After an accident, you may wonder, Can I handle a personal injury claim without a lawyer? Even if you sustained only minor injuries or damages, it’s still vital you receive the compensation you deserve. Negotiating a personal injury settlement without an attorney is challenging and can hurt you more than it helps. Holding the party responsible for your losses is a right you are entitled to under the law. Today we’ll discuss why hiring a personal injury attorney is essential and what damages you can recover.
Can I Handle a Personal Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?
Most injured victims feel overwhelmed at handling their accident claims alone. However, some may wonder, Can I sue for personal injury without a lawyer? While it’s within your right to handle your lawsuit without a lawyer, it’s not recommended. Those who manage their personal injury claim without an experienced lawyer may make serious mistakes that negatively impact their case and jeopardize their chance of getting compensation. Injured victims often make the following common mistakes when attempting to handle a personal injury claim without a lawyer.
Talking to the Insurance Company
Speaking to an insurance company without adequately preparing can hurt your claim. Insurance adjusters are skilled in getting injured victims to make incriminating statements that could get you to accidentally admit fault for the accident and discredit your claim.
Failing to Maintain Documentation
The best way to support your compensation claim is to retain all relevant documentation. Many injured victims fail to document their injuries or keep track of the expenses related to their losses. Without this documentation, you lack the support needed to prove your case.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies may be eager to avoid litigation because it is time-consuming and expensive, and the results can be unpredictable. As a result, they often attempt to persuade injured victims to accept the first settlement offer they throw out. As injured victims try to recover, they often feel stressed and overwhelmed by mounting medical expenses and an inability to work. Any offer of money may feel substantial at a time when you need money badly.
However, these initial offers rarely capture the full extent of your injuries and the compensation you require to move forward with your life. And once you accept an offer, regardless of how much more money your losses eventually add up to, you can never go back for more. This can leave you in a big financial hole, so don’t jump at the first offer before speaking to a lawyer who can evaluate the true value of your claim.
Failing to Keep Track of Deadlines
A statute of limitations is the law dictating the period within which a person must file their claim. Failure to file your lawsuit within this time bars you from filing at a later time, thereby eliminating your chances to recover any compensation from the at-fault party. The Colorado law statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. Exceptions to this filing period apply in extraordinary circumstances. However, understanding whether these exceptions may apply to your case is only possible with the expertise of a qualified attorney.
What Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Claim?
Colorado law permits injured victims to recover compensatory damages from the at-fault party in an accident. Compensatory damages are divided into economic and noneconomic damages that encompass different areas of an injured person’s potential financial recovery.
Economic damages represent direct tangible losses stemming from your injury. These losses include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Invoices, pay stubs, bills, and other similar documentation assist your lawyer in calculating a value for your economic demand.
Noneconomic damages include less tangible and more subjective losses, often stemming from the psychological and emotional effects of your injuries. Noneconomic damages include the following:
- Emotional distress,
- Pain and suffering,
- Permanent injury or disfigurement,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
It’s challenging to prove noneconomic damages without a qualified attorney. However, many injured victims may find that noneconomic damages compensate them more justly for intangible losses that create a substantial and sometimes permanent interruption to their daily lives.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
An experienced lawyer provides many benefits to their clients throughout the claim and lawsuit process. In addition to understanding the complexities and nuances of personal injury law, your attorney focuses on your specific case and strategies so you and your family can focus on your recovery. Let’s look at some of the most significant ways that an attorney can assist you.
Attorneys gather evidence surrounding the facts and details of your case. They obtain accident reports covering the event details that caused your injuries and losses. Additionally, they receive photographs of the scene, retrieve camera footage, and retain evidence surrounding your case.
Negotiating a settlement without an attorney is very risky because it is impossible to know the true value of your losses. Your attorney knows how to calculate the true value of your case and then negotiates with insurance companies and opposing counsel to get you a favorable settlement. They review the policy details and determine compensation values available through insurance policies. If these limits fail to compensate you for your losses adequately, your attorney will know how to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
An attorney prepares the proper documents for filing a lawsuit in court, preparing a demand letter, and maintaining procedural deadlines. Legal documents are complicated, and procedural errors create significant delays in resolving your case.
If negotiations fail between all relevant parties, your lawyer files a lawsuit and conducts discovery to gain more information about your case.
If the case proceeds to trial, a lawyer provides you with representation in court. Lawyers understand court procedures and policies. They also know how to conduct a trial, so you can obtain a fair and just result.
Getting injured in an accident can be one of the biggest traumas and challenges in your life. And it can dramatically impact your ability to support yourself and pay your bills going into the future. You need a dedicated attorney who is prepared and equipped to protect your best interests and get you the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
When you hire the legal team at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., you benefit from a long history of diligent advocacy for injury victims. We understand how to defend people who have suffered injuries due to the negligent or intentional acts of another. Our trial-tested team is ready to make sure your rights are upheld. Contact us today for a free case review to find out how the attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., can help you.