Personal Injury Myths Debunked. Everyone from state senators to Terry at your local bar can have significant misconceptions about personal injuries and the claims process. They might think the plaintiffs are frivolous, that personal injury lawyers are greedy or they may just have honest misconceptions about the claims process. At Burger Law, we don't think it's greedy or frivolous to seek fair compensation for your injuries, and we're more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. We are based in St. Louis and Chicago, and serve the injured throughout Missouri and Illinois. Call us today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form for a free consultation.
If you were injured through the negligence of another in Missouri or Illinois, see how much your claim may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.
Debunked: Top 7 Myths About Personal Injury Claims
1. It's Not Worth Speaking to a Lawyer or Filing a Claim if My Injuries Are Minor
If you only sustained some bumps and bruises and never sought medical attention, then it may be true that it's not worth your time filing a claim. But that doesn't mean you have to be catastrophically injured to file a claim. A whiplash injury or sprained ankle can still lead to medical bills, lost wages and other losses that you need to be compensated for. It's always a good idea to seek medical treatment even if you don't think your injuries are severe.
2. Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Only Cost Me Money in the End
This is a common claim made by insurance companies who don't want you to hire an attorney. With minor injuries, it may not be worth it to hire an attorney, as we won't be able to add much value to your claim. But if your injuries are more severe, it's almost always worth it to get an attorney. According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, claimants who hire a personal injury lawyer receive a settlement 3.5 times greater than people who do not. In a recent case, Burger Law's car accident lawyers were able to secure a $100,000 settlement for a client in St. Louis after we filed a lawsuit. Before we filed the lawsuit, the insurance company's highest offer was only $3,900.
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means we take a percentage of your final compensation as our attorneys' fees, only after you are compensated, and not unless we win your case. There's no financial risk in hiring an attorney.
3. Personal Injury Claimants Are Greedy
There's an idea some people have that if you seek compensation because a distracted driver injured you, or because you slipped and fell in a restaurant, that you're just looking to get rich. It's easy to say that if you haven't sustained an injury just because someone else decided to break the rules. But we know the fear and confusion caused by having to pay for rising medical bills while you're missing time off work. You shouldn't have to carry that burden.
The idea of compensation in personal injury cases is to make one whole. That means to put you in the same position as you were before, not unfairly make you rich. If the accident caused physical hardships and emotional distress, the negligent party or insurance adjuster can't make that go away, so personal injury claims include financial compensation for pain and suffering to make up for it. Seeking justice isn't greedy — it's your right.
4. We Need Tort Reform
Insurance companies don't just try to unfairly disrupt a settlement negotiation. They spend a lot of money pushing for tort reform in state legislatures. Tort reform is an attempt to curtail what damages you can receive compensation for, how much you can receive in compensation, and pass other laws making it easier for insurance companies to deny claims and harder for plaintiffs to get full compensation.
The myth they're pushing is that many civil lawsuits are frivolous and the plaintiffs don't really need that much to recover. Nothing could be further from the truth. The 7th Amendment of the United State Constitution guarantees your right to a jury trial to seek just compensation for your injuries. You don't have the right to ask for 150 percent of your damages, just like an insurance company shouldn't only pay you 50 percent.
5. People With Insurance Don't Need to Hire a Lawyer
It'd be nice to think that the insurance company you've been paying into for years would hold up their end of the bargain when you finally need their help. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Insurance adjusters' main goal, whether they work for your insurance company or the negligent party's, is to pay out as little as possible. Hiring an attorney is often the only way to get an insurance company to be fair.
6. Suing Someone Will Ruin Their Life
Some people may be hesitant to file a claim because they don't want the other person to suffer for what could have been an honest mistake. Maybe you were in a car accident caused by a family member or friend, you slipped at your friend's restaurant or you don't want a doctor to lose their practice even though they violated the standard of care.
There are a couple important things to remember when it comes to filing personal injury claims:
- You never have to feel badly about seeking compensation for your injuries. All you are asking for is what's fair. While your friend's car insurance premium might go up slightly, filing a claim isn't going to cause them any major harm.
- You are suing the insurance company, not the person. It's the insurance company's responsibility to compensate you, and that's who we take legal action against when they refuse to do so fairly.
When you hire an attorney, we'll be the ones communicating with the other party, so you don't have to feel like you're in an awkward situation.
7. The Courts Are Bogged Down Because of Personal Injury Claims
Proponents of tort reform like to say that these "frivolous" injury claims are slowing down the court system. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the National Center for State Courts, personal injury cases have declined by 25 percent since 1999, and only seven percent of cases in civil courts are personal injury cases.
Ninety-four percent of personal injury cases are settled before trial and never make it to court. If the courts are being bogged down, it's not because people want to be compensated for their injuries.
Contact a Missouri and Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer
Through all the misconceptions and myths, one thing is certain: you deserve to be made whole again and receive full compensation for your injuries. Over our 30 years of dedicated service, we have secured our clients over $180 million in verdicts and settlements. Speak to a personal injury lawyer today at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online to discuss your case for free.