No one will tell you that you are required to hire a personal injury lawyer or that you legally cannot handle your own personal injury claim. However, if you decide to pursue compensation for your personal injury case without the assistance of an attorney, you are accepting full responsibility for your case and will have to work extremely hard to know and understand the legal process and what it takes to win.
While you may be able to save some money by representing yourself, it is usually in your best interest to hire a personal injury lawyer because they will guide you through every obstacle and challenge, help you understand everything going on with your case, and fight for the settlement you need and deserve.
Why would a person want to handle their own personal injury claim?
There are many reasons why a person may think that it is a good idea to handle their own personal injury claim. Here are a few of the most common reasons:
- They either do not want to pay for a lawyer or think that they cannot afford one: The most common reason why individuals usually want to handle their own personal injury claims is because they either do not want to pay to hire an attorney or they believe that they cannot afford one. However, some people may not realize that most attorneys do not charge anything until they win the person’s case, which is called a contingency fee. A contingency fee means that the client does not have to pay any fees upfront to hire the attorney. Instead, the attorney will begin working for them as soon as possible and never send them a bill until the very end, after their case is over.
- They think that their case is not serious enough for a lawyer: Another common reason why people decide to handle their own personal injury claims is because they do not think that their case is serious enough for a lawyer. For example, if a person was involved in a fender bender accident, they may be less likely to hire an attorney than if they were involved in a multi-vehicle pileup or a serious head-on collision. Even though they may think this is a wise decision, a lawyer may be able to investigate and uncover information about any type of accident that a person may not even realize happened.
- They believe that they know the legal process well enough: Many people who have filed a personal injury claim before believe that they know the legal process well enough to represent themselves. While they may have been through the legal steps of a personal injury case before, every case is unique and different. Their new case may not be as easy and stress-free as their previous case, especially without the help and guidance of a lawyer.
- They think that they know more about their case and what happened than anyone else: Personal injury victims may think that they know more about their case than anyone else. This is usually because they were the ones involved in the accident, meaning that they do not believe they need help explaining what happened. Although this may be true, the other parties involved will likely have a different story of what happened, and their legal team may be working endlessly to prove this story.
Four mistakes that individuals make when pursuing a claim without a lawyer
When individuals make the choice to file their accident claim without a lawyer, it is common for mistakes and errors to emerge. This is because most people lack the experience, education, resources, and tools that personal injury attorneys have spent years developing and using to win cases. These are four common mistakes that individuals make when pursuing a claim without a lawyer:
- Asking for too much or accepting too little in compensation: Injured accident victims who decide to represent themselves may not know how to determine how much compensation they deserve for their losses. As a result, they may ask for too much or accept too little. If they ask for too much, the insurance company will likely reject their claim. However, if they accept too little, they are selling themselves short and not getting the compensation they need to recover their damages.
- Forgetting deadlines: Every state has their own statutes of limitations, which explains how long you have to file a personal injury claim. In Pennsylvania, accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but almost everyone should follow this deadline when seeking compensation for their damages. However, when individuals choose to handle their own personal injury claims, it is easy to become overwhelmed with their recovery process and other life obligations that they simply forget their deadlines. When this happens, they jeopardize the possibility of ever getting justice for their accident and injuries.
- Leaving out certain losses that could impact their compensation: When filing a personal injury claim, it is critical that the victim knows what types of losses they suffered from the accident. This may be injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Personal injury lawyers usually sit down and go over every single loss that you may have experienced from the accident. Therefore, without their assistance, it is easy to leave out important losses that could impact your compensation.
- Not including convincing evidence to support their claim: Another common mistake is failing to include certain pieces of evidence that may convince the insurance company, judge, or jury about your claim. Attorneys usually help accident victims investigate and collect evidence to support and back up their facts. However, without this extra help, they may miss a certain photo, medical bill, receipt, or document showing a key piece of information that could affect the results of their case.
If you have recently been injured in an accident in Pittsburgh, PA, please do not hesitate to reach out to the personal injury lawyers at Carmody & Ging at your earliest opportunity. Our team has built a solid reputation in our community and always strives to provide the best legal advice possible, no matter how difficult a client’s case may be. Having a lawyer that you can depend on when things become tough is essential, as we will stand up for your rights and demand the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today, and we will gladly go over why we think we would be an asset to your case.