Even though it may be tempting to tackle your own personal injury case in order to try to save money, it is imperative that you recognize exactly what you are undertaking by making that decision. One key problem for many individuals who attempt to settle on their own is dealing with the opposing party’s insurance company. In most cases, you will face the insurance company’s team of lawyers whose full-time job and sole purpose is to save money for their side. As such, that team has devoted innumerable hours poring over every aspect of the law; they will utilize that extensive knowledge to attempt to undermine your case and reduce your compensation for the expensive medical bills and lost wages you have incurred. In some situations, they even use an individual’s lack of legal knowledge in order to deny your claim altogether.
As you might know, the person you will most likely reach when calling an insurance company is an insurance adjuster. Despite how friendly they might portray themselves, know that they are also trying to minimize the amount of money the company owes you. At the same time, they will attempt to gather statements from you that they can try to use to mar your ability to litigate your case. Often you will also recover less money by dealing with the adjuster on your own. They will assume you do not know what your case is worth and will set the initial offer significantly below what you deserve. When they accept your counter offer of an amount 12-15% higher, you will be ecstatic, unaware that an attorney would have double or tripled the initial offer.
Thus, in hiring a personal injury lawyer, you are gaining both an advocate and a specialist. That is, you have someone who already knows the law, can file the appropriate paperwork in a timely and accurate manner, and will not allow the insurance company’s lawyers to take advantage of you. If you are not exactly sure what you are doing or how to move forward, you should seek counsel to gain understanding and weigh the options at hand for your specific case. A personal injury lawyer can advise you how he or she would approach the case, the amount that they estimate they could win for you in the case, and if it is worth pursuing with legal assistance. The alternative choice of impulsively deciding to handle it all on your own is akin to trying to self-diagnose medical problems using WebMD—when you finally get to the doctor (or attorney’s office, in this case), you may find that actions you personally took to help your case may have further complicated the manner.