If you suffer only minor injuries in a car crash or other accident, it’s easy to imagine that the claims process would be more of a hassle than a help.
To those without experience in the legal field, a personal injury case can seem daunting and overwhelming. Unfortunately, prevalent misconceptions about personal injury lawsuits can make them seem even more complex and confusing than they are. In this article, we address some of the most common personal injury myths and misconceptions in the United States.
Misconception #1: Cases Always Take a Long Time to Settle
It is certainly true that particularly complex lawsuits, such as cases with multiple defendants or mass torts, may take a considerable time to litigate. In some instances, personal injury lawsuits can take months or even years. However, when things go smoothly between all the parties involved in the situation, it’s possible to resolve a case in a much shorter length of time. An experienced attorney will gather all the relevant information needed to streamline the case’s process and recover compensation as quickly as possible.
Misconception #2: You Can Take as Long as You Like to File an Injury Lawsuit
Most U.S. states have implemented their own statute of limitations that bars claims after a certain length of time passes. The amount of time you have to file a case depends on both the type of claim you’re submitting and your state’s regulations. Both criminal and civil cases are usually subject to a statute of limitations. In most circumstances, the statute of limitation begins to run from the date of an injury, the date upon which it was discovered, or the date on which it should have been discovered through reasonable efforts.
In some situations, the statute of limitations can protect you if you suffer an overlooked or hard to detect injury. For example, if you suffer internal injuries due to a failed surgery that goes unnoticed for several years, the statute of limitations ought to start on the day the errors are discovered.
Misconception #3: Minor Injuries Are Never Worth Filing a Claim Over
If you suffer only minor injuries in a car crash or other accident, it’s easy to imagine that the claims process would be more of a hassle than a help. However, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost or destroyed property, and other forms of damages. It’s always worth discussing your potential case with an injury lawyer. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation, where they’ll discuss the nature of your case, weigh the potential pros and cons of filing a claim, or recommend you to a colleague that may be better equipped to assist you.
Misconception #4: You’ll Be Required to Attend Numerous Time-Consuming Hearings
If your case is taken to court, you likely will need to attend one or two hearings. However, it is very unlikely that you’ll be forced to go through dozens of hearings for your case. If your attorney can secure an acceptable settlement on your behalf, you may never need to even step foot inside the local courtroom. When your presence is required in a hearing, your lawyer will likely do most of the talking and will be present to advise you if needed.
Misconception #5: Filing a Claim Against Family or Friends Isn’t Worth It
Resolving a financial dispute with a close friend or loved one is never easy and adding a lawsuit into the mix certainly doesn’t make things any less challenging. However, if you or your loved one have suffered harm at the hands of a friend or family member, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. An experienced attorney knows how to address the case with empathy and a delicate touch. They will handle communications with the other party on your behalf, so you don’t need to worry about upsetting or awkward situations.
It’s also important to remember that, in most cases, your friend or family member will not be paying your damages out-of-pocket. It’s likely that their insurance company will be liable for the damages incurred by your party.
Misconception #6: A Personal Injury Case Cannot Be Brought Without a Lawyer
In many cases, you may technically file a personal injury claim yourself. However, it is not recommended that you attempt to take on a personal injury case without expert assistance. The attorneys at Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante sum up the advantages of hiring a lawyer nicely: “we know how to approach complex cases in the most effective way, and can ensure that fault for your accident is assessed properly.”
When in Doubt, Speak to an Injury Attorney
After a serious accident, the last thing most people want to do is speak to an attorney. However, meeting with a lawyer can secure you compensation for the injuries you suffered, while also holding the responsible party accountable for the harm they caused. We always recommend meeting with multiple experienced attorneys in your area to determine whether they can take your case and meet your expectations.