Thousands of people get injured each day through no fault of their own. The first step victims can take is to file and submit a compensation claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Statistics show that the bulk of cases are resolved by settlement, but many victims make mistakes due to notions that are baseless and misleading. This article discusses ten common myths to beware of to help you file your personal injury claim successfully.
1. Compensation is guaranteed
As unfair as it may seem, not everyone receives financial compensation following an injury. Whether you will receive a settlement or not will be based on the facts of your injury, the presence of a liable party, and whether or not you will file a claim. Usually, victims are advised to hire lawyers to avoid ruining their cases with simple, avoidable mistakes. Consulting a personal injury lawyer like those at Tario Law for your case can help increase your chances of receiving compensation whether or not the liable party admits fault.
2. Personal injury cases are decided in court
While a good deal of cases is decided in courts, most don’t reach that stage. Insurance representatives also want to avoid this process, as their company will be forced to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees too if the court rules in the victim’s favor. The court also takes its negotiation powers away.
3. Your medical bills will be paid by the at-fault party
The liable party doesn’t pay your bills as you incur them. You will cover them yourself and only recover the costs after a fault has been determined and a settlement has been awarded or offered. If the insurance company approaches you with a settlement offer or accepts your claim, your compensation will come quicker than if the case is decided in court. This is partly why you are advised to get an attorney to negotiate a settlement and help you circumvent the drawn-out court processes.
4. The at-fault party will pay you out-of-pocket
Following a road accident, some drivers opt not to file a personal injury claim because they think it will be too harsh asking the other driver to raise such much money. That is far from the truth. The other party will not pay a cent out of pocket unless a criminal case ensues and they’re ordered to pay a fine. As regards your settlement, everything will be covered by their insurer or their employer’s insurer if the accident happened while doing something within the scope of their employment.
5. You will be paid again if new injuries occur
You should always see a healthcare provider immediately after the accident so they can create a treatment plan for you and check for the possibility of related injuries and expenses arising in the future. If future medical costs are projected at this stage of the case, the insurance adjusters will most likely include them in their calculations. You will, however, receive no additional compensation once the case is closed.
6. Personal injury settlements are easy money
As you probably know, insurance settlements are meant to get you back in the financial state you were in before your accident and ensure you don’t pay out-of-pocket any bills that arise from the injury. In a word, you’re not supposed to benefit from the unfortunate event. Nevertheless, cases of insurance fraud are rampant, which shows that people are still viewing compensation claims as success opportunities. If we had to view it from that angle, then perhaps it is the compensation for non-economic losses that can be seen as gain.
7. You can file a claim anytime
Each state has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, meaning you cannot file your claim after a certain time limit. You should know your state’s statute of limitations because once the expiry date arrives, your claim is lost for good. Some insurance companies may attempt to employ shady tactics to run down the clock, so be mindful of this as well.
8. Personal injury claims are resolved quickly
Getting the difference between what happens and what is supposed to happen is crucial if you want a clear picture of what’s ahead of you. Settlements should be made as soon as the at-fault party is identified and a claim is submitted, but that’s not what insurance adjusters do. Chances are the valuation of your claim won’t match theirs in the first attempt, and negotiation meetings must be held to reach an agreement. All these take time, which may be longer if the case has to be settled in court.
9. A claim against a family member or friend jeopardizes their financial security
It is not uncommon for people to sustain injuries out of accidents caused by close friends or family members. Those who don’t know how insurance law works might find it unfriend-like to file a claim against such close people, especially when the accident was no product of ill intent. Just so you know, whatever decision you make will not directly affect the liable party — not financially, at least. If you choose to pay the medical costs out of pocket, it is their insurer you will be letting off, not them. The at-fault party will only feel a direct financial pinch if you follow up the claim with a criminal case.
10. Holding out will get you a better settlement
The notion that rejecting settlement offers will get you better ones is misleading and can cause irreversible damage to your case. Not all insurance companies want to rip you off. Some will approach you with an offer to get it over with because they are sure they don’t have a case against you. If you have reservations about a settlement offer, get a lawyer to estimate the value of your case and base your decision on the findings.
With the increasing cases of accidents and injuries in workplaces and on roads, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the facts of the file claim-filing process. Be mindful of the above myths when seeking compensation to increase your chances of receiving a settlement.