When you spend some time educating yourself about routine car accident claims, you no longer need a lawyer. You must figure out what cases you can settle on your own and which ones you’ll need a car accident lawyer for though. There are some considerations you must make when deciding which claims you want to settle for yourself.
Who’s at fault?
Whenever fault is contested in your case, or you can’t prove the other driver is at fault, you’ll lose and recover nothing. You don’t want to take chances with this, so if there’s going to be a fight about who’s at fault, you shouldn’t go it alone. This is especially true when the fight will take place inside of a courtroom. There you must understand the technical rules of evidence, which is something lawyers specialize in.
How much money have you paid out of your own pocket for things like medical bills and lost wages?
When you have between $2,000 – $5,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, you may feel comfortable handling the claim by yourself. However, you might not feel so comfortable when these expenses are $15,000 or more. It’s up to you to decide at what monetary level you become uncomfortable. You may find yourself growing uncomfortable at a different monetary amount than those mentioned here.
How serious were your injuries? How long did it take for you to recover from them?
When you suffered a broken bone, a herniated disc, or a permanent injury that you’ll suffer from for the rest of your life, then you have a major claim. This isn’t something you want to handle yourself. Hire a lawyer to present your case professionally on your behalf. In other words, the larger your claim is, the more that’s at stake, the smarter you are to have a professional handle your case for you. This is because the other side will strongly resist a big claim or a high claim value.
Another way of thinking about things here is that you wouldn’t do surgery on yourself. However, you wouldn’t think twice about treating a minor injury such as a small cut or a bruise. This also holds true when you have a legal claim. So, while you can handle many of your own car claims, you shouldn’t ever handle a large claim on your own.
Is the case going to court?
When a case goes to court, and there’s no option for another type of dispute resolution such as small claims court, you’ll want to hire a lawyer who knows all the court’s rules. This really is the only way you’ll have a fair chance to win your case and protect all of your legal rights.
Do you have between 5 — 10 hours to invest in learning about settling your car accident claim before you must actually present the claim?
In actuality, you can probably learn everything necessary for settling a routine car accident claim in 2 — 3 hours. Of course, you must also spend some time handling the claim so you can settle it. The real amount required for all of this will vary from one case to another, but you’ll probably spend between 5 — 10 hours doing so. If you don’t want to spend this much time or you don’t have this amount of time to spend, hire a lawyer and turn your case over to their well-trained care right away. This allows them to get to work on your behalf. On the other hand, if you decide you want to settle your own claim, go for it. Later on, you can always change your mind and hire a lawyer if you get into things and feel you can’t do it on your own.
It’s important to understand that you can settle your own claim, profitably. Lawyers will typically charge you 1/3 of the amount you recover, if not more, as their legal fee. When you settle a $10,000 case yourself, you’re putting an extra $3,000 in your pocket. This isn’t bad for 5 — 10 hours of work. If things are too difficult or you grow uncomfortable, simply turn it over to your lawyer. Making 2/3 of the amount of money is better than earning nothing at all.