While it is possible to negotiate an injury settlement without a lawyer, it isn’t recommended in most cases.
It is common to resolve personal injury claims without ever going to court. In fact, the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. However, even if you never have to go in front of a judge or jury to argue why you deserve compensation, there are many important ways a lawyer can help you with your personal injury claim:
- A lawyer will help make sure all your paperwork is filed correctly and on time. If you wait too long after your injury to pursue a claim, the lawsuit may be thrown out. After a certain period, called the statute of limitations, you no longer have a legal right to compensation if you haven’t started a claim yet. A lawyer will get your case in motion and handle all the necessary red tape, including drafting and sending the demand letter, submitting evidence, selecting favorable jurors if the case goes to court, and so on. This leaves you time to focus on getting better rather than adding stress to an already upsetting situation.
- A lawyer can help determine what a fair settlement is. You aren’t just owed what you’ve already spent on medical treatment for your injuries. You also deserve compensation for what you might spend on medical treatment for your injury in the future, your missed paychecks, reduced take-home pay if you can’t do the same work as before, and even compensation for your pain and suffering, which can be hard to calculate. It’s important to know exactly what you might be owed, since once you accept a settlement, you can’t get more money later, even if you need it.
- A lawyer can help build a strong case. It’s your lawyer’s job is to negotiate on your behalf, and they’ll have the experience and knowledge to combat whatever obstacles the insurance company tries to throw your way. Law firms also have more resources than most injury victims do on their own, which helps when compiling evidence or hiring expert witnesses.
When Do You Not Need a Lawyer?
If you weren’t injured:
Many times, car accidents, especially minor or low-speed car accidents, only cause vehicle damage and no injuries. Even if there were no injuries, you can still file a property damage claim for the money you need to repair or replace your vehicle. Thankfully, most property damage claims can be easily settled on your own and without the help of a lawyer. If the insurance company refuses to pay to repair your vehicle, you could hire a lawyer to help you, but you should be aware that many car accident lawyers will not take no-injury cases.
However, it is important to note that many injuries you can get in a car accident do not show symptoms right away. So, you may go home after your crash thinking you escaped without injuries, only to feel stiff or be in pain the next morning or even several days later. That’s why we always recommend getting looked over by a doctor as soon as possible after a crash.
If your injuries are minor:
Insurance companies are in business to make money, not give it away—which is why the more serious your injuries, and the more you need compensation, the more likely they are to deny your claim. But when your injuries are minor, the insurance company will not fight as hard to avoid paying you as they would if your injuries resulted in thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
Furthermore, some victims of minor car accidents may think paying lawyer fees and spending months or longer in court isn’t worth it for a relatively small amount of compensation.
If fault is clear:
Insurance companies mainly try to get away with reducing or denying claims when there’s uncertainty about who was at fault. They know if they can convince a judge or jury that the victim was at least partially responsible for their own injuries (for example, if the victim was distracted when they were crashed into), then they can get away without paying as much or even paying anything. But when the injury victim is obviously blameless, they usually will agree to pay a fair amount because they don’t want to risk being taken to court when they are sure to lose.
Talk to a Lawyer About Your Case for Free
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, initial consultations are always free. That means you can speak to a lawyer about your case, and what your best path to compensation may be, for no charge. Furthermore, you are under no obligation to hire our firm after speaking to us if you don’t believe we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
When you’re injured through no fault of your own, don’t resign yourself to paying the cost out of your own pocket. We believe that the person at fault should be held responsible for the harm they caused, and that you deserve enough money to get you back to how your life was before you were injured. Call today to learn how we can help make that happen.