During the month of August, I have been addressing myths that we hear from clients throughout their cases. Kind of my own legal myth busters. Here is all of the myth together:
I only have liability:
In Minnesota, if you have automobile insurance then you have no fault coverage. This is coverage that will pay for medical bills, medical mileage, wage loss, and replacement services. It is the best reason why a legal consultation can at least explain to you what coverages you have.
A No Fault claim will raise my insurance rates:
The use of your no fault for coverage doesn’t raise your rates. That only will happen if there is a liability payment and you are found more than 45% at fault.
I can’t use my No Fault coverage if I am at fault:
That goes against the very nature of no fault. It doesn’t matter how the automobile collision happened. If it involved an automobile in use or maintenance and the claim is reasonable, necessary, and related, the bill should be paid.
Everyone is at least a little at fault:
This is the greatest insurance story out there. They on the one hand fight the liability of the person responsible to the very end, and at the same time get people to accept that they are 10-25% at fault for just being there. The law has no such requirement. It is simply a tool for insurance companies to taint juries and to reduce property damage payments.
I have to have money to pay the lawyer:
In personal injury cases, we get paid out of what is recovered, which means there is no upfront payment. We will also pay for the initial costs that are involved in bringing the claim. This puts you on even footing with the insurance companies that already have investigators and are getting medical records. If nothing else, the initial consultation is free and is at least a chance to understand your rights.
I will do better if I take the insurance company’s offer: There could be cases where they are offering you what the cases justifies, but in most cases they are taking advantage of your not being represented and taking into consideration what you would have paid a lawyer and the costs involved. X Research suggests that unrepresented people get about half to a third in their pocket of what they would have received if they would have been properly represented.
I will have to go to trial:
Most cases settle. Even among the cases that get put in suit, those will settle before they go to trial. We as a firm are regularly in trials and we sue cases out with the belief that they can be tried. However, for you the only reason that you go to trial is that the insurance company didn’t offer enough. You always have the final decision on what to do with the case.
It is mean or wrong to bring a claim:
The insurance company makes a lot of money of this one. See, on the one hand they sell a bunch of insurance by convincing everyone that they need the coverage because they may be sued at any moment. At the same time, they feed off the negatives of suing by tainting the juries and reducing the number of claims.X They profit on both ends. A person making a claim is simply trying to get back what they lost, replace what needs to be replaced, and getting their balance back.
It doesn’t matter who you hire for a lawyer:
Like anything else, it’s a job and there are lawyers who do this type of work and those who dabble. There are some who try cases and those who never go to court. There are those who have the resources to spend the money and time needed and those who don’t. There are those with the staff to make sure you get the attention you need and those who don’t.
I should pick my lawyer from the phonebook or a billboard:
That might work, but ask around and see who your friends and family know. If you know a lawyer who doesn’t do this kind of work, you can ask them who they recommend. Or spend some time doing research on the internet. There is a lot of information out there about what we do and who we are.
I need to use my health insurance:
In a Minnesota motor vehicle collision, the primary coverage is No fault unless it’s a worker’s compensation claim, which means that your car insurance pays for your medical bills. There is no need for a referral, there is no managed care, and you get to choose the type of care that you get. It is coverage that you have if you are injured in a car collision in Minnesota.
These questions are not intended to replace a consultation with an attorney, nor do they take into consideration facts that may differ about your particular case. Here at the Legal Examiner, we have experienced attorneys who can deal with your individual questions and best help you with your case. Feel free to get the help you need by contacting one of us.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.