Mark Roman | May 8, 2023 | Personal Injury
Thousands of personal injury claims settle every day. The odds are good that someone is signing a settlement agreement even as you read these words. Myths abound, however, concerning the process of settlement. It is best to dispel these myths before you ever file a claim. Following is a list of common myths and an explanation of the realities that contradict them.
Myth #1: My Case Will Probably Go to Trial
The great majority of personal injury claims never make it to trial. The parties involved settle the remainder. That doesn’t mean plaintiffs (injury victims) don’t ever file lawsuits over claims that they still hope to settle – this happens frequently. In many cases, there are sound tactical reasons to file a lawsuit and then withdraw it before trial.
Myth #2: The Defendant Will Go Bankrupt Trying To Pay Me
This is a frequent concern when the plaintiff and the defendant are friends—in a dog bite case, for example. In most cases, the defendant’s insurance company will take care of most or all of your claim. In a dog bite case, homeowners insurance (or renters insurance) covers most claims.
Myth #3: My Case Will Settle Quickly If It Is Strong
This myth is half true. It may be true that the stronger your claim is, the more quickly it is likely to settle. Nevertheless, many factors determine how long it takes to resolve a claim, and the strength of the claim is only one factor. The skill of your lawyer is another important factor.
Myth #4: I Cannot Recover for Expenses That I Haven’t Incurred Yet
It’s nice if you can afford to wait until you receive all your medical treatment and return to work at your pre-accident position before you file your claim. That way, you will have a good idea of how much your damages are, and you will therefore know how much money to demand.
If your injuries are long-term, however, the statute of limitations deadline might arrive before you have completed medical treatment. If your injuries are catastrophic, you might never return to your previous position at work.
What do you do in such a situation? You have an expert estimate your future medical expenses and diminished earning capacity, and then you claim compensation for the current value of these components.
Myth #5: “My Cousin Vinny” Can Represent Me as Effectively as a Personal Injury Lawyer
Not likely. That would be like hiring your family doctor to perform open-heart surgery on you. You need a lawyer with years of successful experience in personal injury law. If “Vinny” has that experience, great. If he is a trusts and estates lawyer, on the other hand, continue looking until you find a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Myth #6: I Can Beat the Statute of Limitations Deadline by Filing a Personal Injury Claim With an Insurance Company
The statute of limitations sets a deadline for you to either finalize the settlement of your dispute or file a formal lawsuit with the appropriate court. In early 2023, Florida shortened its personal injury statute of limitations period from four years to two years (with exceptions depending on the type of case and when the injuries were sustained).
Of course, the insurance company would love for you to believe that the statute of limitations deadline no longer applies once you’ve filed an insurance claim. Don’t let them fool you.
Myth #7: My Lawyer Can Predict the Exact Dollar Value of My Settlement
“Your claim is worth precisely $163,547.62.” You will almost never hear anything like this from an ethical personal injury lawyer until your settlement check arrives. On the other hand, a statement like “The value of your claim is probably somewhere in the low six-figure range” is not necessarily unreasonable if preceded by at least a rudimentary investigation. Precise claims, however, are useful in that they can help you weed out bad lawyers.
Myth #8: I Can’t Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer
Yes, you can—at least if you have a strong claim. Almost every personal injury lawyer works on a contingency fee basis. That means the lawyer works for free unless they win or settle your claim. In other words, you only pay legal fees if you get compensation. It’s the strength of your claim that matters, not the thickness of your wallet.
Hire an Injury Attorney To Help With Your Claim
Yes, you have a constitutional right to represent yourself in a personal injury claim. Please don’t exercise it. Even if you “win,” without an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner, you will probably end up with only a fraction of the amount your claim deserves.
Contact the Clearwater Personal Injury Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater. We have five convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655