If you've recently suffered injuries in a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident caused by another party's negligence, you may be wondering if you should seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney. Before you decide, make sure you're not falling for any of these common personal injury myths.
Myth #1: Personal Injury Attorneys Are Ambulance Chasers
There is an old stereotype of personal injury attorneys as the guys who show up at the scene of an accident hoping to sign clients. This is not an accurate representation. In fact, you should never hire anyone who appears unsolicited after you've been injured and is offering to provide legal representation. These people are sometimes referred to as runners and cappers. What they are doing is considered unethical and potentially illegal.
Myth #2: I Should Work With the Attorney Who Handled My Divorce
The average person has very little experience with the legal system, so it's understandable to wonder if the attorney who handled your divorce, bankruptcy, or DUI charge is a good choice for your personal injury claim. However, personal injury law is very complex. An attorney who does an excellent job with divorces or any other area of the law is still unlikely to have the experience necessary to negotiate a fair personal injury claim.
Myth #3: My Injuries Aren't Serious Enough to Need an Attorney
Legal representation is a must if you've been left with permanently disabling injuries, but even relatively minor injuries can create a serious financial burden in the form of medical expenses and lost wages. If you're not at fault for the accident, you shouldn't have to bear the burden of these expenses on your own. Additionally, you are entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you've experienced as the result of the accident.
Myth #4: I Don't Need an Attorney Unless I Want to Go to Court
The majority of personal injury cases will eventually be settled out of court. However, this does not mean you should forgo representation. The insurance company is only concerned with protecting its bottom line and doesn’t care if you receive a settlement that adequately compensates you for your accident-related expenses. An attorney can document your damages, prove liability, and negotiate for the highest possible settlement. This helps protect your financial future.
Myth #5: I Should Wait and See What Happens With the Insurance Company Before I Talk to an Attorney
When it comes to personal injury settlements, taking a "wait and see" approach can have disastrous consequences. Louisiana's statute of limitations law typically gives you only one year to file a personal injury claim. If you miss this deadline, you forfeit your right to compensation. Talking to an attorney as soon as possible is the best choice, since it takes time to prepare a solid case, and valuable evidence may be lost as time passes.
Myth #6: It's Better to Accept the First Settlement Offer, So I Can Get Money Right Away
Patience is a virtue when it comes to negotiating a personal injury settlement. It's common to receive an offer shortly after the accident, but this offer is a lowball settlement designed to take advantage of your eagerness to settle. In the majority of cases, your settlement should be much higher to fully compensate you for your injuries.
Myth #7: If I'm Not Working, I Can't Afford to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
It's natural to worry about the cost of legal representation if you've suffered injuries that are keeping you from working. However, personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This means, there is no upfront cost for representation. Your attorney will simply accept a percentage of your final settlement as the fee for service. If you are unable to reach a settlement in your case, there is no fee.
The award-winning legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is dedicated to advocating for the rights of Louisiana residents who've been injured in accidents caused by another party's negligence. Contact us online or call our office directly at 318.588.6303 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.