Should You Handle Your Own Personal Injury Claim or Hire a Lawyer?

Many people handle simple injury claims on their own, and save on legal fees, but serious cases often benefit from a lawyers experience and expertise.

Personal injury claims cover a wide variety of situations and different types of accidents. You may have been injured in a car accident, by slipping and falling on someone’s property, or bitten by a neighbor’s dog. All these things are considered personal injury and the level of your injury can make big a difference in processing your claim.

In some situations, you may be capable of handling a claim through insurance or Small Claims Court against the other party on your own. Other times, you may want to seek the advice and assistance of a qualified legal professional. It all depends on the severity of your injuries and the legal elements of the accident.

Managing Your Own Case

Attempting to handle a claim on your own only to hire a lawyer later may complicate the claim process, so it’s important to understand what you’re capable of and what’s at stake if you mishandle your case. It is similar to trying to treat a medical condition on your own before you go to the doctor – actions you think might help the injury or illness could actually make things worse, and it may be a more difficult recovery once you finally seek medical treatment. If you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a claim, you may consider contacting an attorney immediately after your injury for a consultation to find out if a lawyer is worth the cost.

Car Accidents With No (Or Very Minor) Injuries

One of the most common types of case involves injuries caused in auto accidents. Someone might rear-end you at a low speed and cause minor damage to your vehicle. The injuries to yourself or your passengers might result in a few visits to the doctor’s office. Filing a claim with your insurance, or the other person’s, will often be efficient and enough compensation to cover the costs of the repair to your car and the medical expenses incurred because of the accident. If this is the case, and you are satisfied with the coverage and service you receive from the insurance claim, there could be no need to call an attorney or seek further legal advice.

Negotiate Effectively With an Adjuster

You wouldn’t necessarily need to seek a lawyer’s advice if you are confident and comfortable enough to negotiate with the insurance agent on your own to reach a settlement amount which you consider fair. In the case that your situation is something where you decide to take the other party to Small Claims Court, you can represent yourself if you feel confident in the evidence you have gathered and your knowledge of the legal process.

Researching the Law and Settlement Process

If you come across obstacles along the way, a lot of information can be found in AllLaw’s Personal Injury and Car Accident sections. Make sure you learn about the most important issues, including fault and legal liability, state laws that affect your case, and compensation available for different types of damages.

This can involve a lot of time and research in order to understand the particulars of the law. Many people do not have the energy to put into this research and there are professionals who have already undergone that training and have intimate knowledge of the law: attorneys. If you find yourself spending more time than it’s worth, and getting frustrated by the complications of the details, it could be time to consider consulting a legal professional.

When You Might Consider Hiring A Lawyer

The insurance company you are making the claim against will have attorneys representing and fighting for them. Lawyers are professionals who spend years and countless hours studying the particulars of the law and gathering knowledge to represent their clients to the best of their abilities. If the insurance company or the party you are taking to Small Claims Court has legal representation, it may be something for you to consider as well.

Represented Plaintiffs Tend to Receive Larger Settlements

Based on a 1999 study by the Insurance Research Council, the average person receives a settlement 3 ½ times larger with legal assistance than without it. In a personal injury settlement this can make a huge difference. The particulars of the law depending on your situation can become complicated.

In these few quick examples and questions you can see how easily it might be that a personal injury claim gets complicated. Any time you are injured and are dealing with an insurance company or another private party directly for your claim, you have the right to consult an attorney and have one represent you if you choose.

You might consider seeking legal representation if your knowledge of the law is not detailed enough for your circumstances, or if the situation becomes more complicated than you expected. You might consider contacting a lawyer if you feel intimidated by the legal representatives of the insurance company or other party. If you feel the claim for your injury is more than you can handle, contact an attorney. They may be able to help you understand your rights and the claims process.

To learn more, see our article, “Are Lawyers Optional in a Personal Injury Case?

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
NOLODRUPAL-web2:DRU1.6.12.2.20161011.41205