The Dangers of Filing an Accident Claim Yourself By Michael Joseph on October 02, 2016

Anyone who gets involved in a car accident is very likely to end up filing an insurance claim. In doing so, there are, broadly speaking, two options to go about it: One is to do it yourself, the other is to hire a professional personal injury lawyer.

In our personal and professional experience, the personal injury lawyer option is the much better option for reasons such as them being much more knowledgeable and experienced in matters of the law, in dealing with other attorneys, and also because they are more likely to have a better grasp of the entire claims process, very possibly because they have been doing it for a period of time. Quite unlike the individual who, having being in an accident for the first time, is likely also to be filing an accident claim for the first time as well.

Other advantages to be gained in using the services of an experienced injury lawyer, is the fact that they are much more likely to be able to get a higher settlement figure, than if you were to attempt the process yourself. This is, giving the fact that the insurance company is likely to have a team of very experienced lawyers who will be doing everything in their power to try and reduce the amount of settlement claim the company pays out, and where possible, they would even fight to pay nothing.

Either way, you are more likely to come out on the other end worse than you probably could with a lawyer on your side.

Not Having The Necessary Experience

Let’s face it, not everyone is likely to know the ins and outs of the insurance world. It might be ok to have limited to no knowledge when it concerns rather simple insurance matters like signing up for a new car or home insurance, but when it concerns more complex matters, that often involves multiple parts like police reports, medical reports and more, then it becomes all the more complex and difficult to navigate

For example, in the event that the accident claim goes to trial, perhaps because of the insurance company refusing the payout figure requested by the victim, are you certain that you would be able to adequately hold your own during cross-examination by the attorneys of the insurance company? Who, as has been previously stated, will be doing everything in their power to ensure that the insurance company pays little to nothing. Would you be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the legal world and all their legal mumbo jumbo often used within it, to successfully state your case?

Even worse is that fact that in the event that you lose the court case, not only would you have lost your chance at getting the compensation which you believe you deserve, there is also the fact that you may now very likely have to cover the legal costs of the other side. Making it a lose-lose case for you.

You Might Miss Out On a Larger Settlement

When you decide to go the solo route in filing a car accident claim by yourself, chances are quite high that you are possibly throwing away a potentially larger payout. This is because lawyers often know how to better stress specific points and circumstances surrounding an accident claim. Their training, especially as it concerns negotiating with other parties, offers them this advantage that the average person on the street might very likely not have.

They are therefore likely to be able to get a substantially larger payout sum from the insurance company than an individual could, who is not experienced in such matters.

The Process Might Be Too Stressful For You

So you have just been in an accident that has left you injured, and now you have decided to file an insurance claim. What you do not realize is just how much time and effort it can take for you to actually to see the process to the end. Moreso if the insurance company disputes your claim.

Hours of contact and numerous forms filled with legal language will likely permeate your life that has already been made stressful by the accident you have just been involved in. This stress can often be quite intense and can easily wear the individual out, such that many people soon regret that they ever thought of taking on the challenge themselves.

You Probably Can’t Negotiate With An Adjuster

Mention has previously been made about the army of lawyers that an insurance company will often have on their payroll to try and ensure that as little money as possible is paid out to an accident victim who has filed a claim. Besides this lawyer, and perhaps even before you get to speak to one, you are likely to first be contacted by a claims adjuster.

After you've been in an accident and filed a claim, you’ll be met with an insurance adjuster. This is the person who investigates the insurance claim by doing such things as interviewing witnesses, consulting with the police and medical records, among others, and ultimately determines the extent of the company’s liability.

Which in turn helps the insurance company determine what the payout should be to the victim. Similar to the lawyer hired by the insurance company, the claims adjuster can also be ruthless in doing their job. However, they are generally good people just trying to do their job, which ultimately is to act in their employers best interest.

Another advantage to hiring a personal injury lawyer is the fact that an attorney very probably knows the ins and outs of what you are entitled to and can negotiate with the adjuster to arrive at a much more common ground.

Getting Bogged Down With Research

This is one that not a lot of people think about. Due to the prevalence of TV courtroom dramas and legal novels, people seem to think that the law is straightforward. It is not. This is something you are likely to discover first hand that this is not the case, should you decide to handle your claims process by yourself.

Filing a claim with an insurance company is something that can very easily lead to hours of research in trying to learn how the process works, and how to deal with issues that may arise during the process.

This becomes especially unpleasant given the fact that you may have had some down time after after the accident, time which was perhaps spent outside of work, and which might need to be made up. Or just generally getting back into the thick of things.

You’ll Probably Just End Up Hiring A Lawyer

At the end of the day, chances are that you will probably end up hiring an injury attorney, after all is said and done. While many people are very capable of starting the process to file a claim, after facing some of the issues discussed above, chances are they will eventually get bogged down by the entire process, and simply throw in the towel and hire an attorney.

The disadvantage with this situation is that it is very possible that by the time you bring a lawyer on board to take over the process, chances are that some damage may have been done to the entire process, thereby either making the lawyer’s job more difficult, or otherwise reducing the amount of money that your lawyer might have been able to secure for you.

So, in closing, should you file an accident claim yourself or hire an attorney? Ultimately, the answer lies with you.


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The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • New York County Bar Association
  • Westchester County Bar Association

To request your free initial consultation with our team, call our New York City office at (212) 858-0503 or our White Plains office at (914) 574-8330. You can also request a case review online.

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