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Handling an Injury Claim Yourself vs. Getting a Lawyer

Like many things in life, just because you can handle an injury claim yourself doesn’t mean you should. While there is no rule stating that you must have a lawyer, there are several good reasons why it’s wise to consider hiring one.

In a personal injury case, your physical and financial well-being are at stake. One misstep could leave a significant amount of money on the table and leave you without proper care for a full recovery. Before trying your luck with a do-it-yourself insurance claim, make sure you understand what lies ahead.

Why a Do-It-Yourself Insurance Claim Sounds Appealing

Personal injury victims often think they have good reasons for tackling an insurance claim themselves.

  • They may feel their fender bender or slip and fall wasn’t significant enough to need an attorney. It’s true that it might be easy to navigate a straightforward accident with a minor injury without a lawyer. But if anything complicates the case, it could be difficult to receive proper compensation without expert help.
  • Many worry about a lawyer’s fees reducing the amount of their settlement. Legal representation will indeed cost a plaintiff a percentage of the compensation they receive. However, a study cited by Lawyers.com found that having an attorney meant getting compensation of roughly three times more than those who represented themselves, even after paying the lawyer’s contingency fees. More significant is that only 51% of people without lawyers received any payout, compared to 91% of those with an attorney.
  • Insurance company websites and apps offer easy-to-use forms to file a claim—why not use them? For a basic claim, this might be a convenient and useful tool. But accidents and injuries are not always simple. A one-size-fits-all solution isn’t always best for a complicated incident that involves proving someone was at fault or calculating pain and suffering.
  • Personal injury attorneys are often stereotyped as shady “ambulance chasers,” causing some to avoid hiring one. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people do cross the line into unethical behavior. But there are many honest, hard-working members of the legal community who hold themselves to high standards. A little research can help victims find an attorney who will work tirelessly on their behalf.

Often the biggest obstacle to getting full and fair compensation for an injury claim is something the victim doesn’t count on: The insurance company itself. The goal of any insurance company is to settle for the smallest amount as quickly as possible. Accepting a low-ball offer too soon can leave people with medical expenses and lost wages that far exceed the amount of money they collect. Personal injury attorneys understand the tricks of the insurance trade and know how to negotiate for the compensation their clients deserve.


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Times When Victims Wish They Had a Lawyer

Quite often, people contact a personal injury attorney only after they become frustrated with a do-it-yourself insurance claim. Here are some of the scenarios that we hear about at Kane Personal Injury.

  • Serious injuries and trauma are making it difficult for a victim to spend the time or energy necessary for a do-it-yourself insurance claim.
  • A victim’s claim is denied because their invisible injuries—migraine headaches, anxiety, and insomnia—are hard to prove.
  • A horrible underride crash with a semi leaves a victim with serious injuries. They didn’t realize they could file a claim against the trucking company and truck manufacturer in addition to the driver.
  • A driver admits they shared about 10% of the blame for an accident. The insurance company is trying to say they are 100% liable.
  • A dog bite victim left important information out of the demand letter they wrote, resulting in the claim being denied.
  • A claimant has saved all current medical bills, but their injuries will require ongoing care for years to come. They’re unsure how to calculate the right amount and how to ask for it.
  • A driver doesn’t see a doctor right away after a crash. What was thought to be a sprain turns out to be a fracture that’s going to require a cast and physical therapy. Unfortunately, the driver accepted a small settlement for the sprain and it’s too late to collect additional compensation even with an attorney’s help.
  • The insurance company wants a recorded statement. The victim doesn’t know how to prepare, or if they’re allowed to say no.
  • A slip-and-fall victim can’t agree on a settlement amount with the insurance company and now needs to find an attorney to file a lawsuit. The attorney will help, but it’s going to take additional time to get them up to speed on the case.

Enlisting the help of an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible can give a victim the peace of mind that their claim will be handled correctly. Attorneys know how to make sure every detail is considered to maximize compensation. They will have access to experts, data, and evidence-collection methods that aren’t available to the average person.

What a Personal Injury Attorney Brings to the Table

When you hire a personal injury attorney rather than handle an injury claim yourself, you benefit from the lawyer’s vast experience in cases similar to yours. They have the knowledge and resources to do much more than an individual could do alone, such as:

  • thoroughly investigating the incident, whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, or even an airplane crash.
  • knowing which evidence will help prove the case and how to gather it.
  • determining liability by proving who was at fault.
  • placing a fair value on invisible injuries, emotional trauma, future medical needs, and pain and suffering.
  • preparing and filing all of the necessary paperwork.
  • negotiating settlement terms.
  • bringing a lawsuit if a settlement can’t be reached.

Try a Free Consultation Before You Handle an Injury Claim Yourself

It’s understandable why you might think they can take care of your insurance claim all by yourself. But when it comes to personal injuries, the stakes are too high. Unless you have experience with the insurance industry, it is too easy to accidentally leave money on the table. Accepting a settlement for less than full compensation can impact your health and financial well-being, as well as your future.

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to handle an injury claim yourself, contact Kane Personal Injury. We charge absolutely nothing for an initial consultation. We will review your case and give you our honest opinion about how we can help or if it’s straightforward enough for you to go it alone.