Florida has over 16 million drivers and every year, more than 200,000 people are injured in a motor vehicle accident. A car accident can happen to anyone at any time. Some crashes are minor, but others result in more extensive injuries.
If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior, you can file a personal injury claim. Compensation from a personal injury claim can help offset the costs of medical bills and other expenses related to your injury and recovery. Not sure if your injury qualifies for a personal injury claim? Check out some common misconceptions about personal injury claims to see if filing a claim is right for you.
Myth #1: My injuries are minor, so I don’t need to file a claim
Most people won’t consult a lawyer because their injuries were minor, or they fear the stigma associated with filing a claim. But, these are the types of cases that require more specialized attention, as insurance companies will likely try to minimize them and push for a smaller settlement, which may not cover all your medical expenses. Also, minor injuries, if left untreated, could develop into more complicated issues down the road. Consulting with an experienced attorney will ensure that your specific case gets the attention and compensation it deserves.
Myth #2: Personal injury claims are “easy money.”
While you may be compensated for costs related to your injury, including medical costs (ambulance transport, emergency room charges, hospitalization, surgery, after-care, and medication), lost wages, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, personal injury claims are not “easy money.” It will take more than one phone call to resolve a personal injury case and compensation is not guaranteed. A judge decides over the claim and determines if compensation is warranted and if so, how much the compensation should be.
Myth #3: I can file my claim at any time
Each state sets the statute of limitation on personal injury claims, which may vary depending on the type of injury. The statute of limitation sets the time limit on how long after an accident you can file a personal injury claim. In most states, the statute of limitation is two years from the date of injury. Once this time limit expires, you may not be able to file a claim. Similarly, once a personal injury case has been heard and a decision reached, the decision is likely final, and the case cannot be heard again. Likewise, if you settle with an insurance company, you are waiving your right to seek compensation through a personal injury claim.
Myth #4: Personal injury cases are long and drawn out processes
Some people delay or decide against filing a personal injury claim because after surviving a traumatic event and suffering an injury, they do not want to go through a long legal process. The truth is that most personal injury claims can be resolved within 8-12 months. While each case is unique, and the length of the case depends on the specific details of the matter, some claims can be settled by both parties before having to reach a trial.
Myth #5: The at-fault party will have to pay out-of-pocket
Some people debate filing a personal injury claim because they are afraid of appearing frivolous or feel guilty about making another person pay the settlement amount out-of-pocket. If you have been legitimately injured in an accident, you shouldn’t feel guilty about seeking compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. In most cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for paying any money you are awarded, not the individual.
Myth #6: Holding out results in larger settlements
You have heard the warnings against signing documents from insurance companies following an accident, as you may be signing away your rights to seek future compensation. Similarly, you may have heard to “play hardball” or hold out during settlement negotiations to ensure a larger payment from the insurance company. In general, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney before signing any document from an insurance company or entering into settlement negotiations. An experienced personal injury lawyer, familiar with the specifics of your case, can advise you on the best course of action to reach the maximum compensation you are entitled to and negotiate those terms with the insurance company on your behalf.
Myth #7: I have insurance, so I don’t need to consult a lawyer.
Just because you have medical or automobile insurance to cover expenses following an accident doesn’t mean that you don’t need an attorney to help navigate the personal injury claim process or negotiate a fair settlement. Often, automobile and health insurance don’t cover all the expenses related to an injury. Also, negotiating with insurance companies can be difficult, as they have a team of adjusters, investigators, and attorneys working on their behalf. Like any business, insurance companies are self-motivated and try to limit their profit losses. They almost always offer low settlement amounts which may not adequately cover your expenses. Experienced attorneys who have successfully represented clients against big insurance companies are better equipped to defend your rights and aggressively advocate on your behalf.
Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today
If you have been involved in an accident and you are considering filing a personal injury claim, contact Trentalange and Kelley. Our attorneys have a successful track record of handling personal injury cases, negotiating with insurance companies, fighting in court, and recovering compensation for their clients. Our team of experienced attorneys can review the specifics of your case, advise you of your rights and the best course of action, and aggressively seek the compensation you deserve to help you get you back to the life you and your family had before the accident.