How to negotiate a personal injury settlement without an attorney? Yes, it is pretty possible to negotiate a personal injury settlement without an attorney but there are a lot of factors you have to look into before deciding whether you should need a personal injury attorney or not. It is obvious that if injuries are minor and the fault of the other party is pretty clear. Then that being said negotiating the personal injury settlement on your own would be quite economical instead of handing over the case to an attorney.

Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement Without a Lawyer

How To Negotiate Personal Injury Settlement Without An Attorney?

 Here is the thing, before deciding that you are going to negotiate your personal injury settlement or before sending your Demand Letter there are factors you should look for. So, in this article, we are going to talk about all those factors and tips which are going to help you in filing your lawsuit. 

The following sections we are going to discuss in this article are below: 

  • Should You Represent Yourself?
  • Steps And Tips You Should Take
  • How To Calculate Your Damages?
  • How To Send a Demand Letter?
  • Should You Counter Or Accept The Settlement? 

Should You Represent Yourself In Personal Injury Settlement?

When a personal injury accident result comes out with satisfactory results it is certainly possible to represent yourself for a personal injury claim. It could be easy for you if in the past you have ever represented yourself in any legal matter. 

Should you represent yourself?

The answer to this question depends on the following factors. 

Impact Of Your Injuries:  In personal injuries like slip and fall. If there are small injuries the owner may not want to waste his time in court. They could settle the losses you endure outside the court like they could settle your medical bills with some extra compensation. 

Here is the thing, if the injuries are severe, medical treatment is extensive, you have undergone significant pain and suffering, and lost your capability of earning money in these cases where losses are significant. You must want fair compensation for all the losses that you endure. In these cases, you must at least discuss your case with an expert attorney. Because the defendant/insurance company may not want to pay that much amount so they may want to fight back the case. If you will have someone expert by your side you may get the compensation you want. 

Are You Clear That It Wasn’t Your Fault? : You have to be very sure that it was the fault of the defendant or its an employee. If you have a witness then it would be very helpful for you. 

Let’s say, if you aren’t that sure then the defendant could point the finger back at you. That you were the one who was careless, who wasn’t looking on the floor while walking or you were driving fast or you didn’t look at the stairs and so on. This could turn your case upside down. So you have to be very sure about who’s a fault it was and you should have proof with you as well. Check this article to know more about Do I Need An Injury Attorney?

How To Negotiate A Personal Injury Settlement?

Steps And Tips You Should Take To Negotiate Personal Injury Settlement Without An Attorney

  • First thing first always take pictures of damaged property, accident scene, and of your injuries
  • Always remember to take copies of your police report. 
  • It is very important to get medical treatment as soon as possible.
  • It is important to use “personal injury protection” insurance cover to pay for medical bills and then use medical insurance and don’t forget to get copies of all the bills. 
  • Insurance companies may ask for statement recording. Don’t give that.
  • Don’t delay the process. Take action as soon as possible. There is always a limited time in filing the lawsuit. Delay could hamper your case. 

How To Estimating The Damages In Personal Injury Settlement?

This is one of the trickiest and sometimes difficult to estimate the degree of damages. There could be two types of damages. 

  1. Damages that can be calculated (Special Damages)
  2. The Damages that cannot be calculated (General Damages)

Damages that can be calculated (Special Damages):

Damages that can be calculated also called special damages that are property damages ( cost of fixing the property after damage/accident), lost earnings, capability to earn, financial losses, hospital bills all these damages are easy to calculate as they are in numbers and can be estimated with the help of mathematics. 

Whereas lost earnings can be calculated in terms of “how much money you lost in your bills”. Also, how much money are you going to lose in the near future due to injury? Earning capacity of an injured person could decrease because of it. He/she might not be able to do heavy tasks after the injury. 

Future Lost Earnings:

Future lost earning can be calculated with the help of “present value”. Due to injuries, you might not be able to work. So with the help of a financial concept called present value, one can estimate the future earnings of a person. Present value can be known by the current income source. Calculating the lost future earnings could help you in claiming the money you deserve but there can be problems in calculating lost earnings or capacity to earn in different cases. 

  • At the time of injury, you were not employed 
  • You were about to join the job for higher pay, before injury or
  • You are Self Employed 

If you are unemployed during the time of injury your future earning capacity or lost earning could be calculated on the basis of your previous job. In these cases, the defendant might defend by saying that you have no earning capacity and should not get your claim. Cases like these, you must see and discuss with a lawyer or attorney, 

In case if you were about to join the job with higher pay before the injury and due to an accident not you are not able to then you can claim the higher pay rate. 

If you are self-employed then you have to prove your earning income and that can be proved with your income tax return or your business sheet but make sure you only state the earnings which you have told the government in tax returns to the defense attorney or the jury. 

Damages that cannot be calculated (General Damages):

General damages that can’t be calculated with mathematics are damages that include pain, suffering, mental health, emotions. These damages generally are tough to count as there are no guidelines for them. But an expert attorney could help you to calculate these damages with the help of a multiplier.

Let’s say your total damage claim because of personal injury is $20,000 and you use a multiplier of 1.5 for non-economic damages. In that case, you can for an additional $10,000 and which brings the total damage of $30,000.

It is said that the value of the multiplier depends on the jury; they use various factors to determine the damage. Here are some outcomes of the jury that can affect the case. 

  • How much and the nature of the plaintiff’s injury. 
  • Jury like the plaintiff?
  • Is the plaintiff a good or bad witness?
  • Does the plaintiff have a criminal record?

so, basically, the value of non-estimated damages depends on the nature of the jury and how much the jury is convinced. 

Drafting Your Demand Letter For Personal Injury Settlement 

It is important to know that a Demand letter is usually only sent when all the investigation is done and you are well aware of all the claims and value of your losses. Before sending a demand letter make sure you have taken a thorough look at the impact of your injuries and also made a reasonable valuation of your injury claim. Make sure to mention these things in your demand letter. 

  • Why are defendants or insurance carriers responsible for your injuries?
  • Your proper estimation of all the damages. 
  • How badly you are injured. 
  • Your pain and suffering because of injuries.

LLM, Harvard University Legal Consultant

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