It's not always the case that you need an attorney to help defend a car accident claim, it's just usually the case. If you take a little time to educate yourself about the claims system and the settlement process, you likely don't need a lawyer to help with routine car accident claims.
The key is to figure out which cases you can settle yourself, and which are better handled by a car accident lawyer. If you're trying to decide whether it's okay to settle your own claim or if it would be better to bring in an attorney, these five questions (and your answers) will help confirm the best approach to take for your car accident claim.
When Do You Need A Lawyer For Your Car Accident Claim?
1. Is fault contested in your case, or do the other driver and their insurance company admit that the other driver caused the accident?
Where fault for a car accident is contested, if you cannot prove that the other driver caused the accident, you will lose and recover nothing. So, you cannot take a chance on this. If there is going to be a fight over fault, especially if that fight will be waged in a court that applies the technical rules of evidence, then there is too much at stake for you to go it alone, and you need a car accident lawyer's help.
2. How much are your out-of-pocket expenses for such things as medical bills and lost income?
You might be comfortable settling your own claims if your out-of-pocket expenses are $2,000, $3,000 or $5,000, but you might not want to handle your own claims if these out-of-pocket expenses are $15,000 or $20,000 or more. You have to decide at what level your case is too big to handle yourself, and your personal choking point may be higher or lower than these figures.
3. How seriously were you injured and how long did it take you to recover?
If your car accident injuries were serious, such as a broken bone or a herniated disk that affected you for a long time, and especially if you have a permanent injury that will haunt you the rest of your life, you have a potentially large claim and should hire a lawyer to present it professionally, ensuring you receive the full compensation you are due.
In reality, #2 and #3 are simply different ways of saying that the larger your claim and the more that is at stake, the smarter it is to have a professional on your side. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the case, the harder the other side resists the claim.
Learn more about your car accident claim value.
Here's another way to think about it. You wouldn't do surgery on yourself, but you would definitely treat a small cut or a bruise or some other minor injury. The same is true with legal claims. There are many claims that you can handle yourself (if you learn how), but it would be foolish to handle large claims yourself.
4. Are you going to court?
If you have to take your case to court, and you cannot use an alternative dispute resolution such as the consumer-friendly small claims court, you need a lawyer who knows the court rules and who is experienced in trial settings – an attorney like Jeremy Rosenthal. With an experienced trial attorney on your team, you give yourself a fair chance to win and ensure that your legal rights are protected.
5. Are you willing to invest the necessary hours learning how to settle car accident claims and from that, confidently present your claim in court?
If you simply do not want to spend that much time prepping and presenting your settlement claim, hire a lawyer and turn your case over to them early so they will have time to properly establish your case. If you would rather try to settle your own claim, go for it. You can always change your mind later and hire a lawyer if you get into the process and you feel overwhelmed.
Still Unsure? Seek Immediate Legal Advisement!
What we've covered today is that there are small claims that involve no injuries and minimal property damage where it's in your best interest to try and settle the claim yourself. When injuries are included, or when property damages are high, or when fault is not clearly established, you can still try and manage your claim yourself but it's not without serious risk. Circumstances like these mean an aggressive legal team opposing you and often this is the time it's best to involve a lawyer of your own.
If you're ready to bring an experienced car accident attorney onto your legal defense team, you owe it to yourself to give attorney Jeremy Rosenthal a call for legal counsel. His experience working with car accident victims combined with his “better-than-expected” settlement record will have you confident that seeking a lawyers' assistance was the right move to make. Free consultations are available today just call 303-825-2223 to set yours up!