Can I settle without an attorney? Yes, but it’s often not in your best interest. You may feel confident in your ability to represent yourself without the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney. However, it is important to be aware of the benefits of hiring a lawyer:
An attorney knows the value of your claim.
Prior to a trial, insurance companies and attorneys involved in the case attempt to forecast the settlement value or what value a jury may place on a claim. Forecasting this number is challenging because every jury is unique, each case has unique factors and each would likely arrive at different award amounts even when presented with the same evidence.
Because insurance companies are for-profit businesses, their goal is to increase corporate profits by collecting premiums and minimizing claim losses, or simply, to give you as little money as possible after an accident. It is important to remember that no insurance company is going to offer more than they think a jury will pay later or what you may be willing to accept. Therefore, the insurance company’s job is to drive the settlement value down to lower their costs and increase profits.
An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can forecast your claim accurately, highlight elements that will actualize the true value of your claim, and be prepared to present your case effectively to maximize your recovery.
An attorney can take your case to trial.
Because most insurance companies are not in the business of losing money, but mitigating risk, if they know that they can settle a case without going to trial, they will. Having legal representation can prompt an insurance company to agree to a higher settlement just to avoid going to court. Without an attorney, an insurance company may not take your case seriously, because they know that most people do not have the knowledge to navigate the complex legal system and its rules. They can present you with a low-ball offer and wait it out until you accept the offer or give up.
An attorney may improve your odds of receiving a higher settlement.
If you do not have legal representation, the insurance company knows that they have the upper hand due to their knowledge, experience, and resources. They will use your unfamiliarity with the claim process to ensure that you receive the lowest settlement possible. While hiring legal representation may sound expensive, an attorney’s skill and advocacy on your behalf could ensure that you receive optimal compensation.
Data shows that individuals who hire lawyers get about 350% more than those who settle a case without an attorney on their own!
An attorney can deal with subrogation claims.
An experienced personal injury attorney can assist with subrogation claims (reimbursing those who paid for your medical care in the short term) to maximize the net recovery you put in your pocket at settlement. An attorney can either help you avoid paying subrogation you don’t really owe or work out arrangements that are favorable to you even on the subrogation claims you do owe.
How to Settle Without An Attorney.
For cases that we’re not willing to handle, we’ve prepared a book, available for free, called “How to Settle Your Own Case” that guides you through the steps that you need to take to try to maximize the value of your case without hiring a lawyer. Even if you follow all the steps and do everything right, you’re still not likely to resolve your case for the amount a lawyer could resolve.
In addition, it’s not a good idea to assume that you can find a lawyer after starting the process on your own. Oftentimes, mistakes are made during the process and insurance companies can draw lines in the sand. As a result, your case can take a lot longer to settle, and the likelihood of going to trial increases.
We recommend that you contact us. We will tell you if we can help you or not and if you can settle = without an attorney. If we think it’s not a good fit, we will refer you to a lawyer who may be able to help you, or we will try to give you the information to maximize your own case.