December 16, 2011 in Boston Personal Injury Lawyers and Accident Attorneys by Stefano D'Agostino
Given today’s economy, it is common for many to represent themselves Pro Se (meaning to advocate on one’s own behalf before a court), rather than to retain private counsel. However, it is extremely important for victims that have sustained personal injuries to obtain an attorney IMMEDIATELY for several reasons:
Critical Time Deadlines
First, and most importantly, there are critical time deadlines in which a victim must notify their insurance company of an accident, as well as time deadlines to file a claim against the wrong-doer and/or the wrong-doer’s insurance company. These deadlines can range from 24 hours to 3 years depending on the circumstances of the incident. Failure to meet an important time deadline will result in a victim being forever barred in pursuing a claim for damages.
Communicating with Insurance Companies
Second, and just as important as the first, victims must take extreme caution when communicating with insurance companies. Lets face it, insurance companies are in the business to make money, not to compensate victims for their loss. Insurance companies hire trained adjusters and seasoned attorneys to delay, deny, and/or defend a claim in order to limit their liability in having to compensate a victim, sometimes even denying a claim in its entirety. Insurance adjusters may force the victim to make a recorded statement (or complete a claims form) describing the events that have transpired, and the injuries/damages sustained. Unfortunately, although the insurance companies sound like they are trying to help, any statements made can and will be used against the victim by the insurance company in an attempt to limit their liability of having to compensate a victim. This is why attorneys will stress the fact to not talk to any insurance companies or discuss the matter with anyone not authorized by the attorney.
Reasonable Compensation for Personal Injuries Sustained
Third, unlike experienced personal injury attorneys that have experience valuing a personal injury claim and knowledge of how other similar matters have settled, laypersons sometimes undervalue their claim, and may think a settlement offer is reasonable, when in fact, it may be much too small. Many laypersons also fail to realize that not only can a victim pursue a claim to recover costs for past medical treatment and pain and suffering, victims may potentially be able to recover the costs for future medial treatment, lost wages, property damage, and other expenses. These additional claims, and their values, can be difficult for a layperson to determine. Insurance adjusters will also force a victim to sign a release in exchange for the settlement funds. Once signed, this release will prevent any additional claims not previously raised from being raised in the future.
Anticipation of Litigation
Assuming a victim is forced to trial as a result of the insurance company being unwilling to settle, the victim must be able to property and timely file a complaint in the correct court, and pursue extensive, multistage litigation. Unlike attorneys, laypersons may have no knowledge of strict procedural rules and rules of evidence, and being a pro se litigant will be no excuse. Furthermore, it is best to assume from the start that any personal injury matter may proceed to suit. Therefore, one must properly preserve evidence and other invaluable information in preparation for trial.
Contact an Attorney BEFORE speaking to ANY insurance company
IF you have been involved in an accident, regardless of fault, you should contact an attorney BEFORE you speak with any auto insurance company, including your own car insurance company, as the alternative potential consequences can be severe and can last a lifetime. Don’t become the next victim of your own words and statements, hire an Boston Personal Injury Attorney at The Jacobs Law, LLC to represent you and advise you throughout the matter. You can contact us at 800-652-4783 or ContactUs@TheJacobsLaw.com.