If you’ve ever watched TV, you probably think you know something about auto accident injury claims and personal injury lawsuits. But the reality is that much of the popular wisdom about these topics that is floating around is simply wrong, or at least commonly misconstrued. So let’s set the record straight on auto accident injury claims and lawsuits:
- Myth: Auto Accident Injury Claims and Lawsuits Are the Same
These terms often get thrown around as if they’re the exact same thing, but they’re not. An accident injury claim normally refers to a claim filed with an insurance company (if the other driver was at fault, you’ll usually file a third-party claim with his or her insurance company). An accident injury lawsuit, on the other hand, is an official legal action. Most people try to seek a settlement outside the court system before taking the step of actually suing.
- Myth: You’ll Automatically Make a Killing by Threatening to Sue
Some people think they don’t need to actually sue someone to get a big payout — they just need to threaten to sue. But it’s really not a good idea to go around making such threats without knowing that you have a case and could reasonably pursue compensation through the courts.
- Myth: You’re Signing Up for a Long Court Battle by Filing a Lawsuit
You should know that even if you do need to file a lawsuit, you won’t necessarily end up spending months in court. In fact, an extremely high percentage — in the high 90s — of personal injury cases end up settling at some point before the trial.
- Myth: You’re Eligible for “Pain and Suffering” If You Were in Pain
When people look at settlements or court-awarded damages, they’re often hoping to get a big payout based on “pain and suffering.” But you won’t necessarily get extra money simply because you experienced pain; it’s better to think of a claim or lawsuit as a way to get reimbursed for medical expenses. If you end up with a little extra money, that may be a help — but you shouldn’t go in expecting it.
- Myth: Lawyers Will Find You When You Have the Opportunity to Sue
Many people assume that if they should pursue a lawsuit, a lawyer with initiative will come to them. But accident injury attorneys are actually prohibited under professional conduct codes from directly contacting victims (a practice disparagingly called ambulance chasing). If you want to pursue an auto injury lawsuit, it will be up to you to seek out a good lawyer to guide you through that process.
Did any of this information surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments.