Written By: Jonathan Farine and Lori Khaouli, Student-at-Law
If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an accident, it is important for you to know the truth about your legal rights. What we often know about personal injury lawsuits largely comes from movies, TV shows, and the media. This can lead to misconceptions with devastating consequences, including preventing those injured from seeking proper legal advice and getting the compensation that they may deserve.
If you find that you’ve been misled by any of the widespread myths and misconceptions about personal injury claims, know that you aren’t the only one. Outlined below are 5 common myths and misconceptions about personal injury lawsuits, and why they are incorrect.
Myth 1: Hiring a personal injury lawyer is expensive
People are reluctant to start lawsuits because they think that hiring an experienced lawyer will cost a lot of money. However, most, personal injury lawyers, including the team at McLeish Orlando, work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer does not charge any upfront legal fees and only gets paid when the client receives funds from a settlement or award at the end of the case. Furthermore, the lawyer will pay the ongoing expenses (called disbursements) associated with pursuing the claim. These often include collecting medical records, court filing fees, and retaining experts to prove your case. This takes most of the financial risk off a client who wishes to pursue a personal injury claim.
On a contingency fee basis, the lawyer will charge a pre-agreed percentage of the compensation eventually paid to the client. In addition, the team at McLeish Orlando also offers free consultations to discuss your potential claim, with no obligation on you to pursue a claim.
Myth 2: You will have to go to trial
Popular legal movies and TV shows often show lawsuits in the context of lengthy and viciously contested trials. In reality, the vast majority of cases (more than 95%) settle before then. This is generally to the benefit of all parties as trials are both expensive and risky. There is always an element of uncertainty with a judge or jury who only have a few days to hear and decide on the issues. This is why both plaintiffs and defendants often prefer to remove that risk and settle in advance of trial.
Myth 3: Personal injury claims bankrupt the defendant
If you have been injured due to the negligence of someone else, it is your legal right to pursue a claim to fairly compensate you for the damages you have suffered. Sometimes people are hesitant to file a personal injury claim because they think that the person who caused the injury may end up losing their home or life savings. This is not the case and is a big reason that the insurance industry exists. In nearly every personal injury claim, there is some insurance policy (be it car insurance, homeowner insurance, malpractice insurance, or commercial liability insurance) that responds, funds the legal defence, and ultimately pays the settlement or award.
Myth 4: Only physical injuries warrant a personal injury claim
While it is usually physical injuries that lead to personal injury claims, it is not the only reason to start a personal injury lawsuit. Over the years, the medical and legal communities have become better at understanding psychological and emotional injuries and how they can affect your life. If you’ve suffered a non-physical injury as a result of someone’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit may be able to compensate you for that harm.
Myth 5: Compensation is guaranteed
No lawsuit ever has a guaranteed outcome. There is a misconception that personal injury claims always settle, resulting in the client receiving “easy money”. Plaintiffs first need to prove their damages before a defendant will settle or a court will make an award. This usually involves retaining medical and accounting experts to write reports and explain to the court the extent of the damages and their impact on the plaintiff. This is why McLeish Orlando is so selective in taking on cases, it takes a lot of time, work, and attention to detail to ensure each case is properly built up to maximize the compensation ultimately awarded to our clients.
We Are Here to Help!
Know the facts about personal injury law before falling for more myths and misconceptions. Contact our experienced team of personal injury lawyers if you have been injured due to the negligence of someone else – consultations with McLeish Orlando are free.