If you’ve been hurt in an accident, it is very common for family and friends to advise you to hire a lawyer and sue the accountable party. However, hiring a lawyer isn’t always required. Based on the sort of injury, and the accidents involved, you might have the ability to take care of the injury part of your claim by yourself, and in so doing, retain a little more money in your pocket.
For small personal injury claims, with the proper advice, an injured person should be able to settle their claim by themselves without needing an lawyer. But for complex cases (for example, trucking accidents), or those involving catastrophic and serious injuries (medical bills over $10,000), it is probably best to hire an attorney so as to protect your rights.
But, for simple accidents, such as minor auto accidents involving minor injuries, someone should have the ability to represent themselves, and maintain the 33% lawyer’s fee in their pocket (albeit you’ll most likely get somewhat less than if you had an attorney, at a little case you will still come out ahead).
Treatment Phase. In this first stage of the procedure, you’ll want to call and start a claim with the other driver’s insurer. I advise getting their mailing and facsimile addresses so that you can send them a letter of representation regarding your claim, letting them know that you have incurred property damages, in addition to injuries, and that you are now getting treated for y our accidents. You want to be certain that you complete your treatment before trying to settle the injury part of your claim.
Information Gathering. As soon as you are nearing completion of your treatment, you may wish to begin gathering all of the necessary documents you’ll have to confirm your injury claim, including medical records from treating doctors and/or hospitals, together with billing records, prescription records, and any out of pocket expenses you’ve paid for prescriptions, etc.. You’ll also want to collect employment documents for time you missed from work because of the collision.
Demand Phase. Once you have all of the documentation necessary to support your injury claim, you’ll have to produce a demand for payment to the liable party’s insurance company. The need should set on your injuries clearly and concisely, and reference medical documents (which you may attach to your demand letter) so as to back up your claims. You will do the exact same for any other forms of compensation you’re looking for, such as lost wages, or property damage claims which haven’t been settled. After you’ve drafted your letter, attach all supporting documents and email it to the insurance claims adjuster handling your claim, requesting them to contact you concerning compensation.
Notice: If you’re seeking reimbursement for non-economic damages (intangibles) such as pain & distress, mental anguish, loss of consortium, etc., you will most likely need a attorney. Insurance providers almost never pay you for these kinds of damages if you don’t engage a lawyer, and every state has stringent legal requirements and burdens concerning non-economic damages.
Negotiation Phase. As soon as you’ve sent a demand to the insurance provider, the next phase is the negotiation period. This is where the insurance provider will take what you feel you are owed, and start whittling and chopping away at it. Bear in mind that insurance companies don’t make billions of dollars each year by paying claims in their entire value. You’ll have to demonstrate the insurance company that you’re entitled to what you’re asking for, and that the numbers you asked are actual amounts you’ve got either paid, or that you owe, as a consequence of the collision. The negotiation phase is going to be a series of back and forth discussions with the adjuster where all you present arguments concerning the value of your claim.
At this time, your claim is complete. Provided that you’ve asked for reasonable compensation, and aren’t asking for non-economic damages, such as pain, distress, or mental anguish, the procedure ought to be easy enough on a small case for a individual to handle by themselves.
But one caveat: If you have used your own insurance policy with regard to your injuries, particularly where Medicaid or Medicare is involved, you might need to refund any amounts paid by your insurer for injuries caused by the collision. In situations where Medicaid or Medicare insurance is involved, I highly suggest speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your case. Most injury attorneys will provide you a free consultation.