Should I Hire a Lawyer for Representation of My Small PI Claim?

Supreme Court

The words “Court House.” Outside the Supreme Court.

There are some personal injury claims that do not necessarily require the assistance of an attorney. These are generally minor injuries with minimal damages, which having legal representation would not be beneficial because the insurance company may not make a larger offer due to the extent of the harm. This would mean the attorneys skills would not actually be used in negotiating a fair settlement. For handling a personal injury there is a smart process. All the essential elements of the claim should be understood by the person who has suffered minor harm. This helps them know what is going on so they can pursue a claim on their own.


Personal Injury Claims Process

In cases where there is a minimal personal injury and damages the process of negotiating with the insurance company can be fairly easy. It will mean filling out a claim form and in this instance there will be no unclear legal terminology or complicated legal rules, so legal training is not actually necessary. The injured party will deal with an insurance claims adjuster who will be enthusiastic about clearing the claim and offering financial compensation in a reasonable amount of time. The absence of large medical bills, loss of wages and other damages this process can go quick and resolve the claim agreeably for both parties.

Compensation

In personal injury claims harm can be based on various types of accidents resulting in injuries, with medical costs and other damages. Determining what the claim is worth without the assistance of a lawyer is possible to do and the insurance company will have a range of compensation they are willing to payout on minor damage claims. This means that the insurance adjuster will have the authority to settle a claim to compensate for medical expenses and other damages within specific amounts to cover the damages. The caveat is you can usually get a higher settlement by using the services of a lawyer.


Incur Attorney’s Fees or Not?

When a mishap occurs that results in injuries, whether there is a need for legal representation by a personal injury lawyer will depend on how serious the damages are and how complex the case. The one fact that should be known is from a statistic standpoint having an attorney to negotiate a settlement can result in between a 10 and 25 percent higher compensation than going it alone without legal representation.

The other point of having an attorney is because they understand the claims process.  This is beneficial in more complicated cases. When a legal representative is necessary to provide legal assistance in car accidents, for example, they could be complicated and come with serious injuries. The advocate in a case like that will generally charge a compensatory recovery fee between 33 and 40 percent. Often, only a lawyer can easily navigate a case through all of the statutory and court ordered lawsuit filing paperwork nightmares.  That is often presented to a hapless and ill prepared victim facing having to sue. There may be additional expenses for copies of court documents and other services necessary to have a successful outcome in the case.  Often a lawyer will advance these costs. Bottom line is that unless you have training as a paralegal, or law clerk, it is probably always better to get legal assistance from a member of the bar.

  • Pain and Suffering

Minor injuries or more serious harm the individual will have the best understanding of the pain and suffering they have endured. This will be an important aspect of the claim and it is essential not to accept a low settlement from the insurance company adjuster to who may use tactics to attempt to get the victim to settle for a lower amount.

  • Settlements

In most cases personal injury claims can be negotiated for a fair settlement from the insurance company, with a lower amount ever going to court for a judge and jury trial. The reason that many cases are able to be settled outside of court, is the insurance company and adjuster know that it is more cost effective to offer a reasonable settlement instead of the higher award a jury may deem the damages are worth. Cases in which a lawsuit is brought against the insurance company will cost more even before the jury verdict. This can include legal fees, document expenses and administrative fees.

At the end of the day, you can definitely represent yourself in a small injury case.  It may be next to impossible to get a lawyer or firm to take the case anyways.  Some low injury cases have such low potential returns.  In the interests of judicial economy, a trained advocate will weigh the positives against the negatives and find that the costs will exceed the potential recovery after the fee is split up. If a victim is having a hard time in a simple fender bender, for example, he or she may also wish to consider filing the case in a small claims court.