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Sometimes personal injury law comes under criticism by people who may not understand how personal injury attorneys advocate for accident victims.

For example, someone may hear about a jury awarding a plaintiff millions of dollars over a spilled cup of hot coffee. On its face that may seem outrageous, but if you dig into the facts of the case you would find that the injured victim sustained third degree burns, permanent disfigurement, and had to undergo multiple surgeries.

Check out the HBO Documentary Hot Coffee. It “examines the dangers of tort reform using the now infamous legal battle over a spilled cup of McDonald’s Coffee.”

The fact is that there are a number of common misconceptions about personal injury claims.  Some of these misconceptions are truly harmful to injured accident victims. The following are just 4 common misconceptions about personal injury claims that we want to dispel.

Misconception 1: I will end up in a long court battle if I hire a personal injury attorney.

Hiring a personal injury attorney does not mean you will necessarily end up in a long, drawn out lawsuit. The truth is that many personal injury cases involving attorneys are successfully settled through negotiation before a lawsuit is filed. Read more in our article What Happens If My Claim Cannot Be Settled?

Misconception 2: I will receive more compensation for my claim if I don’t hire an attorney because attorneys are so expensive.

Personal injury claims are complicated. Properly calculating damages, especially for future damages or pain and suffering, requires experience. Gathering the right evidence to prove a strong case requires legal knowledge and investigative skill. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to properly value your claim. An attorney knows your rights and knows how to protect them.

It is true that no attorney can ethically guarantee a more favorable outcome in your claim than what you could obtain on your own. However, due to the complicated medical and legal questions present in personal injury cases, having the right attorney on your side is likely to result in more compensation for damages – even after the contingency fees are paid.

Misconception 3: I need to settle my case before I complete medical treatment.

This is not true at all. In fact, the opposite is true.

You cannot know the full value of your claim until you have completed medical treatment. The compensation you receive is meant to pay for your medical bills, among other things. You cannot know the cost of your medical bills if you are still undergoing treatment.

Further, until you complete treatment, you will not know if your injuries are permanent. In cases where the injuries are permanent or chronic, the amount of the claim must also include the costs of future medical care.

Once you settle your case, it is over. If you settle your claim too soon you will lose your ability to receive full compensation for your injuries.

Misconception 4: I have plenty of time to pursue my claim for damages for injuries I sustained in an accident.

This is false. You have a limited time to bring a claim for damages. This is called the statute of limitations. In Nebraska the statutes of limitations to bring a personal injury claim is generally 4-years.

However, depending on the specifics of your case, statute of limitation laws can be complex. If you have been injured in an accident, it is crucial that you consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

To learn more about your rights and how to get the compensation you deserve, read our articles:

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Miller Lathrop serves clients throughout Eastern Nebraska and parts of Western Iowa including Douglas County, Sarpy County, Lancaster County, and Pottawattamie County, as well as the cities of Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Elkhorn, and Council Bluffs.