9 Costly Misconceptions About Injury Cases
MISCONCEPTION #1: I can settle my case without hiring a lawyer. True. If you’re satisfied with the insurance company merely repairing your car and paying a portion of your medical bills, then you’re right. You may not need to hire a lawyer. Still, it’s important that you understand what you’re entitled to. In most cases, you are entitled not only to recover your medical bills and repairs to your property, such as a car but also to any additional damages you suffer, such as physical pain and suffering. That’s why I urge you to at least talk with a lawyer over the telephone before you accept an insurance company’s offer. Your lawyer takes the hassle out of dealing with the insurance company. In my office, I provide all these services for my clients, usually at no charge. In other words, I usually don’t take a penny of the money I collect for damages to your property or car. My fee is limited to a portion of what I recover for your physical and psychological injuries and damages – nothing more.
MISCONCEPTION #2: If I decide to hire a lawyer, one lawyer is just as good as another. False. Today, lawyers are just as specialized as doctors. You could have an eye doctor, a foot doctor, and a doctor for everything in between. The same is true for lawyers. If you have an injury claim, you wouldn’t hire a tax lawyer or a criminal defense lawyer. Instead, you would hire a skilled personal injury lawyer or a social security disability lawyer. I recommend that you hire a highly knowledgeable, experienced injury lawyer so the insurance company won’t take advantage of you – and so you collect the number of money damages that you deserve.
MISCONCEPTION #3: An attorney requires a down payment to accept my injury claim. False. In my office, all injury cases are handled on a contingency fee. This means I get paid out of the money I recover for you. If you collect nothing, I get paid nothing. To start, you can talk with me for free. And if you hire my services, you pay no fee until your case settles and I recover money for you. I will be happy to talk with you about this at our initial meeting.
MISCONCEPTION #4: I’ll get more money if I handle the case myself because I won’t have to pay a lawyer. False. In nearly all cases, a skilled personal injury lawyer will get you far more money than you could have gotten for yourself. In fact, your lawyer will likely get enough additional money to completely cover his fee and to increase the amount of money you receive as well.
MISCONCEPTION #5: I’ll have to go to court to get what my case is worth. False. Most injury cases are settled before the case goes to court. Often, when the insurance company realizes you and your lawyer are ready and willing to go to court, the insurance company starts making reasonable offers for your injury claim. If we don’t like the first offer, we make a counteroffer. Negotiations may continue until both sides agree on a certain amount. In most cases, injury claims don’t require a court trial, but in some cases, they do require having a jury trial, in order to get full compensation. I have36 years’ experience as a trial lawyer and have the trial skills to handle your case before a jury.
MISCONCEPTION #6: I have to accept what my lawyer tells me. False. Anytime you feel confused or don’t understand what’s going on, you’re entitled to and should get a second opinion. In the field of medicine, if your doctor suggests major surgery, you know it’s wise to get a second opinion. Likewise, anytime you speak with one lawyer, you’re perfectly free to confirm his advice by seeking a second opinion from another lawyer. I will be happy to review your case and provide a second opinion.
MISCONCEPTION #7: Once I settle my claim, I can get more money in the future if I have additional medical bills. False. Once your claim is settled, it is over – forever! You’ll get no more money for bodily injury, pain or suffering, medical bills no matter what. MISCONCEPTION#8: If I am partly at fault for causing the accident, I am not entitled to any money. False. Even if you are partly to blame for the accident, you may still be entitled to recover money. This is known as comparative negligence. For example, even if you are 25% at fault, you can recover 75% from the defendant who also caused your injuries.
MISCONCEPTION #9: I have only one year to file a lawsuit. False. This can be a difficult question to answer. In Texas, in most personal injury cases, you have two years to file a lawsuit from the time of the injury date to protect your rights. However, in some instances, you may have only one year. If your claim is against a governmental entity (such as a city, county, or state or their employees), you are required to give notice of your claim within a specified time period. It is important that you know your rights. Otherwise, you may lose your right to bring a claim for your injuries and damages. Ask me, and I’ll help you determine the proper time frames, so you don’t forfeit your rights.