We’ve all seen the TV commercials and metro newspaper ads that paint a certain picture of what personal injury attorneys are probably like.
In truth, personal injury attorneys are a critical part of the civil justice system, as they ensure that those who hurt another person will answer for what they have done. Below, we clear up a few of the myths about personal injury attorneys and how they represent people.
Myth #1: Personal injury attorneys are expensive to hire.
Lawyers who handle personal injury cases generally get paid with contingency fees. In other words, it would cost you nothing up front to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you. Then, if they obtain a settlement or jury verdict in your case, a percentage of your monetary award is used to pay their fee. So, if your attorney does not win, he or she does not get paid.
Further, a personal injury law firm does all the investigative legwork to pursue the details of their clients’ cases. Sometimes that also means hiring outside specialists, such as accident reconstruction experts, to help get to the bottom of what caused a victim’s injury. The law firm will take this extra step to strengthen their case and their ability to prove that their client deserves maximum compensation.
Myth #2: Injured victims can file a claim with the insurance company and recover the same amount of compensation without an attorney.
Yes, you can file a personal injury claim with applicable insurance companies without the help of a lawyer. However, you will likely face a great deal of difficulty to recover maximum compensation for your injuries. Why? Insurance adjusters generally work to reduce a claimant’s payout as much as possible. Following an injury from a vehicle accident, for example, your auto insurer will have an adjuster call you to tell you that you will get a certain amount of money for your claim, which is likely not as much as you actually deserve. There will be some haste in getting you to sign paperwork agreeing to this amount.
However, injured victims who hire a car accident attorney are typically paid far more by auto insurance companies for their claims. An attorney will handle the calls from insurance adjusters and help ensure that nothing is misconstrued that can be used to reduce your payout.
In addition, injured victims who have limited tort on their insurance policies are sometimes not as “limited” as the insurance company lets on. Limited tort technically means that an insured cannot recover for pain and suffering for injuries from a car accident. However, states like Pennsylvania have several exceptions that act as a loophole to limited tort insurance. Attorneys who know these exceptions can help a person who qualifies for one seek maximum compensation – pain and suffering included.
Myth #3: All personal injury attorneys can do the same job.
Like in any profession, lawyers have different specializations and levels of experience such as personal injury law differs from criminal law. Even within the field of personal injury law, there is a wide variety of practice areas, and some attorneys focus on some areas more than others.
If you were injured in an accident and are considering filing a personal injury claim, the best thing to do is to shop around for an attorney who best suits your needs. Many law firms offer free initial consultations, so you can meet with several attorneys to ask questions and get a feel for their experience and personalities to be sure you’re selecting one who is a good fit for you.