1. I already have insurance to cover my medical bills; I don’t need an attorney.
Though insurance can cover some, or potentially even all, of your medical costs, there are other losses caused by a personal injury that your medical insurance won’t cover. They include out of pocket expenses, co-pays, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, past and future pain and suffering, past and future interference with the enjoyment of life, the need to limit activities and past and future mental anguish.
2. I was badly injured, and the other party was clearly at fault. I am guaranteed compensation for my injuries no matter what.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true. There is no guarantee the other party’s insurance company will make you an offer—much less a fair one—even if the other party is at fault. Every injury and every case is different; there is no such thing as easy money in personal injury law. Insurance companies regularly attempt to exploit loopholes in the law to avoid paying settlements to injured parties, which is why it is crucial to immediately hire an experienced personal injury attorney with a proven track record to help you recover fair value for all of your losses.
3. I don’t have time to sit in court all day, and personal injury cases always take too long.
Most personal injury cases settle prior to trial, so odds are that you’ll never have to make an appearance in court. Some cases may take longer than others, but many cases settle before a lawsuit is even filed.
4. You must be severely injured to hire an attorney.
Even those with minor injuries deserve the full measure of justice for their losses. Often, insurance companies will offer very low settlements to those with soft tissue injuries, which makes immediately hiring an attorney who can accurately assess the value of your case that much more important.
5. If I make a personal injury claim, I’ll bankrupt the person who hit me.
Don’t hold off on filing a claim because you do not want to inconvenience the person at fault. In the vast majority of cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays your settlement or judgment.
6. Can’t I just handle my personal injury claim on my own?
“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Though you technically can, it likely won’t be in your best interest. Hiring a personal injury lawyer does not cost you anything unless you recover money. Working with a lawyer has been shown to lead to settlement values 3.5 times higher than those who attempt to resolve their personal injury matters on their own.
7. What if I already settled my claim and realize I need more medical bills covered?
If you have already accepted a settlement with an insurance company, you have likely waived your rights to seek further compensation. If you settle your case too early and then need additional treatment or suffer additional damages, you will not be able to recover money for the new treatment and damages. By ensuring that your treatment and recovery are over before you resolve your case, you are significantly reducing the chance that you will settle your case for less than it is actually worth.
8. I’m too busy right now. Can I file my personal injury claim later?
Time is of the essence in any personal injury claim. You may have a year or two to file a lawsuit, but the longer you wait to get an attorney, the more likely it is that the value of your case goes down. Many times, critically important evidence can be lost or destroyed by the at-fault party.
The statute of limitations is the deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed, and it varies by state. In Georgia, you need to file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the incident. For property damage claims, you have up to four years from the date of the incident. Every personal injury case is different, however, and it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney right away to learn your rights.
9. Can my divorce lawyer handle my personal injury claim too?
You wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix your car, right? Being a lawyer does not make one an expert in all types of law. A lawyer who is an expert in wrongful death and personal injury law will know more than a lawyer who isn’t, which will improve your chances of getting the full measure of justice for all of your losses. At Rafi Law Firm, personal injury and wrongful death is all we do, so we have the expertise to maximize your recovery.
10. I already got an offer from the insurance company; I don’t need a lawyer.
Insurance adjusters often lie to accident victims and tell them that the offer they present is the highest they will go, but this is often not the case. An insurance adjuster’s job is to close the case as quickly as they can while paying you as little as they can. An experienced personal injury attorney knows the tricks that these companies use, and knows how to get you the money you deserve.