated – Insurance companies are trying to protect their profit margins. They want to minimize what they pay you so they can close their file and move on. 
  • Avoid Legal Interactions – Insurance companies do not want to deal with personal injury attorneys who know what their client’s injuries are worth. Some will try to get you to accept a lowball offer to make the claim disappear quickly before you can get a lawyer. 

A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer knows the tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying out fair settlements. Your lawyer can assess your losses, determine the fair value of the claim, and pursue a just settlement. 

Get Legal Help from An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in San Antonio

Attorney Troy A. Brookover is an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney and is ready to assist you. He has more than 30 years of legal experience dealing with personal injury cases. The Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover has secured six- and seven-figure settlements to help clients cover their costly medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses. Let us help you, too.

Contact our office at (210) 226-2000 or fill out our online form today for your free consultation with a San Antonio personal injury lawyer. 

Troy Brookover was born and raised in San Antonio. He established the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover so that he could make a difference in the community and help accident victims recover compensation to get back on their feet after being injured by someone else’s negligence. He brings more than 30 years of legal experience to the table, which he leverages in every case.