Myths About Personal Injury Cases, Part I

“A Jag for a Jag”

Myths About Personal Injury Cases

Myths About Personal Injury Cases

I’ve had numerous clients over the years who have had their super-expensive or rather large vehicles damaged as a result of another driver’s negligence. They want to obtain a similar Mercedes or passenger van as a rental replacement until their vehicle is repaired. The adverse insurance carrier usually will not pay the entire rental bill for these vehicles because an injured party has a duty to mitigate his or her damages. If, however, you need a van to transport your family of seven or a pickup truck in order to perform your business, these are exceptions to the mitigation rule.

“My Case is Worth Three Times the Amount of My Medical Bills”

The days of multiples of your medical bills are gone. Most insurance carriers, arbitrators and juries look at the nature of your injuries, the type of medical treatment, the frequency and duration of your treatment and your medical prognosis (and other factors) when deciding the value of your case.

In many cases, it would be nice if the value of your case was simply three times your medical bills. Consider, however, a facial scar with an accompanying bill of $500.00. In a case like this, you will be happy that your case value wasn’t a multiple of three.

“The Other Driver Received a Ticket, Therefore, the Accident is All His Fault”

The fact that the other driver was cited for the accident is usually not admissible as evidence in your personal injury case. Think about it. The officer probably didn’t see the accident occur so his decision to issue a citation is based upon hearsay. Officers can make mistakes. They may fail to identify or talk to an eyewitness or there may be a language barrier during the investigation. Over my many years of practicing in the field of Plaintiff’s personal injury, I have represented many clients in accidents where no citations have been issued or even when my client was issued a citation!

“My Case is Worth a Lot of Money Because I Could Have Been Killed”

I have heard this statement quite often from clients and potential clients, especially those whose vehicles were rendered a total loss from the accident. Personal injury is a two chapter book. The first is “liability” where you have to prove the other party was negligent. The second chapter is “damages” where you prove your injuries and that they were caused by the accident. Your mangled vehicle does not automatically establish a big payout for your injuries. You must get the necessary medical treatment to prove your injuries.

A caller with a peanut allergy from years back comes to my mind. He wanted to sue an ice cream store for allegedly making his chocolate shake without first rinsing the peanut product from the mixer blades. He proclaimed “I could have died because of their negligence!” I thought to myself, if you had died, your case would have been worth millions. Fortunately, your case isn’t worth anything because you weren’t harmed and you are still with us.

I’ll discuss further myths in my July and August blogs.

Richard K. DePonte

Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only. Legal advice is provided only through a formal, written attorney/client agreement.

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