Some people make the decision to handle their own personal injury claims against big insurance giants. While it may seem like a more economical way to go so you don’t have to pay any legal fees, it is important to keep in mind that experienced lawyers often get insurance companies to pay larger settlements.
If you are still unsure whether you should pursue a claim on your own or hire an attorney, ask yourself the following five questions to help you decide:
- Do you know the truck driver was at fault for the crash? If there is even an ounce of evidence that can shift some of the blame for the accident on you, you don’t have the right to collect a financial recovery from the other party due to the contributory negligence rule in Maryland. Even if the other driver was 100 percent at fault, the insurance company may try to point the finger at you to limit its liability. If you are going to pursue a personal injury claim on your own, you need to be prepared with witnesses and evidence to prove the other driver caused the crash and you were an innocent victim.
- Do you know how extensive your injuries are? If your injuries are relatively minor, it may make perfect sense to represent yourself; however, most truck accidents produce serious injuries that may require lengthy hospital stays and recoveries. If you suffered costly medical care and lost income as a result of your crash-related injuries, your damages may be significant. If this is the case, you need to know that the insurance company doesn’t want to pay out a large amount of money, which means you will more than likely not be offered fair compensation to resolve your case.
- Do you know what your injury claim is worth? You are entitled to two types of damages: economic (which are exact calculation losses) and non-economic (other damages that aren’t able to be exactly calculated). For example, economic damages are losses you incurred for your medical bills and lost wages, but non-economic damages are those losses that are harder to place a price tag on such as mental anguish and pain and suffering. If you aren’t sure how to place a price tag on your pain and suffering, you may miss out on the full amount of compensation you are due.
- Do you have the time to invest? In order to be successful in your injury claim, you will have to invest the necessary time. For example, you will need to get copies of all your medical bills, calculate your damages, write a demand letter, and have many negotiations with an insurance adjuster. If you are trying to make a physical recovery, you might not have the time—or the emotional and mental capacity—to invest in representing yourself.
- Do you know how to respond to a settlement offer? While you might be in desperate need of money due to accumulating bills, take a step back before agreeing to an offer. Insurance adjusters are notorious for presenting lowball offers. Because it is a starting point in the negotiation, you shouldn’t ever accept the initial offer. After rejecting that offer, an insurance adjuster will approach you with a different amount of compensation. It is important to note that you might need to provide the insurance company with more information and supporting documents to get a higher offer.
When serious injuries occur, there is a need for serious negotiations. If you still aren’t sure whether you need a lawyer on your side, at least talk with us about your case. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving us a call today. Dial at (301) 942-9118 for a free case consultation today.