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Five Myths About Personal Injury Law

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January 05, 2018
Edward Smith


Five Myths About Personal Injury Law

When you are injured by negligence of any kind, you have the right to be compensated for the damages. However, the at-fault party and sometimes even the insurance company may hesitate or try to evade responsibility. Personal injury law is a tool that helps the injured party obtain what is rightfully theirs. Over time, several myths have been propagated about what personal injury law can do and whether or not it is needed. Let’s take a look at five of the most prominent ones.

Myth: I’m Insured So I Don’t Need a Lawyer

This is a common myth because those who have insurance often make this mistake. Insurance companies do not work for the insured and enjoy roughly $30 billion or more in profits annually. They work to increase their own bottom line. Insurance adjusters are charged with seeking out ways to pay less on even established payments or to deny or delay paying out. Since California is an at-fault state, much of this involves proving that the insured victim was responsible, at least in part, for the accident. Tricks such as getting the victim to participate in a recorded statement where they may sound apologetic for the accident are common.

Insurers often rely on the victim’s desire to put the accident behind them. Additionally, they recognize that being out of work after an accident makes it difficult to keep on top of bills. This is particularly true with the avalanche of medical bills that follow accident-related injuries. The initial offer made by the insurer may be much less than what is actually needed. Without the assistance of a legal representative, it is easy to collect far less that what is actually owed.

Myth: My Injuries Were Minor, So I Don’t Have to Worry

Even minor injuries can cost a good deal of money. Let’s say that you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2017 and suffered a gash on an extremity and a blow to the head. You were taken to an ER to evaluate and treat symptoms. The ER performed a CT scan, and the ER physician sutured your arm.

In 2017, this could add up to thousands of dollars. The average ER visit for this is between $400 and $800, providing you did not complain of neurological signs and symptoms such as a headache. A CT scan costs on the low end $450 but can reach $850. Some facilities charge even more for a doctor to interpret the test. Suturing a laceration can add another $200. Doctors generally bill themselves.

However, a blow to the head, even a minor one, can cause bleeding in the space between a surface membrane and the brain, causing a subdural hematoma. In older individuals, this can take up to 30 days to develop and may be caused by only a slight impact. The treatment for a subdural is usually surgery. The cost for this can range between $50,000 and $100,000 not including doctor fees, anesthesia and other additional services.

If you decide not to engage an experienced personal injury lawyer, you might accept an early settlement from an insurance company. This is problematic, since once the settlement is accepted, you cannot be reimbursed for problems that show up later.

Myth: Talking to a Lawyer Will Only Add to My Cost for the Accident

Personal injury attorneys charge for their services after the case has settled or won in court. This is called a contingency fee. Personal injury lawyers see enough cases to know you are struggling to pay your bills after an accident. They do not want to add to that misery.

In addition to that, a free consultation is offered from the outset. This enables the lawyer to evaluate your case and give you the options open to you. The consultation is not obligatory, meaning that you can walk away and not take the advice you were given.

Myth: The Negligent Party Has to Pay For My Damages

This is not always the case. In most accidents, it is the negligent party’s insurance that pays. Given insurance company reluctance to pay, this myth is not true. Even if the responsible party has to pay, the likelihood in California that the driver is underinsured or not insured is high. This means that an insurance payment will cover only part of the total cost or nothing at all.

Myth: I Can Always File Against the Negligent Party

This is not true. In California, there is a limit as to time you can file a lawsuit. If the time between an accident goes over this limit, you will be unable to file. In most cases, the limitation is two years from the time the accident happened. However, if the negligent party is a city, state or other governmental party, you only have six month to file a claim. If you miss that opportunity, a lawsuit can not be filed if the claim was denied.

Natomas Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Natomas personal injury lawyer. If you are injured in an accident or if you slip and fall at a federal building, you need to talk to an attorney who works on a contingency basis. Call me at (916) 921-6400 locally and (800) 404-5400 outside of the area for friendly and free advice. If it is easier for you, contact me online.

Over the 35 years I have practiced as an injury lawyer, I have helped clients with wrongful death cases and traumatic brain injuries.

Go to This is the website of a nationwide group of trial lawyers who have won $1 million or more for clients. I am a member from the state of California.

Before you retain a lawyer, you need to know about their practice. Go to Avvo, Yelp, Google and my verdicts and settlements page to see what I did for clients.

I built and own to give clients a comprehensive source of information about personal injury law.

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