Many people who have car accidents may want to settle the claim without a personal injury attorney. In a case where injuries and damages are minor, it can be a good idea to manage the claim alone. If you are successful, you can negotiate a good settlement and keep all of the money, rather than pay a sum to your attorney.
Self-Represent or Not?
When deciding how to settle your car accident claim, you could settle on your own. Although, you should consider two major things:
- How badly you were injured. If you are in a minor car accident and completely recover after a few days or weeks, you may want to handle the claim yourself. But if you have significant injuries and property damages above several thousand dollars, you may want to call in a car accident attorney. When a lot of money is at stake, the insurance company will try to pay as little as they can. And they are good at taking advantage of an unskilled negotiator.
- Is blame clear? If it is obvious that the other driver is to blame for your injuries, and there are witnesses in your favor, it is often easier to settle on your own. But if the car accident involves potential fault on your side as well, the case gets more complicated. If, for example, you were hit by the other driver, but you were driving too fast for conditions, you could be partially at fault. To maximize chances of compensation, hiring an attorney could be a wise move.
There are two types of damages in your car accident case:
- Special or economic damages that can be calculated with precision: These include medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy costs and other out-of-pocket costs. Add up those damages so you know exactly what you are entitled to.
- Non-economic damages: Primarily pain and suffering. It can be challenging to properly value pain and suffering damages. If you are handling the case on your own, you may underestimate the value of your pain and suffering. You can bet the insurance company for the other party will undervalue your damages. If you have a car accident attorney in your corner, he will be able to draw on his own experience and a database of similar case results to put a proper value on your pain and suffering. Or, you can try to estimate what your pain and suffering is worth, but this is difficult for the layman.
Once you have decided the above items, you can send a demand letter to the other party’s insurance company. Don’t take the first settlement offer they present. If you and the insurance company are far apart on your numbers, you may want to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you.
In a Car Accident? Call A Dallas Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you have been trying to settle a car accident claim on your own and are having trouble, it may be time to call in the professionals. Guajardo & Marks can help you to obtain compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. We are experienced negotiators with a history of securing significant settlements for car accident victims. Consulting with us is free, so call today.