Can Attorneys Help Negotiate a Larger Settlement With Insurance Companies?
Personal injury claims are difficult to navigate on your own. Having an experienced attorney advocate for you is critical. They have an intricate understanding of case law and are skilled in negotiating with insurance companies. Both of which will significantly increase your chances of a settlement and a much larger one at that.
Is There an Advantage to Hiring a Lawyer?
There are laws in place that govern how insurance companies operate, but that doesn’t mean their motives can be controlled. An at-fault party’s insurance company will be looking out for their own best interests and will have a team of attorneys to help them find ways to avoid liability or minimize your payment. They will look for inconsistencies in your story and may try to pin the blame on you. If there is evidence that their policyholder is at fault, they may try to pressure you into settling quickly for an amount far lower than your case’s actual worth. Hiring an attorney will protect your rights and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
According to Nolo, 91% of the personal injury victims who hire an attorney resolve their cases with a settlement or award. In contrast, only 51% of those without legal representation obtained compensation. However, the largest difference was in how much compensation was recovered. Personal injury victims represented by a lawyer received an average of $77,600, in comparison to an average of $17,600 for victims who handled claims on their own.
Can I Negotiate a Settlement Without a Lawyer?
It is possible to negotiate a settlement on your own, but you will have your work cut out for you. Getting the compensation you deserve can take time and money and may require photos and videos of the accident scene, obtaining copies of police reports and medical records, negotiating with the insurance company, and possibly consulting with expert witnesses, paying court costs and filing fees, and more. The time it will take to negotiate and agree to a settlement depends on several factors. These factors can include the type of insurance company, the extent of your injuries and other losses, the strength of evidence, how many claims the adjustor is managing and other variables.
If your injuries were minor, you might be able to represent yourself since the at-fault party’s insurer is likely to offer a quick settlement to resolve the case. Whereas, when injuries are severe and other losses significant, the insurance company will complete a more thorough investigation to limit their liability and payout. In this case, an experienced attorney should be consulted.
Strength of Evidence
If there is evidence clearly proving the at-fault party’s liability—for example, a credible witness or video footage of the accident, it may be easier to get fair compensation on your own. However, depending on the severity of your injuries, the insurance company may still attempt to find ways to limit their liability and shift the blame onto you. In this type of situation, it will be worth consulting and hiring an attorney to represent you.