6 Myths About Personal Injury Cases

by Ricardo Barrera

Have you recently been injured in an accident that came about as a result of someone else’s negligence or poor judgment?  Then chances are that you’ve probably found yourself bombarded by advice from well-meaning–but misinformed–friends and family members on how to proceed with a personal injury claim.

Those around you may think they know what they are talking about because they or someone they know have been injured. They may even be acquainted with an attorney who practices personal injury law. But the bottom line is that you should never rely on the advice of individuals who are not legally qualified to discuss your situation, especially since every personal injury case is different.

Following are some of the most common myths you may hear about personal injury claims, the legal process surrounding them and the attorneys who handle them:

Myth #1: Make a reasonable settlement demand

An insurance company will always make a reasonable settlement offer if you submit a reasonable settlement demand.

What you consider a reasonable settlement may be quite different from what an insurance company believes is so. Remember, an insurance company is ultimately looking out for its own financial best interests, not yours.

Myth #2: video or audio-recorded statements

If an insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement or sign a medical records authorization form, you have no choice because the company will not settle your claim until you do.

You do have a choice.  Your can consult an attorney before taking any action, particularly if it involves giving video or audio-recorded statements regarding the accident or signing any documents put forward to you.

Myth #3: The other guys insurance will cover your medical bills

The insurance company for the person at fault in your case will pay your medical bills and lost earnings as you incur them.

If you are injured and require medical attention, you will need to make arrangements to take care of any bills. If you have health insurance, you can allow your provider to pay for your expenses. Most health insurance carriers have what’s called “subrogation” language in their policies, which  means that they will be reimbursed for any expenses they pay if you obtain a recovery from the party that is responsible for your injuries.  If necessary, a personal injury attorney can provide your medical insurers a letter of protection that offers assurances they will be paid their fees out of any compensation that is awarded.

Myth #4: All Attorneys Have Equal Ability, Experience and Resources

All attorneys who handle accident or injury cases have equal ability, experience and resources to deal with your case.

Never assume that all attorneys are the same. When seeking legal assistance, do some research on the lawyers you are considering.   You can learn more about them by visiting their websites and calling their offices for references. You can also call the Texas Bar Association to make sure they have a good record.

Myth #5: All attorneys charge the same fee

All attorneys charge the same fee to handle personal injury cases.

This is false. Attorneys set their own fees and it’s up to you to find out what those charges are when you do your research.

Myth #6: Similar injuries should get the same compensation

If you know someone who has received a settlement or judgment for an accident claim involving similar injuries, you can expect to get the same amount of money as that individual.

Individual insurance companies do use damages formulas to compute compensation packages.  However, the amount awarded to individuals will vary.  This is in part because the nature and extent of the injuries sustained will be different in every case. Insurance companies also have to figure in the percentage of fault to the compensation total. So if a company determines that you were not at fault, then a value of 0% gets assigned. But they determine you were partially at fault, then some other value (such as 10%, 25%, 50% etc.) gets factored in. The final figure that emerges is the amount you can expect to receive.

If you have been injured in an accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek qualified legal assistance immediately. The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm understand the needs of accident victims like you. Don’t let hearsay guide your actions. Let us examine the particulars of  your case and help you claim the settlement you deserve.

Photo credit: graur razvan ionut



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