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Can I Get A Settlement Without A Car Crash Lawyer?

Car crash lawyer

After a car accident, a stream of thoughts may race through your mind: Are you physically okay? What happened? How is everyone else? How are you going to pay for any property damage or injuries?

A crash victim may also wonder if hiring a lawyer to assist with the settlement is worth the expense. Discover what it requires to pursue compensation without a lawyer and when it makes sense to hire an attorney.

Receiving a Settlement Without Help

It is possible to receive a car crash settlement without the help of a lawyer. If the facts are clear, getting an insurance company to offer a check can be straightforward. This situation is most common for minor accidents with no complications in no-fault accident states.

In a fault state, such as Texas, an injured driver must try to secure compensation from the at-fault party or that person’s insurance company. The ease of reaching a satisfactory settlement depends on if there are no complicating factors.

However, car crashes are rarely simple. People often rely on the professional guidance of a lawyer for:

  • Gathering and interpreting evidence to determine fault
  • Calculating the cost of economic and noneconomic damages
  • Meeting filing deadlines
  • Negotiating for more money with an insurance company

Review the ways these situations may require the help of an attorney.

Gathering and Interpreting Evidence of Negligence

The strength of a claim boils down to gathering sufficient evidence. These details hold the key to which party or parties are at fault and the size of a settlement.

If you decide to handle a case on your own, you must prepare as much as possible because you will be up against the insurance company’s adjusters and legal team. To create a robust argument, you should also prepare for the time and expense of interviewing witnesses and studying the police report.

Establishing the negligent party is not always as easy as it appears. For example, a driver may have lost control of a vehicle because of a manufacturer’s defect. You could invest time and resources to prove the other party’s guilt only to discover the driver has little to no liability.

If you have to pursue a settlement from a vehicle or parts manufacturer for a defect, you must contend with their legal team and may have to negotiate against a lowball offer. Further, other parties may be at fault, requiring you to file claims against various entities, such as a business, a property owner or a government entity. To handle the claim on your own, you must be confident you can litigate any of these cases.

Proving Economic Damages

Your settlement should cover all monetary expenses that resulted from the crash. You need documentation of each medical bill and records that prove the treatments were due to the collision. This step may seem easy enough, but the insurance company may argue that some of your care was for injuries not due to the accident, reducing your claim.

Also, accessing your medical records should be a simple process, but it may take time for you to receive the documents. You need enough time to go back and forth with the appropriate staff to obtain everything you need.

You can also receive payment for property damage beyond your vehicle. Getting coverage for these items also requires clear documentation, such as proof of ownership and the cost of repair or replacement.

Receiving compensation for lost wages requires you to supply pay stubs and bank statements to demonstrate loss of income. However, you may have to miss additional time from working while doing the legwork for your case, so you must be sure that your settlement is enough to make up for handling the legal work independently.

Calculating the Cost of Noneconomic Damages

Unfortunately, calculating the full extent of damages is where car accident victims can make the most mistakes and miss out on recovering all compensation. The State of Texas allows you to receive compensation for pain and suffering, but these types of damages do not have a set monetary amount.

Arriving at a settlement for noneconomic damages relies primarily on understanding the legal precedents in the locality. Different jurisdictions often have different standards, which could even play a role in deciding where and when you file your claim or court case.

To calculate noneconomic damages, courts consider the severity of the trauma, disruptions to a victim’s life, anticipated recovery time and the permanency of an injury. If you can establish these points, you may get a better settlement, but you will have to overcome any objections by the defendant or insurance company.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Insurance companies advertise with commercials that make them appear to be friendly neighbors on your side who only want to save you money. While there are certainly some agents and employees who want to help a person to the full extent, these corporations do not have it in their monetary interests to offer you a large payout.

If you aren’t familiar with the law, an insurer may be able to get away with acting in bad faith before you realize it. A company could prolong the case or delay a payout while presenting you with convincing reasons that its actions are necessary. Then, once you accept a settlement, you typically have no recourse to get additional payment from a defendant or insurer.

A lawyer with experience dealing with insurance companies won’t let them get away with taking unscrupulous actions to lower or deny a settlement. Additionally, if your case must go to court, the process might not be over if you win. You may have to deal with appeals, counterclaims or cross-claims that can take months or years.

Meeting the Deadlines

If you are coping with devastating injuries, you must handle all the paperwork and negotiations while recuperating. In Texas, you have two years from the day of the accident to submit your claim.

If you’re still healing, you may find it incredibly challenging to do all the work. Additionally, tort cases against the government require filing within six months. If you represent yourself, remember to keep in mind the timeframe.

Covering the Cost of a Lawyer

You may decide that your case is complex enough to require the assistance of a competent car crash lawyer. Fortunately, when you work with a reputable firm, such as Fielding Law, you don’t have to come out of pocket to receive assistance. Our team offers free case evaluations, and we don’t get paid until you do.

The typical fee for injury lawyer services is 33.33% if the claim can settle out of court. Most firms charge 40% to go to trial because of the additional work and expenses.

The lawyer’s fee may more than cover what you can receive on your own. We have numerous instances in which we have won hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

For example, one client initially received a settlement offer of $200,000, but after our representation, the total payout was $700,000. Thus, after paying legal fees, the final sum for the client still more than doubled the original offer!

Working With Car Crash Lawyers Who Help You Focus on Healing

You will likely receive a settlement offer for a simple car crash case. Even then, it may not be the offer you want or deserve.

Fielding Law has years of experience assisting car accident victims. When you want to pursue the maximum compensation for your car crash claim, contact our team. We’re ready to fight for you.