If I Don’t Go to Trial, Do I Really Need a Lawyer?

Do I Need a Lawyer?Regardless of whether you were injured in a Huntsville truck accident, motorcycle accident, or a car accident, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. For folks who hope to avoid going to trial, that means accepting a settlement. While you’re never legally required to hire a lawyer, believe us when we tell you: working with a Huntsville personal injury attorney is a smart move, even if you don’t go to trial.

Common mistakes by accident victims who don’t use lawyers

Many motor vehicle accident victims believe they can handle their personal injury cases independently. However, without legal experience, they risk making errors that could jeopardize their claims. Here are some common mistakes non-lawyers make when they attempt to reach a resolution on their own:

  • Providing a statement to the insurance company: Insurance companies often use tactics to reduce the amount they owe. One common tactic is asking you to provide a statement before they make a settlement offer. Without a lawyer, you might inadvertently say something that could be used against you. For example, say you were riding a motorcycle when you were hit by a driver. The insurance company may “casually” ask you about what you were wearing while you were riding, but they’re doing so to figure out if you contributed in any way to the severity of your own injuries. An attorney handles all communication with the insurance company, ensuring no statements imply fault on your part.
  • Requesting incorrect compensation amounts: Without an experienced attorney, you may not know how much compensation to request from the insurance company. As a result, you may ask for an amount that is less than you are actually owed. The insurance company will use this to their advantage, and likely offer you a very low settlement award that does not cover the true extent of your losses.
  • Believing that the insurance company will not negotiate further: It is not uncommon for an insurance company to state that they are giving their “final offer.” While a lawyer knows that the “final offer” is almost never final, an accident victim representing themself may believe that the insurance company will never budge on this offer, causing them to hurry and accept. In addition, if the insurance company knows that you do not have a lawyer, they will not have any worries or fears about being sued, which means that they will be quick to let you know that it is the final offer.
  • Settling too quickly: It can take time to understand the full extent of your losses from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or other chronic or catastrophic harms. Without a lawyer, you might settle too quickly, before fully understanding your medical needs. This could result in a settlement that doesn't cover future medical expenses, or leaves you with no future financial security.
  • Assuming that the insurance company will believe you: Car accident victims, for example, tend to think that their own insurance company’s adjusters, at least, will believe their side of the story or will act fairly. Some of them will, but remember: the insurance companies are not loyal to you. They’re loyal to themselves. They have one goal in mind, which is to retain as much of their profits as possible. Believing that your own insurance company will put you first can lead to disappointing results, to say the least.
  • Missing important deadlines: After a truck accident, let’s say, it is normal to become busy and caught up in the recovery process: these types of crashes often lead to severe injuries, and you should be focused on your health. However, if you forget or miss important deadlines, you put your claim at risk of being thrown out, which means you would never be able to get the justice or compensation you are entitled to.
  • Overlooking losses: Common losses that accident victims usually claim are hospital visits, doctor visits, prescriptions, surgeries, physical therapy, counseling, occupational therapy, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. However, you may forget or leave out some of these losses, not realizing they’re compensable. For example, if you have to travel for medical appointments, did you know you can claim those travel expenses as part of your compensation award? You may inadvertently leave money on the table if you don’t know what you can claim.

Why you may need to go to court, anyway

Sometimes, no matter how committed you are to avoiding a trial, it is the only way to reach a fair outcome. More than anything else, this is why working with a Huntsville injury lawyer from the start is to your benefit:

  1. Occasionally, all it takes is us filing the lawsuit for the insurance company to finally negotiate a fair and just award. The insurance company realizes you mean business, and that they’ll be up against lawyers in court.
  2. We’re already familiar with your case, so you don’t have to explain anything to us, and we wouldn’t have to spend any time catching up on what happened so far.
  3. We’ve already prepared for this scenario, because at Martin & Helms, we prepare every case we take for a potential trial for situations just like this.

If the at-fault party decides at any point they want to settle – and this happens more often than you think – we can help you assess the new offer. You could end up getting your initial wish anyway: avoiding a trial.

Contact the skilled accident lawyers at Martin & Helms

The accident lawyers at Martin & Helms are dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process and secure the compensation you deserve. We can review your settlement offer, negotiate on your behalf, and file a lawsuit if necessary. Even if you are hesitant to hire a lawyer, you call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation to briefly discuss your situation with our firm before you make any further decisions. We have offices in Decatur and Huntsville but serve clients in Athens, Madison, and throughout the Tennessee Valley.