People consider representing themselves in a personal injury claim after an accident because it seems like a time-saving and money-saving solution. After an accident, it takes only a short time for medical bills to pile up. Insurance companies will often be quick to admit liability and tell claimants they can quickly and efficiently settle a claim without a lawyer. Unfortunately, this idea can be extremely costly in the long run. In personal injury claims, a quick settlement almost always involves forfeiting a large part of the case’s value.
7 Reasons You Should NEVER Represent Yourself in a Personal Injury Claim:
1. You Will Not Know How to Value Your Injuries
Valuation of injuries isn’t as simple as assigning a dollar amount to a broken bone or catastrophic injury. Every injury and situation is different. You will have to show a calculation of the medical care you’ve received, the care you will need in the future, and how your injuries will impact your ability to earn money in the future. While the insurance company will review these numbers, they will only correct errors in their favor.
2. You Do Not Have Knowledge of Court Procedures
You must understand and follow the court’s rules, and you cannot ask for help from the judge. Appealing a ruling on the basis that you did not understand procedures will not be successful. Ultimately, errors in filing motions can mean your case is thrown out completely.
3. You Aren’t Familiar With How To “Work Up” A Case
As a claimant, you have the burden of establishing liability in a personal injury claim. If you hire an attorney, they will gather evidence to strengthen your claim. They will ensure you see medical experts and specialists who can establish how your injuries will affect you, and what care you will need in the future.
4. You Will Not Know Whether It Makes Sense to Settle or Go To Trial
When an insurance settlement offer is presented, an experienced attorney will be able to review the facts of a case and determine whether an offer is a fair one or whether you should proceed with preparing a case for trial. If you do not have experience handling car accidents, truck accidents, or similar cases and negotiating with insurance companies, you will not know how to make these important decisions.
5. You Do Not Have Experience Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Experienced personal injury lawyers work with many of the same insurance companies regularly, and develop a rapport with adjustors. Having a reputation for credibility, honesty, and fairness means claims are taken seriously and both parties can proceed directly to settlement negotiations. Not having a lawyer means the insurance company will immediately identify where you lack knowledge and experience with the claims process.
6. You Are Not Familiar With Mediation and Arbitration
There are alternatives to trial, such as mediation and arbitration which may be less expensive, and faster, than taking a case to trial. However, without the experience and knowledge of procedures, it may be difficult to navigate alternative dispute resolution options.
7. Representing Yourself Is Incredibly Risky
Most risk management assessment tools recommend taking on risks when the benefits outweigh the costs. Personal injury representation was established to level the playing field for plaintiffs and remove the risk. Representing yourself is signing yourself up for risks that you do not need to take on. In almost all scenarios, a personal injury lawyer will be able to recover far more money for you than you can without a lawyer.
The internet is full of tools to save money on legal tasks. With some online software and forms, you can incorporate a business, form a partnership, draft a will, and transfer property without a lawyer. However, personal injury and wrongful death claims are a highly specialized area of law, and even if you can get a settlement, your payout may be pennies or nickels on the dollar of what your claim is worth.
The good news is you can hire a personal injury lawyer without paying anything out of pocket. At The Graham Firm, we are paid on a contingency basis, which means we are only paid when we recover money for you. If we accept your case and are not successful, you will owe nothing.
Talk to an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Case
If you have suffered an injury in a car accident, contact the Atlanta personal injury attorneys at The Graham Firm to discuss your personal injury claim. Our team is available 24/7 at 404-526-9955 to take your call and answer your questions.