If you watch enough TV shows or movies, you probably have quite a lot of biases about personal injury lawyers. Hollywood has done a very good job of casting them as “ambulance chasers” out for a quick buck. But is that really the case? Below is a list of 6 myths about personal injury law.
Myth #1: Attorneys tend to file too many frivolous lawsuits
The myth is that any little bump, cut or bruise as the result of an accident or act of negligence can result in multi-million-dollar payouts. That’s far from the case, to say the least. In fact, before any law firm accepts a case, it always has a case evaluation to judge the severity of the claim — as well as the chance for a trial victory.
The reason is simple: personal injury lawyers, like FisherStark are often paid on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win. It simply isn’t worth their time or effort to take on cases that are frivolous in nature, or that have very little chance of winning on the merits. Thus, most respectable personal injury lawyers will ignore the frivolous lawsuits that come their way.
Myth #2: The courts are clogged with too many personal injury lawsuits
Again, the popular perception is far from the truth. The image, of course, is that a massive backlog of cases is somehow “squeezing out” cases of merit, thereby clogging up the legal system with cases of dubious merit. The reality, though, is that many cases are settled before they even go to court. Often, it’s easier and more convenient simply to resolve a case out of court.
And there’s one other bonus here to resolve a case out of court – there’s no worry that a skeptical jury might deny a rightful claim. As a result, the incentive for a personal injury lawyer is to avoid taking a case to court, rather than pressing the issue and hoping for a trial jury to decide the case.
Myth #3: Personal injury claims are “easy money”
There is a direct correlation between the amount of work required to prepare a case and the final expected payout. There are insurance claims to consider, depositions to take, and all kinds of legal information to consider before a case is even ready to go to court. And, for cases involving severe losses, there is even more paperwork to consider.
Thus, there’s no such thing as “easy money” — especially when some trial cases can last anywhere from 8 to 12 months. There’s a lot of hard work and preparation that goes into every case — and even more if it actually goes to court.
Myth #4: I don’t need to consult a lawyer
The thinking here is that relatively minor accidents don’t require the use of a lawyer. However, remember – insurance companies have teams of claims adjusters, investigators and lawyers that are ready to deny your claim. If you file the wrong information – or in the wrong order – you could be at risk of losing out on your claim. The role of a personal injury lawyer is to help you navigate this process and find a speedy resolution to your case.
In fact, just having a lawyer on your site makes the opposing side sit up and take notice – they will suddenly be much more willing to make a settlement, rather than deal with a lawyer. The reality is that trying to “go it alone” can cause you more problems than you thought, and deprive you of proper compensation for injuries you have suffered.
Often, minor injuries – the kinds that don’t seem like they really require the help of a professional lawyer – can turn into major injuries. By then, however, it may be too late: you will have lost out on your opportunity for proper compensation.
Myth #5: Hiring a personal injury lawyer is too expensive
This ignores one simple fact: personal injury attorneys are not compensated most people are. You’re probably used to getting paid hourly, or monthly or maybe even quarterly. That’s not the way personal injury lawyers are compensated – they often are paid on a contingency basis.
In short, they are paid only if they collect a settlement on your behalf. If they fail, you owe them nothing. Moreover, even the first meeting – where the law firm listens to the details of your case – is free. It’s simply an evaluation to see if the case is worth pursuing further, and you will not be charged for this time.
Myth #6: Personal injury lawyers are “ambulance chasers”
This is perhaps the most damaging myth, because it challenges the very reason why personal injury lawyers get into the business in the first place. Most personal injury lawyers have a genuine concern for people, and want to make sure that they are fairly compensated for any losses that were not their fault. The U.S. legal system is there to protect the most vulnerable people of society, especially at moments when they are facing personal tragedy or loss.
And, even more importantly, strict laws and regulations at the state level make it impossible for “ambulance chasers” to exist within the legal profession. In some states, it is illegal – yes, illegal – for lawyers to contact prospective clients within 30 days of an accident. If they do so, they can be fined and penalized for “professional misconduct.”
Instead, personal injury lawyers attract clients because of their reputation for past success. In fact, much of the referral business is simply by word-of-mouth. If a law firm develops a sterling reputation for protecting the interests of its clients, it will attract business on its own.
Unfortunately, many of these myths have attained almost the status of “fact” in today’s culture. Yet, personal injury lawyers play an important role in making sure the American legal system functions, as it should.
They help to guarantee that anyone who has been unfairly injured or damaged as the result of an accident or negligence (and not as a result of their own fault) has some form of recourse. This helps to protect the most vulnerable members of society and provides plenty of incentives for big corporations to act fairly.