When it comes to personal injury attorneys and claims, there’s quite a few myths filling the air. These widespread misconceptions can cast a negative light, especially on victims who were hurt by someone else’s negligence.
Let’s dispel some of the most common ones.
Myth #1: The insurance company will look out for your best interests.
One of the biggest myths about personal injury claims is that an insurance company will take care of an injured victim, says Cleveland personal injury attorney Joseph T. Joseph Jr.
“There’s so much propaganda put out there by the insurance industry,” he said. “I don’t think you can watch a sporting event or walk around any major city in the country without seeing an advertisement for an insurance company.”
Keying in on marketing tactics, Joseph was quick to highlight how the messages and slogans from insurance companies offer false belief.
“Those insurance companies are not looking out for the other person’s interest if they’re a victim in a car accident,” he said.
In most cases, clients that Joseph represents just want a reasonable resolution to their claim.
“What I’ve seen over the years is the adverse insurance company doing the pushback, and doing whatever they can to compensate the victim as little as possible,” Joseph said.
In these occurrences, Joseph says the insurance company, whether it be injured victim’s or adverse party’s insurance, will treat all claims the same.
“If they don’t deny the claim, they delay processing or paying it out,” he said. “They defend it in a vigorous fashion. I’ve seen insurance companies do whatever they can to avoid paying out on a claim, even when it’s the client’s own insurance.”
Myth #2: Injured victims are lawsuit-happy and just looking for a quick buck.
In fact, it’s the opposite in most cases, Joseph said.
“I don’t know any client who has gotten any sort of money and leaves saying, ‘Joe, I can’t wait to see you again, and I can’t wait for this to happen to me again.’”
An injured victim is often thankful of the services provided, but they hope it doesn’t happen to them again.
Over the years, most cases that Joseph has seen go to trial are due in large part to the insurance company dragging their feet.
“The injured party wants the claim to be resolved reasonably, and in a timely manner,” he said. “The insurance companies don’t want to pay a reasonable sum of money, or blame the injury or damages on something else, such as a preexisting condition.”
Most victims don’t want to sue anyone in the first place. Once they do, they can feel victimized a second time because of the way they’re treated by the insurance company. They just want what’s right and fair.
“I find this to be one of biggest myths, that people are out to get a dollar,” Joseph said. “That’s simply not the case.”
Myth #3: Personal injury attorneys are “ambulance chasers”
Throughout his law career, Joseph has heard many derogatory comments about lawyers – especially the term “ambulance chaser.”
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you will most likely receive mail from several attorneys, himself included, offering their services or providing information about potential claims.
Looking to dispel the ambulance chaser moniker, Joseph says his supplying information to injured victims is a consumer rights issue.
“If you’re involved in an accident, I want you to be informed of what your legal rights are before you talk to an insurance company or make a decision on what to do,” he said. “Most injured victims don’t know what their legal rights are, and that’s why we offer a free consultation.”
“If they don’t want to get an attorney or pursue a claim, that’s their choice,” he said. “But they should at least make that choice after being informed.”
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