We live in an age of Do-It-Yourself (DIY). There are websites, blogs and TV shows dedicated to showing us all how easy it is to Do It Yourself! With a few clicks of the mouse and a little practice, you can make your own Christmas wreath, refinish your countertops, change your car’s oil, and sew your son’s Halloween costume.
It may be tempting to apply this DIY-mentality to your personal injury case. Whether you find yourself the victim of a reckless driver, runaway tractor-trailer, negligent nursing home, or a freshly mopped floor, it’s not a simple situation. You may be tempted to take a check from the insurance company and call it a day. Do you really need a lawyer? Can’t you do it yourself?
How Hard Can It Be to Handle My Own Case?
As the victim of an accident, you’ll primarily deal with insurance companies. They are simply not on your team. They do not have your best interests at heart, and they have the experience and knowledge to exploit all legal aspects of your case. Going to bat against an insurance company is difficult under the best circumstances, but when you’ve recently gone through the trauma of physical and emotional pain, hospital visits and medical treatment, you’re at an even bigger disadvantage. Insurance companies are happy to discuss the settlement with you (NOT your lawyer) before the fog of the accident has lifted. It makes things easier for them – and their checkbook.
There are a few DIY tutorials that you’ll never see – “Remove Your Own Appendix” or “How to Perform a Root Canal in 3 Easy Steps,” for example. That’s because some jobs are better left to professionals who have the education and experience to not only get the job done, but do it well.
What Can a Lawyer Offer Me?
A personal injury lawyer will be ready for the curveballs. While you (hopefully) have never been in this situation before, lawyers deal with similar cases every day. They will make a thorough investigation of your case, looking at details the average person might overlook. They know how to reach a settlement that covers the full cost of your medical bills, as well as how to get monetary compensation for the mental and emotional trauma you experience.
Insurance companies also have huge financial resources. They hire skillful lawyers to make settlements in their favor, not yours. Your own resources will likely not be a match for them, but when you hire a law firm to handle your case, you gain the benefit of that firm’s resources.
Legal representation can make a big difference in reaching a settlement. A recent study by the Insurance Research Council shows that compared to people who do not hire lawyers, those who hire legal representation receive, on average, triple the settlement amount. And you won’t pay lawyer fees out of your own pocket, since most lawyers simply take a percentage of the settlement fee.
The DIY trend is a great one. Keep on making those great gourmet recipes, knitting scarves, and building bookshelves. But when it comes to securing your finances, physical health and peace of mind, ask for help. Hire a lawyer.