Stephen Hasner | Personal Injury | August 10, 2020
Myths about personal injury settlements prevent people from recovering the compensation they deserve. One of the best ways to dispel these myths is to discuss them. We talk about some of the most common myths about personal injury settlements and the real truth. For more information, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer at Hasner Law, PC.
Nine Personal Injury Settlement Myths
1. Your case must be worth a lot of money to file a personal injury claim.
In some states, the no-fault insurance laws require that a person sustains certain types of injuries or a specific amount of medical bills to file a personal injury claim. However, that is not the case in Georgia. Georgia is a fault-based system for personal injury claims.
If you sustain injuries because of another party’s negligence, errors, or wrongdoing, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your damages. Many factors can impact the value of your personal injury claim. Before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company, talk to a personal injury lawyer to make sure that the offer is fair.
2. Working with the insurance company pauses the deadline to file a lawsuit.
Many people believe that by working with the insurance company they extend the time to file a lawsuit. That is not true.
In most personal injury cases in Georgia, the Statute of Limitations is two years from the date of injury. There could be exceptions to the general rule depending on the type of case or the parties in the case.
In other words, you have two years from the date of your car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file the lawsuit, you give up your legal right to pursue a claim against the person who caused the car crash. If the insurance company drags its feet and you miss the deadline, you lose your claim.
3. Insurance will pay valid personal injury claims.
Even though you have a valid personal injury claim, that does not mean the insurance company automatically pays the claim. The insurance company could deny your claim or undervalue your claim to save money.
If the insurance company acts in bad faith, you may have a bad faith insurance claim. You could be entitled to compensation for the bad faith claim, in addition to the compensation that you were entitled to receive under the personal injury claim.
4. It takes years to settle personal injury claims.
Some personal injury claims may take years to settle, but that is not typical. The factor in most injury cases that determines the length of the case is your medical treatment. You should never settle a personal injury claim until your doctor releases you from treatment.
Settling a claim before being released by your doctor could result in a much lower settlement amount for the claim. Therefore, if it takes you a year to recover from your injuries caused by a defective product, you should not begin to negotiate a settlement until after that year. Filing a lawsuit can also lengthen the time it takes to settle the claim.
5. You cannot recover compensation for future damages.
Future damages are generally recoverable when a person sustains a permanent impairment or disability. For example, a truck accident results in paralysis. The person requires ongoing medical care and personal care, in addition to losing all future income.
A victim can receive compensation for future financial damages and future pain and suffering. Medical experts and financial experts assist in estimating future damages.
6. You can refile a claim if you discover additional injuries or damages.
Once you sign a settlement agreement, you give up your right to pursue an action for more money. Even if you discover that you need surgery or cannot work full time, you do not have a legal claim against any party covered by the settlement agreement. Most settlement agreements release all claims against all parties.
Therefore, you need to ensure that you include all past and future damages in your settlement demand. Completing medical care before a settlement is essential. You cannot know the extent of your damages until your doctor states that you reached maximum medical improvement and issues an impairment rating.
7. You cannot recover compensation if you are partially at fault for the cause of the accident.
This personal injury myth keeps many people from consulting with an attorney. Insurance companies also use allegations of comparative fault to lower the value of personal injury claims.
You can recover compensation for a personal injury claim even though you may have contributed to the cause of an accident. However, your fault must be less than 50 percent.
For instance, if you were speeding when a driver turned in front of you, you may still receive some compensation for a motorcycle accident claim as long as a jury decides you were less than 50 percent at fault for the cause of the motorcycle crash.
8. You do not need a personal injury attorney if you are dealing with your own insurance provider.
Most people believe that when their insurance provider is handling the personal injury claim, they will be treated fairly because they are a policyholder. That is not true. All insurance companies are for-profit companies that try to limit liability to save money.
Your insurance claim is handled by the claims department, not your insurance agent. Your insurance agent has no authority to settle or direct your personal injury claim. Even if you are filing an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance provider, it is wise to speak with an attorney before settling the claim.
9. You cannot afford to hire a personal injury lawyer.
This personal injury myth may be the most damaging because it keeps people from talking to an attorney about their medical malpractice claim, bus accident claim, construction accident, or other injury claims.
Most personal injury lawyers accept claims on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee, you do not pay attorneys’ fees unless the attorney recovers compensation for your case. The fee you pay is a percentage of the amount recovered for your claim that you agreed to when the attorney took your case.
Take advantage of a free consultation with an injury lawyer to talk about other personal injury settlement myths that could be keeping you from recovering the compensation you deserve.