The truly honest answer here, without a doubt, is “no.” Having said that, the truly smart answer to this question is “yes,” especially if you have suffered a serious injury. The more complicated the case, the more of a need there is to have an attorney by your side to ensure you get the proper justice. However, even in what some may consider an “easy” or “slam-dunk” case, fine details can be overlooked by someone trying to handle a legal case such as this on their own.
Representing Yourself in a Car Accident Case
In an effort to remain transparent, there are very specific situations where a car accident victim may choose to represent him or herself:
Only Minor Injuries Sustained
If the accident resulted in nothing more than a few bumps and/or bruises, and you have fully recovered from these injuries, you may be able to settle the case on your own. In cases such as this, it is likely that you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster who will offer you a quick settlement in an effort to put this to bed as quickly as possible.
Full Liability Admitted
This is a key issue that often goes overlooked in settlements without an attorney to represent the victim in the case. If the insurance company has accepted full liability for the accident, make sure you get this in writing from them… NEVER take their word for it. Without written confirmation, you simply have no way of preventing the other party from changing his or her story as this case plays out.
Time to Handle the Claim
In any claim, there is going to be a lot of legwork and paperwork. Before biting off this task, make sure you have the time and energy to put toward the case that will be needed. This means you could be spending your personal days to sit home and make phone calls to doctors, investigators, police, etc. to ensure all your ducks are lined up when the case goes before a judge or arbitrator.
When Do You Need to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
The problem we see far too often is that car accident victims believe the case will be quick and easy but as it unfolds, they realize they are in over their heads. Keep in mind, without an attorney, everyone on the other side of the fight is going to try to expose your inexperience by working for a quick settlement that is probably far below what a car accident attorney would be able to secure as well as possibly omitting clauses that could put some of the liability on your plate.
Keeping all that in mind, no matter how well-prepared you believe you are to fight this battle on your own, there are clear cases when an attorney should be secured to represent you in a car accident lawsuit.
Any time you suffer a serious injury, representation is mandatory. First, there is little likelihood you are going to have the energy to represent yourself. Secondly, cases such as this require very specific standards to be met as well as considerable investigation and paperwork. Car accident lawyers already have a proven game plan to ensure every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted. Nothing will be overlooked in an effort to pay for your pain, suffering, current medical bills, and possible future medical bills for problems related to the injury.
Insurance Company Not Settling and/or Not Admitting Liability
Even in the most basic of cases, insurance companies that see an unrepresented client look at them as lambs coming to the slaughter rather than someone to have an honest and open negotiation with. When the insurance company not only refuses to offer an immediate settlement but is also unwilling to accept the liability, you are going to have a real problem. This means they are getting ready to dig in for the long haul and if you are representing yourself, you are going to get drowned in motions and paperwork.
Legal Representation of Guilty Party
In tougher cases, the insurance company and/or guilty party will secure legal representation to handle the case. Insurance companies always have major firms on retainer, so this is not a big expense and for larger cases, you better believe they will be putting their top attorneys on the case. Not to be insulting, but the average person is going to have significant challenges trying to keep up with the legal jargon that is going to get thrown their way during a long and difficult settlement.
Now, I know what you are thinking… even if I get less, not hiring an attorney will still pay off for me. Sadly, that thought process is proven wrong more often than not. Depending on the agreed-upon split, in most cases, your share of the settlement is still going to be far more than if you were to go about making a settlement on your own. In addition to the financial reward, you also get the peace of mind knowing down the road, this settlement will not come back to haunt you due to a minute detail that was overlooked by you during the settlement process.
Need a Car Accident Lawyer for a Settlement?
If you were recently in a car accident and need to hire an attorney for representation, click here. Remember, the initial consultation is free, so you are no obligation to use one of our attorneys for requesting a consultation to litigate your car accident settlement.