Should I Handle My Personal Injury Claim Myself?
If you live in California and have suffered a personal injury, do you have plans to file a claim against an insurance company? A lot of people wonder if they should try to settle their personal injury case themselves.
Insurance companies know that few people have the knowledge or patience required to battle a personal injury claim effectively. Because of this, insurance companies often drag out the claims process using various tactics to wear the claimant down. They then count on these frustrated claimants accepting reduced offers or giving up altogether. California personal injury attorneys advise prospective clients against navigating personal injury claims without legal representation for various reasons.
1. Lack of Legal Perspective and Knowledge
As part of their routine business practices, insurance adjusters have extensive experience defending against insurance claims. They are versed in the rules and regulations applicable to the insurance industry and have vast resources to navigate laws governing personal injury lawsuits filed against their interests.
A claimant likely does not have the same expertise as an insurance company against whom you have filed your claim. Inexperience and lack of knowledge will work against you when pursuing a personal injury settlement, the insurance company will make a low settlement, no settlement at all or you can end up with a time-barred lawsuit.
On the other hand, personal injury attorneys with experience will:
- Recognize the tactics used by the insurance companies to delay or deny your claim and will protect you against these practices
- Know what damages are available for your property damage loss, your personal injury loss or wrongful death claim
- Know what the guidelines are and the statute of limitations, or time in which you need to file a lawsuit if your claim is not settled.
2. Time and Organization
Correspondence, record keeping, and settlement negotiations take a lot of time and effort. Gathering the relevant documents for a claim such as past medical history, current medical records, and bills among other documents can be time-consuming. Knowing what to use and how to use it can be overwhelming as well.
Your personal injury attorney will detail what documents are needed when they are needed and how they will be used. Your legal team will be able to organize, prepare and send out your documents at the proper times as well as demand documents from the other party to which you may be entitled. Your attorney will also operate within the proper timeframes to preserve your legal right to file a lawsuit.
3. Professional Leverage
Insurance companies understand that personal injury lawyers are:
Fully aware of what reasonable settlements are
Skilled at gathering and presenting facts
Consistently building an argument that will support their client at trial.
As a result, insurance companies realize that it is usually cost-effective to settle an attorney-represented claim quickly and fairly, rather than engaging in lengthy and costly litigation. They are also more likely to award significantly higher compensation to victims represented by attorneys than to victims who self-represent their claim.
Consider retaining a California personal injury attorney. An experienced California auto accident attorney can help protect your rights and evaluate all the evidence including the police report to determine whether you have a right to compensation. An attorney may also be able to help you find a doctor who will accept a medical lien. Retaining an attorney will allow you to focus on getting better and not dealing with the insurance companies, your attorney will handle that. Your attorney can also draft an insurance demand letter that is likely to get a settlement offer. Please give us a call at Holland and Holland (562)694-3821 for a free consultation.