Risks Of Not Hiring A Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney After A Crash
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, it’s essential to consider hiring a professional personal injury attorney. It may seem tempting to save money and represent yourself, but this decision may have severe and significant consequences for your case. We will explore the risks associated with choosing not to hire a personal injury attorney and why having legal representation is crucial for obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Lack of Legal Knowledge Can Lead To Mistakes That Harm Your Claim
One of the greatest risks of not hiring a personal injury attorney is the lack of legal knowledge you have. Understanding the legal system and comprehending personal injury law can be extremely complex and overwhelming(1). Without a thorough understanding of personal injury laws and how they apply to your case, you may actually jeopardize your actual claim and miss out on potential compensation.
Studies have shown that individuals who hire a personal injury lawyer are more likely to receive a higher settlement or award than those who choose to represent themselves. This is because personal injury lawyers have the experience, negotiation skills, and resources to build a strong case and secure the best possible outcome for their clients.
Given the complexity of proving negligence, hiring a personal injury lawyer is crucial for successfully navigating this aspect of your case. Here's how a personal injury lawyer can help:
Legal Expertise: Personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge of the laws and regulations governing negligence. They understand the nuances of the legal system and can help you build a solid case based on the specific facts of your situation.
Evidence Gathering: A personal injury lawyer has the resources and experience to gather the necessary evidence to support your case. This can include collecting medical records, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts to establish the defendant's negligence.
Case Presentation: Personal injury lawyers have the skills to present your case effectively in court, ensuring that the judge or jury understands the defendant's negligence and its impact on your life. This can be crucial in obtaining a favorable verdict or settlement.
Negotiation: Personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators who can help you secure a fair settlement from the defendant or their insurance company. They understand the tactics used by insurance companies to minimize payouts and can effectively advocate for your rights.
Difficulty in Proving Negligence Without Enough Resources
Proving negligence is extremely critical for your personal injury case. In order to establish negligence, you must demonstrate that the defendant owed you a duty of care and breached that duty, and this ultimately caused your injuries as a result (2). Without the representation of an attorney, you may struggle with gathering evidence and presenting a compelling case, and this will lower your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome for your case.
To prove negligence, you must demonstrate four key elements:
Duty of Care: Establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care is the first step in proving negligence. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act in a reasonable manner to prevent harm to others.
Breach of Duty: Once a duty of care is established, you must show that the defendant breached that duty by acting (or failing to act) in a way that a reasonable person would have in the same situation.
Causation: Proving causation requires demonstrating that the defendant's breach of duty directly led to your injuries. This means showing that, had it not been for the defendant's actions, your injuries would not have occurred.
Damages: Finally, you must provide evidence of the damages you have suffered as a result of the defendant's negligence. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Each of these elements requires a thorough understanding of the law and the ability to gather and present evidence effectively. Without a strong case, it can be challenging to prove negligence, which can hinder your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Getting A Low And Inaccurate Valuation Of Your Claim
In order to determine the value of your claim, there will be many factors involved, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering (3). Without the guidance of a personal injury attorney, you may underestimate the value of your claim, which can result in accepting a lower settlement than you deserve.
An inaccurate valuation of your personal injury claim can have several negative consequences, including:
Accepting Low Settlement Offers: If you underestimate the value of your claim, you may be more likely to accept a settlement offer that does not fully cover your damages. This can leave you struggling financially, especially if your injuries require ongoing medical care or prevent you from working.
Difficulty Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies are known for offering low settlements in an attempt to minimize their payouts. If you don't know the true value of your claim, you may be at a disadvantage when negotiating with the insurance adjuster, resulting in a lower compensation than you deserve.
Insufficient Compensation for Future Expenses: Inaccurate valuation of your claim may not account for all future expenses related to your injury, such as ongoing medical care or lost earning capacity. This can leave you facing financial difficulties in the future as you continue to bear the costs of your injury.
Negotiating With The Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are known for trying to minimize payouts for claims (4). Without the assistance of an attorney’s negotiation skills and abilities, and knowledge of the insurance landscape, you may find yourself at a disadvantage when negotiating a settlement. This may lead to accepting a lower settlement amount or having your claim denied altogether.
Insurance companies are primarily focused on protecting their bottom line, often employing various strategies to reduce payouts or deny claims. Some common tactics used by insurance companies include:
Offering Low Settlements: Insurance adjusters often start with a low settlement offer, hoping that claimants will accept it without realizing the true value of their claim.
Delay Tactics: Insurance companies may try to delay the claims process, hoping that claimants will become frustrated and accept a lower settlement or drop their claim altogether.
Disputing Liability: Insurance adjusters may dispute liability or argue that the claimant's injuries are not as severe as claimed, attempting to minimize the amount of compensation owed.
Requesting Excessive Documentation: Insurance companies may request an extensive amount of documentation, attempting to overwhelm the claimant and cause delays in the process.
Missed Court Filing Deadlines and Errors
There are strict deadlines associated with personal injury case requirements (5). Failure to meet the deadlines that are set or adhering to proper procedures can result in the dismissal of your case. An experienced attorney can ensure that all the necessary documents are filed on time and in accordance with the law.
Although it may seem like a good way to save money by not hiring a personal injury attorney, the risks definitely outweigh the benefits. From a lack of legal knowledge and expertise to difficulty in proving negligence and negotiating with insurance companies, attempting to handle your case without professional guidance can lead to lower favorable outcomes on your case.
Statutes of limitations exist to ensure that cases are filed and resolved in a timely manner, preventing the loss of crucial evidence and maintaining the fairness of the legal process. Missing a deadline can have severe consequences:
Loss of the Right to Sue: If you miss the statute of limitations deadline for your personal injury case, you may lose the right to sue the responsible party for your injuries.
Loss of Compensation: Failing to meet the deadlines associated with your case can leave you without any compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Weakened Case: As time passes, evidence can be lost, and witness memories can fade, making it more difficult to prove negligence and secure compensation.
Attempting to be your own personal injury lawyer can lead to unfavorable outcomes due to lack of knowledge, difficulty in proving negligence, inaccurate valuation of your claim, challenges in negotiating with insurance companies, and missed deadlines and errors. Hiring a professional personal injury attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can help you navigate the complex legal process, ensuring that your case is handled correctly and increasing the likelihood of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries.
1. American Bar Association. (n.d.). Personal Injury. Information found here: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/injury_typical/
2. FindLaw. (n.d.). Proving Fault: What is Negligence? Information found here: https://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/proving-fault-what-is-negligence.html
3. Nolo. (n.d.). What is Your Personal Injury Claim Worth? Information found here: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-your-personal-injury-claim-worth.html
4. Forbes. (2017). Here's How Insurance Companies Minimize Payouts To Accident Victims. Information found here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2017/10/24/heres-how-insurance-companies-minimize-payouts-to-accident-victims/