These days, just about everyone is a do-it-yourselfer. After all, you save money doing things yourself, learn a new skill, and take pride in the result. While you can repair plumbing at home or even change the oil in your car, taking the DIY approach to legal matters might not be as cost-saving as you think.
It is understandable why an accident victim would want to try to resolve their personal injury cases. After all, they may assume that their case is strong enough that insurance will offer them the amount of money they deserve. They might also believe that the money they would lose to an attorney’s fee is not worth it.
While these are all valid reasons, what they are missing is the fact that they will receive a smaller settlement. They might also spend months waiting for a settlement that would have been resolved in half the time with an attorney.
There are numerous reasons why hiring an attorney is beneficial. Therefore, if you are thinking of skipping the hiring process and soloing your case, here are a few common mistakes that happen during that process – and why you should reconsider.
Common Mistakes Made When Handling a Savannah, GA Personal Injury Case Without a Lawyer
You are saving yourself a contingency fee. Therefore, you feel confident that you could settle this case and walk away with the funds you need. Before you enter your negotiation with confidence, here are a few mistakes that happen when victims handle their claims alone.
Settling for Much Less than Deserved
One of the most significant errors made is when the victims settle for way under what they deserve. After you suffer a severe injury, the other party’s insurance company will contact you. They will make friends, be nice, and offer you what seems like a reasonable settlement.
For example, the insurance company offers you $10,000. Since you do not have an attorney, you save yourself the 30 percent contingency and keep the entire fee. However, with an attorney, statistics show that you would earn more in compensation. So let’s say your attorney got you a reward of $30,000 instead. Even with the 30 percent contingency fee, you still walk away with $21,000 – which is $11,000 more than you would have gotten negotiating alone.
An attorney is trained to recognize the value of a case. They can find insurance coverage that might not be noticeable, and they know how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Lacking Confidence in Negotiating Skills
Having confidence in your ability to negotiate a reasonable settlement is essential. You need to be aggressive, confident in your evidence, and never appear uncertain when talking to insurance claims adjusters. Most people do not have these negotiation tactics naturally. Even when you are confident about your injuries and damages, an adjuster can try to undermine your confidence by creating legal defenses and throwing you off your guard.
They might start using techniques like contributory negligence, the assumption of risk defense, or even using a mitigation of damages defense to lower your settlement. When you are not used to negotiating with insurance claims adjusters, these tactics just might work and convince you that you deserve a smaller settlement.
Settling Before the Right Time
The insurance company wants to pay quickly because that means they can limit the chances they will go to trial. While you want your case settled rapidly, settling too soon might mean not having time to assess the actual damages of your injury.
For example, if you have not recovered thoroughly, and you have not had a chance for a physician to assess your injuries and give a prognosis, you may want to wait before settling. If you take a settlement, you cannot return to the insurance company later for more compensation. Therefore, you want to ensure the money you receive now is what you need to compensate you fully for the injuries you have received..
Not Knowing That Property Damage is Lumped into the Injury Settlement
Insurance companies might lump your property damage, such as the repairs to your vehicle or replacing your car, into the compensation offered to you. They will do this to prevent you from seeking further compensation. But it is essential that you receive two different settlement amounts – one for you injuries and one for property damage. The reason for this is because you might end up short on one if you lump the two together.
Not Giving Documentation
When you request compensation, you do more than send a demand letter. You also back up any demands for payment with documentation. This includes proving you have injuries, damages, and showing how the defendant’s negligence contributed to your injuries.
If the insurance company offers a settlement without documentation, you should not take that settlement. That means they know the claim is worth more than you are requesting, and they are hoping you will accept a settlement before realizing such.
Ignoring Liens Filed Against Your Case
When you have an injury, hospitals and doctors might file liens against your settlement. They do this so they can treat you while guaranteeing that they will receive payment once you have your settlement.
You are required to pay these liens before paying yourself. Usually, when you work with a personal injury attorney, they will pay all liens associated with the case and then distribute the funds to you.
Speak with an Injury Attorney and Save Yourself the Hassles
Trying to settle a case while recovering from serious injuries is next to impossible. Even if you have the evidence, the insurance company has years of experience handling cases just like yours. It is in your best interest to speak with an attorney. After you have called and notified your insurance about the accident, make your next call to Clarke Nash.
Clarke has helped dozens of clients just like you receive the compensation you deserve after a severe injury. Schedule a free consultation with him today at 912-200-5292 or ask a question online.