You can get a settlement without a lawyer, though chances are it will not fully cover your damages. It is doubtful you will receive a comprehensive and complete settlement for your car accident without the assistance of a lawyer. As we’ll discuss, the insurance company has teams of claim analysts and their own attorneys working full-time to deny your claim, or if they must accept it, to offer you a low-ball settlement offer in hopes that you take it.
An attorney evens the playing field between you and the insurance company so you can focus on recovering from your injury while your lawyer handles your compensation.
To recover from your accident, another party must be at fault or cause the accident that led to your injuries. For example, if you are driving alone on an open road, decide to speed, and run into a light post, reaching out to an attorney won’t be very beneficial as your own insurance company will pay for any damages in such an accident.
On the other hand, if you were driving along following the rules of the road and another driver’s car spins out of control due to a defect in the engine, and they hit you, the driver and the manufacturer that caused the defect in the engine will be liable for your damages. If a drunk driver hits you, they are accountable for your damages and potentially punitive damages as they were breaking the law when the accident happened.
The amount that you can recover for your accident will vary depending on your accident’s unique facts and circumstances. Most basically, your damages will cover the medical bills associated with your injuries, in addition to the lost wages during recovery and any lost earnings in the long-term that might result from your injuries. In some cases, additional damages like pain and suffering or mental duress may be available, and if the at-fault party was breaking laws, you can pursue punitive damages or statutory penalties.
Knowing how to find similar cases to yours with comparable injuries can be difficult. You would need to learn how to access case records at the law library in your area. Potentially pay the clerk for access to copies of the cases, analyze them to determine which ones are similar to yours, and compile average settlement values.
This can take quite a bit of time, and without a law degree, it can be difficult to understand what the cases mean and how they will impact future cases. Your attorney has the legal knowledge, training, and experience with cases in your area to know what you should be entitled to for your injuries and what a fair settlement offer looks like.
When it comes time to collect insurance benefits or consider a settlement, remember that the insurance company does not work for you. It generates profit by maximizing revenues and minimizing costs.
Insurance companies profit by collecting premiums as revenue and minimizing costs by denying as many claims as possible and paying as little as they can on those they do pay. Your attorney will know what a fair settlement offer looks like or know when to press for more to make sure you receive the most compensation for your injuries.
When you have been through an accident, and it is time for you to determine how you will be able to collect your insurance benefits and any other damages you might be entitled to from the at-fault party, you might not know where to begin. If you are lucky, this will be your first accident and the first time you have had to consider how to be compensated for your injuries.
Filing your claim with the insurance company, as we explored above, will require you to communicate and negotiate with the insurance company and their full-time teams of claim analysts and attorneys whose goal is to deny your claim if they can—and if they can’t deny it, to pay as little as possible. Your car accident attorney can handle these hurdles for you. They handle all negotiations and communications with the insurance company so you can focus on recovering from your injury while they focus on recovering your compensation.
There are likely many hundreds of attorneys in your area who take on injury claims and it is crucial to select one who fits well with your case. When choosing an attorney, the fields in which they practice and areas they have experience in will determine how well they can assist you on your case. You are allowed and encouraged to ask questions of your attorney, as you will have to communicate with them throughout the process, so being comfortable is essential.
Connecting with a local car accident attorney who has handled car accidents cases in the past will best provide you support and advocacy throughout your claim. Call around and ask if they have handled car accident cases and whether they can help you. The cost of an attorney is something that people are often concerned about, and when it comes to car accidents, there are options, as we’ll discuss below.
While you might think that you cannot afford a lawyer or that they will cost a great deal of money out-of-pocket before you recover anything, that is not necessarily the case. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case, your attorney might be willing to take your case on contingency. When an attorney takes a case on contingency, your lawyer only collects payment if they win your case out of a portion of your winnings, so you have no out-of-pocket costs.