5 Lawsuit Myths: Tall Tales from Court
April 24, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Our favorite shows endlessly dramatize court cases. News stories amp up legal conflicts with hints of scandal. Online clicks open archives of court decisions to public view while sites promise background checks for people you barely know. As fact and fiction intertwine, many assumptions that people make about personal injury lawsuits just aren’t accurate. They’re lawsuit myths, and we’re setting the record straight.
- 1. Myth: You can sue anyone for anything. The American belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness leads many people to believe that a lawsuit is the answer to every disagreement. This, in turn, has led to a misperception that every day, our court system slogs through nothing but trivial case after trivial case.
In truth, lawsuits takes time, effort, persistence and resources. It also requires a genuine legal conflict or claim that a court can resolve. That’s what many attorneys are trying to learn when they offer a free consultation. They’re determining whether a potential client has a valid claim that they can prove. Plus, there’s nothing trivial about medical bills or lost wages—the necessities that most attorneys are fighting for.
- 2. Myth: An out-of-court settlement is always better than going to court. Many people believe that a potential defendant will give them a great settlement deal to avoid going to court.
In truth, that defendant is usually an insurance company or commercial firm staffed with seasoned corporate lawyers. They know juries can be unpredictable. They also know that time, effort and resources invested in a trial can be so costly to a plaintiff that it makes the prospect of going to trial a difficult choice.
- 3. Myth: Insurance premiums are rising because people are filing more lawsuits. This myth feeds off of the first myth—that frivolous lawsuits are filling the courts. The erroneous idea is that insurance companies are having to spend money on lawyers to defend themselves against demands for exorbitant settlements, so they fund their defense with increased premiums.
In truth, insurance premiums are wholly dependent on the members within an insurance group and their risk numbers. As roads and highways grow more congested, the frequency of accidents and accompanying negligence cases also increase. Actuaries use those factors in calculating risk for insurance groups based on age, sex and location, for example.
If particular group members are at fault or exhibit more cases of negligence, premiums for their entire group will rise. Plaintiffs pressing lawsuits don’t raise premiums, and lawsuits aren’t making rates climb. Negligence is.
- 4. Myth: Victims do just fine representing themselves. Some people fear that they can’t afford a lawyer. Others think that they’ll save themselves some money. Living in the era of YouTube, DIY and the mobile apps, people are tempted to handle legal actions and negotiations themselves.
In truth, personal injury lawsuits can be both emotionally and technically demanding. For the opposition, your injury is just another expense that will need extensive documentation to justify and control. For you, your bills and damage estimates are a baseline, but for the opposition, they’re a ceiling. Getting past that ceiling often requires expert testimony, knowledge of exactly what is at stake and lots of hard work.
Throughout the process, a missed deadline, an unwise conversation or failure to properly exercise victim’s rights can easily hurt an otherwise valid claim. Many people who start out thinking that they can do it themselves suddenly find that they’ve taken on more than they’re honestly qualified or able to handle.
- 5. Myth: Nice people don’t file personal injury lawsuits. Many of us learn as children to always be polite, to never make a scene, and to always say please and thank you. In some people’s minds, taking legal action against someone who harmed you—a negligent driver, physician, an employer, a caregiver, a perfect stranger—to demand compensation contains elements of greed and revenge.
In truth, most people file personal injury lawsuits because they have no other choice. Someone did something they shouldn’t have, or someone failed to do something they should have. Whichever it was, a victim got hurt, and the person or company responsible would rather pretend that it just didn’t happen.
Meanwhile, injuries can put a victim in an ICU for weeks and rehab for months. Their car may have been totaled. They may never be able to hold the job or earn the wage that they did before. As medical expenses and other damages pile up next to the mortgage and everyday costs of living, the families who depend on a victim don’t simply disappear. For most victims, compensation equates to survival.
The Truth About Personal Injury Lawsuits
The misconceptions about personal injury lawsuits are endless, but one of the worst is that all personal injury attorneys are the same. Here at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik, every victim’s story is unique. We’re here to listen so that we can do everything possible to make sure you receive the full compensation due.
If you’ve suffered harm because of someone’s negligence and they want to pretend it didn’t happen, visit our website, or call us at 800-356-6776.