If you were hurt in an accident, whether it was a slip and fall or car crash, you may think you understand how a personal injury claim like yours works because of the news or what has happened with friends and family. But getting information about these types of cases from anyone other than an attorney can mean you are sent down the wrong path or have expectations that will never be met. To learn the best way to handle your accident, call the Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates P.A..
Myth No. 1: Insurance Will Pay
One of the most common ways for an accident victim to recover is from another person or business’s insurance. This is particularly true in auto accidents when the at-fault driver has insurance. If an individual was hurt on a private business’s land, that business probably has insurance to take care of that type of claim. Even when someone is hurt in another person’s home, the homeowner’s insurance may cover the costs of the injury.
Settling with an insurance company can be the best case scenario for many people. It ensures they receive compensation for their medical costs and lost wages without having to go to court and often within months of the injury.
However, not everyone who is hurt because of someone else’s actions can recover from an insurance company. Not all drivers carry the auto insurance they should according to the law. Not all homeowner’s policies cover guests getting hurt on the premises. In any type of case, the person’s insurance policy limit may be lower than what the victim needs to truly recover. Additionally, insurance companies can be reluctant to pay someone and deny a claim in bad faith. All of these scenarios lead to a person having to look outside of insurance to recover.
Myth No. 2: I Am Guaranteed $1 Million Dollars
Many people believe a personal injury claim will bring them an excessive amount of damages. If they were a pedestrian struck by a car or a guest at a local grocery store who slipped on a wet floor, they may think they will receive a lot of money because of other cases in the news or misinformation from friends and family. But not every claim is worth $1 million dollars.
It is true that some personal injury cases include multi-million recoveries, but even more of them end with damages lower than $500,000. A person’s recovery depends heavily on the costs associated with their injury, such as their actual medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and any expense of needing to renovate their house. The recovery can depend on whether the individual will probably fully recover from the accident or whether he or she will be left with a permanent disability or disfigurement. Someone who suffered two broken bones and a concussion in a car accident will probably receive less in recovery than a person who suffered a spinal cord injury, has lost the ability to walk, and now must renovate his or her home for the use of a wheelchair and hire in-home care for the rest of his or her life. Also, if someone suffered a great deal of emotional trauma in the accident, this pain and suffering can increase the recovery amount.
One of the reasons it is crucial to speak with an attorney after an accident is to get a realistic view of what you may be able to recover from insurance or through a lawsuit. It is unhelpful to head into a claim with unrealistic expectations – but you might also aim too low.
Myth No. 3: Personal Injury Claims Are Easy to Prove
Someone who is hurt in an accident may think the other person or business’s fault is obvious. However, a person or organization’s liability is based on the law of negligence – not your feelings. Also, your own actions can affect whether the other person is wholly or partially at fault and whether you recover any damages.
When you file a claim with the other person or business’s insurer, the insurer will investigate the matter and determine whether it believes its client was at fault. It might determine its client was not responsible or that you were partially at fault for what happened. In either case, it denies your claim. If this happens, you will need to appeal the denial with the insurer or head to court.
If you are attempting to prove the issue in court, you must demonstrate every element of a personal injury claim:
- The person or business had a duty of reasonable care;
- The person or business failed to uphold that duty;
- This failure led to the accident and your injuries; and
- You suffered damages.
It can take a great deal of evidence to prove all of these elements. An experienced attorney is best able to gather the proper documentation and testimony to prove the other party negligently breached their duty of care toward you. A lawyer will understand how to best use the discovery process to unearth the information you need to prove your case. You will also need to show the judge or jury that you actually suffered damages that you should be compensated for.
This is not to say all personal injury claims are complex and will take years in court. It merely shows that you need an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process.
Myth No. 4: You Do Not Need a Lawyer
People believe they can manage their personal injury claims without attorneys for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is because they believe they understand how to work with insurance companies or because they had minor injuries and expenses. However, whether it was a small fender bender or a serious fall that caused your injury, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side.
An attorney will inform you of your rights in regard to working with an insurer or filing a claim in court. He or she will have experience negotiating for higher settlements with insurers. He or she will know the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in North Carolina, ensuring you do not wait too long to file suit. Once a lawsuit has begun, your attorney will tenaciously advocate for you in court and strive to prove the other party’s fault.
All of the steps of recovering after an accident can be difficult to take on yourself when you are hurt and trying to manage your medical costs and household expenses. A lawyer is there to ease the burden for you and ensure you are not taken advantage of by a large insurance company or business.
Contact a Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney
The complexity or simplicity of a personal injury claim depends on many factors, including how the accident occurred, where it happened, and your injuries. Sometimes cases are straightforward and the other party’s fault is clear as day. Other cases are more nuanced and you have to fight to show that the other person or business is at fault.
Because so much can differ between personal injury cases, it is important for people who have been hurt to seek legal guidance before negotiating with insurers or filing a case in court. The Charlotte, NC personal injury claim attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates P.A. can help you decide on the best course of action and will fight for your right to recover.