Myth 1: Your lawyer doesn't need to know about previous accidents you were in or old injuries because they are separate from your present case, and no one will ever find out about them unless you release that information.
WRONG: The insurance company will look "under every rock" to find something about you that will hurt your claim. If it is out there, the insurance company will find it. The last thing you want is for us to not have that same information. Your information is safe with your attorney, and it is confidential. Tell your lawyer about all the bad as well as the good so that we can do our job and get you the best result and the maximum legal recovery for your injuries.
Myth 2: When the insurance company offers to settle your case before you've talked to a lawyer, it's trying to save everyone money so that no one has to pay an attorney's fee, making it a good deal for you and the insurance company.
WRONG: It's only in the insurance co's best interest to settle without you getting legal advice. Remember, they know all the rules already when they discuss your claim with you, and they know you probably don't know those rules.
While it sounds good to cut an attorney out of a fee, and sounds like a savings to the victim, when you settle your case without getting legal advice, it's like turning into a blind alley.
Generally, the insurance company wants you to settle before you've talked to a lawyer because: 1. you won't know if you're getting the right amount for each of your losses. Do you even know what your losses are right after an accident? Do you get lost wages? How do you put a number on Pain and suffering when you're still under a doctor's care? What about your future medical expenses? and 2.they'd love to get you to settle and sign that release BEFORE you are healed. That way, they won't have to worry that you'll need extended therapy, or surgery, or medical attention for the rest of your life.
Myth 3: You must pay taxes on your personal injury settlement.
WRONG: Under current state and federal law, personal injury settlements are not taxable. You don't even have to report them for state or federal income tax purposes. The only exception to that is if you are awarded "punitive damages." That's a rarity in Louisiana, and there are only a couple of instances in which those are recoverable.