If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the idea of giving up a portion of your injury award to an attorney can feel wasteful. Those funds could be crucial for catching up on bills, paying off debts, obtaining necessary medical treatment, and more. But while a self-represented plaintiff doesn’t have to give up any of their award to an attorney, they might not achieve as high of a settlement as a lawyer could negotiate. Things will only get more complicated if the claim proceeds to trial. You owe it to yourself to at least see what an injury attorney has to say about your situation. Call our firm to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Mesa accident attorney at 480-448-9800.
Do You Know How To Calculate Your Damages?
There are several types of damages a plaintiff can sue for in a personal injury case. Your total damages could be far more than the property damage to your vehicle. Some damages have clearly represented values, like medical expenses and lost wages. Others may require more speculation, like future medical expenses and lost earning potential. Pain and suffering can be used to compensate for intangible effects from the accident, like pain, stress, trauma, depression, etc. An accident victim who suffers a permanent disfigurement or disability will need to increase their demand accordingly. Additionally, wrongful death suits can be of extremely high value and will be fiercely defended by defense counsel.
Do You Want To Deal With Insurance Adjusters?
In most injury claims, some insurance agency will be involved in defending the claim. Most insurance adjusters put on a nice front but ultimately are out to make sure the insurance company pays as little as possible. One of the first things an insurance adjuster will do is require a plaintiff to speak about the accident on a recorded call. Adjusters are trained to ask questions designed to make you seem at fault for the accident, make your injuries seem trivial, and make your medical treatments seem unnecessary. Answering these questions in the wrong way could negatively impact your claim’s value.
Would You Rather Focus On Getting Back To Life As Usual?
Personal injury firms are simply better equipped to deal with the ins and outs of suing an at-fault driver after a car accident. What might take a layman 5 hours could take 5 minutes for the staff at a quality firm. This is all time that could be spent on physical therapy, talk therapy, doctor’s appointments, looking for a mechanic or a new vehicle, or maybe simply rest. Or, you might want to spend that time with your family or get back to the things you enjoy. Our firm can handle the labor-intensive parts of a personal injury claim so that you can focus on yourself.
Can You Complete & File Your Paperwork?
The personal injury process starts when you draft and send your demand letter to the opposing party. When a demand letter is clear and convincing, it sets negotiations off to a better start for the plaintiff. This is just one of the documents you will need to complete yourself for a personal injury claim if you don’t retain an attorney. If you can’t reach a settlement agreement with the other party, you will need to file your lawsuit in court and have it served on the other party.
Once your claim proceeds to court, it may feel like a constant barrage of paperwork. There will be interrogatories and other requests that must be followed within court deadlines. A self-represented defendant will need to compile all the evidence they plan to use in their potential lawsuit. They will need to interview witnesses and potentially attend depositions, which skilled defense attorneys could turn against you. If a self-represented plaintiff fails to comply with court requirements, their case could very well end up dismissed. This could leave the plaintiff having paid out of pocket not to recover anything from the insurance company.
Do You Know How To Negotiate?
If you’re hesitant to go to trial, the good news is that about 95% of personal injury claims settle out of court. However, if the insurance company immediately accepts your initial offer, you probably didn’t ask for enough. But an unreasonably high demand will show the defense that you can’t be taken seriously. But deciding upon an initial demand is only the first step to negotiating a personal injury settlement. It will require a lot of going back and forth before a plaintiff can secure a fair injury settlement. Additionally, the defense will have the upper hand knowing that the plaintiff is likely unprepared to proceed to trial. It will require persistence and tenacity for a self-represented plaintiff to get the defense to pay out anywhere near a fair settlement.
Can You Represent Yourself In Court?
If negotiations fail, you will need to file your claim with the court and proceed to trial. Without a law degree or significant legal experience, this can be a daunting endeavor. There will be deadlines, documents, and other requirements imposed by the court that will all be a self-represented plaintiff’s sole responsibility. You will need to comply with requests for production and interrogatories, as well as prepare these documents to serve upon the defense. All of this can be made almost impossible if you experienced serious injuries due to the accident. If you don’t already have the power of attorney documents in place, it will already be too late to execute them once you are legally incapacitated.
Do You Need Help Coordinating With Experts?
If you can’t afford your out-of-pocket medical costs, you may need to seek treatment from doctors who accept payment on a medical lien basis. Finding doctors and medical networks who can do personal injury claims can be a battle in itself. Other experts that may be involved in a personal injury claim include:
Car accident reconstructionist
Medical billing professionals
Law enforcement officers
Any expert in a field related to the accident, injuries, or medical treatments
Do You Want To Get The Most Out Of Your Claim?
Yes, hiring an attorney is expensive. However, most personal injury attorneys don’t charge upfront. Instead, they charge what is known as a “contingency fee.” The attorney and client will agree on a percentage that the attorney will receive from the final award. This percentage is usually not an insignificant number- many personal injury attorneys will charge upwards of 33 percent. After paying out your lawyer, medical expenses, and experts who testified on your behalf, it may seem like there will hardly be any settlement money left for you. But one fact that personal injury attorneys don’t want you to know is that they aren’t required to take a third or more of your award. You can shop around for attorneys who offer more favorable contingency rates. The positive part about contingency fees is that they incentive injury attorneys to work harder to obtain high settlements for their clients.
At My AZ Lawyers, we know just how invaluable a personal injury award can be when recovering from a car accident. Our injury attorneys have seen countless clients have insurance companies try to shortchange them when it comes to compensating injuries caused by their insured drivers. We also see our competitors charge unnecessarily high contingency fees for accident victims. More of that money belongs in your pocket- that’s why we offer personal injury representation at a guaranteed rate of 25 percent. Let’s say you were in a serious accident causing $100,000 in damages. If you retain one of our competitors, they would receive $33,000 from your award. We would only keep $25,000, which would save you $8,000. And while $25,000 still may seem like a steep fee, think about it this way- if you represent yourself, you run the risk of the insurance company not taking you seriously and sticking with a lower award value. If you walk away with a smaller settlement, say $40,000, it will not have saved you money versus receiving $75,000 after paying your attorney.
If you don’t want to retain a personal injury attorney, you are free to make that choice. But it doesn’t hurt to talk to a personal injury attorney for free before making that decision. For your free phone consultation with one of our experienced injury attorneys at Mesa Injury Lawyer, call 480-448-9800.