Lawyers get a bad rap and personal injury lawyers are no exception. We’ve all heard the jokes. In truth, commonly held false assumptions, misconceptions and wild myths keep some injured people from getting the help they need to reach a fair settlement on their injury claim. Sadly, this plays right into the hands of the insurance industry that would love nothing more than to have all their low-ball settlement offers accepted by people lacking representation.
We hope to debunk some of the most common myths about personal injury lawyers in this article so you can feel more confident seeking much needed legal advice for your injuries.
Common myths about personal injury lawyers debunked
Myth 1: All lawyers charge large fees up front
Truth: Most personal injury lawyers provide a free legal consultation and are paid on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay if they recover a settlement on your behalf. Out-of-pocket expenses are paid by the attorney. Washington law requires clients to reimburse the law firm for out-of-pocket expenses so when cases are concluded with a monetary recovery, the firm is repaid for the out-of-pocket costs they have advanced from the settlement monies received.
Myth 2: Personal injury lawyers are greedy and will take most of your settlement
Truth: There is a common perception that personal injury lawyers will fight for a large settlement but they will take most of it. The reality is that, in most cases, hiring an injury attorney will yield much better results than you would ever be able to achieve on your own. We’re talking five to twenty times what you could negotiate without help because personal injury attorneys know how to overcome common tactics used by insurance adjusters to deny maximum compensation. This means that even after legal fees are paid out of the settlement, you should be much further ahead than you would have been by going it alone.
Myth 3: Personal injury lawyers will only take “big cases”
Truth: Like most businesses, personal injury lawyers depend on word-of-mouth referrals. In order to be successful, injury lawyers need to take cases that are both big and small and fight equally hard for all of them. A great personal injury lawyer understands that each person’s pain and suffering is unique and should not be compared to another client’s situation. At the end of the day, a personal injury lawyer is there to make each client feel valued and cared for and to fight for justice on their behalf.
Myth 4: Personal injury lawyers intentionally lengthen the time it takes to settle cases to get more money
Truth: The time it takes to settle each case is different but it is true that patience is usually required. The three factors that affect the amount of time it takes to settle a personal injury claim are:
- The amount of time needed for medical treatment. This is important because in most cases, the injured party has to conclude the treatment phase of their medical care in order for the attorney to determine the full nature and extent of the client’s injuries. In many cases, medical expenses cannot be accurately determined until a large portion of the medical treatment is completed.
- If a client’s injuries are serious enough to justify a “policy limits demand.” For cases that involve very serious injuries, the personal injury attorney may deem it appropriate to demand that the entire amount of the policy be given by the insurance company. This is most likely to happen when a person’s damages are calculated to be higher than the defendant’s bodily injury and accident liability coverage. These cases may be resolved more quickly than those that do not involve policy limits.
- The insurance company refuses to agree to settle the case for an appropriate amount of money. The majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled out-of-court within one to two years, sometimes right before a trial begins. When a settlement cannot be reached out-of-court, the case will take longer because it will need to proceed to trial.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!