It’s true that you might be able to save on legal fees if you negotiate your own claim settlement for personal injury. However, you should ensure that you are prepared before you even attempt it. 

If the fault of the other side is pretty clear or your injuries are relatively minor, then it may make more economic sense to negotiate your own personal injury settlement. However, we recommend you get yourself a lawyer from among our many HawkLaw personal injury lawyers to help you get what you deserve in your personal injury case. 

There are some tips you should know about when trying to figure out the damages owed to you. Key issues that need to be factored in include evidence of liability, potential negligence on your side and availability of insurance coverage. 

When Should You Self-represent?

It is possible to represent yourself in a personal injury claim and get satisfaction, especially if you have some experience in handling your own legal cases, and you are willing and able to stand up for yourself. Two key factors that should be considered, however, including how serious the injuries are and how cut-and-dried the fault of the other party is.

Description: Personal Injury Law .

The Seriousness of the Injury

If you got a minor injury, the offending party often won’t complain much and will likely offer you a quick settlement. However, if the accident was more serious and involved medical bills, lost income, and substantial pain and suffering, it might make more sense to discuss things with an injury attorney. Significant damages imply higher stakes for everyone. 

How Clear Is It That the Other Party Was at Fault?

If the fault of the other party is obvious and you have witnesses who are willing to testify on your behalf, proving fault on your own is easier to do. However, sometimes, things can be more complicated, especially if the injury is severe. The defense may even try to make it look like the injury was entirely your fault. Again, it makes more sense to hire a lawyer in this case. 

Description: Car accident in the highway

What Steps Should You Take?

Here are some things you should consider doing before you send a demand letter to the other party:

  • Take photos of the scene of the accident, any damaged property, and any injuries
  • Get a copy of the police report for the case
  • Get the necessary medical treatment
  • If you have any personal injury protection insurance coverage, use it to pay your initial bills before you resort to health insurance. Keep copies of all bills and records
  • Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company representing the other party under any circumstances
  • Remember that there are time limits to your claim and that they vary by state, so make sure you understand them
  • Do not write anything about the accident on social media as this information can be taken out of context by the other side to damage your case. 

Damages

There are generally two types of damages you will experience in a personal injury case: damages that can be calculated exactly, such as lost earnings, medical bills and financial losses directly attributed to the accident are the first. The second type consists of damages that cannot be calculated exactly, also known as general damages. These include mental anguish and personal suffering. While the first example can be estimated on your own easily with the help of well-kept records and bills, the second type will need an experienced injury lawyer to help you argue your case.

Description: Attorney signing a document

The Importance of a Lawyer

There are many more nuances involved, including the right timing for writing the demand letter, how to negotiate the settlement and when to accept a settlement. Many of these will be best handled by a lawyer, although you could handle them yourself if you had experience in legal matters. Our recommendation is to always use a lawyer in personal injury cases. They will bring many more benefits than they cost.

 

mm
Written By
Lista Legal
Guías de ayuda y recursos legales en Español para los Latinos en Estados Unidos. Visita nuestro directorio para buscar un abogado que hable Español cerca de ti. Subscríbete aquí y nunca más te pierdas una publicación.

6 Long-Term Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) remains to be one of the most common criminal offenses in the United States for many years now.

mm
Michael Aed
lawyer jobs

7 Helpful Tips For a Job Search in Law

Now is the right time to begin a period of self-reflection and to motivate yourself to improve. The end of year review has the potential to act as a catalyst for legal representatives who feel their compensation does not reflect their quality of work and their career is not progressing as it should. Final quarter […]

mm
Lista Legal
injured worker

Frequently Asked questions about workers’ compensation for employees

Many employees, particularly those in the unskilled labor force and the gig economy, don´t have a clear idea of their rights.  This is something that, in my opinion, should be addressed in order to guarantee their well-being and make sure their rights are protected, regardless of their immigration status.

mm
Mark Larson

Tips to prepare you for a legal job interview

Are you starting a career in law as a lawyer, paralegal or just a receptionist. If so these tips will provide you with a firm grasp of the basics.

mm
Lista Legal

¿Cuánto tarda NVC para dar cita?

El otorgamiento de visa de inmigrante implica muchas veces un proceso largo y engorroso. Para que la petición sea procesada en el Centro Nacional de Visas (NVC) y el Consulado, tiene que estar avalada antes por los Servicios de Inmigración (USCIS). Después que la petición es aprobada pasa al NVC del Departamento de Estado para […]

mm
Lista Legal