Personal injury claims arise when you are injured by the negligent or reckless behavior or another person. These cases rely significantly on medical records review, which helps the attorney to understand the medical facts involved and prepare the case accordingly. While it is true that the injured person is ultimately compensated for incurred costs such as medical bills and other injury-related expenses, there are many myths surrounding personal injury cases that make people hesitant to even file a claim.
- You don’t need a personal injury lawyer: Plaintiffs can of course represent themselves during their case. However, they may find it challenging to deal with the defendant’s lawyer and other officials such as the insurance adjuster. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help immensely in this regard, and with a good lawyer to represent them, plaintiffs needn’t take on the additional stress of preparing and arguing the case.
- Personal injury cases are long drawn-out: Many people have this impression and so they are reluctant to approach a personal injury attorney. This is not strictly true because most cases are settled outside of court and a long trial is avoided. Some cases may indeed take many years to settle, but mostly resolutions can be made relatively quickly within a few weeks or months.
- You have to pay your attorney a fee up-front: The truth is that most personal injury law firms function on a contingency fee basis. This means that legal fees are not collected unless they win the case.
- Minor injuries may not be compensated: This is not true. Even if the injuries are minor, plaintiffs may be entitled to have their medical expenses covered. Such plaintiffs can benefit from expert representation because insurance companies often attempt to offer the lowest amount for minor injuries. Personal injury attorneys can help victims secure a fair compensation.
- Your attorney can tell you how much compensation you will receive: This is a myth because though your lawyer can give you an overall estimate of how much your case is worth, it would be practically impossible for any lawyer to quote an exact figure. What a lawyer can achieve for one client may be different from what he/she may achieve for another because each case and its circumstances are unique.
- The person responsible for the injury will have to pay out of their pockets: No. In almost all personal injury cases, the concerned insurance companies pay for the claim, not the person responsible.
- There is sufficient time to file a lawsuit, and the injured person can do it later: This is not true. There is a time limit known as a “statute of limitations” that begins from the time a person is injured. You can no longer file a personal injury lawsuit once this timeframe is over. The statute of limitations may be different for each U.S. state, and the specific amount of time available to file a claim depends on the state the injured person lives in as well as the type of accident he/she was involved in. While there are certain circumstances that allow extending the time frame available to file a lawsuit, these are limited and usually complex.
- You have to go to court to settle your case: Most personal injury cases don’t go to trial. Trials can be expensive and risky, and so both parties concerned prefer to negotiate, or hire a mediator as an unbiased third party to help facilitate these meetings. Plaintiffs can hope for a fair settlement without having to go through the stress and strain of a trial.
- Only physical injuries are compensable: Physical as well as mental injuries are compensable. Plaintiffs can also receive compensation for the emotional and psychological pain and suffering caused by the incident. A person suffering from anxiety or depression following a car accident injury can receive compensation for these legitimate symptoms of his/her pain and suffering.
- Personal injury claims are frivolous: This is not true. Most claims are filed by people who have suffered genuine injuries in accidents caused by the negligence of others. The stigma of “frivolousness” associated with personal injury claims make many people fear filing lawsuits. It is important however, that injured parties do not refuse to file a personal injury lawsuit fearing criticism.
As providers of medical record review for attorneys handling personal injury cases, we understand how important it is for injured victims to be aware of such myths that are doing the rounds. Only then can they make more informed decisions regarding the right action to take. Attorneys, after studying their case, can help them decide whether or not to file a personal injury claim.