Here’s something we’ve heard a lot over the years: “No, I don’t want to hire a lawyer. I’m determined to settle this case out of court. Now, if I handle this on my own, I get to keep all the settlement money. If I hire a law firm to help with the settlement, I have to give away a big chunk of the cash. So no thank you, I’m taking care of this myself.”
We’d like to think that this is just the American independent spirit and can-do determination at work, rather than greed. And, certainly, you have the legal right to handle settlement negotiations on your own. In fact, we’ll go further: you should handle the settlement yourself if there’s only property damage to worry about. The settlement process for property claims is routine, and almost everyone can work his way through it with difficulty.
Of course, you shouldn’t cheat yourself out of the full amount you deserve just to get everything over with as quickly as possible. You are sure the offer you’re getting is fair to you, right?
Four Reasons You Should Hire a Lawyer to Settle Your Claim
Handling a property case is one thing, but if someone has been hurt, that’s a different story. We strongly feel that you should consult a lawyer before you settle a Pennsylvania vehicle accident claim involving human injuries. It’s not just that the cash amount of the settlement is always much larger; the lifelong risks of failing to get a full, fair settlement is potentially tragic for the person who has been hurt. Someone who accepts too low of a settlement in order to close a case quickly may find out that the money doesn’t cover future medical expenses, lost earning potential, or assistance with basic life tasks. But once the settlement agreement has been signed, that’s it. There is no way to go back and ask for more money.
Let’s put it another way. Without medical training, you wouldn’t attempt to take x-rays, set your own broken leg, put it in a cast, and plan for rehabilitation over the next eight weeks, would you? Then why would you ever consider signing a settlement agreement—a legal document—without having it reviewed by an attorney first?
In fact, there are four important reasons why you should hire an attorney even when you plan to settle your case:
- The lawyer can find money that you might not know about. Your lawyer’s investigation can uncover existing insurance policies that might entitle you to additional benefits not mentioned in the agreement. Don’t walk away from your case leaving money on the table.
- Your lawyer can look at legal principles you don’t know about. He can explain the inner workings of limited tort insurance in Pennsylvania, or the special rules that come into play for an uninsured driver. You can’t know if your settlement is fair until you understand the law.
- Your attorney can assess the true value of your case. An experienced Pennsylvania auto accident lawyer knows that, in many cases, the injury victim needs to wait until medical treatment is complete before all the costs can be estimated reliably. The quicker the settlement, the greater the risk that the check will be too small. This is one aspect of life where patience is rewarded.
- The bottom line: bigger settlements. Repeated studies show that traffic accident victims who are represented by Lawyers College, on average, receive settlements and awards about three times the size of the settlements given to people without legal representation. We can’t promise a specific result in every case, of course, but this means that in a typical case the plaintiff takes home more money even when the attorney’s fees are deducted.
Here’s the Deal: We’ve Got a Free Gift for You
If you are still determined to settle your case on your own, then we want to give you more help than we can fit onto this page. Take a moment to download our FREE client report, Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured in an Automobile Accident?, from this website. Read it: it has some of the basic rules for getting full compensation for your recovery claim. You get this report with ABSOLUTELY NO OBLIGATION and no charge.
If, later on, you need answers to more questions or you want a professional assessment of your settlement before you sign away your rights to a lawsuit, call our Harrisburg law firm at 717-888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free. We will schedule a free, no-obligation case review with one of Schmidt Kramer’s traffic accident attorneys.