I was recently catching up with an old friend, and she said: ” Not to be dismissive of advocates, but if I were involved in an accident, I would rather represent myself than have an advocate take my all hard-earned cash in the name of representation.” While it is possible to represent yourself, it is not a good idea to do so. Most people convince themselves that they can call up the adjusters and negotiate to avoid paying an advocate. Well, you first have to understand that these adjusters are not your friend. And insurance companies are paying them to ensure you get nothing or little compensation from a personal injury claim. Here are some reasons why you should not handle your injury lawsuit.
The Injuries may be a lot more complicated than what you envisaged
Many accident victims prefer not to hire a lawyer for minor cases. For example, if you have sustained minor cuts and bruises from an accident. In that case, you may choose not to seek help from an advocate especially, if the other party’s insurer agrees to pay a few hundred dollars and you will not see the need to go through all the trouble of getting an advocate. But what if your minor injury transcends to a bigger complication? How will you acquire any recourse for that?
Most insurance companies do not revisit claims after settling them. Therefore seeking advice from a lawyer will make you know that you can hold off on your claim until you are fully aware of your injuries and the specific treatment needed.
The Insurer may not take your Case Seriously
If the insurer finds out that you are taking care of your case, they may not handle it with the urgency it deserves. They do this because they know there is nothing much you can do. But when they find out that you have hired an experienced advocate, they will hasten the process since advocates have a way of putting these insurance companies on their toes. Also, if you represent yourself, they may hold some benefits that you may not know of, such as pain and suffering. But with a personal injury lawyer, not only will your case be handled quickly, but also you will get all the deserved benefits.
Negotiations with the Opposition
Advocates have experience in arbitration and negotiation; you may need this experience on the negotiating table. Insurance companies are always looking to capitalize on errors during such talks, so you should try as much as possible to check what you say since it might be used against you. One slip of the tongue can disqualify you from getting a reward. For example, if you state that your hand has been aching for a while, the company may capitalize on such statements to dismiss your credibility. Thus, you need someone in your corner to say all the right things, and that person is a lawyer.
Do you know when the first report of injury written by your employer needs to be filed, or how long you need to visit a doctor to get a medical report? Such deadlines may slip through the cracks without your knowledge. Also, after an injury, your primary focus will be on recovery, and thus you may miss out on some of these deadlines. But an advocate’s job is to follow through with such processes solely; hence it will not be easy for them to miss any deadlines. You will also have a lot of documents to file such as;
- Witness statements
- Incident report
- Treatment report
- Pictures of the scene
- Expert witness opinion
- First report of injury
These are just but a few of the documents that you will need. Therefore in the process of looking for them and submitting them you may miss out on some deadlines.
Collection of Testimonies
You might be the best person to tell the story about your injury. Still, you may not be the best at reconstructing the accident scene or explaining what exactly led to the machine being defective and causing the damage. A lawyer may know a few leads to expert witnesses who may shed light on the case and adequately explain how the accident could have happened. Also, an advocate may gather the relevant witnesses who will give credibility to your story. When you do that yourself, you may bring witnesses who will not add much to the case.
An Advocate gives you Protection during Court Proceedings.
The opposing side always looks for ways to raise doubt about your story, especially during cross-examination. Therefore once the opposing side creates some doubt, you will need your advocate to rectify this during re-examination. Whereby they will ask you to clarify some points made during the cross-examination. The cross-examining lawyer will not be lenient, and they will always cut you short answering after you have given them an answer they want to hear. So in case, your personal injury proceeds to court, you will need an advocate for your sanity and the success of the case.
As you can see, a personal injury lawyer plays a key role when an injury case is just hanging in the balance. Also, it is essential to note that insurance companies always have lawyers representing them. Therefore, you may not be able to beat their experience level, hence the reason to hire an advocate letting them battle head-to-head.