The greatest risk of self-representation in personal injury claims is a lack of legal expertise, which could lead to an undervaluation of the claim or missed legal deadlines. Navigating complex legal processes without professional guidance could significantly reduce the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Handling Your Personal Injury Claim Alone: Is it Feasible?

You are not legally obligated to hire a lawyer to successfully pursue a personal injury lawsuit, but you will need to mitigate the risks of handling a claim on your own. You will need to navigate your lack of legal knowledge, learn how to value your claim, meet legal requirements and deadlines, and successfully negotiate with insurance agents.

Understanding Success Fees in Personal Injury Cases

When you experience an accident that’s someone else’s fault, it makes sense that you should be able to easily obtain the financial compensation you deserve to cover your injuries and other expenses. Reality isn’t so easy, though, and you’ll have to take action to pursue what you’re owed and prove what you lost.

Handling your own personal injury claim will mean researching the law, collecting the right evidence to prove what happened and who was at fault, documenting your losses, identifying your damages, valuing your claim, filing the right paperwork, and negotiating with the other party.

When weighing out your options, it’s important to understand how lawyers get paid. You won’t have to pay any money upfront for a personal injury case when you work on a contingency fee basis, so the fees you pay will only get paid out once you’re successful. Here at Kermani LLP, if you don’t win, then you won’t be obligated to pay us. You can consider our charges ‘success fees’.

Risk Factors in Personal Injury Claims

Learning how to handle your own personal injury claim will take a significant time and money investment. First, you need to properly understand the risks in personal injury claims when it comes to representing yourself throughout the process. As you go through your case, the most significant challenges you’ll need to overcome include your lack of legal expertise, potentially underestimating your claim’s value, a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating with other parties, errors you make during the procedural process, and attempting to keep your emotions from influencing your financial decisions. Below, we’ll go over each of these risk factors in depth.

Lack of Legal Expertise

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming your lack of legal expertise won’t be a problem when you seek out compensation. There are many things you can accomplish through Google these days, but a quick search for “how to handle a personal injury claim myself” won’t produce the results you need to successfully get what you deserve in a personal injury lawsuit.

All it takes is one seemingly simple legal misunderstanding to completely ruin your one legal opportunity at justice. Unfortunately, without the right legal expertise and foundation of knowledge, there are countless legal nuances that are likely to go right over your head. For instance, proving negligence on paper can seem simple, but it’s a lot more difficult to do so in reality in a courtroom by tracking down the right evidence before your court date.

Underestimating Case Value

Another risk you take on when you opt for legal self-representation is possibly making a mistake when valuing your claim. Undervaluing claims is a huge error because you will only get one chance to accept a settlement award. If you don’t properly value your claim the first time, then you won’t be eligible to file for that compensation later on, even if you should’ve reasonably been awarded it in the first case.

The Disadvantages of Negotiating with Insurers

Among the most overlooked self-representation risks is the huge disadvantage you’ll face when it comes to attempting to negotiate with insurers. If you’re not aware of common insurance tactics or you don’t have the right negotiation expertise, then you could easily fall victim to accepting less than you deserve or making a mistake that impacts your case. In general, don’t trust insurance adjusters to have your best interests at heart.

Aside from that, you'll want to be careful not to accept a quick settlement or a settlement that isn't reflective of your losses. Do your best not to make any statements that could impact your case, like statements regarding fault, the seriousness of your losses, or your injuries. These statements will be recorded and highly scrutinized, so the less you say, the better.

Procedural Mistakes and Strict Deadlines

One of the biggest DIY personal injury claim pitfalls comes in the form of procedural errors, like making a mistake on your paperwork or failing to adhere to strict deadlines. Statute of limitations laws give you about two years from the date of your accident to take legal action. This deadline is strict, so if you miss it, then you forfeit your right to file a claim at all.

Emotional Involvement

Another massive challenge you’ll face is not allowing your emotions to influence your legal decisions. After your accident, it’s normal to feel a sense of righteous anger and want justice to be served swiftly. That said, you still need to maintain a rational and clear head when going about the process. If you get too emotionally charged, then it could sway your case or cause you to make errors. Your emotions could hinder your judgement or lead you down a rabbit hole chasing fruitless leads for far too long. Getting the right advice from a trusted legal advocate can help you determine if your emotions are lining up with your legal options.

The Drawbacks of Self-Representation in Personal Injury Claims

Mitigating these risks will prove to be a serious challenge, and it’s one of the biggest drawbacks of attempting to represent yourself during your personal injury case. While you will save money when you don’t hire a lawyer, the time investment and potential loss in your settlement award may make the initial cost savings far less attractive in the long run.

Self-representation increases your risk of being unsuccessful or receiving a reduced settlement award. It also means you have to spend a significant amount of time learning how to represent your case. The effort you put in may not feel worth it in the end, especially if you lose your case entirely.

Legal Representation vs. Self-Representation: Where Do You Stand?

Attempting to tackle a personal injury claim on your own is a massive task. To achieve your rightful compensation, you’ll need to dedicate hours of research, investigation, document collection, and more to your case. You will also need to quickly become adept at legal negotiations, since you will need to reach an agreement with the other party unless you want to go to court. All that said, you can successfully represent yourself if you’re willing to put in the work.

Expert Legal Advice: When to Seek Professional Help

Legal advocacy can be a massive advantage, especially if you have a complicated case. In some situations, you may want to seek out unique types of damages like pain and suffering or punitive damages. Non-economic damages are difficult to value and prove, while punitive damages are awarded in rare cases when the other party is extremely negligent. Under these conditions, it’s best to seek out expert legal counsel. The right lawyer can guide you on your best course of action.

If you believe that it’s worth the investment to hire an attorney to tackle those challenges for you, then you can lean on us. Our team of skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers has been serving clients since our firm was founded in 2011. Schedule a consultation with our office now to learn more about how we can help you navigate the legal process of getting the compensation you’re entitled to under the law.

May 29, 2024

Ray Kermani
Didn't find the answer to your question?

Contact our personal injury legal team for a free case evaluation.

Contact us now!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Receive a FREE case assessment

Every case is unique, so we tailor our approach to meet your specific needs.

Due diligence got me only so far as I went through three seemingly great law firms before finding Kermani LLP right here on yelp. They were fantastic.

Testimonial Author Kermani LLP

Mary W.

Former Client

When I was hurt in a bike accident last year, a friend recommended I get a lawyer and sent me to Ray Kermani. Ray and his team knew exactly what needed to be done and took care of everything.

Testimonial Author Kermani LLP

Anna F.

Former Client

Ray is one of the easiest people to work with. His communication is great and he always walks you through the steps. I was little down after my accident. He got me paid quickly and way more than I thought was even possible. He goes the extra mile.

Testimonial Author Kermani LLP

Seema P.

Former Client

The staff is super friendly, approachable and responsive. They provide one on one attention, unless most law firms that just answer calls and want you money.

Testimonial Author Kermani LLP

Shobeir S.

Former Client

They took what was a complicated case that most law firms wouldn't touch, and turned it into a large six figure judgment.

Testimonial Author Kermani LLP

Sanaz A.

Former Client

Best law firm. They know how to win a case at trial, unlike most law firms that advertise as such. They will push every button that needs to be done to win your case. I was super satisfied.

Testimonial Author Kermani LLP

Adil L.

Former Client