Recovering from a personal injury brought on by an unexpected accident can be a very trying time. Even long after you’ve healed, you may still be paying off medical bills, managing chronic pain, or dealing with the repercussions of lost work. The law allows you to seek damages for these injuries, and hold the person who did this to you accountable. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this tricky period and provide legal advice to help you protect yourself.

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to personal injury law. Here are some common myths about personal injury, so you can be as informed as possible going forward.

Myth: I don’t need to call a lawyer

Many people think that they don’t need to call a personal injury attorney after their accident because the damage is already done. However, simply having a consultation with a lawyer will help bring clarity; you may not even know you have a case on your hands until you get a professional’s opinion. Speaking to a lawyer shortly after your accident will give you a clear understanding of what your options are. If you are able to pursue legal action, they can provide next steps.

Myth: You will not have a case if your injury is small 

Even if you have a small injury caused by another person, you may still be able to seek financial damages from the person who is responsible. Just because your injury is small, doesn’t mean it may not have larger-scale consequences down the line that are detrimental. You’ll want to protect yourself not only now, but down the line, and the best way to do that is to work with a personal injury lawyer.

Myth: Any lawyer will do  

Seeking damages from a personal injury can be complicated, and it is best to work with someone who is experienced in this type of litigation. It is important to know that not all skill sets in law are the same. You would not seek a family lawyer to represent you on a criminal matter, and likewise, you’ll want a specialist when it comes to personal injury. Additionally, you’ll want an attorney who knows the laws of your state. For instance, if you are injured in California, you’ll want someone who intimately knows the laws as they relate to personal injury in California.

To ensure you are getting the right legal protection, seek an attorney who has past experience in personal injury cases and knows the laws of the state.

Myth: I am only entitled to compensation for my medical bills

Many people think they are only able to seek damages for the cost of the medical bills incurred in their accident. In fact, you are able to also seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, future wages if you unable to return to work, and damages to any property that was involved. A Bakersfield personal injury lawyer, for example, can fight for different kinds of compensation, depending on the extent of your injuries

Myth: The person who is responsible for my injury has to pay out of their pocket

While the person responsible for the injury may have to pay some damages out of pocket, usually their insurance will cover the majority of the costs. However, working with insurance companies can be intimidating and overwhelming, which is why it is always a good idea to work with a lawyer who knows this field of law. If you so choose, you can also have your lawyer be your only point of contact during this process.

Myth: I must go to court to receive compensation

Usually, personal injury victims are able to receive compensation either by filing a lawsuit or settling out of court. Depending on the severity of your case, you may not need to get a judge involved and lawyer may be able to settle with the defendant and other insurance companies out of court. Settling out of court is often preferred as it is a quicker process, with less hassle to you as the victim, and less legal fees. However, because each case is different, you will not know the next steps for your case until you have a consultation with your lawyer.

With these misconceptions debunked, you will be able to be more educated about your personal injury process and protect your rights.