Personal Injury Settlements: Myths vs. Reality
Ryan Bradley | October 26, 2023 | Personal Injury
Thousands of personal injury claims are filed every year in this country, leading some people to get the wrong idea about this type of case and its potential outcome. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about personal injury settlements.
Below, we discuss common myths surrounding personal injury settlements and break down the reality.
Myth: Personal Injury Claims Are a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
Some people mistakenly believe that personal injury claims are a scam to try to get rich. However, these claims derive from injuries caused by negligent parties in car accidents, medical malpractice incidents, and defective product accidents, among others.
Personal injury claims are intended to compensate victims for the real losses they have suffered due to someone else’s negligence. Accident victims always wish the accident wouldn’t have occurred or they wouldn’t have lost their loved one rather than receiving any amount of compensation for these claims.
Myth: I’ll Make a Fortune By Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Many people only hear about the large verdicts in personal injury claims, which has propelled a national discussion about the need for tort reform and reining in frivolous lawsuits. However, personal injury settlements are confidential, so many cases involve much smaller outcomes than those heavily reported in the media.
Unfortunately, this grandiose talk sometimes makes people believe they can get millions of dollars from a lawsuit, even if they were not seriously injured or their case has no merit.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, bodily injury claims after car accidents averaged $22,734 in 2021. The average amount to settle a property damage claim for car accidents in 2021 was $5,314.
In many car accident cases, the maximum compensation may be the amount of insurance coverage available. And, in Missouri, the minimum liability coverage amounts are $25,000 for bodily injury, $50,000 for bodily injury to more than one person in a single accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Therefore, car accident settlement amounts may be much lower than you might expect.
Personal injury settlement amounts for other types of accidents can also vary widely. In fact, there is no average settlement for a personal injury.
Individual factors can affect the potential value of a claim, including:
- The type of accident that caused the injury
- The nature and severity of the injury
- The type and duration of medical treatment
- Whether the accident caused permanent injuries
- Whether the victim contributed to the accident
- The available insurance coverage
- How the accident affected the victim’s life
Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the potential settlement amount. Permanent injury settlement amounts tend to be higher than accidents involving injuries that are temporary in nature.
Myth: I Don’t Need a Personal Injury Lawyer Because the Insurance Company Will Help Me
Some people mistakenly believe that the insurance company will help them in their time of need. After all, you’ve dutifully paid your insurance premiums on time, and you reasonably expect coverage will be there if you ever need it. However, this is often not the case.
When you file an insurance claim – even if it’s with your own insurance company – you are in an adversarial position with the insurance company. You and the insurer have conflicting interests: You want to maximize your settlement value, while the insurance company wants to minimize it.
It’s important to remember that insurance providers are for-profit companies. They stay in business by raking in more in premiums than they pay out in claims. The only way you can ensure that your interests are put first is by hiring a skilled personal injury attorney who can negotiate for a fair settlement.
Myth: I Can Quickly Settle My Case Because I Have Strong Evidence
Many people drastically underestimate how long it will take to settle a personal injury claim. They may even have strong evidence that the other party injured them. However, insurance companies will want to conduct an investigation to try to find evidence to use against the claimant to deny, delay, or minimize their claim.
Additionally, other factors can slow down a claim. It might not even be in your best interests to settle a claim quickly.
For example, your lawyer will want you to reach maximum medical improvement before settling your claim so that you can more accurately estimate the full cost of your damages. By working with an experienced lawyer, you can get a better sense of the potential timeline involved in your case.
Myth: I Will Have To Go To Trial If I File a Personal Injury Claim
Many people believe that they will have to go to trial if they file a personal injury claim. This is only true in a small percentage of cases after personal injury lawyers have tried to settle the case and the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement. Even if your case results in a lawsuit, it can still be settled, and you may not have to appear in court.
Myth: I Can’t Receive Any Money Because I’m Partially At Fault For the Missouri Accident
This damaging myth can prevent accident victims from recovering the compensation they are due.
Missouri law uses a pure comparative negligence system, which means that you can file a claim against a negligent party regardless of how much you were at fault for the accident. While your compensation is reduced proportionally to your degree of fault, you are not barred from making a claim.
Myth: I Can’t Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer
Many people worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer and decide they cannot afford one. However, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis; they don’t get payment until they recover compensation for you. They receive a percentage of your award when they recover it, so you can have a lawyer now and pay for them later.
The truth is you can’t afford not to hire a lawyer. A lawyer is knowledgeable of the law and is experienced at negotiating for fair compensation. A lawyer can also protect your rights and ensure you don’t do or say anything that could jeopardize the value of your claim.
Myth: I Can Get More Money Later If New Expenses Arise
One of the most critical reasons to hire a Missouri personal injury lawyer is to estimate the full amount of your accident-related expenses so you know whether an offered settlement is fair.
This is because once you sign a settlement agreement, you are generally waiving your right to sue or make any future claims regarding the same matter. If you discover unexpected expenses later, you cannot return to the table and try to get more money.
Reach out to an experienced lawyer for accurate information regarding personal injury claims.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today
For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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