A common attitude found among many personal injury claimants is the desire to represent oneself with respect to settling a personal injury claim. The basic idea of self-representation, more often than not, is to save money by not enlisting the services of a personal injury lawyer. While no good lawyer would take on a case that will not benefit the claimant, self-representation comes with its own problems. One such problem is the lack of sound legal advice. This article will discuss some factors a claimant needs to consider before attempting to settle his or her own personal injury claim.
A general perception is that settling a claim is the best way to go when representing yourself. However, most injured persons do not think beyond the settlement itself. Further, they are often pressured to settle in order to get quick cash to pay bills that have stacked up while they were out of work. But it is important to think beyond the immediate need filled by a quick, but low settlement. Other aspects to consider are:
- What if there are more injuries and damages than you thought
- What if you settle and you do not get better
- What if you incur more medical costs after settlement
All these questions must be taken into consideration before settling; because once an insurance settlement is reached, it is over; you must live with the insurance settlement.
Before an injured person settles with an insurance company it is of utmost importance that you know what your damages are and the potential settlement amount that will cover even future costs, while negotiating. Some important questions to ask yourself are:
- Is my physical injury permanent or temporary? With this question in mind, an individual must consider how quickly an injury will heal. A temporary injury is minor and will likely heal quickly, however, a permanent injury will require future medical treatment or may take the rest of your life to heal or result in a disability.
- What will be the effect of settling now or waiting a while longer? If you are unsure whether the timing is right for you to settle your claim, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a motorcycle personal injury lawyer who can provide some guidance or even a free case evaluation. If you do not want to hire the lawyer so as to handle your case, at least consult with an attorney who can provide advice on making the best decision as to when to settle.
- Am I aware of my medical condition? It is important to note that an injured person is only entitled to compensation for damages and losses that are caused by the accident. Therefore, you will need a good understanding of what symptoms were caused by the accident and which ones were not. The best way to find out what your medical condition is, is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will give clear answers as to whether you have healed, need more treatment or if there is a medical reason not to settle.
The above are just a few of the factors that must be taken into consideration by injured people who are thinking about trying to represent themselves.