There are many people out there that try to handle their own personal injury claim after an accident, whether it be a car accident, slip and fall, or a work accident. Sometimes, the claims are relatively straightforward and the injured person has no problem handling their claim and getting compensation. But, in the majority of cases, especially serious accidents with serious injuries, the legal issues are a bit more complex and better left to an experienced personal injury attorney to deal with. Here's why:
Damages, in an injury case, are the physical injuries you sustain in the accident and the bills and expenses incurred from subsequent medical treatment. Most times the value of an injury case and compensation sought by an injured person is based upon the amount of the medical bills incurred for the injury. For example, if a negligent driver crashed into you and in the accident you broke your arm and incurred $20,000 in medical bills, then you would begin valuing your case with the out-of-pocket medical bills.
In other cases, however, the medical bills may be minimal, but the injury still significant. One specific case comes to mind. A young woman here in Massachusetts was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was making a turn and struck by a reckless driver, who was speeding and trying to pass another vehicle through an intersection. The young woman in the passenger seat did not suffer any serious injury that we commonly see in accidents, like a broken leg or fractured arm. This woman did, however, sustain a serious cut or laceration to her face, right on her forehead. The laceration was serious enough that she needed suture repair (or stitches) to close the laceration. The woman’s total medical bills were approximately $3,000, which consisted of the ambulance ride, emergency room bill, and a couple follow up appointments.
Initially, this woman tried to handle her own claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company. After she grew frustrated from the run-around she got from the insurance company, she called our office and came in to see us. She explained to us that she wanted no less than double her medical bills (roughly $6,000) to compensate her for her injuries. It was a good thing she came to see us, because we saw her case entirely different and much more significant. Although she did not have a lot of medical bills, the scar on her face was serious and the value of the scar much more significant than she initially thought. Long story short, after thorough and methodical litigation and negotiations, we were able to settle her case for $90,000.
You see, after hiring experienced personal injury attorneys, she, who only wanted $6,000, was able to reach a settlement of 15 times that amount for $90,000. This is a great example of why you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you are injured in an accident.