Can I Handle My Personal Injury Claim Myself?

Can I Handle My Personal Injury Claim Myself?

You may be asking yourself, "Why would I ask a personal injury attorney if I can handle a claim on my own?" "Isn't the injury attorney always going to say that I need a lawyer?" --- No!--- There are certainly personal injury cases where you do not need a lawyer. Why would I tell you this? The short (and self interested) answer is because I rely heavily on referrals from other clients for my business.

If I do not believe that I can add value to your personal injury claim, I will not represent you. The last thing I would ever want to happen is that you end up with less because of our involvement. It is bad for business, but more importantly, it is simply not the right thing to do. However, before you run out and try to settle your personal injury without a lawyer, you need to better understand what factors to consider before going at it on your own. Compare the following:

Situation 1: Just this week I received a call from a potential client who wanted my opinion on whether or not she should hire me or should just settle the claim on her own She is a smart, educated woman who had been doing a pretty good job of handling the claim on her own. Her claim was well organized and she had a solid grasp of her general rights under the law. Her case was extremely straight forward in that the other driver was clearly at fault and her injuries were relatively modest in that she had made a good recovery within a couple of months. At the time that she contacted me, she had already received an offer on her claim. We discussed her case at length and I gave her some pointers and told her that I thought she could handle this claim on her own.

Situation 2: Earlier this year I received a call from a potential client who already had an offer on her case. She too was smart, educated and seemed to have a good grasp on her rights. She had all of her medical treatment organized and was able to see that the offer did not seem all that fair. Based upon my review of the case, I accepted representation and was able to get her over 24 times what the insurance company had offered her when she was handling the claim on her own. Plus, her health insurance company was attempting to get payment from her and I was able to reduce the amount they wanted by two-thirds.

So what are the factors that would make us accept one case over another? Here is a general list to help you decide whether or not you should go at it on your own. If you have questions about what to do, please call an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia to help answer these questions.

Is it clear that the other party is responsible for causing the accident or the incident? - If this is not clear, then you will likely need a lawyer to prove that the other person is responsible. A good indicator is whether or not the insurance company readily acknowledges that they are responsible for your injuries. If not, call a lawyer immediately and do not give a recorded statement. There may be situations such as drinking and driving or hit and run where the liability is clear, but you will still need a lawyer. In these situations you could be entitled to punitive damages. This is an area of the law that is by no means intuitive and you should clearly speak to a personal injury lawyer if this is the situation your are presented with.

Are your injuries clearly related to the accident or incident? - Have you had other injuries that are similar to the ones you have experienced in the accident? Did you receive medical treatment soon following the accident and did you have consistent medical treatment? If the insurance company is questioning your injuries or the reasonableness of your medical treatment, it is likely that you will need a lawyer.

How severe are your injuries? - If you have significant injuries you will definitely need a lawyer. Every insurance policy has limits on what will be paid out for personal injuries. Odds are that if you have received significant injuries, there will be some type of policy cap on what you can recover. However, there are ways to combine various policies to make sure that this cap is larger. Insurance laws and coverage issues can be complicated and only an Injury Lawyer will be able to sort out those coverages to make sure that you are getting every penny to which you are entitled.

Do you have private health insurance or Medicaid/Medicare? - If you have any type of health insurance whether it be private or provided by the government then that odds are highly likely that you will need a lawyer. When health insurance has paid for your medical bills they will almost always claim that you have to pay them back if you receive a settlement (this is called subrogation). This is true regardless of whether or not the health insurance carrier is legally entitled to be paid back. A good Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer will be able to determine whether or not your health insurance has a right to be paid back. Even if they have a right to be paid back your lawyer should be able to negotiate a reduction if he or she understands the law. This can result in the difference of thousands of dollars to you.

If you do not have health insurance, are you able to get good medical treatment? - Remember, insurance companies will not pay for your medical treatment as it occurs. Many times a doctor will not see you if you cannot pay for the treatment up front or do not have health insurance. If you are having trouble getting medical treatment then you should speak to a lawyer without delay. An attorney should be able to work with your doctor to ensure that you are getting medical treatment and then the attorney will be able to pay the doctor at the end of your case.

These are just some basic factors to consider in determining whether or not you need to hire a Personal Injury Lawyer. Please call our office for your free, no obligation legal consultation and we will be happy to go over your specific facts to determine whether or not you need a lawyer.


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