Can You Make a Personal Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?
You’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t any fault of your own, but it’s left your car damaged beyond repair.
Or, you’ve slipped and fallen in a retail store due to unsafe design, or a wet floor that wasn’t properly marked with a warning sign.
Or, you’ve been left with a serious injury as a result of another person’s negligence that will make it impossible for you to work for the next three to six months.
All of the above situations are common occurrences in which you, as an individual, have the right to pursue an accident or personal injury case against an individual, a business or their insurance provider.
In all of these cases, you have two options to choose from: you can represent yourself, and potentially keep the entire settlement instead of having to deduct a lawyer’s fees (typically a third of the settlement amount).
Or, you can work with a personal injury attorney and pay a contingency fee only if you receive damages or a settlement.
At first glance, the decision seems simple. If you have a slam dunk case, why wouldn’t you opt to represent yourself? The reality is that while you can make a personal injury claim without an attorney, there are numerous reasons not to do so.
Large damages typically mean extensive opposition
In the event that you suffer significant losses as a result of an accident (for example, lost income or quality of life due to a major injury), the compensation you receive from the responsible party (or, more frequently, their insurance provider) could be a large sum of money.
This also means that you’ll likely face significant legal opposition in recovering damages. Large companies, for example, often have highly effective in-house legal teams dedicated only to the settlement of personal injury and accident cases.
As an individual representing yourself, this means that you’re at a significant disadvantage. With an experienced personal injury or accident attorney on your side, the playing field is leveled and your chances of a successful claim are much higher.
You might be entitled to more than you initially think
In many personal injury cases, victims incorrectly assume that they’re entitled to a far smaller amount of compensation than the reality. Because of this, many self-represented victims take the first amount they’re offered by an insurance company — often, a relatively small amount.
Experienced personal injury attorneys understand not only the process of making a successful personal injury claim but also the average sums that are awarded in court or typically provided as settlements.
As a personal injury victim, it’s easy to underestimate the true cost of an injury. From lost wages to emotional distress, the scope of damages from an injury can often extend beyond your initial assumptions.
Because of this, it’s always best to work with an experienced personal injury attorney that can assess the true costs of your injuries and their relevance to a fair settlement.
Representing yourself is complex and stressful
While television shows and movies may make the process of representing yourself in a lawsuit or personal injury claim seem simple, the reality is that the process is fraught with difficulties for people without legal qualifications and experience.
From calculating damages to preparing a demand letter, negotiating a settlement and more, the process of making a personal injury claim is extremely challenging. Add a hostile opposition into the equation and it’s easy for even a “certain” claim to crumble without the right assistance.
It’s also important to remember that this process takes place in the wake of an accident that has left you injured and seriously affected — a situation that’s already difficult, even without the extra stress of legal proceedings.
As a result, making a personal injury claim yourself is rarely the best approach, no matter how confident you are in the strength and validity of your claim.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is always the best option
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, whether on the road or on private property, the best option is always to seek the services of a personal injury attorney.
An experienced attorney will be able to review the evidence surrounding your injury and inform you of whether or not you have a case. If you have a valid claim, they will be able to fight your case on your behalf, maximizing your likelihood of a satisfactory settlement.
For our clients, we offer a no-recovery, no-fee contingency arrangement that means you won’t have to pay anything unless you receive a favorable verdict or settlement.
In closing, yes, you can make a personal injury claim by yourself. However, as with many things in life, you’ll have the best chances of a successful claim by retaining a personal injury attorney to work on your behalf.
As a premier Costa Mesa personal injury attorney’s office, we’ve helped hundreds of people successfully receive settlements or favorable verdicts. Our experienced team can help you learn more about your rights and legal options in the event that you’re injured in an accident.
For more information, please fill out our free online case evaluation form or contact us now on 1-800-560-2139 to speak to a member of our team.