Victims may be able to settle accident claims without a lawyer in some cases, but when liability or the value of the claim is disputed, they generally must have the time, financial ability, legal knowledge, and resources available to prove their case. Otherwise, they may be forced to accept less than their lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering are worth.
Is Self-Representation the Best Option?
When determining whether victims are in a strong position to settle their accident claims without an attorney, considering the severity of injuries, proof of negligence, and insurance coverage is key. Before deciding on self-representation, it’s also important to determine how much the case is worth and prepare a proper plan of action.
In auto accident cases, three factors play a significant role in the outcome of a claim settlement.
Severity of Injuries
When injuries are minor, most insurance companies will settle a claim quickly. However, when injuries result in high medical bills, lost income, and significant pain and suffering, an insurer will fight harder to avoid paying out a large sum of money on a claim. In car accident claims involving severe injuries, settling a claim for full value may be more difficult without an auto accident attorney who deals with litigation.
Fault for the Accident
When it’s clear that another party is at fault for the accident, negotiating a settlement is easier. Providing witnesses to testify about accident details, photos of the accident scene and injuries, and a copy of the police report can validate proof of another party’s liability.
Calculating Vehicle Damages
Negotiating a settlement for vehicle damage is usually based on repair estimates from car repair shops. If the car is deemed a total loss by the insurance company, settling a claim quickly is more likely because paying the book value of the vehicle is usually less expensive than paying for costly repairs.
Calculating Injury Damages
Calculating injury damages requires evidence of “special damages” including medical expenses, lost wages, and related out-of-pocket expenses. There is no real measurement for calculating “general damages” for pain and suffering, but they can be factored into total damages. By adding up totals for special damages, then multiplying that amount by two for general damages, a reasonable settlement amount can be determined.