When settling a personal injury claim, it can cost a great deal to retain the services of a lawyer, which is why many people have taken to filing and settling their legal claims. In this article, you’ll be directed on how to judge the severity of your case, what it might be worth, and what is the best procedure to follow for success. With this guide, you can gain a better understanding of when it is more feasible to represent yourself in a legal claim and how to do so in a professional manner.
When Should You Consider Self-Representation?
It’s very possible to represent yourself in an injury claim, particularly so if you have at least some experience. What is important to consider however is whether you should represent yourself in any given case. Two major criteria need to be addressed whenever this issue comes up, and these are:
1) What is the extent of your injuries?
If you happened to slip in a store and suffered bumps and bruises or were somehow injured due to the error on the part of one company or another, most establishments, especially corporations, won’t put up much of a fight to settle such a matter. For minor injuries it is easy to preside over your case, providing that those involved do not attempt to absolve themselves of any responsibility. For more serious injuries however, it would be wise to at least accept the advice of a professional attorney to understand the process and how you might go about seeking reparations.
2) Was there clear fault on the part of the other party?
One of the best case scenarios for any injury case involves having witnesses that can provide evidence and corroborate your story. In this manner, it is possible to find the fault in the situation and thus bring the matter to a close much quicker. But as was mentioned above, if the injuries are serious in any way it will be much harder to close such a case even with witnesses, as the more serious the injury, the greater a company will fight to save what they can. Whether lawful or frivolous, injury lawsuits can very easily ruin the reputation and financial stability of a company. Make certain you understand the personal injury law for your state to avoid confusion and possible complications that might arise.
There are a few steps to take before really getting into sending a letter to the insurance company, such as:
1) Take pictures of the accident scene and the injuries caused.
2) Obtain and file any necessary documentation, such as a police report if the situation is warranted.
3) Seek medical attention immediately following the injury.
4) Understand the limitations of your claim, as this can vary from state to state.
5) Stay off social media and refrain from giving a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance agent.
Estimating Your Damages
Two main types of damages occur in any personal injury case. Those are damages that are capable of exact calculation and those that are not. The former are known as special damages, while the latter have no special designation. Another factor to consider when taking into account the extent of an injury are lost earnings.
These are very straightforward considering that they can be given a concrete value and can be tracked. These types of losses include such things as property damages, medical bills, and other physical damages that one can adhere a price tag too.
Damages that Have No Exact Calculation
These types of damage are commonly known as the mental pain and suffering that can result from an injury or overly traumatic experience. While there is no way to gauge how much this affects an individual or how much it is worth, a jury usually decides what this type of damage is worth.
This type of loss is hard to quantify as it leans heavily upon what is lost due to the injury, such as income that suffers due to the inability of the individual to perform their job duties as usual after being hurt. While it is possible to go through and deduce just how much will be or might be lost, the exact amount is varied considering the severity of the injury.
This is only sent when it is time to get serious, and you have determined what your pain and suffering is worth. What you need to take into account is that the response that is given might not be exactly what you want. Upon receiving a counter or an acceptance letter, you will need to proceed to the next step. It might be wise to consider taking the advice or counsel of a lawyer in this matter, as they can give you a good idea of what needs to be said and how such a letter needs to be worded to appear sincere and professional.
Countering and Accepting a Settlement
The successful conclusion of this step comes when you and the other party have reached a satisfactory agreement that benefits everyone involved. Sometimes a mediator is brought in to sit and keep things civil between the two parties involved or simply to offer advice when it is needed. Once you’ve accepted a settlement your case will eventually be concluded, closed and you and the other party will go your separate ways.
Choosing whether or not to represent yourself in the case of a personal injury is a highly subjective matter. Some people do not wish to pay a lawyer such an enormous sum if they do happen to win their case, while others feel that they are competent enough to stand in their defense. No matter why or how you seek to represent yourself in an injury case, it is important to remember that in doing so you need to understand how the legal system works, what is allowed by law in your state, and how to handle your case in a professional and dignified manner.