You are probably here because you’ve been injured in a car accident and you’re wondering, "Can I handle my car accident case myself, or do I need to hire a lawyer?" The short answer is, yes, you can handle your car accident case yourself.
The better question is: Should you handle it yourself? In many cases, the answer is no. Personal injury law and the world of insurance coverage can be complicated.
We all expect that when we are injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else, their auto insurance company will pay the compensation we deserve for our injuries, losses and damages. But, it’s not that simple and in most cases, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.
Brief Overview of Motor Vehicle Accident Cases in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, when someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident (whether it is a car, truck or motorcycle accident), the laws allow them to pursue a claim for personal injuries suffered in the crash. Just because you file a personal injury claim doesn’t mean that you will automatically receive financial compensation for your injuries and damages.
As the injured party in the crash, Massachusetts law places the burden on you to prove the other driver was negligent or careless and that their negligence caused the accident. Even when you can prove the other driver was negligent, you also must prove your damages and that they are related to the crash.
You must understand, insurance companies do not just issue settlement checks. Even with accidents that seem clear, such as a rear-end collision, they will scrutinize the claim and come up with many reasons to either deny or minimize your claim.
How Insurance Companies May Try to Minimize Your Claim
Now that you know what you must prove to get the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries, you are probably thinking, “that sounds easy enough”. But, what you may not know is that auto insurance companies do not just hand out money and settlements to anyone injured in a crash. Car insurance companies employ skilled and experienced claims adjusters. These adjusters are trained to thoroughly examine injury claims. They do this so that they can minimize any possible settlement payments, which in turn saves money for the insurance companies.
Insurance companies use several different tactics and strategies to try to minimize the value of your case or to destroy your claim all together. They may blame you for causing the accident, delay in responding to you, or claim the injuries are not related to the accident. Here is some information on the different tactics insurance companies use to hurt your claim. If you plan to handle your own personal injury claim, you should educate yourself on injury claims and the insurance strategies and tactics, so that you will know or can plan to rebut them.
For great information about accident cases, get a free copy of the book I wrote: You Were in a Car Accident: How to Maximize Your Settlement. In this book, I discuss personal injury cases from car accidents, including an explanation about negligence in detail and review some things you should and shouldn’t do when handling your claim.
Educating yourself on what you need to prove and the compensation you are entitled to should be the first step you take when trying to handle your own accident case. But, as you will see below, the vast majority of people injured in car accidents should speak with an experienced lawyer.
You Should Consult with an Experienced Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney
Now let’s get back to the original question in this article. While you can handle your accident case yourself, in many situations, especially those with serious injuries, you should, at the very least, speak with an experienced injury lawyer. Accident victims without an attorney will be advocating for themselves and may be at a significant disadvantage when up against experienced and trained insurance adjusters.
Insurance companies are huge and profitable businesses. Just turn on your TV and count how many auto insurance commercials you see. Do you know how much those commercials cost? Their money comes from all insurance premiums they collect from their customers and when there is an accident, their trained insurance adjusters try to pay out as little as possible. This saves the insurance company money. If you are seriously hurt in a car accident, you should expect the insurance company to dissect your claim and try to find a reason to deny or minimize your claim.
Hiring or just speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer may be the best decision you make after being seriously injured in a car accident. First of all, an experienced attorney will protect your legal rights and make sure the correct decisions are made from the very beginning of your claim. Also, a lawyer will know what your accident case is worth and where to look for insurance coverage or additionally coverage, if needed.
Studies have shown that accident victims, who hired personal injury lawyers, received larger settlements in car accident cases. For this reason alone, anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident should seriously consider hiring an experienced attorney.
For example, our office was hired by a resident of Marlborough, MA after she was injured in a serious accident. She initially tired to handle her bodily injury claim herself. When the insurance company kept giving her low-ball offers of settlement, she hired us. We took legal action right away and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. In the end, we recovered 12 times the amount that the insurance company initially offered our client.
Most attorneys offer free consultations, so take advantage of it and speak with an attorney. It might just be the best decision you make for yourself and your family.
A Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you or a family member have been seriously injured in an accident you deserve to be fairly compensated for your injuries and damages. You shouldn’t settle for less.
The Framingham personal injury attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP offer complimentary consultations where we will evaluate your case and provide you with a fair valuation of your accident claim. We offer contingent fee agreements on car accident cases, which means you don’t pay us anything unless and until we get you the money you deserve for your injuries.
To speak with someone on our legal team or to schedule your free meeting, please call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online.