Common Myths About Personal Injury Cases
March 10, 2022 | Personal Injury
Falls, car wrecks, medical mistakes, environmental poisonings, and other unintentional injuries claimed over 200,000 American lives in 2020. Usually, these incidents are not accidents. Instead, negligence, or a lack of care, usually causes such injuries.
Even if these victims survive, they can sustain serious injuries, like broken bones, head injuries, and internal injuries.
The average injury-related hospital bill usually exceeds $50,000. Most health insurance companies refuse to pay injury-related costs. Therefore, these victims and families could be financially responsible for these charges.
A New York personal injury attorney usually keeps that from happening. Attorneys have professional relationships with doctors who focus on injury-related matters.
So, lawyers can easily connect victims with top-notch doctors. Usually, these doctors charge nothing upfront for their services. Later down the road, an attorney obtains maximum compensation for your serious injuries in court.
Despite all these facts, some persistent myths about personal injury cases remain.
I wasn’t badly hurt
Most injury victims say the same thing to themselves, especially after a car crash.
Adrenaline masks pain in many of the injuries mentioned above, like broken bones and serious abrasions. Additionally, as for head injuries, the brain often conceals its own injuries.
For that reason, athletes with serious concussions often ask their coaches to immediately put them back in the lineup.
Whiplash is another example. Initial symptoms of this head-neck injury, such as soreness and stiffness, mimic car crash shock symptoms.
Making matters worse, whiplash is a soft tissue injury. Many diagnostic tests, like X-ray machines, do not detect it. As a result, many whiplash victims do not get the immediate treatment they need.
By the time they see doctors, their injuries are much more advanced, and could be much more difficult to treat.
The lesson here is clear. Even if you do not “feel” injured, always submit to a medical examination.
First aid from a paramedic at the accident scene doesn’t count. Only a highly qualified doctor who focuses on injury-related matters can determine the extent of your injuries.
It’s not worth it to hire a lawyer
Yes, most attorneys take a percentage of a settlement as payment for their legal services.
Assume Victor slips and falls on black ice outside a grocery store and he is seriously injured. His medical bills and other expenses total $50,000.
If he settles with the insurance company without a lawyer, that’s the most he will get.
Since the insurance company will most likely contest that amount, the settlement could be less.
Most likely, an attorney would ask for about $100,000, to compensate Victor for his pain and suffering.
The two sides split the difference and settle for $75,000. Victor pays his lawyer $18,750 (25 percent) and he pays his doctor bill. That leaves him with $6,250.
Victor might end up with more money in his pocket.
An attorney can negotiate with providers and convince them to reduce their fees. That could affect the settlement amount. New York’s collateral source rule is rather complex.
Lawyers take too long to settle cases
Of course, it could take time to settle injury cases. Settlement negotiations cannot begin in earnest until medical treatment is at least substantially complete.
If the case settles before then, the settlement amount might not fully take all probable future medical expenses into account. Since it’s almost impossible to reopen a closed case, the victim might be financially responsible for these charges.
Additionally, insurance company lawyers usually drag their feet. Or they present unreasonable settlement offers.
During mediation, which occurs late in the process, insurance company lawyers cannot pull these stunts. They have a legal duty to negotiate in good faith.
The insurance company will do the right thing
No matter what insurance company commercials imply, the insurance company is not “a good neighbor” who “is on your side.”
Assume Reynaldo breaks his leg in a car wreck. Since he has a pre-existing condition, his pain level is very high, and he doesn’t respond well to physical therapy.
But the insurance company cares nothing about Reynaldo or the facts of his case. Instead, they use universal guidelines to set compensation in these cases. These guidelines don’t take individual variations into account.
If Reynaldo handles the case on his own, he must accept whatever the insurance company offers. If Reynaldo has an attorney, he will most likely get the compensation he needs and deserves, based on the facts of his case.
Injury victims are normally entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. There are no upfront fees and we only recover a fee when we win your case.
How Can We Help?
Do you need assistance with a legal matter? Our attorneys have the experience needed to guide you in the right direction.