Can I File an Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?

When choosing to file an personal injury claim on our own, the first thing to do is at least know what you’re getting into. You are eligible and legally allowed to handle your own personal injury claim without legal representation. However, it is often a complicated process that is not suitable for the faint of heart. If your case is one in which fault, evidence, and injuries are obvious, it may be wise to handle a settlement on your own. In addition, if your injuries are minor you may prefer self-representation. In any case, it is important to understand how to proceed, what to do, and then you’ll be ready to write your demand letter.

When to Use Self-Representation

You may want to consider self-representation at certain times, and at other times you won’t. It’s always possible to represent yourself in a personal injury claim, however when doing so you want to have the best outcome possible. A few situations make self-representation easy, economical, and preferred.

First, if you have experience handling your own legal matters, then it makes sense to represent yourself. In this situation be sure to ask yourself: How badly were you hurt? And is it clear the other party was at fault? These are important questions to ask because slipping and falling at a store and suffering a few bruises, is significantly different than suffering serious issues due to a major car accident. In the case of a store accident, the business may quickly provide a settlement without putting up a fight. However for car accidents, insurance companies aren’t as willing to compensate.

As a rule of thumb, if your injuries are minor and fault is clear, it is more economical to represent yourself, rather than spend money on hiring legal representation. If you have solid evidence or witnesses who will testify on your behalf, these are additional factors in self-representation.

Important First Steps

If you aren’t aware already, it all comes down to sending a demand letter when it comes time to receive compensation. However, before writing your demand letter, take a few important first steps.

  • Take pictures of the property damage, the accident scene, and the injuries.
  • Get a copy of the police report, if you are in a car accident.
  • Get the medical treatment you need.
  • Use your personal injury protection insurance coverage to pay initial bills, then use your health insurance.
  • Get copies of all records and bills.
  • Do not give a recorded statement to the other person’s insurance.
  • Make sure you understand the statute of limitations for your state, which identifies how much time you have to file a claim.

Another helpful rule is to not write about your accident or settlement on social media. If this info somehow gets to the other party, it may minimize your compensation.

Your Demand Letter

The demand letter is the last step in self-representation, and is the first step toward officially receiving compensation. After the investigation of the accident is complete and you know the extent of your losses, it is time to send a demand letter. Your demand letter should detail exactly what injuries the other party is liable for, the nature and extent of your injuries, and resulting medical treatment. You may also include your financial losses and any other costs you’ve incurred, including pain and suffering. Sample demand letters are easily available on the internet.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

If you do choose the route of self-representation, avoid some common mistakes. These may result in an unsuccessful claim, lower compensation, and an overall more difficult process for you.

  • Settling for too little money
  • Not having confidence to negotiate
  • Settling too soon
  • Settling a property damage claim without knowing it
  • Not providing proper documentation for the claim
  • Ignoring valid liens

When in Doubt, Contact an Attorney

Navigating through a personal injury claim can be difficult to do on your own, especially when trying to reach a fair settlement for damages. If you’re in doubt about filing a personal injury claim in Kentucky, or simply have questions on how to begin the process, contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. We accept cases on contingency which means victims pay no fees unless their case is won. Call (502) 589-2700 or visit our contact page to learn more.