COMMON PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER MISCONCEPTIONS
Lawyers, like many professions, have a common portrayal in popular media that is often fraught with exaggeration and inaccuracy. Sometimes an injury victim may let certain common myths about lawyers and the legal process convince them to forego seeking an attorney. These misconceptions about lawyers and the personal injury claims they handle should not stop you from seeking the PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE that you may need to secure a fair settlement for an injury.
Attempting to handle a personal injury on your own is exactly what the insurance company wants and can cost you a better settlement. In the interest of clearing up any of these misconceptions, let’s examine some of the more prevalent myths that surround personal injury law.
MYTH #1: LAWYER FEES WILL TAKE UP MOST OF YOUR SETTLEMENT
Many people have a perception of lawyers as expensive legal vultures that will provide legal representation at the cost of an arm and a leg. On top of that is the misconception that you pay a personal injury lawyer with money out of your pocket and that it is paid right up front and continue to keep a lawyer on your case.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Personal injury lawyers will actually provide at least a free initial consultation most of the time. This allows them to see if your case is at least viable and provide some legal options.
As for the overall fees, personal injury lawyers work on a CONTINGENCY FEE basis. This means that that are only paid in contingent to the outcome of the case. So a personal injury lawyer will work to resolve your case and will only be paid upon its success. If your personal injury claim does not recover any money, then the lawyer is paid nothing.
Their pay also comes as a percentage of the amount of money recovered from the case settlement. The rate differs from state to state but in Minnesota, the average is between 33.3 and 40 percent. This system ensures that lawyers work a case to the best of their ability not just for the client’s benefit but for their own as well.
MYTH #2: YOU CAN RESOLVE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM ON YOUR OWN
While it is technically true that you can resolve a personal injury claim on your own, it is highly recommended that you don’t try to handle legal representation on your own regardless of the legal context. This isn’t simply something lawyers say so that they don’t lose work. It’s consistently found that legal representation in personal injury claims secures much HIGHER SETTLEMENT VALUES than when someone reaches a settlement with an insurance company on their own. That’s even counting the percentage of the settlement that goes to an attorney as a contingency fee.
It’s actually quite common for lawyers to have people that start out trying to negotiate with an insurance company on their own and realize they have made a mistake. This makes a case all the more difficult for a lawyer that has to do damage control on top of negotiating with an insurance company which could mean fewer lawyers will be willing to take your case once you do something that can harm your settlement value.
MYTH #3 THE LAWYER THAT HANDLED MY DIVORCE SHOULD ALSO HANDLE MY PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
Just because someone practices law, does not mean that they are experienced in handling all types of cases.
It’s wisest to seek out a lawyer that focuses on personal injury law. They will have insights and more experience across a broad range of personal injury cases that can improve your chances of securing a higher value settlement.
MYTH #4: YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM COULD BANKRUPT A PERSON OR BUSINESS
When you file a personal injury claim against a small store, for example. The COMPENSATION that you will be seeking won’t be coming from the store directly. Your settlement payout will come from that store’s insurance company. Your personal injury claim will not directly take money out of their cash register to pay for your injuries. The same goes for when a claim is filed against a person.
MYTH #5: YOU CAN FILE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM ANYTIME
There is, in fact, a time limit on how long you have to file a personal injury claim. Injury claims have what is called a STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS which is essentially a time limit on how long you have from an injury date to file your personal injury claim. The statute of limitations differs from state to state and from type of lawsuit but many personal injury claims in Minnesota have a statute of limitations of 6 years from the date of an injury to file a personal injury claim.
MYTH #6: YOU ARE GUARANTEED A SETTLEMENT IF THE LIABLE PARTY IS CLEARLY AT FAULT
If a lawyer says that you are guaranteed your settlement because the other party is clearly at fault, then you should probably reconsider hiring them. A personal injury claim may seem clear-cut with plenty of evidence indicating that a defendant was negligent and that they caused your injuries but there are all KINDS OF DEFENSES that can be used to evade liability in an injury claim. It is not unusual for insurance companies to exploit any loophole they can find in order to not have to make a payout. Small things like how soon you went to seek medical assistance after an injury to
CONSIDER SAND LAW AS YOUR LEGAL REPRESENTATION
If you have sustained a personal injury and believe that you are owed compensation, then CONSIDER CONTACTING SAND LAW about a free consultation on your claim. We are ready to sit down with you and hear the details of your case so we may provide some options for how you can proceed with legal action. Our lawyers are well versed in all aspects of personal injury claims and will fight for your claim so you may receive the maximum settlement.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a motor vehicle accident? Our St Paul motor vehicle accident attorneys can help.