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Why Hire an Attorney (Instead of Trying to Settle Your Own Claim)

Updated April 28, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

How do you decide whether to settle your own claim or hire an attorney? The answer to this question depends on a number of variables, including the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, the size of financial award sought, and your willingness to wade through a maze of issues. Contrary to public perception, for some cases, most personal injury attorneys will suggest that the matter may best me handled by the individual themselves. However, in most cases, it is usually best to seek legal counsel.

Personal Injury Cases Are Complex

Putting together a case against another for negligence, medical malpractice, wrongful death, an automobile accident, a slip or fall, etc., is difficult. And it is difficult primarily because the world of insurance is complex. In a situation where an individual has been harmed or suffered because of the actions of another, all medical bills related to these injuries must be documented. Repayment of these medical bills must also be negotiated with the healthcare providers. Personal injury attorneys are adept at analyzing such documents and uncovering ways to reduce the amounts that must be repaid.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

With all of the different types of insurance packages and bundles available, individuals are often surprised to discover that they or the defendant actually has more coverage than they may have realized. Personal injury attorneys are able to analyze insurance policies and look for additional layers of coverage.

In many cases, individuals often find it difficult to make a settlement demand to an insurance company. They may not know that the law allows for compensation of more than just medical bills. They may possibly be able to receive awards for lost wages as a result of any injuries sustained. Similarly, compensation may be awarded for the pain and suffering the individual has had to endure.

Whether they have lost wages or suffered emotionally and/or physically is, however, only one part of the equation. A second, equally important question is how one puts a financial value on these variables. An experienced attorney will know the criteria for establishing the need for these kinds of compensation as well as what the level of the financial award should be.

Calculating Damages

It is not enough to assess what the cost of medical treatment has been or is currently. What about the future? As a result of their injuries, will the individual need to receive future medical care? Will they need to visit a physical therapist once a week for the rest of their lives? Will they be limited in their future earning capacity or suffer from enduring physical and/or emotional trauma? And again, how does one place a value on these?

Determining the Level of Fault

Aside from insurance matters, determining the relative level of fault in a case is also of critical concern. If the person injured is partially to blame for their injury, they can only hope to receive the percentage of financial damages that correlates to the percentage the defendant is to blame. For example, if a jury finds that the defendant is two-thirds to blame for an accident, the plaintiff can only hope to recover two-thirds of the total damages. And in Indiana, if the plaintiff is responsible for more than 50% of the accident, they are entitled to exactly nothing.

How to Decide Your Next Steps

Before you take on your own case, it’s important to ask yourself who has the best chance of providing the optimal outcome: yourself or an experienced attorney.

Because of the complexities of personal injury cases, it is usually best to seek out someone qualified to look out for your best interest. Don’t face this responsibility alone.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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