Can I Settle My Car Crash Claim in Sacramento Without a Lawyer?

injured woman in wheelchair talking to lawyerTraffic accidents are traumatic for all involved. Crash victims dealing with injuries and costly losses, such as medical bills, may decide to settle a claim without a lawyer. At first glance, this decision looks like it could be an easier and cheaper way to resolve a claim.

Below, our experienced car crash attorneys in Sacramento discuss settling a claim without a lawyer, including some of the unexpected pitfalls you might face.

Injured in a Sacramento car crash? Not sure if you have a valid case or should seek legal help? These are questions you can get answers to, and quickly, at no cost or risk to you. Our firm has a long history of recovering millions in compensation for our clients, including those injured in California car accidents.

Call to request a FREE case review today. (916) 777-7777

Is It Legal To File a Lawsuit and Settle a Claim Without Legal Help?

Sacramento car crash victims can file a lawsuit and work to settle a claim without the help of a lawyer. It is not against the law to do this.

At first glance, it seems like there are a few reasons why crash victims may want to settle an accident claim without a lawyer:

  • Agreeing to a quick settlement gets you cash for your losses faster.
  • Dealing with the insurance company directly will not cost you any upfront money.
  • You can move on from the car accident a lot faster than if you hire a lawyer.
  • You will not need to go to court.

What Are the Risks if You Try To Settle Without a Lawyer?

The thing about trying to settle a car crash claim on your own is that it is not as easy or straightforward as you might expect. Every case has its own unique circumstances, and there are many contributing factors that can impact the outcome for the injured victim, or plaintiff. Even lawyers who manage car crash claims every day have unexpected challenges that arise.

These are the most common issues and pitfalls you could face if you opt to settle a car crash claim on your own:

Losing Out on Key Evidence You Did Not Know How To Get

The burden of proof in an injury claim falls on the victim. The reason for this is that you are asking the insurance company to pay you money for your losses. No one hands out money without making sure they owe it. This is why the insurance company asks you to prove your case. They want to ensure that the injuries you claim you sustained were caused by their insured.

Unfortunately, if you are not familiar with the claims process or how to preserve evidence, this task is not as easy as you might think. Evidence can quickly get lost or go missing after a car crash. One prime example is if a traffic surveillance camera captured the crash. If that evidence is not preserved, it will very quickly get overwritten. An attorney knows this and knows he or she may need to issue a spoliation letter to help preserve this evidence.

The police report is another piece of important evidence. The first responders to the crash scene investigate and write up this report. Since these individuals are objective, the details in this document can help to support your claim. However, even a police report may contain errors. An experienced attorney knows this and can advise you to quickly get a copy of your report and check it over for errors.

Getting Paid Significantly Less Than the Value Of Your Claim

Insurance companies do not have the same goal in resolving a claim as you do. Despite having paid for an insurance policy – or filing a claim against an at-fault driver who has a policy – the outcome is never a foregone conclusion. To protect their company’s profits, insurers want to pay out as little on a claim as possible. As such, they work very hard to limit their policyholder’s liability. Often this means trying to find a way to shift some of the blame to the injured party or trying to get you to take a quick settlement.

The fact is that early on, no one, not even your attorney, can determine the value of your claim. If you question that statement, ask yourself this before considering whether to agree to a settlement:

  • Do you know the full extent of all the injuries you sustained? Some injuries may worsen or develop secondary complications, even with treatment. Other injuries, like a traumatic brain injury (TBI), may not show up right away.
  • Have you fully completed treatment for your injuries? If not, you will continue to generate more medical costs.
  • Are there other ongoing costs, such as physical therapy, associated with your injuries?
  • Do you have any permanent damage that will prevent you from going back to your former career? If so, you need to seek compensation for lost earnings.
  • Are there things you used to love doing that you can never do again? You may be eligible to recover compensation for loss of enjoyment.
  • Do you know the full amount of damage to your vehicle? Until a mechanic thoroughly examines your vehicle, you cannot know the full cost of the damage.
  • Will you have to pay someone to help you with daily tasks around the house or basic personal hygiene? If you have to pay for daily help until you recover, those costs can be extensive. An attorney would seek compensation to help cover these costs as well.

If you do not know the answers to these and other questions, any early settlement will not fully compensate you, potentially costing you thousands out of pocket.

No One To Warn You Against Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Claim

The legal process of filing and navigating a car crash claim is very complicated. It is easy to miss critical deadlines, such as the statute of limitations. If you miss that date, you cannot recover any compensation at all.

Other common mistakes car accident victims make when trying to recover compensation in an injury claim include:

  • Giving the insurance company full access to your medical records: They do not need this much of your private medical history. They only need access to specific, relevant records. An attorney knows what details to provide and can act on your behalf to protect your interests.
  • Giving up the right to recover full and fair compensation for your damages: Agreeing to a settlement too soon could significantly damage your claim. Once an agreement is finalized, you cannot go back to claim any other damages.
  • The insurance company will be less likely to negotiate a settlement since they know you are not likely to go to trial without a lawyer.

Why Hire a Lawyer To Manage Your Sacramento Crash Claim?

There is no legal reason to hire an attorney to manage your auto accident claim in Sacramento. There may be times when someone bumps your fender and you truly do not need legal help to resolve a claim.

Hiring an attorney to manage your California injury claim could greatly benefit you in these ways:

  • Charges no upfront costs: Personal injury lawyers take car crash claims on contingency. This means, the victim pays no upfront costs or fees.
  • Has interests that align with yours: It benefits you and your attorney to recover full and fair compensation. If your attorney does not win, you do not pay.
  • Optimum chance for a better outcome: Victims typically recover more compensation when they have legal help than if they go it alone.
  • An accurate assessment of your claim’s value: An experienced attorney knows when and how to assess the full value of your damages and claim.
  • Will likely be able to avoid a trial: Most injury claims settle out of court without the need to go to trial.
  • Peace of mind: When you have an experienced attorney managing your case, you can focus fully on your health and doing what you need to heal.

Call Arnold Law Firm After Being Injured in a Car Crash

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car crash because of another driver’s negligence, we encourage you to contact our law firm today.

At Arnold Law Firm, we are dedicated to our clients and to fighting for the full and fair compensation they deserve. We have decades of experience and a proven history of results.

Contact us today to request a free consultation with one of the knowledgeable attorneys at our firm. You do not have to come to our office in person. This opportunity will help you to learn whether you have legal options for recovering compensation for your medical costs and other losses.

Experienced Lawyers. Millions Recovered. (916) 777-7777