Four Perils of Representing Yourself In A Personal Injury Case

Suffering any serious personal injury can take a physical, emotional, and financial toll on an individual or an entire family. Fortunately, Minnesota law gives anyone who has been the victim of a wrongful injury to seek compensation to address the injuries.

Securing this compensation is a major concern for nearly all injury victims, yet many victims are under the impression that they will receive better results if they handle the legal process without legal assistance.

Unfortunately, this decision can put a personal injury victim at risk for avoidable and serious risks and complications. The decision to represent yourself can lead to disappointing results. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will let the defendant know you are serious about receiving the compensation you deserve.

Additionally, a personal injury lawyer will take on the responsibility of compiling the evidence you need to successfully prove your claim, in addition to negotiating on your behalf and being the advocate you need. The legal system is very complex, and the system becomes even more complex as the years go by.

Taking on a personal injury case without the assistance of an experienced law team can have many negative repercussions. Here are some top mistakes in representing yourself in a personal injury case:

Settling Too Quickly and Undervaluing Your Injuries

Often insurance companies are in a rush to pay you a small amount and have you sign a release.  Ask yourself “why?”  Because settling early means settling cheap, and that is the goal for the insurance company.  Minnesota allows damages for past medical expense, past wage loss, and past pain and suffering.  But compensation is also due for future medical, future wage loss and future pain and suffering.  Early settlements will not include compensation for ongoing pain or medical treatment.  Personal injury settlements are a one-time lump sum, so you need to make sure everything is included.

If your injuries or unrepresented or undervalued, you will not be able to properly assess your injuries and the amount of current and future damage it can cause. Adequately assessing an injury will require the experience and knowledge of the laws that most victims will not have. Minnesota laws on personal injuries and damages will allow for past and future expenses and damages.

A personal injury lawyer who has experience representing victims in cases like yours will be able to successfully represent you. Your personal injury lawyer will have an understanding of your injuries and will be able to determine the value of those injuries. As a result, you can receive a compensation offer that is both fair and equivalent to the value of your injuries.

Missing Legal Requirements

If one mistake is made during the personal injury claim process, the entire case can be delayed or it can prevent a victim from seeking compensation. In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims may be as short as two years from the date of the injury.  Aside from extenuating circumstances, such as the victim becoming incapacitated, a personal injury claim cannot be made after the statute of limitations has expired.

Many individuals are not always aware of the requirements that have been put in place or the special standards that pertain to personal injury claims.  If a victim does not have an understanding of the legal requirements, it could result in missed deadlines. The smallest oversight by a victim who makes the decision to represent himself or herself can lead to a personal injury claim not being filed correctly or in a timely manner.

Misunderstanding Insurance Agreements

Representing yourself in a personal injury case can lead to you not adequately understanding or analyzing the required insurance agreements. Insurance agreements will require strict compliance to preserve your rights.  If an insurer has denied coverage, ask an experienced personal injury attorney to review the actual policy to see if the denial is valid.

Also, there are some aspects of insurance agreements that will not be easy to enforce. This is where the experience of a legal team will have a positive impact. If there are unenforceable aspects in your insurance agreements, the personal  injury lawyer who represents you will create a strong defense for you.

Failing to Create a Compelling Case

It does not matter how many times you have watched your favorite courtroom dramas on television, creating a strong defense and a compelling case is more difficult than it looks. Everyone cannot walk into a courtroom and represent himself/herself.

Besides having the legal knowledge and experience you need to create a compelling case, everyone is not well-versed when it comes to gathering the proper evidence and providing the necessary documentation to adequately support your claim. Creating a strong and compelling case that is powerful enough to land in your favor requires an understanding of the laws that pertain to your case. For this reason, most personal injury victims should consider being represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer.

As a personal injury claimant, you do have the right to handle your claim without the assistance of a lawyer. However, this does not mean taking this route will always be the best idea. If you choose to be a self-represented party in your personal injury case, the courts and the opposing counsel will expect you to do the following:

  • File all legal documents ahead of the deadlines
  • Become familiar with the laws and rules surrounding the civil procedure and the evidence that is needed
  • Have an understanding of the vital legal issues
  • Address any concerns

If you make the decision to represent yourself in a personal injury case, you will have to learn quickly or you will risk damaging your case. If you are thinking about representing yourself in your personal injury case, we encourage you to at least meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer so you can obtain a full evaluation of your case and the options you will have.

If you are involved in an accident that lead to injuries and losses, Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers can represent you. When we represent you, we will have a goal to establish a trusted and well-founded relationship with you. In turn, we will work hard to secure the compensation you deserve. When you suffer injury an injury as the result of an accident, you should not add to the worry or stress of the accident by representing yourself.

After suffering an accident, you should be able to concentrate on the recovery and the healing process. If you would like a free case evaluation on your personal injury case, please do not hesitate to contact us. Call us today at 507-424-3000 or complete our online form to speak to someone on our team.