Debunking Common Myths About Personal Injury

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Debunking Common Myths About Personal Injury

By Steven Jensen
October 12, 2023

The world of personal injury law is packed with misconceptions. At Parker & McConkie, we encounter clients regularly who come to us with preconceived notions about personal injury claims, many of which are simply untrue or misconstrued. These myths can hamper one’s ability to seek rightful compensation and justice.

Today, we aim to shed light on the most prevalent myths surrounding personal injury. By debunking these common misconceptions, we hope to empower victims and their families with accurate information, allowing them to make informed decisions about their legal rights.

Myth #1: “If I don’t have visible injuries, I don’t have a case.”

Truth: Not all injuries manifest immediately or are visible to the naked eye.

Many people believe that unless they have apparent injuries, like cuts or fractures, they cannot pursue a personal injury claim. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the most significant injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, or whiplash, may not show immediate symptoms. In some cases, it can take days, weeks, or even months for these injuries to become apparent. Therefore, it’s imperative not to dismiss your situation based on initial observations. Always seek medical attention after an accident and consult with a personal injury attorney to assess your rights, even after minor injuries.

Myth #2: “The insurance company will offer a fair settlement. I don’t need a lawyer.”

Truth: Insurance companies often prioritize their bottom line over victim compensation.

While it might seem like insurance companies are there to help, it’s essential to remember that they’re businesses with their own interests at heart. Their primary goal is often to minimize the settlement offer and close claims swiftly. Without legal representation, victims may find themselves accepting settlements that are far less than what they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney can advocate for your interests, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure you get fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Myth #3: “Personal injury lawsuits are just about getting money and are often frivolous.”

Truth: Personal injury lawsuits are about seeking justice and holding negligent parties accountable.

The media often highlights the few frivolous lawsuits that make their way into the courts, giving personal injury claims an undeserved bad rap. In reality, the vast majority of personal injury claims are legitimate and stem from genuine injuries and losses. These lawsuits help victims cover medical bills, lost wages, and other associated costs. Moreover, they play a crucial role in holding negligent parties accountable, potentially preventing similar incidents from happening to others in the future.

Myth #4: “I can’t afford a personal injury lawyer.”

Truth: Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis.

The belief that hiring a personal injury lawyer is expensive deters many from seeking the representation they need. However, many personal injury attorneys, including Parker & McConkie, work on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t pay any legal fees unless your lawyer wins your case. In essence, your attorney’s payment is contingent on you receiving compensation. This approach allows victims to access high-quality legal representation without worrying about upfront costs.

Myth #5: “I have plenty of time to file my personal injury claim.”

Truth: Personal injury claims are subject to statutes of limitations.

Each state has its own statute of limitations, a set period during which a victim can file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Utah is generally four years from the date of the injury. This means that if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you typically have four years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you fail to initiate a claim within this window, you might be barred from pursuing compensation permanently. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an injury to ensure you don’t miss these critical deadlines.

Myth #6: “I’m guaranteed compensation to cover my losses.”

Truth: While personal injury claims seek compensation, outcomes are never guaranteed.

Many people believe that if they are injured due to someone else’s negligence, they’re automatically entitled to compensation that fully covers their losses. However, personal injury cases are intricate and depend on numerous factors, including evidence, the severity of injuries, and the specifics of the situation. While experienced personal injury attorneys like those at Parker & McConkie will strive to ensure you receive fair compensation, it’s essential to remember that each case is unique, and outcomes vary. Being represented by an attorney increases your chances of a favorable result, but no outcome is ever a foregone conclusion.

Myth #7: “The party at fault will have to pay out-of-pocket.”

Truth: Insurance typically covers personal injury claim payouts, not individuals.

Many victims fear that pursuing a personal injury claim will financially ruin the individual at fault. In most cases, however, it’s their insurance provider that covers the compensation, not the negligent party’s personal finances. Personal injury claims are generally directed at insurance policies, like car insurance, homeowners insurance, or business liability insurance. While there might be scenarios where an individual could be personally liable, these are relatively rare in standard personal injury cases. It’s crucial to understand that seeking compensation is not about targeting an individual’s personal assets, but ensuring you are compensated from the appropriate insurance coverage they possess.

Utah Personal Injury FAQ: Unraveling Myths and Providing Clarity

1. What are the three categories of personal injuries?

In Utah, as in many other jurisdictions, personal injuries can generally be categorized into:

  • Intentional Acts: This refers to injuries caused by someone who intends to harm another, like assault or battery.
  • Negligent Acts: This is the most common category and refers to injuries that result from someone’s failure to act with reasonable care, such as car accidents due to distracted driving.
  • Strict Liability: Under this category, certain activities or products automatically hold the person or company responsible for any injuries they cause, regardless of negligence. An example might be product liability where a manufacturer is held responsible for defective products that cause injury.

2. What are the most common personal injury cases?

In Utah, the most common personal injury cases include:

  • Car Accidents: Often resulting from distracted driving, drunk driving, or other forms of negligence.
  • Slip and Fall: These happen when property owners fail to keep their premises safe, leading to injuries.
  • Medical Malpractice: When healthcare professionals fail to provide the standard of care expected, causing harm.
  • Product Liability: Injuries resulting from defective products.
  • Dog Bites: Owners may be liable if their dog injures someone.

3. What is negligent personal injury?

Negligent personal injury refers to harm caused to a person due to another party’s failure to exercise reasonable care. For an act to be considered negligent in Utah, it must typically meet four criteria: duty, breach of that duty, causation, and damages. In other words, there must be a duty of care, a breach of that duty, a direct cause of injury, and actual harm or injury suffered.

4. What is the main concept of personal injury?

The main concept of personal injury revolves around the idea that individuals or entities have a duty to act (or refrain from acting) in a manner that doesn’t harm others. If they breach this duty and someone is injured as a result, the injured party has the right to seek compensation for their damages.

5. What are the three types of damages?

In Utah’s personal injury law, damages can typically be categorized into:

  • Economic Damages: These are quantifiable losses like medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
  • Non-Economic Damages: These relate to subjective losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive Damages: While less common, these are awarded to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior and deter similar conduct in the future.

6. What are the three types of negligent personal injury?

The three primary types of negligent personal injury include:

  • Gross Negligence: This is a severe lack of care, often seen as reckless disregard for the safety of others. It’s more than simple carelessness.
  • Comparative Negligence: In Utah, if a victim is partially at fault for their injury, they can still recover damages, but the compensation might be reduced by their percentage of fault.
  • Contributory Negligence: Although not practiced in Utah, in some jurisdictions, if a victim is even slightly at fault, they cannot recover any damages. Utah follows the comparative negligence rule.

Final Thoughts

Armed with accurate information, victims and their families are better equipped to navigate the often complex world of personal injury law. At Parker & McConkie, we believe in empowering our clients with knowledge, ensuring they receive the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered due to someone else’s negligence, don’t let personal injury myths and misconceptions deter you. Seek expert advice and ensure you’re making decisions based on facts, not fallacies.

If you believe you have a personal injury case and are unsure about your next steps, Parker & McConkie is here to help. Don’t navigate this complex journey alone; let our experienced team evaluate your case at no cost to you. Fill out our contact form now for a thorough and timely evaluation. Your path to justice begins here.

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