After you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need an attorney, especially if you’ve been injured. Your situation might seem simple enough on the outside, especially if the other driver was clearly at fault, but nothing is simple or cut and dried in court. Something that seems obvious still must be proven to the judge or jury, and if you don’t have an attorney to fight for you, it might not go your way.
A car accident attorney will know exactly how to present your case to a judge, jury, or the other party’s lawyer if you decide to try settling out of court. When you’re not a lawyer, this is something you can’t do on your own.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, here are the top three reasons you need a personal injury lawyer.
1. Winning your case won’t automatically generate a big settlement
You’ve probably seen plenty of television shows where people represent themselves in court and end up winning their case. There are also many examples of people in real life who self-represent and win their case. However, winning your case doesn’t equal significant compensation.
If you’re under the impression that winning your personal injury case will bring you a large compensation award or settlement, think again. You’ll have to justify every dollar you ask for in your case, and if you’re not an attorney that can be an intimidating process.
First of all, you won’t know what your case is really worth and will likely underestimate or overestimate the amount you ask for. If you underestimate what your case is worth, the other party’s attorney will take advantage of your ignorance and try to reduce that amount even further. This applies to courtroom negotiations as well as negotiations out of court.
If you’re expecting to easily prove your case to a jury, think again. Your case probably won’t make it to a jury trial, and that’s a good thing. Trials are expensive and lengthy, which is why most accident cases settle out of court.
Settlements are won in car accident injury cases through fierce negotiation tactics used by experienced lawyers. Without experience negotiating injury settlements, even the best negotiators can end up short-changed.
2. Navigating the court system alone is intimidating
If you don’t have experience as an attorney, moving through the court system alone will be intimidating. It may seem like judges will have sympathy for pro se litigants, but that’s not true. In most cases, judges are annoyed by people who represent themselves because they slow down the proceedings out of their ignorance.
Ignorance of how to proceed isn’t your fault, and it’s your legal right to represent yourself, but you’re still obligated to follow the court’s rules. This means you won’t get any slack for doing things wrong.
Unfortunately, you can lose your case and even be sanctioned by doing things wrong. For example, you might not file motions properly or on time, and in some cases, this could hurt your case.
If you’re depending on your lawsuit’s compensation to pay your medical and household bills while you take time off work to heal, self-representation isn’t worth the risk.
3. You don’t need to engage in a battle while you’re healing
While you’re healing from your injuries, it’s best for you to get as much rest and do as much self-care as possible. The last thing you should do is get yourself into a situation where you’ll be stressed out. If you try to represent yourself in your case, you’ll definitely be stressed out.
If you represent yourself, you’ll take everything personally. For example, the other party’s lawyer will likely question the severity and legitimacy of your injuries and that will make you feel defensive. When you feel defensive, your stress hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline) will rise, which can make you feel on edge and might even make you say something out of anger.
Engaging in any kind of battle when you’re healing will be detrimental to your health, on a mental and physical level. When you have an attorney, they’ll fight for you and you don’t have to stress.
Lawyer up fast
Don’t wait to find a personal injury attorney. The longer you wait, the harder it might become to win your case because without a lawyer’s advice, you might say the wrong thing to an insurance company.
If it’s been a while since your accident, don’t let the statute of limitations expire. Connect with an attorney right away and get a professional opinion on your case.