Common Misconceptions In Injury Claims

Table of Contents

    Injured due to someone else’s negligence? Perhaps a defective product caused a burn that required hospitalization. Maybe a dog bite left you with stitches and a fear of canines. If any of these happened to you, you might have grounds to file a personal injury claim.

    A personal injury claim allows you to seek financial compensation for your sustained damages. However, the process of filing and pursuing an injury claim is often misunderstood.

    Unfounded misconceptions and beliefs can cloud people’s judgment and prevent them from seeking the compensation they deserve. By separating fact from fiction, you can make informed decisions about your situation and take control of your recovery.

    Myths About Personal Injury Claims

    From cost-related concerns to settlement timelines, misconceptions can deter people from pursuing a legitimate personal injury case. Here are some of the most common myths about claims and lawsuits that accident victims should know about:

    It Takes A Long Time For An Injury Lawsuit To Be Resolved

    One widespread misconception revolves around the belief that personal injury cases drag on for years before a resolution is reached and compensation is obtained. You might think your case would languish in the legal system for a long time, leaving you in financial limbo while waiting. The truth is that the timeline for resolving injury claims depends on numerous factors. Some complicated cases take longer, while others can be resolved within a few months.

    Here are some examples of the factors that can influence the timeline of an injury claim:

    • Severity of Injuries – Minor injuries requiring limited treatment are generally resolved faster than severe or long-term medical conditions.
    • Liability Disputes – A clear-cut accident with undisputed fault typically moves through the process quicker than in situations where determining fault is complicated or contested by the involved parties.
    • Insurance Coverage – The at-fault party’s insurance coverage limits and the insurance company’s negotiation tactics can impact the settlement timeline.
    • Medical Records – Incomplete or delayed medical records can slow down the process as they establish the nature and extent of the injuries.
    • Witness Availability and Cooperation – Obtaining witness statements and securing their cooperation for potential depositions can add time to the claim.
    • Need for Expert Opinions – If specialists need to assess your injuries or provide expert opinions, the timeline might be extended to accommodate their involvement.
    Your Insurance Company Will Fully Compensate Your Injury

    Insurance agent showing initial offer to injured partyAfter an accident, the natural instinct might be to turn to an insurance company for help, believing that they’ll cover all related expenses. While this belief is comforting, it is unfortunately not always grounded in reality.

    Like most businesses, the insurance company’s primary goal is to minimize their payouts to increase profits. They employ claims adjusters and attorneys who will evaluate claims and try to limit the company’s liability. This is not to say that all insurance companies act in bad faith, but paying out claims affects their bottom line.

    As a result, you’ll most likely receive an initial offer that falls short of what you truly deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer can be your advocate when this happens. They understand insurance company tactics and can negotiate on your behalf, ensuring you receive compensation that reflects the full extent of your damages.

    The Other Party Will Have To Pay Out-Of-Pocket Damages

    Another common misconception surrounding personal injury claims is that the person responsible for your injuries will directly pay any awarded compensation. While they are ultimately liable, in most cases, their insurance company foots the bill.

    The reason insurance exists is precisely for situations like these. By paying premiums, individuals and businesses transfer the financial risk of accidents to the insurance company. When a claim is filed against an insured party, the insurance company steps in to handle the legal process and negotiations. This doesn’t absolve the at-fault party of responsibility for the accident, but it ensures you don’t have to chase them down for compensation.

    If You Only Have Mild Injuries, You Do Not Need An Attorney

    While severe or catastrophic injuries like third-degree burns or spinal cord damage certainly justify a claim, the reality is that even seemingly minor injuries can also qualify. The key factors are the presence of medical bills and the impact the injury has on your life.

    For instance, you had a slip-and-fall accident at a grocery store. You sustain a sprained ankle that requires X-rays, a walking boot (an orthopedic device for treating sprains, fractures, and tendon or ligament tears), and physical therapy sessions. While the injury itself might not seem life-altering, the associated medical costs can quickly add up. Filing a claim against the store’s insurance could help recover these expenses and ensure you’re not left financially burdened by another party’s negligence.

    The impact of an injury goes beyond just the physical. Even if your injury doesn’t require extensive medical intervention, it might cause pain and suffering that interfere with your ability to enjoy the activities you once did. Lost wages due to missed work days because of the injury can also be part of a personal injury claim. Mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety due to the accident can also be a valid cause for a claim.

    Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you assess your specific situation and determine if the impact of the injury warrants pursuing a claim. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice simply because your injury appears minor. You might be surprised to learn the full extent of recoverable damages associated with your case.

    You Can’t File A Claim If You Didn’t Go To The Doctor Right Away

    Getting medical attention after an accidentSeeking medical attention after an accident is definitely important. Not only does it ensure your health and well-being, but it also creates a crucial paper trail for your personal injury claim. Medical records establish a clear timeline of events, documenting the injuries sustained and linking them directly to the accident.

    However, there are situations where the severity of the injury might not be readily apparent. For example, whiplash, internal bleeding, or traumatic brain injuries can manifest symptoms hours or even days after the accident. Additionally, in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, shock can mask pain or hinder clear thinking, leading to a delay in seeking medical help.

    While prompt medical care is always advisable, a delay in seeing a doctor doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from filing a claim. However, it does make things more challenging. Here’s why:

    • The defense can argue a pre-existing condition – If you have a documented history of a similar medical issue, the at-fault party’s insurance company might try to argue that the current injury existed before the accident. Timely medical records can help establish a clear connection between the accident and your current health problems.
    • Weakened credibility – A significant delay in seeking medical attention can raise questions about the legitimacy of your claim. The longer the gap between the accident and the doctor’s visit, the more room there is for doubt about the cause of your injuries.

    An experienced personal injury attorney can assess your situation and advise you on the best action. They can help explain the potential impact of the delay and strategize to mitigate its effect on your claim.

    You Can’t File A Claim If The Accident Was Partially Your Fault

    One common misconception that deters a lot of people from filing a claim is the belief that any fault on their part automatically disqualifies them from receiving compensation. This isn’t true, especially in California, because the state follows a pure comparative negligence system. Under this system, an injured party can recover damages even if they are found to be partially at fault for the accident.

    For example, you got into a bicycle accident where you (the cyclist) and a car driver collided at an intersection. The court determined you were 30% at fault for not properly signaling a lane change, while the driver was 70% at fault for speeding and failing to yield. If your total damages amount to $100,000, pure comparative negligence allows you to recover 70% of that amount, which is $70,000.

    Personal Injury Claims Are Only For Car Accidents

    Dog BitesWhile car accidents are a frequent source of claims, personal injuries can occur in many different situations. Here are some examples:

    Injury Claims Are Too Expensive To Pursue

    Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront for their services. Instead, their fee is a percentage of your compensation if your case is successful. This arrangement eliminates the financial barrier for those hesitant to invest significant sums into a legal battle with uncertain outcomes.

    Under a contingency fee arrangement, injury lawyers share the risk with you. They put in the time and effort to build your case because a successful outcome will result in fair compensation for both you and them. This payment structure ensures access to legal representation, regardless of your current financial situation. So, if you’re wondering if hiring a personal injury lawyer is worth the money, remember: if the case isn’t successful, you owe them nothing.

    Furthermore, the contingency fee arrangement often covers court costs and other associated expenses. You don’t have to worry about getting hit with unexpected bills throughout the legal process. Your lawyer will handle these costs, eventually recouping them as a percentage of the final settlement or judgment.

    The fee typically ranges from 30% to 40%. The percentage depends on the specifics of your case, which stage it’s in, the lawyer you’re working with, and other factors. Make sure to discuss with your lawyer the exact percentage they will take. At Arash Law, we usually discuss our fees with our clients during the onboarding process.

    You Automatically Win A Personal Injury Case If You’re Injured

    To secure compensation, you (the plaintiff) must prove that the party you believe caused your injury (the defendant) acted negligently. Negligence, in legal terms, refers to the failure to exercise the care that a reasonable person would use under similar circumstances. To establish negligence, you need to show that these four elements are present:

    • Duty of Care – The defendant had a legal obligation to act with reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others.
    • Breach of Duty – The defendant failed to uphold their duty of care.
    • Causation – The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused your injury.
    • Damages – You suffered quantifiable losses as a result of your injury. This could include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other damages incurred due to the accident.
    If You’re Already Receiving Workers’ Compensation, You Can’t File A Personal Injury Claim

    In 2022, 522 people died from work-related injuries in California. Employers also reported 419,300 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. These figures demonstrate why California accounts for 24% of the country’s marketplace for workers’ compensation insurance.

    Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system designed to provide financial assistance to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of who caused the accident. The benefits typically cover medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation. However, workers’ compensation awards generally don’t include compensation for pain and suffering.

    While receiving workers’ compensation benefits might limit your ability to sue your employer directly, it doesn’t necessarily bar a personal injury claim against a third party. For example, you’re injured on the job due to a heavy machinery accident where the equipment malfunctioned. A third-party company manufactured the equipment. In this case, you could potentially receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer while simultaneously pursuing a personal injury claim against the manufacturer.

    If You’ve Been Injured, What Should You Do?

    Emergency responder assessing the injury after an accidentWhether you’ve been injured due to a truck accident, a rain-related slip-and-fall, or a sporting event like football, you should act promptly and take the right steps. In doing so, you can minimize potential complications and ensure optimal healing. Here’s what you need to do:

    1. Assess the severity of the injury. Not all injuries necessitate a visit to the emergency room or a doctor’s appointment. Minor cuts, scrapes, or muscle strains may heal well with home care. However, you should seek immediate medical care if you see the following signs: severe pain, visible deformity in the affected area, loss of function, and profuse or uncontrollable bleeding. A medical professional should promptly examine any injury or blow to the head, neck, and back.
    2. If you suspect a serious injury based on the criteria above, call emergency services immediately. For non-life-threatening situations, schedule an appointment with your doctor or visit an urgent care facility as soon as possible.
    3. Document the accident. Detailed records facilitate accurate diagnosis and treatment by medical professionals. Comprehensive documentation also serves as valuable evidence in case you decide to file a claim or lawsuit later on. Take clear and well-lit photos of the injured area as soon as possible after the incident. Additionally, take pictures of the surrounding scene if the injury resulted from an accident or a specific situation (e.g. a wet floor in case of a slip and fall).
    4. File a police report if your injury resulted from an accident, assault, or criminal activity.
    5. Contact your insurance company and report the incident. Notify them of the injury and initiate the claims process as per their guidelines.
    6. Consulting injury attorneys in California. An attorney can advise you of your rights, represent you in legal proceedings, and get you compensated for your losses.

    Common Mistakes To Avoid In Personal Injury Claims

    While seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses may seem straightforward, there are hidden pitfalls that can significantly weaken your case. Here are some of them:

    Failing To Gather Evidence To Support Your Claim

    In a personal injury case, you, the injured party, have the “burden of proof.” You must convince the insurance company, court, or jury that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries. Strong evidence helps you meet this burden by clearly demonstrating what happened, how it happened, and how it resulted in your injuries.

    Certain pieces of evidence also help determine liability and how much compensation you need. Witness statements and police reports can establish fault in an accident. Medical bills, income statements, and expert testimony regarding future medical needs demonstrate the full extent of your damages and ensure a fair settlement or court award.

    Missing Doctor’s Appointments Or Disobeying Their Instructions

    Consistent attendance at appointments and adherence to instructions show the insurance company and, if necessary, the court that you’re taking your recovery seriously. On the other hand, missing appointments or neglecting instructions can be misconstrued as a lack of commitment to healing. The opposing party can use your actions to argue that your injuries are less serious than you claim, potentially leading to a lower settlement offer or even a case dismissal.

    Discussing The Claim With Uninvolved People

    Never volunteer unnecessary information apart from the actual facts of the accident. Casual conversations with people can lead to misunderstandings. Your seemingly harmless comment about your case, even with good intentions, could be misinterpreted by the opposing party. They can twist your words or paint an inaccurate picture of the situation.

    Additionally, the insurance company might downplay the severity of your injuries by using unrelated social media posts about your activities. For example, a picture of you hiking a trail after claiming a leg injury could raise questions about the legitimacy of your claim. Essentially, try to keep a low profile while the claim process is underway.

    Accepting The First Settlement Offer

    Woman checking the insurance offerBefore you sign on the dotted line, you should know that the first offer is rarely the best offer. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing payouts, and their initial settlement is strategically low, hoping you’ll accept it without considering the full impact of your injuries.

    In addition to that, rushing to accept the first offer can be a costly mistake, especially in the case of injuries that don’t manifest right away or accidents that have lasting consequences.

    Going Through The Claims Process Alone

    A self-sufficient approach can significantly weaken your case and ultimately cost you more in the long run. Insurance companies have vast resources and experienced legal teams at their disposal. Facing them alone can be intimidating and disadvantageous. A personal injury attorney can counter their tactics and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. An attorney can also represent you in court, presenting your case effectively and maximizing your chances of a favorable outcome.

    Get Legal And Professional Advice From Award-Winning California Personal Injury Lawyers

    Misconceptions about personal injury claims can be a major roadblock to getting the compensation you deserve. Talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer can help clear up your confusion and answer any questions you might have. They’ll analyze your case thoroughly, develop a strategic plan, and fight to hold the responsible party accountable.

    Don’t let misconceptions obstruct your path to justice. Our personal injury lawyers, led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., have a remarkable track record with over $500 Million recovered for our esteemed clients. Call us today at (888) 488-1391 for a free case evaluation.

    At Arash Law, our expertise spans various areas of personal injury law. We proudly offer our services across multiple locations in California, including Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Bakersfield, Fresno, Anaheim, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Ana, Oceanside, Santa Rosa, Glendale, Fremont, San Bernardino, and Visalia, among others.

    You May Be Entitled to Compensation
    Arash Law Practice Area Border/Divider
    We’ll tell you if you have a case or not within five minutes, call (888) 488-1391

    DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

    Check More From Our Award-Winning Law Firm

    Table of Contents Larry H. Parker, a name synonymous with personal injury law in Los Angeles, became an icon through his distinct approach to legal advertising. His passing on March 6, 2024, at age 75, marked the end of an...

    Believe it or not, driving in California without shoes is entirely legal. While many Americans believe it is illegal to drive barefoot, no laws in the United States require drivers to wear footwear while on the road. The dangers of driving...
    When bills pile up after an injury, the idea of a settlement to cover your losses can seem like a dream come true. The good news is most personal injury settlements in California are not taxable. In rare cases, you...

    Thank You, We’ll contact you shortly.