There is no law that says you need an attorney to settle a personal injury claim but depending on your particular circumstances, having an attorney’s help may be more beneficial than if you did not have one.
A person can save legal fees by negotiating their own settlement amount with an insurance company but it is very important to be fully prepared and knowledgeable about what you are entitled to. It is important to be prepared and to know how to negotiate with insurance companies because they are notorious for trying to give accident victims less than they are entitled to.
If you have been injured in an accident, it may be in your best interest to discuss your situation with an attorney. They may be able to help you to determine how much compensation you may be entitled to and how much an insurance company may be willing to give you after negotiations. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the extent of property damage you incurred, you may feel better knowing that you have an attorney on your side that is experienced with successfully getting accident victims the full amount they are entitled to rather than what an insurance company wants to pay. Many personal injury attorneys give free case consultations.
One situation where it might be beneficial to an accident victim to try to settle their claim without an attorney is when their injuries and property damage were minor. Many personal injury attorneys work on contingency. This means that they do not charge a client for their services unless they win an award amount for a settlement or trial verdict but they will typically get a percentage of the award amount. This percentage can vary from one attorney to another and in different locations but a common amount that is agreed to is that the attorney gets approximately 33% or ⅓ of their client’s award. If the amount of money you are entitled to is not that great, you may be able to save money by not getting the help of an attorney.
An example of when it might be to the victim’s benefit is if they were rear-ended in a car accident and their car was damaged but they were not injured. If the accident was clearly the insurance company’s client’s fault, they will likely offer to pay you the cost to repair your car and for a rental car while yours is getting fixed, and for other small incidentals that are the result of the accident.
Be careful before agreeing to this though because, even though an insurance company is likely to offer you a settlement that seems like it will cover all of your expenses, make sure you are not getting sold short. Even after a minor accident, many people are shook up and just want to get their car back, or get a new car, and get back to their regular lives. A settlement offer from an insurance company may seem reasonable enough, especially when you do not have the time or energy to fight with them, but you really should not come up even a hundred dollars short of what it takes to get you and a vehicle back up and running.
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