Myth #1: If I was in an accident. I should exaggerate my injuries. My friend's knows a doctor and if I go to him, I'll get a good settlement.
Faking or exaggerating injuries is the best way to destroy your personal injury case. Insurance companies routinely employ private investigators who may videotape you going about your daily business. If you claim that you are on crutches three months after your car crash, and the private investigator films you bounding up your front steps, if you claim you're in constant pain and the private investigator films you playing softball in the park, you can kiss any financial recovery goodbye. The insurance company will never settle with you for more than a fraction of what you might have gotten if you played it straight. If you have go to trial, jurors will see right through you and will punish fakers with defendant's verdicts or very small financial awards.
Never understate you're the impact the injuries have had upon your life, but get back to
work as soon as you safely can, and don't exaggerate your injuries or you will wreck
Myth #2: Any lawyer can handle my personal injury case.The insurance companies always settle these cases anyway so I'll use my divorce attorney
The Truth: If you've been hurt because of the negligence of another person, you won't
obtain the money that you deserve unless you hire a lawyer who is experienced in
handling serious personal injury cases. Proving who is at fault, understanding your
injuries, conducting discovery, retaining the right experts and preparing your case for trial are very different skills from those used in legal matters unrelated to personal injury.
Myth #3: If someone from the insurance company of the party that hurt me calls me, I don't need to be afraid to talk to him.
The Truth: Never talk to a caller from the other party's insurance company, except to tell them that you are represented by a lawyer and to call him, or tell the adjuster that you will be retaining an attorney. The insurance adjuster who is calling you is not on your side. The adjuster is trying to obtain some information that will help his company save money and not settle with you for the real value of your injuries.
Myth #4: I was in an accident prior to this one. I don't have to tell my lawyer about it. No one will ever know about it so why bring it up?
The Truth: You and your lawyer are in the case together. Your lawyer needs to know
about any previous injuries that you may have had. If you were treated at a hospital or
with a doctor, the insurance company almost certainly knows about it. Insurance
companies have a centralized computer system that keeps track of people who received insurance money to pay for medical treatment. Your attorney needs to know about any prior accident or injuries that you have sustained so he can be prepared when the insurance company brings it up.
Myth #5: I was in a car accident after I had just lost my job and all my medical benefits. Since I don't have medical coverage, I can't get treatment.
The Truth: Just because you don't have medical coverage doesn't mean that you will be
unable to receive medical treatment. In New York State, if you are injured in a car
accident, you are entitled to receive medical benefits. Insurance companies are required to pay for your medical care and treatment, even if you were at fault for the accident.
Myth #6: I don't really need a lawyer. If I talk to the insurance company and explain my case, they will make a reasonable offer and I'll save fees.
The Truth: The insurance adjuster is not trying to be fair and reasonable. In fact, they
are trying to be just the opposite. They will try to settle your case for the least amount of
money, no matter how hurt you are. Unless the insurance company is convinced that you are represented by an experienced personal injury attorney and that you are willing to take your case to trial, you will never get a fair settlement. A study by the Insurance Research Council found that injured people using lawyers in personal injury claims received more money than those without lawyers, even after paying the lawyer's fees!
Myth #7: The more money that I demand from the insurance adjuster, the more money they will settle for.
The Truth: Insurance adjusters spend all day everyday evaluating how much a personal
injury case is worth. Sometimes they get it wrong, but they usually have a good sense of
what a case is worth. Some insurance companies even have complex computer programs that evaluate the value of a case. Determining how much to demand is a balancing act for an injured person's lawyer. If your lawyer asks for too little, he risks leaving money on the table. lf he asks for too much, he risks looking inexperienced or unreasonable, in which case the insurance company is unlikely to offer any money to settle your case. An attorney experienced with serious personal injury cases will make a demand that accurately reflects the impact the injuries have had on your life. It shows that he knows the personal injury business, and that he knows that his demand must be backed up with evidence to present to a jury should the case go to trial.
Myth #8: There is no need for me to hurry if I've been seriously hurt in an accident. I have heard that you have 3 years to file so no need to rush.
The Truth: You should hire a New York car accident lawyer as soon as you are able to do so. If you are too
seriously injured to find a lawyer experienced with serious personal injury cases, you
should have a friend or a family member begin the search for you. The best time for a
lawyer to preserve important evidence in the case, such as the testimony of witnesses and photographs of the accident scene, is as soon as possible after the accident happens. Over time, the key witnesses may move and are harder to find and interview. Their memories may fade; Roadways or building interiors and exteriors may change, making it more difficult to reconstruct the way the scene looked at the time of the accident. While you are procrastinating, I can guarantee that investigators for the insurance company are attempting to obtain favorable witness statements and gathering other important evidence. If you have been seriously hurt in an accident, it is imperative that you retain an experienced personal injury law.
Myth #9: I was in a car accident on my way to work. Since I couldn't be late, I didn't wait for the police. I'm sure that wont be a problem.
The Truth: Once you leave the accident scene, you will have no way to prove that you
were actually involved in a car accident. If the accident didn't leave your car with much
damage, the driver of the other car may not report the accident to his insurance company.Without a police report, it's your word against the other driver -- who do you think the insurance company is going to believe? I can tell you that it won't be you.
Myth #10: I was in a car accident a couple of days ago and my neck hurts. I am sure that the pain will go away so I don't need to see a doctor.
The Truth: If you were involved in a car accident and are feeling pain, you should see
your doctor immediately. The true extent of your injuries isn't always apparent
immediately after the accident. It may take a few days for you to realize how hurt you are
and a delay may cause further injury. If you didn't seek medical treatment immediately
after the accident, the insurance company will use this against you to say that your pain
wasn't caused by the accident. They will try to settle your case for pennies on the dollar
because you didn't seek immediate medical treatment.
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