Each year, thousands find themselves facing the aftermath of an accident. This period of time can be overwhelming. In addition to your physical and emotional recovery, you may encounter confusing or conflicting information. Well-meaning friends and family may offer advice or tell you about their experiences. Meanwhile, so-called experts on the internet offer conflicting information. It can be hard to separate myths from truth. When you’re making an important decision about your personal injury case, it’s critical that you understand all the facts.
After an accident, you may need to hire a personal injury attorney to recover damages. Many people hesitate to contact an attorney because they believe common personal injury myths. Unfortunately, this can put their case at risk. We will separate fact from fiction so you can make the best decision for your situation.
After an injury, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of pursuing a claim. Most people don’t have time to do a deep dive into all the facts. So, we’ve compiled a list of the most common personal injury myths so you can make an informed decision.
Fact: Most injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means the attorney receives a portion of your settlement. If there is no judgment in your favor, you owe nothing. Most attorneys also offer free case evaluations. During a case evaluation, you meet with an attorney to determine whether a case can be pursued.
Fact: Unfortunately, television shows and movies perpetuate the myth that injury attorneys are “ambulance chasers.” The Indiana Supreme Court changed its Rules of Professional Conduct in 2010 to prohibit attorneys from contacting accident victims within 30 days of an incident. The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission may charge attorneys who violate this rule with professional misconduct, and they could potentially lose their law license for a period of time.
Fact: Although some cases require a lengthy trial, many resolve within a few months. Depending on the complexity of your case and the other parties’ willingness to cooperate, you may be able to resolve your case quickly. When you first discuss your case with one of our attorneys, we can tell you how long it typically takes to resolve a case like yours and any factors that may delay a resolution.
Fact: Attorneys are not just interested in big settlements. Most simply want justice for their clients. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers at their disposal that work to minimize the amount paid to settle a claim. Experienced attorneys know the average consumer is less likely to receive a fair settlement unless they also retain counsel. As such, their primary goal is to ensure that clients receive fair compensation, nothing more and nothing less.
Fact: Injury attorneys realize that not every injury has a remedy available under the law. Since most work on a contingency basis, they are unwilling to file frivolous lawsuits with little or no chance of winning a settlement or trial. In the personal injury arena, attorneys who work on a contingency basis only get paid if they successfully recover for their clients. Therefore, there is no incentive to file a frivolous lawsuit.
Fact: Your need for an attorney in your case will depend on the circumstances, as what initially seems like a minor injury could have expensive, long-term consequences. You should only settle without an attorney after carefully considering all possible future expenses. An experienced attorney can review your case and help you determine whether a lawsuit is worthwhile.
Fact: Sometimes, an injured party decides not to pursue a claim because they believe the other party cannot afford to pay. You may believe this if the at-fault party was a personal vehicle driver or a small business owner. However, in most injury cases, an insurance company is responsible for some or all of the payment.
Fact: If the responsible party is a family member or their business, you may feel hesitant to file a claim. Many people prefer to settle the matter privately to avoid unnecessary conflict. However, if you settle privately, you may agree to receive less money than you need. You also take the risk that the other party does not pay on time—or at all. It may not even be legally binding, depending on how you structure your agreement.
Hiring an attorney to represent you may make the process less awkward since someone will negotiate on your behalf. The attorney can help you accept a fair—and legally binding—settlement. And in many cases, your relative may not even have to pay out of pocket–an insurance company could be responsible instead.
Fact: In Indiana, you have two years to file a claim. This timeframe is called the statute of limitations, and it begins when the injury occurs or, as in some cases of medical malpractice, when you first become aware of it. Suppose you’re unsure whether you’d like to pursue a claim. In that case, it’s best to consult an attorney sooner rather than later so you don’t miss this critical deadline.
In the aftermath of an accident, you may encounter a lot of confusing information about personal injury claims. It’s important to separate the myths from the facts to discern the best course of action for your circumstances. The best way to know whether an attorney can help you with your case is to contact one. A personal injury attorney is often less expensive than people realize, and they can answer many of your questions during a free, no-obligation consultation. Talking to an attorney will cost you nothing, but waiting too long to pursue a claim can be risky.
If you or a loved one experienced an injury due to another’s wrongdoing or negligence, contact an Indianapolis attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Complete an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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