Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim Myself?

Personal Injury Attorneys in New York

You sustained severe injuries in an accident, and you know that a personal injury claim will offer your best chances of recovering the compensation you deserve. You may think you understand the personal injury claim process, and believe you can move forward with a claim on your own.

But when you are seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should never attempt to file a personal injury claim without professional assistance. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney offers you the best chance of securing the compensation you really deserve for your injuries.

Hiring a Lawyer Costs Less Than You Think

Many people, especially after suffering serious injuries, worry about the cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer. You may already have medical bills piling up, especially if you have severe injuries that you know will require long-term medical treatment.

You may find you can’t bring home income anymore, since severe injuries can prevent you from getting back to work; a traumatic brain injury, for example, can make it difficult to remember how to complete a familiar task, figure out what you need to do next, or even interact with customers and coworkers. Spinal cord injuries may permanently prevent you from getting back to your former career. You may find yourself with a lot of financial worries.

Hiring a lawyer, however, does not usually cost anything upfront.

Most personal injury lawyers accept cases on a contingent fee basis. Instead of having to pay upfront for legal services or pay in installments, you can simply pay for legal services by promising a percentage of your final personal injury payout to your lawyer.

This means that you generally will not owe your lawyer any fees unless and until they help you reach a successful settlement or court award for your claim. Your lawyer will describe the details of their payment agreement with you before you commit to hiring them.

With the financial barrier out of the way, you can consider the advantages of hiring a personal injury attorney and how an attorney can help you with your claim.

Working with a Lawyer Often Significantly Increases Compensation

Many people assume that the insurance company that covers the party who is liable for their injuries will simply pay out the compensation they deserve. The insurance company, however, will rarely automatically pay out the full compensation you deserve without engaging in intensive negotiations. A lawyer can help increase that compensation in several key ways.

1. A lawyer can help you understand the compensation you actually deserve for your injuries.

Unless you have dealt with a very similar personal injury claim in the past, you probably have no idea how much compensation you can recover for the injuries you sustained in your accident. An attorney can help you add up your medical bills, gather an estimate of your future medical expenses, and effectively calculate your financial, physical, and emotional losses related to the incident and your injuries.

While an attorney cannot guarantee the compensation you will ultimately recover, an attorney can provide you with a much better idea of how much compensation you should work toward as you manage your personal injury claim.

That calculation can prove critical as you deal with the insurance company that covers the liable party. While an attorney will work to maximize your compensation as much as possible, the insurance agent will actively work to minimize how much the company has to pay out. For example, many insurance companies will start with a low settlement offer shortly after your accident.

You may feel pressured to accept the offer even before you have a chance to calculate the compensation you really deserve and should expect for your injuries. If you have not yet consulted with an attorney, you might assume that it will get money in your hands faster and that you cannot really expect to recover more. An attorney, however, would likely advise you to continue negotiating for the amount you really deserve.

2. In many cases, hiring a lawyer can convince the insurance company to take you more seriously.

Some insurance companies will realize as soon as you hire a lawyer that you plan to pursue the full compensation you deserve, regardless of any obstacles they might put in your way or any challenges that you might face. Once you hire a lawyer, the insurance company will often start taking you much more seriously. In some cases, insurance companies will even increase their settlement offers as soon as you bring an attorney on board.

3. An attorney can fully investigate every aspect of your accident to fully determine liability.

To file a personal injury claim, you must clearly identify the liable party: the individual or entity that caused the accident. It may be incredibly difficult to access necessary information, and your injuries may make it impossible for you to do so on your own. An attorney, on the other hand, knows how to access that information—and can take care of it for you so you do not have to worry about the stress of collecting evidence.

In some personal injury claims, collecting necessary evidence may mean interviewing witnesses. In others, it may mean finding and reviewing video footage. Sometimes, a personal injury attorney may call in an expert witness to analyze the circumstances that led to your accident and determine how the accident may have occurred.

During the investigation, the attorney may even identify more than one party that shares liability for the accident and your injuries. In many cases, identifying multiple liable parties can increase the compensation you can receive. Most of the time, insurance companies pay out compensation for a personal injury claim.

If your medical expenses and other costs exceed the coverage offered by the liable party’s insurance policy, you may have to find a way to take on the remaining expenses on your own. Identifying multiple liable parties, however, means that you can seek compensation from each one, which may make it easier for you to cover all of your bills.

Most of the time, each liable party will offer compensation for the percentage of your injury they caused, and the liable parties may argue over who bears liability for your injuries. Having an attorney on your side can help you put together a compelling argument that sets out who shares liability for your injuries and what percentage of liability they bear, which may help streamline your claim.

4. An attorney can help you cut through the red tape and get the funds from your personal injury claim faster.

When you suffer serious injuries in an accident, often, you need the funds from your personal injury claim as soon as possible. From burn victims who may have a long stay in the special burn unit at the hospital following their accidents to victims with broken bones who can no longer work their normal jobs in the aftermath of the accident, many accident victims have expenses that pile up quickly following a severe accident.

Insurance companies, however, may drag their feet on paying out the compensation you deserve. They may try to let as much time as possible go by before they respond to your demands or even try to wait you out in the hopes that you will agree to a lower settlement offer to get the money as soon as possible. An attorney can help move the process along, whether that means negotiating with the insurance company quickly or trying to get you a court date as soon as possible.

5. An attorney has your best interests in mind through the entire personal injury claim.

Often during a personal injury claim, you may feel as though you ended up trapped in the middle of a battle. You may, for example, be working with a liable party who fully accepts liability for the accident, but their insurance company is determined not to pay out any more for your injuries than absolutely necessary. Or you might have a liable party who tries to deny liability and does everything in their power to slow down your claim.

You might get low offer after low offer, many of which feel insulting when compared to the physical, financial, and emotional anguish you face in the aftermath of your accident. It may seem as though the insurance company, the doctors who examine you, and the investigators who look into your claim just want to get your case taken care of as soon as possible, ideally while paying as little as possible.

When you hire an attorney, on the other hand, your attorney represents your best interests throughout the entire claim. Not only does that mean that the attorney will negotiate for compensation with your needs in mind, it means that your attorney will protect you, dealing with the insurance company on your behalf so you don’t have to field difficult calls, for example. When you choose to hire a personal injury attorney to deal with your claim, you can have confidence that at least one person will be on your side fighting for you.

6. An attorney can provide you with vital advice that can help you successfully navigate your personal injury claim.

Many people are not familiar with personal injury law or the steps insurance companies may take to deny or reduce liability following a serious accident. Understanding the compensation you deserve can set the foundation, but it may not offer all the information you need.

For example, did you know that insurance companies may access your social media posts and use them to prove that you did not suffer the disability you have tried to claim? Do you know how to talk to insurance adjusters to avoid inadvertently admitting liability for your accident or potentially reducing the compensation you can receive?

Personal Injury lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyer, Andrew Finkelstein

An attorney understands all of those details and can share that vital information with you, which can make it much easier for you to maximize the compensation you can receive.

7. Working with a personal injury attorney can significantly reduce the stress you feel as you navigate your personal injury claim.

Dealing with a personal injury claim can cause a lot of stress in your life. You may find yourself struggling to deal with the medical repercussions of your injuries and becoming increasingly frustrated as you deal with the insurance company that covers the liable party.

An attorney can take much of that stress off of your shoulders.

When you choose a personal injury attorney, the attorney can take over negotiations with the insurance company for you. You can send communications straight through the attorney, rather than having to deal with harassing calls or feeling like you face constant pressure to accept an offer that does not work for you.

An attorney can also offer you much-needed assurance about how a personal injury claim should progress and what you should expect as you navigate your claim. Although each claim is unique, a lawyer can help you understand what will likely happen next, how your next steps can impact your right to compensation, and how long it may take to settle your claim, all of which can help you feel more confident. Since an attorney can also give you a good idea of how much compensation you should expect, you can also make better financial plans for the future.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, do not try to handle your claim on your own. Instead, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible.