If you are injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you can pursue compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. You do not have to work with a lawyer to pursue your claim. Many people file personal injury claims on their own. However, there is a lot of value in working with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer with experience pursuing cases like the claimant’s can draw upon his or her experience in this area to craft a strong claim and negotiate effectively for an appropriate settlement amount. Personal injury lawyers are well-versed in the nuances of developing claims, interacting with insurance providers, and if necessary, filing lawsuits and pursuing compensation on behalf of their clients in court.
Some people choose to file their claims without lawyers because they want to avoid lawyer fees. This is a misguided approach to pursuing a personal injury claim because many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they receive a percentage of the claimant’s settlement, rather than charging the claimant an hourly rate. With this type of setup, the claimant does not spend a dime out of pocket for his or her lawyer, even if the claim is ultimately unsuccessful. Even when a lawyer does charge an hourly rate, working with a lawyer typically results in a larger settlement for the claimant and a greater chance of the claim being successful, making the claimant’s investment in the lawyer’s services a worthwhile expense.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer is your Personal Advocate
Your lawyer’s job is to work hard to seek the compensation you need to cover your damages. It only benefits your lawyer for him or her to be honest with you and to put as much effort into pursuing your compensation as possible.
Your lawyer will advocate for you the hardest during negotiations with the negligent party’s insurance provider. When you file a personal injury claim, the insurance provider contacts you shortly afterward with a settlement offer. This is a lowball offer and nearly always, it is for less money than your claim is actually worth. Do not accept this offer. Instead, have your lawyer negotiate with the insurance provider to increase the offer amount. In many cases, insurance providers will only negotiate with lawyers, rather than negotiating directly with claimants. When you do speak with the insurance provider directly, your lawyer can coach you on what to say, what not to say, and how to accurately present information beforehand. You must be very careful not to admit fault or make incorrect statements during these discussions.
Personal Injury Lawyers Use their Experience and Expertise
Unless you are also a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer who handles your case knows a lot more about the personal injury claim process than you do. At the most basic level, your lawyer can ensure that your claim meets all legal deadlines, such as California’s two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. When it is clear that you are not going to reach a settlement with the negligent party’s insurance provider, your lawyer can determine whether filing a lawsuit and having a judge and jury rule on your case would be the most effective course of action. Your lawyer can also determine if a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such a mediation, would be appropriate for your case.
Your lawyer can provide insight to your case that you would not have reached on your own. This could be about damages you did not realize you suffered, such as lost future earnings, or how you can use certain pieces of evidence to support your claim, like a digital reconstruction of your accident. He or she can also draw upon his or her professional network to obtain evidence that you cannot obtain yourself, such as:
- Expert testimonies. These are testimonies from professionals whose subject knowledge enables them to discuss your case despite not having firsthand knowledge of it. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury, for example, a neurologist can discuss the long-term complications you will experience from the injury;
- Video and photographic evidence from surveillance cameras around the accident scene, if it happened in a public place; and
- Transcripts of depositions, in-person interviews between your lawyer and the negligent party, that discuss the case’s facts. In a deposition, the interviewee must provide true, accurate answers under oath.
Much of the evidence your lawyer uses to build your claim will come from the investigation he or she conducts of the case.
You Need to Focus on your Physical Recovery
This point cannot be stressed enough. An injury, even a small one, takes quite a toll on your body. When you are recovering from the injury and the treatment you received for it, you need to be resting your body and your mind. Trying to handle the paperwork and negotiations that come with a personal injury claim is mentally taxing, which can have a negative impact on your body’s ability to heal itself.
While you focus on your physical recovery, your lawyer handles your financial recovery. By hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your claim on your behalf, you have the peace of mind that somebody with a greater understanding of the process and more leverage with the negligent party’s insurance provider is working hard to seek compensation for your damages while you focus on getting yourself back to normal.
Work with an Experienced Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer
You are not legally required to work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue your claim, but you are strongly encouraged to do so because it will improve your claim’s chance of success. Contact our team of experienced personal injury lawyers at RMD Law today to schedule your free case evaluation in our office. We can answer all of your questions and help you feel ready to tackle the personal injury claim process.