Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Myself, or Do I Need an Attorney?
If you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence in Illinois, you should file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your losses. A PI attorney can help you establish fault, negotiate on your behalf, gather evidence, and more.
Let’s say you want to pursue a personal injury claim by yourself. You can do this legally, but you have to be aware of what it implies. Here is what you should know about filing a personal injury claim in Illinois by yourself or with a lawyer.
1 Understanding How Personal Injury Claims Work
When you submit a personal injury claim, you need to have evidence, and this implies gathering police records, medical records, witness statements, pictures of your injuries, the accident scene, and more.
Now, you might feel that if you are injured, it is enough to receive your rightful compensation for the losses you have suffered. However, the situation is more complex. For example, if you choose to pursue your case without legal aid, that doesn’t mean the other party won’t. Apart from this, insurance companies will always want to handle lower compensation sums since they are also businesses and have various resources in their hands to make it so.
They can offer you a lower settlement, use some legal strategies to make you accept a lower settlement, even though they might not apply in a court, and other things. If you don’t have a lawyer by your side, then you don’t know what you are entitled to in your personal injury claim. Also, you don’t know what laws apply to your case.
For example, if you are the victim of a car accident in Illinois and you didn’t wear a seatbelt during the accident, the insurance company might use this as a motive to offer you a lesser compensation amount.
However, this legal motive doesn’t apply in Illinois courts. The no seatbelt defense cannot be used in courts to deprive you of your rightful compensation. If you had a lawyer by your side, the insurance companies wouldn’t even attempt this. However, if you are alone, they might, and you will most likely fall into this trap. And there are others as well.1
2 Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer
The advantage of working with a personal injury lawyer, even when you submit a personal injury claim, is undeniable. They can help you gather evidence and reports and claim damages for all the losses you have suffered, both economic and non-economic.
By yourself, you don’t know exactly what you are entitled to and can be easily intimidated into accepting a lesser settlement. Apart from this, when you have a lawyer by your side during a personal injury claim, you intimidate the other party to reach a settlement agreement without the need to go to court.
This way, you get to receive your compensation faster than you would if you pursued your case through a personal injury lawsuit. Let’s say the opposing parties decide to take the matter to court. In that case, you have nothing to fear as your personal injury lawyer knows if you have a strong case on your hands or not and will advise you accordingly on your next move.
They will also prepare you for trial, talk to witnesses, prepare them for deposition, and more.