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Yes, You Definitely Need A Lawyer For Your Personal Injury Claim
By: Thomas E. Parnell, Esquire
In today’s crowded communities and congested roads, the old adage goes ‘accidents will happen’, and they do. Some of these incidents will cause property damage, serious personal injury and in some cases, death to the driver and passengers. Navigating your way through your own personal injury claim is neither prudent nor profitable. Personal injury lawyers have decades of experience identifying and formulating your claim such that you receive the maximum amount possible given the specifics of your claim.
While both the State and Federal Constitutions provide and protect the right of any ‘natural person’ (as opposed to Corporations) to represent themselves in pursuing claims for compensation and damages arising from injury claims, it is neither prudent or advisable to deal with your own injury claim. Let’s face it, you’re not a lawyer and you shouldn’t pretend to be. You need the experience and expertise of a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights in this extremely important matter. This concept is highlighted and reinforced by another old adage; ‘he who represents himself has a fool for a client’.
Florida’s laws are a complex labyrinth of substantive and evidentiary rules which make self-representation impractical and in the long run, costly. You cannot adequately and properly prosecute your own claim and expect to get the proper compensation for the many types of claims and damages which are compensable under Florida law. If you are in a position of being ‘at fault’ or accused of being responsible, your standard automobile insurance policy has a duty to defend provision which gives you defense counsel to represent you. If you are an injured victim seeking just compensation for your injuries, for lost wages, loss of use, property damage and the many types of damages you may have sustained, you are on your own and must seek and retain your own counsel.
Understand that you will have only one chance of presenting your claim to a professionally trained insurance adjuster or defense counsel to get the maximum amount of damages for your injuries. There are more than a handful of reasons you should not represent yourself in the pursuit of your claim, these are just a few;
Florida law is far too complex for a lay person to make certain they seek and collect reimbursement for all of the allowable elements of damages including the injury itself, loss of services, loss of consortium, future medical claims, loss of earning capacity, property damage and the like
Professionally trained Insurance Adjusters and Defense Counsel will take advantage of your lack of skills and legal sophistication which will certainly result in a lower insurance reserve being set and ultimately in a significantly lower settlement for your permanent injury;
Questions regarding the benefits available under your insurance policy coupled with the new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Statute, Uninsured Motorists claims, property damage claims, your health insurance or healthcare liens and a wide range of areas and issues will come up.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer has been trained and educated in understanding all the nuances of the law and will make certain that you receive just compensation for your injuries and that your property damage claims are properly addressed in the settlement discussions and negotiations; andYour personal injury lawyer is well trained in old fashioned counseling and experience to answer all of your questions and address all your concerns to determine the fair value of your claim(s) for settlement. Your injury is extremely important and your injury lawyers trained and have accumulated years and years of experience negotiating the best and highest settlement for your particular claim and injury. You are no match for an insurance adjuster or defense counsel whose job it is to make sure you get the lowest dollar possible.
Remember, just because you have the right to represent yourself, doesn’t mean it is well advised and prudent. You might have the right to jump off a cliff as well but…
Hire a lawyer if you have been injured as the result of someone’s negligence. The free consultation is an invitation to meet your lawyer, evaluate his skills and credentials and make a strong confident decision that you are far better off having a skilled and aggressive litigator and negotiator on your team.