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Personal Injury Settlements: Myths vs. Reality

Thousands of personal injury claims are filed each day in the United States. These claims involve car accidentsmedical malpracticeproduct liabilitywrongful death, and many other incidents and accidents resulting in injury to another person. Unfortunately, there are just as many myths about personal injury settlements. 

An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can explain the difference between myths and reality in personal injury cases. If another party caused your harm, get the facts about a potential personal injury settlement from a skilled accident attorney in Los Angeles. Having sound legal advice helps you avoid mistakes that could hurt your personal injury case, which could lower the value of your claim. 

Myth: I Have to File a Lawsuit to Recover Money for a Personal Injury Claim

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is not how most personal injury cases are resolved. Instead, most cases settle by negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Sometimes, the party who caused your injury might negotiate a direct settlement. 

A personal injury lawsuit can be settled before the case goes to trial. Therefore, filing a personal injury lawsuit does not guarantee you will need to go to court for a settlement. 

Myth: My Case Will Go Quickly if I Have Strong Evidence Proving That the Other Party Injured Me

Having strong evidence proving causation, fault, and damages can speed up the timeline for settling a personal injury case. However, other factors can significantly impact the time it takes to get a personal injury settlement check.

For example, you do not want to settle your claim until your doctors release you from treatment. Until you complete your treatment, you cannot know whether you sustained permanent impairments or how much your damages cost. Therefore, the severity of your injuries can impact how long it takes to settle your claim, even in an “open and shut” personal injury case.

Myth: I Cannot Recover Compensation for Damages I Have Not Incurred 

This myth is partially true. The person liable for your injury is only responsible for paying economic and non-economic damages directly related to their conduct. 

However, many personal injury victims sustain disabilities or impairments that impact the rest of their lives. Therefore, they could be entitled to compensation for future damages.

Future damages are the expected expenses and harm the victim will sustain later in life. 

They include, but are not limited to:

  • A decrease in future earning capacity and future lost wages
  • The physical and emotional suffering caused by permanent impairments and disabilities
  • The ongoing cost of medical care and/or long-term nursing care
  • The cost of long-term personal care and assistance with activities of daily living
  • Diminished quality of life 

It can be challenging to place a value on future damages. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you hire financial professionals, medical specialists, and other experts to estimate future damages correctly. Insurance companies do not explain that you could be entitled to these damages when you settle directly with the company without consulting an attorney. 

Myth: I Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Whenever I Decide to File 

This myth is also partially true. You can file a lawsuit anytime during the personal injury settlement process. However, the California statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing a lawsuit. If you file after the statute of limitations expires, the court may dismiss the lawsuit. 

There is a two-year deadline for filing most personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. However, medical malpractice, claims against the government, and other lawsuits have different deadlines. Furthermore, the facts of your case could change how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit.

You can avoid missing the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in California by seeking legal advice from an attorney immediately after an injury or accident. 

Myth: I Cannot Afford to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer 

This myth is often spread by insurance companies that do not want victims to seek legal advice regarding their claims. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay any attorneys’ fees until the lawyer recovers money in your case. 

Myth: A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Tell Me Exactly How Much I Will Receive in a Personal Injury Settlement 

An experienced California personal injury attorney will never tell you during your first visit that your case is worth a specific amount. Instead, a skilled lawyer understands that many factors impact how much a case is worth. Therefore, the attorney must thoroughly investigate all evidence that impacts the value of damages.

Attorneys fight to obtain the maximum settlement amount for their clients. Once your attorney has all evidence in hand, they can calculate an accurate value for your personal injury settlement. 

Myth: An Insurance Adjuster Can Help Me Receive a Fair Settlement 

Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company. Their job is to limit the company’s liability for a claim. In other words, claims adjusters try to pay the lowest amount possible to get you to sign a settlement agreement

Unfortunately, once you sign a final settlement agreement, you waive your right to additional compensation for your damages. The settlement agreement releases all parties from further responsibility for your injuries. In other words, if you discover you accepted a settlement amount much lower than the actual value of your damages, the signed settlement agreement prevents you from filing a lawsuit.

It is always in your best interest to talk with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company. An attorney can advise you if the settlement amount is fair or if the company is cheating you out of the money you deserve for damages.

You can get free legal advice by contacting a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Attorneys offer free consultations for injury victims and their families. You can get the legal advice you need to protect your rights without worrying about paying a lawyer for an initial consultation. 

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