While it’s technically possible to handle a personal injury claim on your own, doing so can come with significant risks. Professional legal guidance can help ensure your rights are protected and maximize your potential compensation. There are several reasons why DIY personal injury claims can cost you.
Navigating Legal Complexities
Personal injury law is complex and varies significantly from state to state. It requires an understanding of legal procedures, paperwork, and terminology. Without proper legal training, it’s easy to make mistakes that can undermine your claim or even lead to its dismissal.
Evaluating the Worth of Your Claim
Determining the fair value of a personal injury claim is a challenging task that goes beyond adding up medical bills. It should also account for lost wages, future medical costs, pain and suffering, and more. Without a thorough understanding of how damages are calculated, you may end up significantly undervaluing your claim.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance adjusters are skilled negotiators whose primary goal is to minimize the amount their company pays out. They may use various tactics to devalue your claim or even deny it outright. Without negotiation experience and knowledge of common tactics, you may accept a settlement that’s much lower than what you deserve.
Proving someone else’s negligence caused your injury can be difficult. It often requires an investigation, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and sometimes, working with experts. Handling this on your own can be overwhelming, and any missteps can affect the outcome of your claim.
Dealing with Medical Evidence
Understanding and presenting medical evidence can be a significant challenge for laypersons. You’ll need to clearly establish the link between the accident, your injuries, and the medical treatment you received. An attorney can work with medical experts to build a compelling case.
Understanding Future Medical Needs
If your injuries require long-term care or result in permanent disabilities, your claim needs to account for future medical expenses. Calculating future costs is complex and typically requires professional help.
Every state has specific deadlines, called statutes of limitations, for filing personal injury lawsuits. Missing these deadlines can result in losing your right to pursue compensation entirely. An attorney ensures all filings happen in a timely manner.
Certain entities may have a right to part of your settlement for covering your upfront medical costs, a concept known as liens. If you handle your claim independently, you might overlook these liens and face legal issues down the line.
Going to Trial
Most personal injury claims settle out of court, but sometimes, a fair settlement can’t be reached, and the case goes to trial. Representing yourself in court is rarely a good idea and can lead to unfavorable outcomes. Any attorney can help navigate and advise you on how early decisions might impact a trial.
In short, while handling a personal injury claim on your own might seem like a way to save on attorney fees, it could end up costing you far more in the long run. A personal injury lawyer’s expertise can provide invaluable assistance in securing the compensation you truly deserve.
Need to file a personal injury claim? Contact Pleban + Associates for a consultation.