Yes, you can settle a personal injury case without a lawyer, according to the Tennessee State Courts. However, there are many aspects of representing yourself that you may want to consider first.
For starters, if you choose to represent yourself, you will be responsible for:
- Collecting evidence to support your allegations of negligence and liability
- Handling all communications with the involved parties, their legal counsel, and their insurers
- Understanding how your state handles personal injury law
- Calculating the cost of your damages
- Filing all paperwork to the appropriate offices within their respective deadlines
While healing from your injuries, you likely do not want to take any measures that could interfere with your physical recovery. If you have concerns about the cost of legal representation, many personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they get paid out of the settlement they get for you. This could work to minimize your financial risk when seeking legal assistance.
Three Reasons You Might Not Want to Settle a Personal Injury Case without a Lawyer
Many people tend to forget that insurance companies are for-profit organizations. While they may present themselves as altruistic agencies, some insurers make money off denying injured people compensation. As we mentioned before, you can settle a personal injury case without a lawyer.
However, here are some reasons why you may want to avoid doing so:
You Do Not Want an Unfair Settlement Offer
Right now, you may not know the full monetary value of your case. If you accept a settlement offer, that amount is supposed to cover all of your damages, including your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Even if you incur additional collision-related costs in the future, you already accepted a settlement offer, so you cannot get any more money from the insurer.
Let's say that the claims adjuster offered you $25,000 to settle your injury claim for damages you sustained from a rear-end collision. Maybe in this situation, your damages cost $23,000. However, let’s say that you visited the doctor, and you needed additional treatment for your injuries that cost $10,000. Unfortunately, you would have to pay this expense out of pocket because you already accepted a settlement. If you represent yourself, you may be unaware of potential costs that could arise in the future.
You Might Miss the Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit
Lawyers have an understanding of the laws and regulations that surround personal injury cases. One of those laws is TN Code §28-3-104, otherwise known as Tennessee’s statute of limitations. In most cases, you only have one year from the date of your injuries to file a lawsuit for damages. If you miss this deadline, the law will prevent you from ever being able to go after monetary damages for your losses, no matter how devastating your injuries.
When you work with a personal injury lawyer, they will be responsible for making sure that your case meets various deadlines. They are aware of the tactics that some insurance companies use to drag out the claims process so that you only have a short time to take your case to court.
There Could Be Another Defendant Who Should Pay You Money
Sometimes, more than one mistake causes an accident. People who do not work with a lawyer on their personal injury claim might not realize that two or more parties could be liable. For example, in a car accident, the driver that caused the collision is usually responsible. You might, however, have a claim against the city for inadequate lighting or signage, or against the defendant’s auto manufacturer for defective brakes or steering.
A lawyer can assess the facts of your situation and determine which parties can be held responsible for your losses.
Getting Legal Help for Settling Your Personal Injury Claim
So, although you can settle a personal injury case without a lawyer, you may want to consider multiple elements before doing so. At The Cochran Firm –Nashville, we represent people who have suffered injuries due to another party’s negligence. When you work with us, we may be able to address your concerns before we set your case in motion so that you are fully aware of your options for financial recovery.
We can also:
- Launch an investigation to gather evidence of fault and liability
- Speak with the involved parties on your behalf
- Estimate the cost of your expenses
- Consult with third-party field experts to learn more about your situation
- Address your questions and concerns throughout the legal process
- Advocate for your rights in court, if necessary
During your free, no-obligation consultation, we encourage you to share the details of your case with us so that we can determine how to help you. To get started, call The Cochran Firm – Nashville at 615-678-6278.