So you have been involved in an accident, there was property damage and you suffered some serious injuries. You have barely even recovered from the shock of the accident yet doctors, police officers and insurance companies are already bombarding you with tough questions about what happened.
You realize you have spent so much money paying your hospital bill not to mention how much of your wages you have lost since the accident happened. You decide to pursue justice and file a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for your accident. But because your bank account balance doesn’t look like it can help you afford a lawyer, you decide to represent yourself and pursue claims for compensation and damages.
Representing yourself sounds like a great idea doesn’t it? Sadly, it’s not. In fact, not only is it a terrible idea but it’s not a profitable one. Let’s face it, you are not a personal injury lawyer and you shouldn’t pretend to be one. Don’t be deluded by what you see on TV shows. It takes years of experience to become a good personal injury lawyer.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t represent yourself in a personal injury claim.
1. You Can’t Tell If It’s Worth It To Pursue The Case
Do you really know if your case is worth pursuing or not? A personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you right from the start whether your case is a time waster or not. There are many factors that are usually considered when making a personal injury claim.
First, are your injuries severe? Does the person you plan on taking legal action against have insurance? And if they have insurance, what is the maximum that it can cover? Some of the information required to make a solid personal injury case can’t be obtained without a court order and you need a personal injury lawyer for this.
2. You Will Have To Work Through The Paperwork
Honestly, there will be lots of paperwork to go through…are you prepared for it? You will need to take time to analyze confusing medical terms and complicated legal procedures. This is a lot of work and will only stress you further. A personal injury lawyer will make your life a lot easier because they can easily work through all the necessary paperwork and help you resolve your claim.
3. You Don’t Have An Investigative Team
Most injury lawyers work with a team of investigators who examine the technical aspects of personal injury cases. If you decide to investigate your case yourself, you are likely to hit dead ends or even tamper with the evidence that’s important for your case. The team of investigators that your lawyer will work with has experience in specialized areas.
You can help them by providing important information about your injury such as where the accident happened, any photographs of the accident scene, who you think is responsible for your accident and any other information you think is relevant to the case.
4. You Are Likely To Be Ruled By Your Emotions
When you decide to pursue your case on your own, chances are very high that the insurance adjuster will give you a very low offer. There are plenty of reasons why they do this. First, they will do this to see your level of desperation. They want to see if you are desperate enough to take an offer that you don’t deserve.
Second, they are doing this to protect their own interest by giving out as little monetary compensation as possible. Third, they don’t think your injuries are serious enough for you to deserve the amount of compensation you are asking for.
When this happens, you might feel angry or insulted by the low offer and decide to go to trial instead. This might be a good and bad idea. You might go to trial and end up being awarded double the amount or more in compensation or you might go to trial and discover that you didn’t have a case in the first place.
A lawyer is likely to be more objective about your case and will not make a rash decision. They will advise you appropriately to protect your best interests.
5. You Don’t Know Other Dispute Resolution Methods
When negotiations fail, most people jump up and say they want to go to trial. The truth is, trials are lengthy and expensive and they are not the only other way to resolve disputes with the person liable for your injuries.
Here’s how the trial process works.
A lawyer with more experience will know which dispute resolution method will work well for your case. Not only will this save you time and money but you will also save emotional energy.
One method that they can use is mediation. Mediation does not involve rulings or decisions made by a judge. It’s a way of helping parties reach their own compromise. Mediation process is facilitated by a mediator. Their main job in the process is to facilitate negotiations and hopefully move them along in a less emotional and confrontational manner.
Arbitration is another method of settling disputes outside the courtroom. The arbitration process can be very complicated and sometimes costly. The process of arbitration is similar to that of a courtroom trial but the process is quicker than a trial. After the hearing, a panel of arbitrators will deliver a ruling after a specified period of time.
6. You Do Not Have Experience Working With Other Lawyers
If you have never worked with another lawyer in a personal injury case you might find it very difficult to work with one on your case. Experience working with other lawyers is very important especially during the fact-finding part of the litigation process.
The fact finding process involves a lot of elements such as depositions, document production, interrogatories and requests for admission. Unless you are familiar with these elements, you are better off hiring a lawyer.
7. You Don’t Have Experience Working With Insurance Companies
An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how insurance companies work and some of the tactics they use to confuse people and pressure them to settle for an unsatisfactory amount. They can also protect your legal interests, defend your claims and understand the fine print.
You should know that insurance companies sometimes make mistakes and if you are not informed, you could be deprived of the compensation you were promised. Insurance companies work so hard to protect their best interests so why wouldn’t you do the same by hiring an injury lawyer?
8. You Don’t Have Experience Negotiating A Settlement
Most personal injury cases don’t go to trial because both parties prefer to settle than go through a lengthy trial. Settlements involve a lot of negotiations and once you reach an agreement that satisfies both parties, you give up your right to sue. It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to give you a low ball offer. A lawyer can negotiate a better settlement for you and get you more compensation for your injuries and damages.
9. You Have No Experience In Getting The Best Jury Verdict
If all else fails and you see there is no other option other than going to trial, you might think that representing yourself is the best way to save money on legal fees. However, your efforts might just cost you the best possible jury verdict.
Arriving at a verdict that is in your favor requires a well thought out legal strategy…without experience in personal injury law you might not get compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawyer is able to represent you in court and get you any and all compensation available for your injuries.
Talk To A Personal Injury Lawyer For Free
As you have probably concluded by now, there are a lot of disadvantages of representing yourself. If you have been injured due to the carelessness of another person, you don’t need to suffer alone. You can contact a personal injury lawyer and schedule a free initial consultation.
You do not need to pay your lawyer any fees…if they don’t win the case, you don’t have to pay them. Most lawyers get paid n a contingency fee basis. If they don’t win a case, they don’t get paid. Never pay “deposits” to a lawyer before you have won a case.