If you are in an accident that is clearly not your fault and you have injuries that did not require extensive treatment or a lengthy recovery period, you asking yourself: should I settle my own insurance claim? Legally, you can. You have already been in touch with your claims adjuster, who appears appropriately sympathetic and friendly towards you.
So you wonder if it is in fact worth the time and fee associated with hiring an attorney to negotiate and resolve your claim.
Is this a good idea?
Well, just like in any civil suit where there are adversarial parties, you should remember that:
You, the injured party,
and they, the faulting parties’ insurance company,
play for opposing teams.
Insurers are in the business of minimizing their exposure to liability and settling your case for the least amount of damages payable. While adjusters may make statements to the effect that they accept responsibility for the claim, beware that this does not mean that they are willing to pay you policy limits, or even an amount close to what an experienced attorney or a jury may value your case for.
It starts with the recorded statement
Another often seen pitfall that may hurt your claim is in the making of a recorded statement. The information provided in these statements will be carefully scrutinized and used against you if possible. You should be very careful about information that is provided in the statement, and be truthful and factual at all times.
On your own, it is more likely that your statement will not detail all of your injuries. It may also lack the mention of injuries that you cannot value. For example, how your accident caused you to be fearful of getting into a vehicle for several weeks.
You should be at liberty to explain those losses in your recorded statement.
Timing is essential
It is worth mentioning that in Texas, for most personal injury claims, the statute of limitations to file a third party claim is two years from the date of the accident.
Claims adjusters are keenly aware of this timeframe and may pressure you into a settlement figure within that time frame; or even to drag out negotiations beyond the two year mark so that you forgo any entitlements to relief altogether.
A win/win… or loose/loose
It is no secret that most personal injury firms operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that your lawyer does not get paid, unless you get paid.
Therefore, not only is your attorney incentivized to pursue the most value for your claim, an good personal injury attorney has experience dealing with adjusters and steering matters clear of any statements, records or aspects of the claim that are disadvantageous to clients in general, all within the statutory timeframes applicable.
Need help with your personal injury case
At the Ted Smith Law Group, personal injury claims is one of specialties. If you would like to meet with one of our personal injury attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us via the contact form below or call 254.690.5688 for a free consultation.