Insurance companies, special interest groups, and the media have worked hard to spread disinformation about personal injury cases.
This disinformation can keep people from taking necessary steps that could help them recover compensation after an accident.
Here are five of the myths we hear most often.
#1 I was partially responsible, so I can’t file a claim.
Fact: most people are at least a little at-fault for accidents or injuries. Nobody is perfect.
New York recognizes this with a comparative negligence rule. You may recover compensation for your injuries even if you were partly responsible for the accident that caused them.
There can be diminishing returns for recovery. The courts assign fault percentages. The percentage you receive reduces your award by the same amount. If you’re 99% at fault for the accident, you can sue, but you won’t get much.
If you’re only 10% responsible, it’s worthwhile to sue.
If you suspect the other party is more at fault than you are, it’s worth your time to speak to an attorney. Your lawyer may also contest those fault percentages during settlement negotiations or at trial. You may be less responsible then you think you are.
#2 The insurance company will make a fair offer.
Insurance companies are in the business of selling as many premiums as possible while paying out as few claims as possible.
Insurance companies do their best to deny or reduce claims. Their initial offer to you tends to be a lowball offer that won’t begin to cover your expenses. They’re hoping you accept because accepting counts as a settlement. Your case will be over.
You might not even have a good idea of what your case is worth yet, especially if the insurance company makes an offer before you reach maximum medical improvement.
Never accept an offer without talking to an attorney first.
#3 Filing a claim may ruin someone’s life.
If you know the defendant, you might be reluctant to make a claim.
Fortunately, personal injury payouts come out of insurance coverage, not out of assets. They’ll be fine if the defendant has proper insurance coverage. The insurer will even provide the defendant with a legal team.
In the meantime, your life could be ruined if you don’t make a claim. Once your insurance coverage is exhausted, you’ll be left trying to pay medical bills after missing out on weeks of paychecks.
#4 Filing a personal injury claim makes you greedy.
Nobody gets rich on a personal injury settlement. People who walk away with million-dollar settlements tend to have ongoing, lifelong, million-dollar medical bills and expenses. Some can’t ever work again.
Filing a personal injury claim is sensible when your life has been forever altered by a catastrophic accident. It may be the only way you can get back on your feet.
#5 If I get a lawyer, the lawyer walks away with most of my settlement.
Yes, those contingency fee percentages sound significant. A lawyer can charge anywhere from 30% to 45% of the final settlement.
Consider these two facts:
- Only 50% of those who file without a lawyer get paid at all, compared to 90% who do obtain an attorney’s help
- The settlement amounts jump in value by 3x to 10x when a lawyer is involved.
You will always come out ahead with an attorney’s help. In addition, a skilled attorney takes his fees into account when negotiating the terms of your settlement.
Get Help Today
If someone else’s negligence has injured you, you will need the compensation you receive from your lawsuit. You will rely on that money to pay medical bills and cover costs.
Contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.