Although it is not a requirement to hire a personal injury lawyer to file your claim, there are many benefits to doing so.
1. The at-fault party has professionals on their side.
When you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, it is handled from start to finish by a team of insurance adjusters and, if necessary, experienced lawyers, who will scrutinize your case and its value. The fact is, you are going to be on an uneven playing field if you do not have an attorney to advocate on your behalf.
2. Better negotiation.
Assuming the insurance company accepts liability and makes you an offer, you can negotiate an initial offer from the insurance company on your own. But it is important to be aware that the goal of the insurance company is always to pay the least possible amount to resolve the claim, whether or not that amount represents the fair value of your claim.
Personal injury attorneys are experts in this field. They know the value of your claim based on their years of experience of settling and trying cases just like yours. They are well versed in the negotiation tactics of insurance companies and how to combat them. That is why having a lawyer will increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation.
3. An objective perspective about your claim that will help you make better decisions.
An unexpected accident and the pain, anxiety, and cost that come with it is often a traumatic and deeply personal experience. An attorney will understand that and do everything they can to get you the maximum recovery based on the unique circumstances of your particular claim. Just as importantly, however, is the objective perspective they bring as someone who is not so personally attached to the claim. They also have the experience to know how an average juror would likely value your claim. Data like this is the best way to determine your reasonable settlement value. If you value your claim based on emotion, you may miss an opportunity for a favorable resolution.
4. You may end up in court.
If you are unable to resolve your claim through direct negotiations with the insurance company, your only option is to file a lawsuit. The first hurdle to litigation is making sure your claim is properly filed and served. Once it is, the court will set a myriad of deadlines for things like written discovery, depositions, motions, witness and exhibit lists, and of course, your trial.
Navigating the civil litigation process without an attorney is never advisable. It is complex, and the court rules explaining it are often even more confusing. The insurance company knows this, so it will likely hinder your negotiation process if you are not already represented by an attorney who is ready to file a suit on your behalf. But assuming you did decide to attempt claims negotiations without an attorney and are now at a dead end with the insurance company, now is the time to hire one.
5. There are no up-front fees.
Almost all personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis – meaning they get paid from a portion of the settlement proceeds once your claim is resolved. You do not have to pay anything out of your own pocket. In most cases, that also means that if your attorney is not successful in recovering a judgment or settlement for your claim, you won’t owe anything at all. The fee will come out of your proceeds once your claim is resolved, but in most cases, the value your attorney added to your final check will far outweigh the amount of attorney’s fees deducted from your settlement.
6. Peace of mind.
Even if you resolve your case without filing suit, there is a lot that goes into proving your damages to the insurance company in order to secure the maximum settlement. Your number one priority after you are injured in an accident should be to follow the advice of your medical providers and get well. Requesting and sorting through medical bills, records, insurance payments, and wage loss support can be upsetting and time consuming. Not to mention the stress of communicating with the insurance company, who will definitely not be trying to make any of this easier on you.
Your peace of mind after an accident-related injury is priceless. An attorney can save you time and take the burden off you while you recover.