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Why You Shouldn’t Try to Handle Your Own Personal Injury Claim

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Lawyers spend years in law school and practicing law to build their expertise—and it pays off. A trial attorney who specializes in personal injury law knows how to analyze and present your case and prepare for trial, if necessary, so you can get what is owed to you. When you’re going up against deep-pocketed insurance companies, you want to level the playing field as much as you can. I admire those who are proactive about their own legal interests and who consider handling their own personal injury claim, but here’s the bottom line: You can’t Google your way through this.

Here’s why you’ll want to hire an experienced, trial attorney:

1. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you’re already dealing with ER visits, doctor appointments, recovery time, and physical therapy appointments, not to mention navigating how you’ll cover your medical costs. On top of all of this, you’ll be away from your full-time job, and your paychecks won’t likely be as regular. If you have family to care for or school you’re missing out on, handling your own claim can easily become an overwhelming situation, which is why hiring a trial attorney who specializes in personal injury law means you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind knowing your lawyer is taking care of business.

2. The clock is already ticking.

It takes time and effort to gather the needed materials, documents and evidence for your personal injury case. Before you even present to an insurance company, a judge or a jury, you and your attorney may need to interview witnesses, track down police reports and compile physical evidence. It’s not a job you can tackle in one afternoon making a few phone calls. Research like this can take hours, days or even months—and courts have deadlines too. An attorney working on your behalf will not only meet these crucial deadlines, they’ll likely increase the responsiveness from insurance companies, insurance adjusters and other parties involved who may be keen to drag their feet (and be downright rude) once they find out you’re handling your personal injury claim on your own

3. An attorney’s value is worth the cost.

I hear it all the time, “But attorneys are too expensive.” Or, “They take too much of the settlement.” Legal protection comes at a cost—sure—but you’re fighting for repayment for your injuries, your mounting medical bills, time away from work, the toll this unforeseen accident may have had on your life and the lives of your family members—today but also future forward. Even your credit score is at risk in a situation like this. Personal injuries are serious—and putting a price tag on each of these aspects of your life is difficult. Hiring a lawyer, who can be proactive about your legal interests, not only affects the likelihood of a positive outcome of your personal injury claim but he or she can also provide intangible guidance and peace of mind during this otherwise very stressful period of time. You’re three times more likely to receive a settlement—than if you handled your claim on your own. In my opinion, it’s too expensive not to hire a lawyer.

4. It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. People hire professionals all the time.

Take your case seriously. Don’t be afraid to admit that taking a personal injury claim to court is outside of your scope of expertise. Plenty of people hire professionals—from accountants to plumbers to financial advisors. We all need to ask for help from time to time, and this is serious stuff. Handling your claims is not a DIY experiment. Your health is on the line, your money and your future.

5. Health insurance and medical bills are complicated.

Embedded within health insurance companies and their variety of paperwork and billing, there are plenty of intricacies and technicalities you may not be fully aware of. Personal injury lawyers know how to maneuver through these documents and processes, how to submit necessary medical treatment and other bills, all while representing you and fighting for your best interests. 

If you were to file your own personal injury claim, the insurance carrier will likely offer you a nominal amount. They’re hoping you’ll just settle and walk away, in the interest of moving on from the incident. Don’t settle for less. Lawyers do make a difference, because when you work alongside legal counsel and they’re fighting on your behalf, you’ll walk away with what you deserve.

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