Should I Handle My Own Personal Injury Claim or Hire a Lawyer?

When you sustain an injury in a car accident, slip and fall accident, dog bite, or any other scenario, you may not understand the extent of your rights under West Virginia law. Each personal injury case is different and evokes a variety of federal, state, and local laws. Without the help of an attorney, the defendant or his/her insurance company may persuade you to accept a much lower settlement than your injuries deserve. Trusting a lawyer to handle your personal injury claim is the only way to guarantee the best opportunity to recover for your losses.

When You Should Hire a Lawyer

Law is a complex field. Most cases are not black and white and require in-depth analysis to assign fault and award compensation. West Virginia personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and resources to assist accident victims to the fullest extent of the law. For example, West Virginia’s modified comparative negligence laws allow both parties in a car accident case to receive compensation depending on percentages of fault. If you handle your own personal injury claim, you may not have the resources to investigate the other driver’s actions and prove his or her percentage of fault. If the courts find you 50% or more at fault, your award drops to zero. This is why it’s important to arm yourself with a capable lawyer.

While it’s possible for a victim to handle his or her own personal injury case in accidents involving only minor injuries or inexpensive damages, it may not be the best choice. The legal counsel of an experienced attorney can give you peace of mind and take the pressure off yourself. If your injuries are severe or your accident involves several different legal elements, hiring a lawyer is the best route to take. Choosing to handle your case on your own and then later opting for an attorney can complicate your claims process. It’s best to make the decision to hire immediately after an accident.

Your accident may involve complications or severe injury, such as a defendant who does not have insurance or an insurance company that denies your claim. Perhaps a minor dog bite you settled on your own gets infected and costs thousands to remedy, or you experience back pain from a car accident you were in a year ago. Many personal injury accidents are more complex than they appear on the surface. Do not let insurance adjusters pressure you into making a quick decision without an attorney. In West Virginia, you have two years after an accident to file a claim.

Settlement Process and Negotiations

When you file a claim with someone else’s insurance company, the company has a team of experienced attorneys working for its best interest. Going up against them alone may result in you settling your case for much less money than you could receive in court. The defendant’s claims adjuster will contact you and offer you a quick settlement over the phone without going to court. It is up to you to accept or deny this settlement. While accepting it can make the process simple, it can rob you of the full amount of compensation you need to pay for your injuries and lost time at work.

A personal injury can amount to thousands of dollars in medical costs, lost wages, and lost earning capacity – not to mention the pain, suffering, and mental anguish you cannot put a price on. The compensation you receive through litigation can change the way you live after an accident. It can determine whether you have the funds to receive much-needed physical rehabilitation therapy and modify your home and car for comfortable living after a permanent injury. Without this money, you forgo the important opportunities you rightfully deserve.