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Debunking Myths About Personal Injury Lawsuits: Insights From a Legal Professional

Published March 18, 2024 by Harker Injury Law

Many people have wrong ideas about personal injury claims, and these myths can lead injured victims to make regrettable decisions that cost them thousands of dollars in personal injury compensation.

At Harker Injury Law, we are on a constant quest for truth. We hope to help our potential clients make informed decisions by debunking the following popular myths. This blog post will separate fact from fiction about personal injury cases.

Myth 1: A Lawsuit Always Ends in Court

California courts handle millions of civil cases every year. In 2022, there were more than 651,000 civil filings. A common myth is that every personal injury case goes before a judge and jury. Rather, thousands of civil complaints are settled outside of court.

Some of the most common civil matters involve motor vehicle accidents, property damage, and wrongful death. Superior court reports for the 2021-2022 fiscal year show that about 42 percent of these filings were resolved before trial. How do personal injury lawyers handle such cases without resorting to a court battle?

Effective settlement methods include:

  • Arbitration: A binding decision by a neutral third party
  • Mediation: A decision made by the parties involved, guided by an objective mediator who encourages communication, defines objectives, and maintains order
  • Minitrial: A hybrid mediation-negotiation process overseen by a neutral advisor (often a former judge or nonjudicial subject matter expert)
  • Negotiation: Strategic discussions between personal injury attorneys, defendants, and plaintiffs aimed to find an acceptable resolution for the negligent parties and accident victims

Sometimes simply involving a legal professional is enough to convince the at-fault party to take responsibility for personal injury losses. In other cases, attorneys use proven strategies to come to a suitable compromise. Though court cases are usually a last resort, capable attorneys should be ready to fight for your rights before a judge.

Myth 2: Filing a Personal Injury Claim Is Beyond Your Budget

Asking how lawyers charge is in your best interests. Some attorneys charge accident victims for legal costs plus an hourly rate for their services.

You must often pay a retainer fee before the lawyer accepts your case. Later, you may have to spend more if the expenses of your case exceed what you paid in reserve.

At Harker Injury Law, we understand that many deserving clients cannot afford legal costs out of pocket. Therefore, our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis.

Our law firm shoulders the financial burden required to file a personal injury claim rather than requiring upfront legal fees from the injured. You only pay us if we win money for you.

Myth 3: Lawsuits Are Unkind

Some accident victims feel guilty about relying on personal injury claims to protect their rights. However, you should keep these essential facts in mind:

  • Everyone makes mistakes
  • Even nice people are imperfect
  • Compensation for most personal injury cases comes from an insurance company, not from the finances of the responsible party

Let’s examine two common types of personal injury claims to show why you should not feel bad about collecting fair compensation for your medical bills and other accident expenses.

Medical malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when medical care falls below the accepted professional standards. Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical and anesthesia errors
  • Prescription mistakes
  • Negligence or abuse

The vast majority — over 96 percent — of medical malpractice claims settle outside of court. An experienced personal injury attorney will often use negotiation skills to navigate the legal process. Whether the claim settlement is reached in or out of a courtroom, the insurance company of the responsible parties (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare practitioners) pays the compensation.

Medical malpractice liability insurance often includes coverage for:

  • Negligence and mistakes that cause legitimate injuries
  • An attorney to handle legal action and defense costs
  • Medical care provided outside of the primary work setting (i.e., Good Samaritan coverage)
  • Legal representation for allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse unless or until criminal claims are verified

In the case of wrongful death, family members can avail themselves of personal injury law to resolve their losses. But what if your injuries occur at work? If you pursue compensation, will your claim put your employer out of business?

Workplace injuries

Workers’ compensation benefits often cover medical costs, a portion of lost wages, and rehabilitation for injured employees. Once you report your injuries to your place of employment, the employer should start the claims process with the insurance company. You should receive an acceptance or denial letter in a couple of weeks.

In California, pain and suffering and punitive damages are not included in your benefits. You should consult a personal injury lawyer if your claim is rejected or if you learn that your case qualifies for additional compensation.

Injuries at homes and businesses

An insurance company can also cover personal injury claims that occur at their clients’ businesses and places of residence. For instance, many homeowner’s insurance policies cover the policyholder if he or she is liable for someone else’s injuries or property damage.

Talk to a lawyer to learn if you can recover damages for the following accident types:

In summary, a lawsuit is an efficient way to acquire fair settlements for personal injury accidents. Yet, in many cases, going to court is unnecessary. There is no need to feel bad for the person responsible for your injuries since insurance is designed to protect him or her financially.

Myth 4: You Don’t Need an Attorney for Minor Injuries

What if an auto accident results in a minor injury and light property damage? Some say that small personal injury claims are frivolous lawsuits.

Many traumatic events like car accidents and botched surgeries bring emotional distress along with physical injuries. One of the worst personal injury myths is that you should not seek the fair settlement you deserve. On the contrary, every case is important for a sympathetic personal injury lawyer, no matter how small.

In the United States, personal injury victims are often shocked to learn minor injuries can result in significant expenses. Medical treatment is expensive, and follow-up doctor visits and rehabilitation might last longer and cost more than you expect.

Worse, insurance adjusters might offer you the lowest settlement offer, hoping you will accept without consulting a personal injury attorney. Before signing anything, why not take advantage of our free consultation? We can review what insurance adjusters are offering without any obligation or up-front cost, so there is no risk in scheduling an appointment with us.

Myth 5: You Can Always File Your Personal Injury Claim Later

Television shows might portray a personal injury claim as a means to get easy money. In reality, the legal landscape is complex. Personal injury cases are difficult to prove and win.

Experienced personal injury lawyers can provide your best chance at recovering maximum compensation. Yet, your time is not unlimited. You must file a personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires in your state.

Defeat Personal Injury Myths With Facts

The only way to ensure you don’t fall for common personal injury myths is to inform yourself. Yet, every personal injury case is different. Accurate, up-to-date advice from personal injury lawyers can help you make sound legal decisions.

The personal injury attorneys of Harker Injury Law would be happy to answer your questions. During your free case review, our legal team can debunk the common myths about personal injury law that could interfere with your claim.

If you were injured in California due to someone else’s negligence, schedule your free personal injury claim review. Find out what you need to know and clear up your doubts. Contact us now to pursue peace of mind regarding your accident claim. 

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  • State Bar of California
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