Iowa law says you are within your rights to settle a personal injury claim on your own. However, there are some dangers that come along with doing so.
Danger #1: Settling Your Iowa Personal Injury Claim for Less Than It’s Worth
One of the biggest dangers of settling a personal injury case on your own is negotiating a settlement that is far less than your case is actually worth. It’s unlikely you’ve ever dealt with a personal injury claim before. That puts you at a disadvantage to the other side’s insurance company, who has dealt with hundreds or thousands of claims.
If you’re trying to heal from your injuries and deal with the insurance company at the same time, you may decide to settle your case quickly so you can be done with it. However, this may come back to haunt you if your settlement costs do not cover all of your medical bills and other expenses. It’s unlikely you can re-open your case after you have settled, which means any unpaid bills would be coming out of your own pocket. That’s why it’s so important to be compensated correctly and fully before you sign any settlement paperwork.
Keep in mind that the higher the damages are in a case, the harder the other side will fight back. They don’t want to pay out a large sum of money if they can get away with paying you less.
Danger #2: You May Not Be Compensated For Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is an important part of a personal injury claim, but it’s one of those damages that can be more subjective than, say, a stack of medical bills. You are entitled by Iowa law to these types of damages – so don’t let the insurance company talk you out of compensation.
While you’re entitled to this type of damage, you still have to provide documentation of your pain and suffering. The best way to do this is to visit your doctor as often as you need until you’re healed, or as healed as the doctor says you will get. These medical records will be proof to the insurance company of your pain and suffering.
Danger #3: You May Not Realize More Than One Source May Be Responsible For Your Injuries
Another danger in settling your personal injury claim on your own is not recognizing there may be more than one source from which to recover damages.
For example, if you were hit by a semi-truck and suffered serious injuries, there may be several different parties responsible for the accident. It’s possible one company owns the vehicle, another employs the truck driver, and a third owns the load the truck is carrying. If you don’t investigate each of these parties’ roles in the crash, you may be losing out on compensation. With complicated cases like these, we feel it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced Iowa personal injury lawyer.
When Can You Settle Your Own Personal Injury Case?
All that being said, you may be able to settle your own case. There are situations where you may not need a lawyer to help you settle your case. Those situations generally arise when you weren’t seriously hurt, so you didn’t require medical treatment for your injuries or if you only needed to visit the doctor a few times.
We normally recommend contacting an Iowa personal injury lawyer for an initial consultation about your case, even if you think you can settle it on your own. Usually personal injury initial consultations are free, and this would give you a chance to discuss your case with an attorney. An attorney will answer questions you may have and let you know if it is a case you can handle on your own – or if you need legal help.
If you would like to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation with one of our Iowa personal injury attorneys, call RSH Legal at 1-319-774-1783 today.