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How To Settle My Jacksonville Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer

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How To Settle My Jacksonville Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer

After you’ve been injured in a car accident in Jacksonville, FL, you may be wondering whether you need to hire a lawyer. An accident can get expensive. Medical bills, damaged property, and other costs can accrue, all while you are too injured to work. 

You may worry about the cost of hiring legal representation. However, most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. That means that clients need not pay legal fees upfront — you only pay when the lawyer wins compensation for your case. Some may still be weighing the decision to hire a lawyer against the possibility of settling their own claim. Don’t hesitate to contact or call Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers at (904) 396-1100 for immediate legal assistance.

In some circumstances, an injury victim can settle a personal injury claim without a lawyer. Typically, these are the circumstances in which there are no injuries or where the injuries are especially minor. These cases, with the right strategy and preparation, generally can be resolved within a few months. Here’s what you need to know.

When To Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

When To Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

Whether you should hire a lawyer depends on the complexity of the case, among other factors. Certain kinds of cases, such as wrongful death or strict liability, are more complex. These kinds of cases may require extensive evidence gathering or in-depth knowledge of the law.

In these more complex cases, lawyers begin work immediately. Lawyers investigate and review accident reports and medical records. They will hire accident reconstruction experts or automotive expert witnesses to inspect the cars’ engines. They will ensure that the evidence is sufficient to bring a claim under the statute.

In smaller cases, you can decide whether you need a lawyer for your car accident. Your claims may be less complex, and they may require less legal and institutional knowledge as a result. Even in smaller cases, you may need to hire an attorney sooner because the need for legal work arises earlier in the case (e.g. witness statements).

At the least, it’s worth your time to reach out for a free consultation if you’re not sure whether you need to hire a Jacksonville car accident lawyer for your case. During that time, the attorney can review your situation and offer legal advice on how best to proceed. 

Ten Mistakes Accident Victims Make Without a Lawyer

As mentioned above, some individuals want to take the risk of trying to settle their claims without a lawyer. Accident victims seeking to settle claims on their own should keep the following common mistakes in mind, as they can significantly impact the success of your claim.

1. Making Recorded Statements to Insurance Companies

Insurance adjusters often claim that they need a recorded statement from you in order to make a settlement offer. However, they often use your statements to try to undermine or undervalue your claim. Be careful about making such a statement without seeking legal advice first.

2. Incorrectly Estimating the Value of Your Claim

Asking for too little can lead to receiving inadequate compensation. However, asking for too much can also send a signal to your insurance company that you do not understand the value of your case. This makes it easier for the insurance company to refuse to make a settlement offer.

3. Using Common-Sense Rules

The legal system is complex, and using common-sense rules can cause you to overlook arcane laws and procedural requirements. Our website contains some resources on personal injury law, which you should review to appear informed in front of the insurance company.

4. Taking the First Quoted Settlement Offer

Accepting the first settlement offer may seem tempting, but it often falls short of fair compensation. Insurance companies may treat this initial offer like their final offer, but this is rarely true. This is a situation where it may help to have an experienced car accident lawyer negotiate on your behalf.

5. Not Seeking a Medical Provider’s Opinion

Seeking medical attention is essential to knowing the scope of your injuries. A claim that does not reference proper medical documentation, including medical bills, records, and doctor’s statements, will not receive proper compensation from the insurance company.

6. Not Responding Correctly to Allegations of Shared Fault

Most likely, the other party involved in your case will try to blame you for the accident. If they succeed in this effort, your compensation can be reduced or even outright eliminated. It’s critical to not accept blame or apologize for an accident, nor to make statements that could be construed as such.

7. Understanding Your Lien Obligations

Sometimes, injury victims have liens on their settlements or debts owed to other creditors. For instance, people may incorrectly estimate the amount owed on health insurance liens. While overpaying causes you to lose money, underpaying can cause you to lose your health insurance coverage.

8. Waiting To File Claims

Under state laws called statutes of limitations, there are deadlines to file different types of claims. Florida’s statute of limitations specifies that, for most (but not all) personal injury cases, you must file your claim within two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file by the deadline, you forfeit your right to sue. 

9. Not Accounting for All Damages from a Crash

Accepting a settlement offer means waiving your right to sue. Thus, you should factor all physical, financial, and emotional injuries, both immediate and long-term, into your claim.

10. Assuming Insurance Companies Have Your Best Interests in Mind

Insurers want to collect premiums while paying you as little as possible, even on valid claims. In cases with severe injuries, you likely need a lawyer to ensure that you are compensated for the full extent of your costs.

Getting Help From a Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer

While our goal is to empower you to settle your claim independently if doing so is what’s best, every case is unique, and it’s important to understand all your options. 

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help. Our car accident attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida, have 80 years of combined experience, and we have recovered tens of millions for our clients. 

Contact us today at (904) 396-1100 to schedule your free consultation. We can offer advice on whether hiring us to help with your case makes sense for you at that time.

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