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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.

43 Comments

  1. Gravatar for jc

    I would like to add to Mike Bryant's legal myths and discuss them in subsequent posts. Myth 1: Malpractice attorneys are solely interested in the rights of the patient. Myth 2: Malpractice attorneys win a high percentage of cases that they bring to trial. Myth 3: Only the malpractice insurance company is harmed if you bring a questionable malpractice case. Myth 4: If it is a bad result, it must be because the doctor messed up.

  2. Gravatar for jc

    Myth 1: Malpractice attorneys are solely interested in the rights of the patient. Yeh, right! Lets say your respond to a lawyer add because you had your leg amputated and now cannot work. Right away Mike Bryant is going to charge you a contingency fee of 40%. Plus, all the court costs are going to come out of the eventual settlement. These court costs add up fast. There are filing fees, expert witness fees, deposition and transcription fees by court reporters who are expensive typists. No only are there doctor expert witness fees, but there are economists and lifestyle planners, who all demand rich fees. So after 4-5 years of litigation, Mike finally wins for you. Typically, Mike gets 55-60% of any settlement off the top- - his 40% contingency plus legal expenses. So if Mike wins a couple million dollar cases in a year, Mike is sitting pretty. Now neither Mike nor any other plaintiff attorney is going to talk about how well paying malpractice litigation is for them. In order to sell this, they have to talk about the "rights of the patient". But you get the picture.

  3. Gravatar for jc

    Myth 2: Malpractice attorneys win a high percentage of cases that they bring against doctors. Nationwide, plaintiff attorneys lose 80% of the malpractice cases that go to trial! You baby son has a better chance of winning a coin flipping contest then a plaintiff's attorney has of winning a malpractice case. The failure rate (80%) is unique No other American Industry has such a high failure rate. Would you fly an airline that crashed and burned 80% of the time?

  4. Gravatar for jc

    Myth #3: Only the malpractice company is harmed if you bring a questionable malpractice case. You will have to endure legal hell as you go thru this case and so will the doctor that you are suing. You will have to produce income tax returns and medical bills and go thru a deposition and testify in court. Your doctor will have to spend hours defending himself in this case. Since your doctor has been sued he will have a permanent mark against his record forever regardless of whether he wins or loses. This will effect his malpractice premiums which will go up and it could prevent him from getting hospital staff privileges. Because a monitary settlement is reported to the national practicioner's data bank, you can expect your doctor to fight like hell to prevent any report from being sent to the NPDB, so be prepared for a long fight in court.

  5. Gravatar for jc

    Myth #4: If it is a bad result it must be because the doctor messed up. No one has left planet earth alive. The vast majority of bad results are because of natural progression of the patient's disease. Poor patient compliance are the next most common cause of a bad result. It is relatively rare for a medical mistake to cause a bad result.

  6. Dr Cox decided to move over to this blog (he likes to follow the writers here around and often says the same stuff over and over). I was in a mediation Friday and ran the Warrior Dash yesterday so I wasn't able to get back here, until today. After reading his usual lines I decided that it's probably worth using each for a blog , because they are so full of the usual insurance playbook and Dr Cox's own fantasy world. So stay tuned.

  7. Gravatar for jc

    Yes Mike, we should debate these points and openly discuss you own biases and the propaganda perpetuated by the American Trial Lawyers Association. P.S. Were you doing the Warrior Dash so you could practice up chasing ambulances?

  8. Dr Cox: Since I regularly point out that you hide from the family of the person you hurt ( or did you kill him) I understand your need to strike out at me instead of writing the family and doing the correct thing.

    Openly? You hide behind initials and only after enough of your comments have we figured out that you are Dr Cox, you hurt a person and lied to the family, you have something to do with consulting for a clinic, and you like to rant after having a few.

    I will wait until the future blogs to deal with the rest of your gibberish. Have another on me tonight.

  9. Gravatar for jc

    Mike, I have an idea for you. Instead of running in the Warrior Dash, maybe you should start your own marathon. You could call it the Ambulance Chaser's Marathon and give the proceeds to your favorite judicial candidate.

  10. What a odd idea. But I could see how you would come up with that kind of event vs something that helps St Jude's Children Research Hospital. What a sad and angry suggestion.

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