Common Misconceptions About Personal Injury Suits

August 13, 2020

If you haven’t been through law school and taken the bar exam, chances are that you’re harboring some misconceptions about personal injury suits. People who roll their eyes at the lady who sued McDonald’s because “her coffee was too hot” overlook or aren’t privy to details like the fact that she suffered third-degree burns on her thighs and required skin grafts—the coffee was dangerously hot.

Personal judgment about cases aside, there are plenty of common misconceptions in Santa Rosa, CA about the practice of law, especially personal injury. It’s neither a guaranteed payday nor a way for unscrupulous plaintiffs to rob people of their hard-earned money. Here is the truth behind some of the most common misconceptions:

  • MYTH – You can file a suit whenever you want: Unfortunately, the best time to file a personal injury suit is right after the injury occurs. You’ve probably heard of the statute of limitations, which is the justice system’s way to ensure that there is a finite time during which individuals and businesses can be liable for damages. In personal injury cases, that time limit is usually within a year or two—consult a lawyer right away.
  • MYTH – You’re guaranteed a payout: Unfortunately, not everyone who is injured in an accident is guaranteed to recover money. This usually depends on who is at fault, whether the plaintiff has any contributory negligence and whether insurance can cover the amount the plaintiff is entitled to. No personal injury case is a slam dunk, but there are certainly some that are more likely to recover than others.
  • MYTH – Your case will be decided at trial: Most personal injury cases are decided out of court. Trials are expensive, lengthy and emotionally difficult for the parties involved. If you file a personal injury suit and settle out of court, don’t be disappointed—you may be far better off in the long run.
  • MYTH – You won’t recover any damages if you were partially at fault: You might think that because you had a hand in your accident, you can’t recover damages for what you suffered. That’s not true. Today, courts determine liability based on percentages. If you were looking to recover $50,000 in damages and the court finds that you were 10 percent at fault, your recovery would be docked by that 10 percent. In this example, you would walk away with $45,000, minus attorney’s fees.
  • MYTH – Plaintiffs are just faking it: Like the McDonald’s referenced above, many people think that frivolous lawsuits are more of a problem than they actually are. Rest assured that the standard of proof to file—and continue—a case is far stricter than laypeople realize. You can file just about any case you want, but the truly frivolous get dismissed immediately.
  • MYTH – Insurance will make up for a lawsuit: Finally, don’t depend on your insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries, loss of work and other damages.

Don’t suffer from misconceptions about personal injury suits in Santa Rosa, CA—talk to an attorney from the Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc. today.

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