No law prevents you from handling your personal injury case. Since the courts do not appoint legal representation for civil cases, representing yourself might sound like a good idea, and it may be. However, before you go this route, make sure you understand all that is involved.
Every personal injury case has financial potential. This means there is an amount of money that could be awarded to you if you can prove a person or party is responsible for your injuries. The value of your claim or the amount of damages (money awarded based on your claim) depends on the scope of injury, related medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These are all things that must be proven. To get the greatest settlement possible, consider the following.
Sometimes an upfront settlement can be reached if your case is clear, and the insurance company involved knows there is no chance of winning. Be warned that a quick settlement may not be in your best interest. This may mean the insurance company recognizes the significance of your claim and is hoping for a quick resolution before the full scope of your injuries is known.
When you handle your case, there is a lot of administrative work to consider. You will be responsible for all your phone calls and handling all releases necessary to get the required paperwork. And there are many documents you may need to secure for your claim. No two situations are the same, but here is a brief list of documentation usually required for a personal injury case:
Release of information forms for medical records and medical bills from:
You will be responsible for getting written and signed documentation from your employer outlining any lost wages due to your accident.
You will also need the following:
Every piece of evidence is necessary to win your case, so ensure you have it all. Your responsibility is to paint an accurate picture of what happened to you. However, there is much more involved with a personal injury claim.
Working with Insurers
Any time there is a personal injury claim, insurance companies will be involved. If you file a lawsuit for your injury, the insurer of the responsible party will want to settle for as little as possible. Whether your claim is resolved outside of the courts, or your case goes to trial in front of a judge and jury, it is your job to convince the deciding parties that liability lies with the person or business your case is against.
Insurance adjusters will try to minimize your losses, settle before a disability can be identified, or take advantage of your financial need during your recovery to convince you that a quick resolution is in your best interest.
Statute of Limitations is a commonly used legal term. It refers to the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a personal injury case. The statute of limitations varies for personal injury lawsuits from state to state. And the laws can vary depending on the different types of injury claims.
If you choose to represent yourself, it is your responsibility to know the statute of limitations. Make sure you have plenty of time to collect all the information you need for your case. If you can gather overwhelming evidence in support of your claim, you may be able to convince an insurance company to settle out of court.
The legal term “Pain and Suffering” can be open to interpretation depending on how someone views the law. This means awards or damages (financial compensation) for pain and suffering can vary depending on who is responsible for making a settlement decision. It can be helpful to know if and how much insurance companies have been penalized in the past.
Cases that go to litigation (trial) are public record, but settlement amounts can be harder to find. Often, such agreements use wording that prevents a plaintiff from disclosing the settlement amount. You have more options with the help of an attorney with experience in personal injury law.
Navigating a personal injury settlement or court case involves a lot of time and energy. When claims are not settled upfront, they can take months to resolve. You need to ask yourself if you’re willing to give your case what it requires. This means dedicating evenings, weekends, and potentially weekdays to get everything done.
If handling your own case sounds daunting, an Advocate can help. Our attorneys work with clients dealing with injury claims. Together, we can help you understand the difference between various types of injuries. Our job is to provide advice, separate fact from fiction, and build a case that results in the party at fault agreeing to a settlement offer that benefits you.
Let us work with the insurance adjuster, medical offices, the police, and any other parties involved to build the best case possible. And we can likely increase your claim. On average, attorneys representing personal injury plaintiffs result in 3.5 times higher settlements than when individuals represent themselves.
We can help with the following:
The Advocates has the resources and people with the knowledge and expertise necessary to give your claim the greatest chance of success. As we work on your behalf, we will provide guidance, walk you through the claims process, answer all your questions, and analyze all the factors of your suit.
Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for a consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. At The Advocates, you pay us nothing unless you win your case. This means there is no risk in hiring one of our personal injury lawyers. With an attorney in your corner, you have someone who will do all the heavy lifting. We will spend hours, days, weeks, or even months collecting evidence and making your case so you can live your life.
Since we work on a contingency fee basis, we don’t get paid unless you do. This means there is no financial barrier to hiring an Advocate. Our fees depend on the dollar amount you are awarded for your claim — the smaller the amount, the lower the fee.
With a contingency fee, we are incentivized to do everything we can to ensure you win your claim. We are in this together from the moment you call us to the day your awarded damages.