Below are some of the misconceptions and myths that we hear from our clients on a regular basis. In no particular order:
10. MYTH: The judge on my case ruled against me because he has a vested interest in the result in my case.
TRUTH: Many judges (especially in Florida) have over a thousand if not multiple thousands of cases these days due to the Foreclosure crisis. In addition due to judicial budget cuts, the number of judges and support stuff has dwindled. We have represented thousands of clients over the years and we have come across many conservative judges who rule against plaintiffs whenever possible, but I have never felt that the judge was “out to get” the plaintiff.
9. MYTH: Once the jury hears my story they are definitely going to rule in my favor.
TRUTH: The jury shows up to court on the morning of jury selection pissed off for being called to jury duty. Top compound the problem, they are forced to wait in a holding room for a couple hours before they are called up to the courtroom. They have been pounded by politicians, the news media, and their family members about tort reform, frivolous lawsuit, caps on damages, greedy trial attorneys and fraudster plaintiffs. After being sworn in by the judge they have to put up with a few hours of questioning from the judge and attorneys about their background and beliefs. Needless to say they normally are not in a giving mood by the time they start hearing about your case. That is the main reason jury selection is so important. Needless to say not all cases end up with a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, so not all plaintiffs are “believed” by the jury”
8. MYTH: If I settle this case on my own I will get more money because I wont have to pay attorneys fees.
TRUTH: There are many statistics floating around the internet stating that an attorney can help a client get on average 2 1/2 times more money for their case then if the client goes at it alone. The difference will more than make up for the 33% fee charged by the attorney. In addition, an experienced personal injury attorney can protect the right of the plaintiff and make sure they are receiving all the compensation available as well as assuring that lienholders are reimbursed.
7. MYTH: The police officer didnt write me a ticket so the accident was not my fault.
TRUTH: Not so fast. Of all the accidents we see, the at fault party is written a ticket less than half the time. More frequently, the police officer places one of the parties at fault by listing them as vehicle 1 on the police report.
6. MYTH: A big law firm will get me more money because the insurance companies are afraid of them.
TRUTH: it is important that the attorney you hire has all available resources to represent you. Its important to know if your attorney is willing to file a lawsuit on cases that warrant it. Also is your attorney willing to take your case to trial? These are factors that make insurance companies afraid, not the size of the firm. In addition, bigger firms require a higher volume of clients to pay overhead and earn profits. Sometimes more clients = less service.
5. MYTH: My attorney and the insurance defense attorney are friendly, my attorney must not be fighting for me.
TRUTH: Just like all the people you know have different personalities, attorneys have different personalities. Some are more prone to conflict and some are just easy going. Usuallly being a jerk doesnt increase the value of a clients case especially when it isnt warranted.
4. MYTH: My case is taking so long because my attorney isnt paying attention to my case.
TRUTH: Unfortunately, when it comes to personal injury there is a lot of waiting to do. For example, we have to wait for our clients to hit MMI (maximum medical improvement) before sending a demand. We have to give the insurance company a reasonable amount of time to respond, we have to provide them with more information if required, and many cases require time to negotiate. When it comes to litigation you can double if not triple the waiting. You have 120 days to serve the defendant with the lawsuit and 20 days for the defendant to respond to the complaint. Even if the plaintiff notices the case for trial immediately after, it will be months and sometimes a year before the next available trial period begins.
3. MYTH: I can tell the defense attorney anything I want and he’ll believe me
TRUTH: The more depositions an attorney takes in his career, the more he becomes a human lie detector. As a rule of thumb, if your spouse does not believe you, the attorney wont believe you.
2. MYTH: If the medical evidence is not in my favor I can just argue the doctors are wrong.
TRUTH: Well, doctors do make mistakes sometimes, and you are welcome to argue whatever you want. But who is a jury more likely to believe, the plaintiff who is asking for money or the doctor who has no dog in the fight an is just trying to heal the patient. Thats an easy one regardless of who is correct.
1. MYTH: When I meet with my attorney for the first time, he should be able to tell me how much my case is worth.
TRUTH: Any attorney or non-attorney who hasnt had the ability to see your entire file, understand the entire universe of insurance coverage, collect your medical records after MMI, see the police report, get witness statements, and review photos of the vehicles involved and/or photos of the scene is not in a position to commit to the value of your case. In addition, the value of a case changes as more treatment is required. A case worth $1000 today might be worth $100,000 a few months from now if the client requires invasive treatment.