Technically, yes. But can you negotiate your claim as well as an experienced personal injury attorney can negotiate it? Unless you yourself are a personal injury attorney, probably not.
Personal injury attorneys spend their careers helping victims get the monetary compensation they need to cover their expenses. Consider the following when determining whether you should work with an attorney:
- An attorney will keep your claim organized. He or she knows the applicable deadlines and will make sure your claim and any related paperwork is filed on time;
- Your attorney has the time and energy to work on your case. You have your own career to handle while your claim is pending – for your attorney, this is his or her career. Let your attorney devote him- or herself to handling your claim while you focus on making a full recovery;
- Your attorney will know how to negotiate with the insurance provider. Sometimes, it can be easy for a victim to be talked into accepting a lower settlement than he or she can potentially receive;
- Your attorney can advise you about the claim’s progress and explain key terms and processes to you; and
- If you case has to go to court, your attorney can help you by representing your claim in court.
When Should I Negotiate my Own Claim?
There are times when it can make sense to represent yourself. Some examples are:
- If one party is clearly at fault in your case. Examples include collisions with drunk drivers and product liability cases. When the negligent party’s insurer fully accepts its fault, it can be much easier to receive the compensation amount you seek; and
- When your injuries are fairly straightforward. If you suffered only a minor medical issue, such as whiplash, you can usually reach an acceptable settlement amount by providing the insurer with copies of your medical bills.
Even in these cases, it can be beneficial to discuss your case with an attorney before signing an insurance release. You do not have to have the attorney negotiate on your behalf, but simply seeking legal advice can help ensure that you receive an adequate compensation amount.