There are many potential challenges involved in a personal injury claim. It is important never to assume that fair compensation for your injuries will be easy to obtain.
Generally speaking, it is in your best interest to have a personal injury lawyer handle your claim. The risks of handling the case on your own are simply too great, and insurance companies will take advantage of your inexperience to pay far less than you deserve.
Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can help you file a personal injury claim and fight for the full compensation you deserve. Call (402) 241-5020 today for a FREE case review.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for My Personal Injury Claim?
To be clear, no one is under any obligation to retain an attorney after being injured in an accident. You have every right to make a claim on your own and decide whether to accept the insurance company’s offer.
However, a do-it-yourself approach carries risks that put you at a significant disadvantage. In fact, you will face significant difficulty recovering fair compensation for your injuries if you don’t have a lawyer representing you.
Some of the most risky aspects of trying to handle a personal injury claim on your own include:
Risk #1: You Won’t Have the Evidence You Need
Whether you have an injury claim following a car accident, a slip and fall, or any other type of accident, the burden of proof falls on you. In other words, you need to prove that you have a viable legal claim, and you need to prove that someone else is responsible for your injuries.
Proving fault requires a prompt on-scene investigation. In many cases, it also involves gathering evidence from other sources as well. For example, in a typical personal injury case, the types of evidence needed to prove liability may include (but are not limited to):
- Forensic evidence from the accident scene
- Measurements, calculations, and other data
- Vehicle, property, and/or corporate records
- Phone records, receipts, and other forms of documentation
- Testimony from eyewitnesses and expert witnesses
Gathering these and other forms of evidence is also essential for determining which claim (or claims) you need to file. For example, let’s say you were injured in a car accident. Do you need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company? With his or her employer? With a vehicle manufacturer or repair shop? Answering these types of questions requires experienced legal representation.
Risk #2: Your Claim Will Not Be Taken Seriously
If you don’t have a lawyer, there is a good chance that your claim will be wrongfully denied, delayed, or even ignored altogether. While the insurance companies have a duty to handle all claims in good faith, they often handle claims very differently when claimants aren’t represented. Additionally, if you try to file a claim directly with the business that you believe is responsible for your injuries, you aren’t likely to get very far (if you get anywhere) without a lawyer on your side.
Risk #3: You Won’t Know (or Be Able to Prove) Your Long-Term Costs
When you have a personal injury claim, you are entitled to financial compensation for the present and future costs of your injuries. This includes your medical bills, other out-of-pocket costs, and lost earnings. But, in order to recover these losses, you must be able to prove them. This means that you need to be able to clearly establish both:
- How long your injuries will continue to lead to financial losses
- How much you stand to lose during this period
Proving the long-term financial costs of an injury requires numerous forms of documentation and other evidence. It also requires a clear understanding of the relevant principles under Nebraska law.
Read More: Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Risk #4: You Won’t Receive Any Compensation for Your Non-Financial Losses
Along with the risk of recovering less than you deserve for your economic damages, you also run the risk of not recovering any compensation for your non-economic losses if you don’t hire a lawyer. There are specific methods for calculating the cost of pain and suffering and other non-economic damages, and there are specific forms of evidence that you need to establish your legal rights.
As a result, when you have a personal injury claim, you cannot simply assert that you have experienced “pain and suffering” and then expect to receive the financial compensation you deserve. Proving the non-financial costs of traumatic injuries is a time-intensive process. It is a process that involves working with experts to prove the physical, psychological, and emotional effects you experience (and that you will experience) in your day-to-day life.
Risk #5: You Will Settle for Far Less Than You Deserve
Ultimately, the biggest risk of filing a personal injury claim without a lawyer is that you will end up settling for less (and most likely far less) than you deserve. If your injuries are serious, this may be a consequence that you cannot afford.
An injury lawyer will take the steps necessary to maximize your chances of a full financial recovery. Your attorney can also help you make informed decisions about when (and if) to settle your claim.
Get Help with Your Personal Injury Claim
There are a number of pitfalls you are likely to face if you try to handle a personal injury case on your own. Qualified legal counsel is often essential for asserting your legal rights and obtaining the outcome you deserve.
Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop is the most experienced personal injury law firm in the Omaha area. With more than 200 years of combined experience, our attorneys are unsurpassed in their ability to handle a wide range of injury and accident claims.