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Arizona Personal Injury Law Myths 

After a car accident (or any other kind of accident), many victims are left wondering how they can possibly move forward. Between physical injuries, emotional distress, property damage, and medical bills, it’s easy to feel like life will never be the same. 

At this point, many individuals consider whether or not to hire a personal injury lawyer. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about personal injury law that may dissuade injury victims from pursuing fair compensation for their damages. 

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to file a claim is always up to the victim. We’ll discuss eight of the most common myths about accident attorneys and the claims process so that you can make an informed decision when considering your recovery options. 

Myth 1: Personal Injury Claims Are Always Lengthy and Expensive 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “the wheels of justice turn slowly.” It’s commonly used to refer to the court system and how long the legal process takes. It is, unfortunately, true in many cases, but not all. Depending on the severity of your injuries, the willingness of the other party to settle, and the court’s caseload, your case may take a several months. 

As far as the expense of hiring a personal injury attorney, we have good news: most accident attorneys work on what’s called a “contingency fee basis.” This means that your lawyer does not get paid unless they win your case and you collect a settlement. Their fee will be calculated as a percentage of your total settlement. This means that you will not pay out-of-pocket for your attorney’s services. 

Additionally, most personal injury law firms offer free consultations to discuss your potential case with an attorney. Without paying a dime, you can ask questions and determine whether or not you have a case. 

Myth 2: You Can Save Money by Handling Your Personal Injury Case without Legal Representation 

Some individuals choose to forgo an attorney altogether in order to avoid using part of their settlement to pay their attorney. In some limited instances, this may not be a bad choice. However, according to studies by the Insurance Research Council, attorneys are able to negotiate larger settlements on average than individuals representing themselves. 

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid making fair settlement offers. They may try to argue that you are not as injured as you claim to be or they may try to deny your claim altogether. An experienced attorney will negotiate with insurance providers to get you the compensation you deserve. 

Attorneys also can make the claims process go much more smoothly for the injury victim. Your attorney will keep track of documents and deadlines so that you can focus on your physical recovery. They can also help you set up liens for your medical bills so that they do not go to collections while you wait for your case to settle. 

Myth 3: If You Take Legal Action, You Will Have to Appear in Court 

When most people picture attorneys, they imagine arguments taking place in a courtroom. The idea of appearing in court to argue their case is not appealing to many injury victims. Fortunately, most personal injury lawsuits are settled during negotiations and never make it to the courtroom. 

If your attorney feels that the at-fault party is refusing to make a fair offer, they may advise you to take your case to litigation. If you choose to go this route, your attorney will represent you in court and work to make the entire experience as smooth as possible. They will only recommend you go to litigation if they believe it is in your best interests. 

Myth 4: You Should Not Pursue an Accident Claim for Minor Injuries 

Some accident victims believe that their injuries are not “serious enough” to be worth filing a claim. If your injuries require medical treatment, it is a good idea to at least consult with an attorney before deciding whether or not to take legal action. Even minor injuries can require months of medical care and lead to extensive financial damages. 

You should not feel guilty for deciding to file a claim. If another person’s negligence caused your accident, you deserve to be compensated appropriately for the damages you have incurred. 

Myth 5: Accident Victims Are Filing Frivolous Lawsuits for Easy Money 

Despite popular belief, personal injury claims are not an avenue for quick payouts from bogus cases. Most accident victims are honest, hardworking people who have had their lives flipped upside down and are looking for a way to move forward. Many injury case plaintiffs spend months or years treating their injuries, sometimes missing work and losing the income they use to provide for their families. 

Ethical, responsible personal injury attorneys will not take on cases that they believe are frivolous. Most attorneys respect the court system and legal process and do not file claims that are a waste of everyone’s time. 

Myth 6: There Is No Time Limit for Filing a Claim 

Another common misconception about personal injury law is the idea that you can file a claim whenever you’d like after an accident. This is false. Every state has a statute of limitations for legal action, including personal injury cases. 

In Arizona, the statute of limitations for personal injury is generally two years from the date of the accident. After this time frame has passed, you lose your right to file. 

There are several factors that can impact your time limit, so it is a good idea to speak with an attorney to determine exactly how much time you have. 

Myth 7: The Responsible Party Will Have to Pay the Victim’s Medical Expenses Out-of-Pocket 

Possibly one of the most pervasive personal injury myths is that filing a claim will financially ruin the at-fault party because they will have to pay the settlement out of pocket. This idea may deter some injury victims from pursuing legal action, especially if the other party is a family member or friend.  

 In most cases, the responsible party’s insurance company handles payouts and settlement. The money typically does not come directly from the person responsible for your injuries. 

Myth 8: You Cannot File an Injury Claim if You Were Partially Responsible 

Arizona is a comparative negligence state. This means that drivers can share fault for an accident and can seek compensation for their damages even if they were partially responsible. Their damages will be reduced according to the amount of fault they are assigned for the accident. 

This means that you must prove the other party is at least partially responsible before you can collect damages. Your attorney can conduct an investigation and gather evidence to prove liability. 

The Truth: An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Recover 

The best way to determine whether you have a valid case and to learn about the claims process is to speak with a personal injury lawyer. The Arizona Advocates offer free case evaluations so you can learn about your options 100% risk-free. 

Your Advocate will be by your side every step of the way throughout the life of your case. We’ll answer your questions, offer sound legal advice, and help you access the resources you need as you recover. 

The Advocates are committed to protecting your rights and helping you get fair compensation for your damages. Contact our Avondale office for a free consultation. You deserve a legal team that puts you and your family first. You deserve an Advocate.