When you suffer injuries in a serious accident, one of the worst mistakes you can make is relying on inaccurate information. Traumatic injuries can be incredibly expensive, and they can negatively impact virtually all aspects of your life—potentially for years to come. As a Columbus personal injury lawyer, I hear stories all the time about accident victims who wish they had known the truth about asserting their legal rights.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate information out there. Some of this information is true in certain states but not in Ohio. But there is also a lot of information online that is just flat-out wrong. To ensure that you are making informed decisions about your personal injury claim, here are five common myths and the truth behind them:
MYTH #1: If You Don’t Take Action Immediately, You Won’t Be Able to File a Successful Claim
Truth: While it is important to take action as soon as possible, you can still file a successful claim if you needed time to recover.
Suffering serious injuries in a traumatic accident is a big deal. It takes time to process what happened, and if you need emergency medical care, you may spend days (or weeks) in the hospital before you get to go home. For these reasons, many accident victims simply aren’t able to take action immediately to protect their legal rights.
To be clear, after an accident, you should take action as soon as possible. Unnecessary delays can make it more difficult to assert your legal rights in some cases. But, in Ohio, accident victims typically have up to two years to file a claim. So, even if it has been days, weeks or even months since your accident, you should still speak with a Columbus personal injury lawyer about filing a claim.
MYTH #2: You Can Only Receive Financial Compensation Up to the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Limit
Truth: The at-fault party’s coverage limit isn’t necessarily the maximum amount you can recover after a serious accident.
In most cases, filing a personal injury claim after an accident in Ohio involves dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company. All insurance policies have coverage limits, which set the maximum amount that the insurance company is contractually obligated to pay.
While the at-fault party’s coverage limit will effectively cap accident victims’ financial recoveries in some cases, in many cases, it will not. Examples of scenarios in which additional financial compensation may be available include:
- The at-fault party was working at the time of the accident
- The at-fault party’s insurance company attempts to deny your claim in bad faith
- Multiple parties share liability for the accident
- You have insurance coverage that applies under the circumstances at hand
When you hire an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will evaluate all potential sources of financial recovery. Then, based on the claim (or claims) you can file, your lawyer will seek the maximum compensation that is available.
MYTH #3: The Insurance Companies Will Never Offer a Fair Settlement
Truth: Insurance settlements are common, and an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer can work to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf.
It’s true that the insurance companies are not on your side. As an accident victim, it is up to you to make sure you receive the financial compensation you deserve. But, many insurance claims do settle, and you can obtain a fair settlement with an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer representing you.
But you can’t expect the insurance companies to offer a fair settlement right away. If you receive an early settlement offer, it will almost certainly be for much less than you deserve. As a result, you need to be patient, avoid falling for the insurance companies’ tactics, and make sure you don’t settle until you know how much you are entitled to recover.
MYTH #4: There is Nothing You Can Do to Make Sure You Receive a Fair Settlement
Truth: You can (and should) play an active role in the insurance settlement process.
As an accident victim, it is easy to feel helpless when dealing with the insurance companies. But, you are not at their mercy. By taking care of your medical needs, prioritizing your recovery and working with an experienced lawyer, you can significantly improve your chances of receiving a fair settlement.
Of course, not all claims are settled. In some cases, accident victims will need to go to court to assert their right to just compensation. Your lawyer can help you decide when this step is necessary—and, in many cases, showing that you are prepared to go to court will help spur good-faith settlement negotiations.
MYTH #5: Hiring a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer is Expensive
Truth: Hiring a Columbus personal injury lawyer is one of the most important steps you can take to maximize your financial recovery.
Many people believe that hiring a lawyer is expensive—and some lawyers do charge high hourly rates. But, personal injury lawyers do not. Personal injury lawyers represent their clients “on contingency,” which means their clients pay nothing at all unless they win.
Not only isn’t hiring a Columbus personal injury lawyer expensive, but it is one of the best things you can do to maximize your take-home compensation. Even taking your legal fees into account, an experienced lawyer will be able to help you seek more than you could reasonably expect to collect from the insurance companies on your own. As a result, it is strongly in your best interests to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you.
Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Consultation with a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer
Would you like to know more about what you can expect when you file a personal injury claim in Ohio? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm, call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can reach you online today.