If you’ve been injured in an accident, you are likely afraid and confused, struggling with medical bills, and not sure what to do next. That’s the time to call an experienced personal injury attorney, despite how lawyers are frequently depicted on TV shows and in the movies. At J&Y Law, a recently published E-book, “From Pavement to Payment”, explains the ins and outs of personal injury claims. This article is designed to dispel the common myths about personal injury attorneys.
Myth #1: Personal Injury Lawyers Cost a Lot of Money
Attorneys are often portrayed as affluent, sharply dressed individuals. Certainly, being a lawyer can be very lucrative, but the primary motivation of many individuals who practice law is to help others. While some lawyers charge consultation fees and have different fee structures for their services, the vast majority of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis.
This means that injury victims do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless they obtain compensation. While this is typically a percentage of any final settlement or jury award, the attorney assumes the costs of pursuing the claim (e.g. court filing fees, expert witness consultations, accident reconstruction specialists) if it is not successful. Ultimately, a contingency fee structure acts as an incentive for personal injury attorneys to only pursue valid legal claims and to fight to protect their clients.
Myth #2: Personal Injury Attorneys Are “Ambulance Chasers”
It is common from some people to deride personal injury attorneys as “slip and fall lawyers” or “ambulance chasers” who prey on innocent victims. It is worth noting, however, that all attorneys are governed by the rules of professional conduct established by the applicable state bar association or the courts. In particular, personal injury attorneys are generally barred from contacting injury victims immediately after an accident and must always act in the best interests of their clients. As such, an attorney cannot hold out for a higher settlement solely to generate a profit. Attorneys who violate the rules of professional conduct may face disciplinary action and could potentially have their law licenses suspended.
Myth #3: I Don’t Need a Lawyer Because I Have Insurance
Most injury claims never go to trial and are often settled through a complicated negotiation process with an insurance company. Let’s face it, however, insurance companies are in business to be profitable, and insurers often attempt to deny claims or pay as little as possible. If you have been injured in an accident, you should never go up against an insurance company alone, or even speak to anyone from an insurer without proper legal representation. Insurers can rely on teams of investigators and attorneys who have an unfair advantage over injury victims. It takes a skilled negotiator to make sure you receive the full value of your claim, and an aggressive trial attorney who will fight for you in court if need be.
Myth #4: The Party Responsible for My Injuries Will Have to Pay Out of Pocket
In a personal injury claim, the at fault party may be another driver who crashed into you, or a business that sold you a defective product. In either case, the at-fault party will not pay directly for your medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering. Instead, the at-fault party’s insurance company will ultimately pay your settlement or award. Depending on the type of accident, there may also be more than one potential source of compensation. If you have been injured in an Uber accident, for example, your claim may involve the Uber driver’s insurer, Uber’s liability policy, as well as a third party. As mentioned above, it takes a skilled personal injury lawyer to make sure the insurer pays the full value of your claim.
Myth #5: I Don’t Need a Lawyer Because My Injuries Were Not Serious
People often fail to file a personal injury claim because they feel their injuries were minor or believe that pursuing a claim would be frivolous. Given that minor injuries can become more serious in time, the medical expenses can quickly mount. In addition, personal injury claims typically involve two different forms of compensation — economic damages and non-economic damages. The former cover actual financial losses such as lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage while the latter cover intangibles like pain and suffering. No matter the size of your case, a trustworthy personal injury attorney can help you explore all of your options.
In the final analysis, personal injury attorneys are dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable and avenging the injured. Knowing that most people have little experience dealing with the legal system or negotiating with insurance companies, the way to protect your rights is to work with the right attorney, one who has a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes inside or outside of the courtroom. To learn more, check out our published E-book, “From Pavement to Payment”, available as a free digital download here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y Law Firm. Yosi is an inspired, aggressive and successful advocate for his clients, especially those who have suffered from construction accidents. He is personally committed to making a difference in his clients’ lives. Nothing makes Yosi happier than getting his clients’ lives back on track.