Top 5 Personal Injury Lawsuit Myths
There are a lot of myths floating around out there about personal injury lawsuits. These misconceptions can make the process of being injured even more frustrating.
Our team has debunked some of the more common myths we see. Take a look:
Myth # 1: If I get hurt on somebody else’s property, they are automatically responsible.
Reality: The property owner is only liable if the owner knew (or should have known) about an unsafe condition, or breached a duty in a way that led to your injuries.
- Neglected or hidden tripping hazards, leaking pipes, or property in poor repair are the types of negligence that can lead to an injury where the property owner may be found at fault.
On the other hand, it is not the property owner’s fault if you lose your footing because you were intoxicated or looking at your phone.
- Bad weather. Nobody can prevent weather from happening, and the natural accumulation of rain, snow, and ice is not considered negligence in and of itself. If you are out in bad weather, you are expected to take “reasonable care.” Meaning, be careful and wear appropriate footwear.
However, if a property owner has a duty to mitigate natural accumulation (i.e., by local ordinance or a contract) and ignores it, or if their mitigation efforts make the situation worse, they might be responsible for the injuries that happen as a result.
MYTH #2: The defendant’s insurance company is required to pay for my medical treatment up front.
Reality: A party in a case is not required to pay for anything absent a settlement or a court judgment after a personal injury lawsuit. Even when an insurance company fully admits that their insured is at fault that does not obligate them to pay for your medical treatment on an ongoing basis. In fact, insurance companies often do not pay for anything until all medical treatments are complete.
Sometimes, a policy will have a no-fault medical payment rider (“med pay”) that can pay for treatment as it is incurred. Med pay is usually limited in amount (typically $5,000 or less).
Myth #3: If the other driver or property owner was at fault, I am automatically entitled to pain and suffering.
Reality: Injured plaintiffs have to prove pain and suffering. An insurance company can (and often will) admit to their insured being at fault. That does not mean they have to admit you were injured.
If you were injured because somebody was negligent, you have to prove it. The burden is on you.
Myth # 4: I didn’t immediately go to the hospital from the scene of the accident, so I don’t have a case.
Reality: There is no legal requirement that you go straight to the hospital right after a fall or a motor vehicle accident. In fact, lots of people won’t notice pain until several hours or even days after the accident.
Still, you should seek medical attention as soon as you think you may be injured. The more time that passes after the accident, the harder it is to prove your injuries are related to it.
Myth # 5: Hiring a lawyer means I have to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Reality: Most cases will not go to trial. As lawyers, we want the best possible outcome for each client. Sometimes this means we need to file a lawsuit but, more often, it means the case is settled before trial.
Every case is unique. If you have any questions, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. They will be able to evaluate your case and offer advice on your options.
If you’d like to learn more, contact a member of the Brown & Crouppen legal team. Our lawyers and paralegals have years of experience in personal injury. Call for a free, confidential consultation at 1-800-536-4357 or submit your request using our online form.