If you are injured, you may ask yourself why you shouldn’t just represent yourself and settle your own claim with the insurance company?! It would be cheaper, yes, but not wise. “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” So goes for you: an injured person who represents himself or herself has a fool for a client. So, let’s talk about what you get when you hire a personal injury lawyer (me!):
Experience Analyzing Your Claim. Personal injury attorneys have substantial experience with cases like yours. They see them every day and can quickly tell you whether legal action is warranted and worthwhile. Otherwise, you could easily spend lots of time and money pursuing a claim that ultimately has little or no value.
No Fees If You Don’t Recover. You will find that most attorneys are paid by contingency fee. Under this arrangement, you pay nothing for attorney fees if your case is not successful. When you win, your attorney gets a share of the recovery. Depending on your case and your attorney, you may be asked to pay for or contribute to some costs including expert witnesses.
Reduced Insurance Delay. The time value of money encourages insurance companies to delay payment to you. They have processes and procedures that slow down the process. An experienced attorney cuts the time to resolve your claim.
Objectivity. We are enamored with ourselves and our own claims. You should expect from your attorney an objective (i.e., raw or unfiltered) opinion based on the merits and weaknesses of your case. Make no mistake, your attorney is on your side but you should expect your attorney to anticipate and effectively deal with the weaknesses in your case. There are always weaknesses and it takes experience to know what they are.
Alternative Dispute Resolution. Not every case needs to go to trial. In fact, most cases do not and should not. There are many alternative options including arbitration and mediation. Your attorney should be using all available tools to achieve justice for you.
Dealing with Other Lawyers. Lawyers talk to each other about the case, its merits, and its weaknesses. If you represent yourself, it is difficult to remain objective and to keep a professional distance. It is easy to get heated or offended when your case’s weaknesses are discussed or a ‘lowball’ offer is extended. Also, everything you say to the other side, whether to an insurance representative or an attorney, can be used against you later on. Your attorney can say things and make proposals that will never be admissible in court or held against you in your case.
Dealing with Insurance Companies. Attorneys who have worked for insurance companies are familiar with the settlement and negotiation process that other lawyers are not. I worked for insurance companies for over 15 years and have substantial experience dealing with them. You should tap into that experience.
Better Settlements. You hire an attorney to get a better settlement. Period. Insurance companies know that if they are dealing with an unrepresented person, they are going to get a better deal– meaning, they will always offer you less money. Insurance companies want to pay you less and it is in their best interest for you to not hire an attorney.
Better Jury Verdicts. You hire an attorney so that you can make good on your threat to take the case to trial. There are a thousand things to do to prepare for and achieve a good result at trial. At trial, you will need a good lawyer to present your case to the jury in a way that compels the result you want and deserve. Going to trial without an attorney would be like going to surgery without a surgeon– yes, it’s possible, but not advised.
Trial. You hire an attorney so that you can make good on your threat to take the case to trial. There are a thousand things to do to prepare for and achieve a good result at trial. At trial, you will need a good lawyer to present your case to the jury in a way that compels the result you want and deserve. Going to trial without an attorney would be like going to surgery without a surgeon– yes, it’s possible, but not advised.
Call Me. You likely have more questions than this post or the other information on this website can provide. Every situation is unique. If you have been injured, feel free to reach out to me to discuss your circumstances further. You cannot make a good decision if you do not get competent advice from a qualified, experienced attorney. You need to protect yourself and your loved-ones from the often devastating effects of permanent injury or death. You do this by pursuing what you are entitled to. Call me.