Hi. My name is John Medler, personal injury lawyer with The Medler Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys and today I’d like to talk to you about the idea some people have of settling their own personal injury case without a lawyer. To ask a personal injury lawyer how someone can settle their personal injury claim without getting a lawyer is a little bit like asking a doctor, “how do I take out my own appendix with a scalpel?” Could a doctor tell you how to do it? Sure. Do you think it’s a good plan? No. You simply don’t have the training or the experience and what’s going to end up happening is you’re going to make lots of mistakes and you’re going to end up selling yourself short. If you just get a personal injury lawyer, you’re going to end up making way more than you otherwise would even after paying the attorney’s fee.
But let’s say that you’re stubborn and you’re absolutely convinced that you can settle your own personal injury case. Where do you start? What you do is you get the police report, and in the police report the officer will have listed who the insurance company is for the defendant. You start there, let’s say that their insurance company is Farmers. You look up the 1-800 number for Farmers and you open a claim with their representative. Then they’re going to assign a claims adjuster whose name and number and information you’re going to write down. Then you contact the claims adjuster and you tell them that you want to make a claim on your own behalf. Insurance adjusters going to snicker a little bit because he’s going to know you don’t have an attorney and he’s going to know that he can totally low-ball you in the settlement, but you’ve already decided you’re going to be Matlock so that’s okay.
So now what you do next is you sign a HIPAA release, a medical release, and you’d go out with all the medical providers and you get your own medical records and your own medical bills. And when you’ve collected those, you write a letter to the insurance adjuster and you tell them that you believe that you’re entitled to X amount of money. Fantastic. Now you’ve just made a demand upon the insurance adjuster and what happens next?
He’s going to come back with an incredibly low number. And what do you do? Well, you don’t have the option at this point of going to court because you’re not a trial lawyer. So really what you’re going to end up doing is having to be forced to just take whatever offer he gives you, which is not going to be sufficient to compensate you for your injuries.
Please don’t try and take out your own appendix with a scalpel, call an experienced personal injury lawyer and let them help you with your case. If you’ve got any other questions about how to make a personal injury claim, check out our website at www.MedlerLawFirm.com or call our Orange County personal injury lawyer for a free case review at The Medler Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys.