Many people say that you can successfully negotiate a personal injury settlement without hiring an experienced attorney. In a way, they are right, because most personal injury claims in the United States involve minor soft tissue injuries, and such injuries can be easily negotiated out of court. However, for cases that involve “hard” injuries like broken bones, brain trauma or severe organ damage, there is no other recourse but to hire an experienced lawyer who can help you get the best possible settlement.
Without a lawyer, here are some of the things that could work against you during the personal injury settlement negotiation process.
The lack or absence of aggressiveness to negotiate
In any negotiation, one needs to be aggressive, and aggressiveness can only be attained if you know your rights and what you’re entitled to receive according to the law. Your knowledge, or lack of it, would show during negotiations, and the insurance adjuster you’re talking to can take advantage of that and try to undermine you to get the best possible result for himself and his company. But if it’s an experienced, confident and aggressive attorney that is doing the talking, the insurance adjuster will likely tread lightly. Your lawyer can make your claim stronger with his in-depth knowledge of personal injury law.
Settling for a meager sum
The insurance provider of the party that caused your injury will likely contact you the soonest possible time and take your statement, which they can then use to undermine your right to compensation or diminish your claim’s value. If their client is clearly at fault, they will also probably offer you a quick sum that would seem fair at first glance to settle the case. Without an attorney, you might just settle for the initial offer. But what if you were actually entitled to more, but you were simply not aware of it?
This is where an experienced attorney comes in. With his deeper knowledge of personal injury law and experience in analyzing and litigating personal injury cases, he knows the real value of your case and can negotiate better deals for you. They can also determine if you can take advantage of less obvious insurance coverage from other sources and therefore boost the value of your claim. These sources may include employer policies, med pay, and underinsured motorist protection.
No one wants their personal injury claim to drag on. If possible, most would want it settled right away. Settling too soon, however, could prove to be a mistake. Let’s say that you are complaining of back pain and the doctor’s initial assessment is that it was nothing more than simple muscle strain which you can recover from shortly. So you settle for the initial offer of the other party’s insurance company, and the case is closed. A few weeks later, the pain gets worse, and you shockingly discover that you actually suffered a herniated disk that would require surgery. But since you have already settled, you can’t ask for more compensation, and you have no choice but to spend for your operation.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can dissuade you from settling too soon. He is aware of the possibility of complications to your injuries, and he will advise you to adopt a wait and see attitude.
These are just some of the reasons why you should not negotiate a personal injury settlement without an attorney by your side. Get an experienced personal injury attorney to defend your claim and get the best possible result.