When it comes to doing things on your own in order to save money, we can definitely relate. If the backyard fence needs a new coat of paint, why not make it into a fun weekend activity? When the car needs a good wash from the inside out, we have our washcloths and buckets at the ready.
However, when it comes to filing a personal injury claim without the help of a professional, attempting to do it on your own may end up costing you more money in the long-run. Let's take a look at the real costs of settling an injury claim without a lawyer.
Settling for Less
If you have been injured in an accident at the fault of another party, the other party's insurance company will be in contact with you. They will request a statement and will attempt to get any information from you that will diminish the value of your claim. In many cases, they may even offer you a quick and much smaller amount of money to settle the claim. But, do you know how much your personal injury claim is worth?
Let's say, for example, that you broke your arm during an automobile accident. The other party's insurance company may offer you $5,000 to settle the claim. Although you would be able to keep the full amount, rather than giving a percentage to an attorney, hiring an attorney could have settled for $25,000 rather than $5,000. It would make the attorney's fee a very worthwhile investment.
Do you have experience in aggressive negotiations, particularly regarding your rights and the law? The majority of us do not. Hiring someone who knows your rights and what the law entitles you to receive will prove to the insurance adjuster that you and your case will not be taken lightly. It is difficult for an adjuster to see that you are aggressive and knowledgeable if you are not a lawyer with significant experience negotiating with an insurance adjuster.
Remember – negotiating about cases like yours is their job. Likewise, negotiating on your behalf is the livelihood of your attorney.
Handling Medical Bills
If you've experienced an injury, it's likely you'll need to be returning to your doctor's office for recurring treatments. As you continue to receive treatment, your bills will continue to accrue. How do you assure all bills are accounted for, and that you won't be blindsided with the expectation of having to pay your healthcare insurance or hospital back for them?
If you have been injured in an accident and have filed a personal injury claim to recover the cost of medical bills, the people who paid for these medical costs may be able to file a medical lien. A medical lien is a demand for repayment for personal injury treatment and medical bills that can be placed against your settlement earnings. This process, referred to as subrogation, may require you to pay back these expenses.
After fighting for your compensation, you don't want to be left owing doctors money when all is said and done. Hiring an attorney means you'll have a professional in your corner who has previous experience handling negotiations with medical providers. Your attorney will make sure that once you've settled your case, no bills are left unaccounted for. Ultimately, this results in more money for you at the end of a case.
Settling Too Soon
If you decide to file a personal injury claim without an attorney, chances are that you are going to want to resolve the case as quickly as possible. However, settling your claim too soon can create a variety of issues that you will be forced to handle on your own.
For example, you may have minor back pain following an accident. You may settle with the other party, believing that you have returned to work and so the worst of the pain is behind you. However, as is often the case with back pain, that minor injury may turn into a herniated disc that requires surgery. What if your injury ends up being worse than you thought and keeps you from doing your job and providing for your family?
Once your case has settled, you cannot “unsettle” the case to request further compensation. In the eyes of the law, your case has closed, and you have to live with the consequences. With this in mind, it is in your best interest to not attempt to negotiate with the insurance company and make a quick settlement. While it may sound easier now, you could end up paying for it in a much larger way further down the line.
Providing Proper Documentation
Evidence is essential in any case to support a claim. You will need to provide proof that you suffered an injury through the fault of the other party and through no fault of your own, and that you are entitled to compensation as a result of the other party's carelessness or negligence.
Proper documentation will include medical records, lost pay information, documentation from the scene of the accident, and more. You should be extremely wary if an insurance company is willing to settle a claim without requesting all of the supporting documentation. Any insurance company that is willing to provide a quick payment in that situation probably knows that the claim is worth much more based on their investigation, and it is in their best interest to settle before the injured party hires a lawyer and maximizes the value of their claim.
Consider the factors mentioned above carefully before proceeding with or without legal representation. Although at first glance it may seem as though you can save on attorney fees by handling the case on your own, an experienced personal injury lawyer will likely be able to maximize the amount of damages you can recover.
You deserve an attorney who will not only provide peace of mind while filing a personal injury claim, but will also assure you are properly compensated for your damages. For an attorney that will do all of the above, contact Weinstein Legal or fill out a free case evaluation for fast and confidential advice.