Will I Save More Money by Filing My Personal Injury Suit Without a Lawyer?
In the age of promo coupons, discount deals, and online flash sales, saving money is easier now more than ever before. So after an accident, shouldn’t you actively be trying to save money on legal fees? Shouldn’t you try to file your own personal injury suit rather than give away a part of your settlement check to pay for a lawyer?
While nothing’s stopping you from going it alone, in the majority of instances, it’s more likely you’ll get a much higher settlement with the help of a lawyer. In fact, the Insurance Research Council found that people using an attorney actually made 3.5x more money in their settlement than those without one.
So, while you can choose to represent yourself for your claim, it’s important to understand that even though it may seem like you’re saving money, you’re likely losing even more money in the long run. Below, we go over some of the top reasons you won’t save money representing yourself in a personal injury case.
1. You’ll earn a larger settlement with an attorney
Despite the fact that you may save some money on the front end by eliminating the costs of counsel fees, as we mentioned earlier, you will almost always lose money in the long run by receiving a lower settlement payment than you would if you had legal representation.
While yes, most attorney fees for personal injury cases cost between 30-40% of your final settlement, consider receiving a settlement amount on your own of $50,000 versus a settlement amount of $100,000 with a lawyer. If you must pay your lawyer at least 30% of the final settlement fee, then you would still be taking home $70,000. That’s nearly $20,000 more than you would make on your own! Furthermore, a personal injury attorney can also make the defendant pay for costs and disbursements if you proceed to a trial.
2. Personal Injury claims are more complex than small insurance claims
Minor insurance claims such as health insurance, fender benders, and home insurance are relatively simple and can often be handled with the assistance of a lawyer. However, personal injury claims are far more complex and require a more in-depth knowledge of the legal system. While people can and do represent themselves for personal injury claims, for much the same reason you wouldn’t want your nurse performing open heart surgery on your loved ones, you should also prefer the most qualified person to represent you in the legal process. After all, it’s important to hire the most qualified candidate for the job (hint: it’s a personal injury lawyer).
3. Insurance adjusters will take advantage of you
There isn’t a set rate for the compensation you’ll receive due to your personal injury. Instead, courts will offer “reasonable compensation” for your injuries–– this rate is based on several different elements, including location, district, and evidence. For instance, compensation is typically more significant in cities and less in rural places. Suburban areas tend to have more variability depending on the financial and political policies in place and can differ from county to county.
If you choose not to get an attorney, know that you, unlike insurance companies, are unaware of your area’s rate of reasonable compensation. They will use this against you to convince you into accept a lower amount than you are due. Even if the insurance adjuster is claiming to offer you more than another person, know that it’s doubtful they’re cutting you some kind of special deal–– it’s more common that you just got lowballed into accepting less than you’re actually due.
4. You don’t understand your complete legal choices
If an insurance adjuster offers you money a little too quickly… it’s a red flag. If you end up receiving more money than you initially expected from insurance… it’s also a red flag. Why?
Well, dear reader, these are both bright warning signs that the insurance knows something that you don’t. And chances are good that they’re sitting on a piece of BIG information. Insurance adjusters don’t pay for fair or generous compensation out of the goodness of their hearts–– rather, it’s a sign that they don’t want you to look further into the matter of why they are so eager to pay your compensation.
You see, when you handle personal injury claims on your own, it’s incredibly likely that you’re unaware of other forms of compensation you may be entitled to, including:
- Punitive damages
- Property damages
- Future medical costs
- Job or financial losses due to unemployment
- Claims involving family members
- Home or car modifications
- And much, much more
Handling a personal injury claim alone, whether a car wreck, slip and fall, or trucking accident is almost guaranteed to end up losing you money in the long run. A personal injury lawyer can help you maximize your legal compensation, making sure that you avoid legal pitfalls and mistakes you would encounter on your own.