There is no rule that requires an injured person to hire a lawyer to negotiate their claim. In some situations, self-representation may actually be a good idea. However, injury claims are often complex issues that require negotiating with professional insurance claims adjusters. In more complicated cases, you should consider hiring an experienced lawyer to negotiate your injury claim for you.
There are many factors to consider when negotiating a settlement. Most importantly, you must determine your economic damages. While some damages are easy to calculate, for example, medical bills that you have already incurred, others are much more subjective. Because some injuries do not present themselves until months after the accident, you must account for future medical costs. Likewise, you may be required to miss work, or in some cases, you may no longer be able to perform your job at all. Other damages that are difficult to calculate include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
In addition to determining damages, there are procedural aspects to negotiating an injury claim that you may want to consult a lawyer on. For example, before you can collect any settlement proceeds you will be required to sign a release. By signing the release you relinquish any rights to file a lawsuit or seek any additional recovery relating to your injuries. Because signing a release is something that cannot normally be undone, it is generally a good idea to have a lawyer review it before signing.
Negotiating your own claim
If your injuries are relatively minor and the facts of your case are strongly in your favor, then you may consider negotiating your own injury claim. For example, if you have three witnesses who saw the defendant rear-end your car while you were sitting at a red light and you suffered only minor injuries, you may able to reach a sufficient settlement without the help of lawyer.
When should I hire a lawyer?
If you have suffered severe injuries, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover more damages. Likewise, if the facts of your case are not clear as to which party is at fault for your injuries, you should consider hiring a lawyer to help you reach a fair settlement and recover the maximum damages possible.