I will never say never. And technically, it is impossible to say no – because if I know about a situation, it is because the victim hired me to deal with the insurance company. So I don’t know what anyone has done on their own.
I have posed this question a number of times on this blog. What triggered this occasion was a potential client calling me to tell me that another attorney – from a firm I respect greatly – had told him that he was better off going it alone.
Here is why I think my friend told the caller not to hire a lawyer: Neither the caller nor his family member sustained permanent injuries. Each had a couple ER visits, one had a few months of physical therapy, the other sustained a puncture wound that would be extremely painful for several minutes, and would ultimately resolve without much further interest.
All in all, there were about $12,000 in medical bills. The insurance company involved has a history of small settlements. They pride themselves on not paying much more than the victim’s medical bills.
And finally, the law firm has a history of pursuing high damage cases. I think they would rather concentrate on those.
(I handle my share of high damage cases – it’s great to make someone a whole lot of money. But if I can help someone who has the same type of lawsuit I’ve been handling for 30 years, I do it unless it’s going to be an economic disaster for either me or the client.)
The reason I say that you shouldn’t try to settle your case without a lawyer is that I’ve hardly ever seen someone come in with an offer from the insurance company that I couldn’t improve on, even after deducting my fee.
Sometimes I improve things a little. More often, I improve them a lot. Even on lawsuits like this one – ones with relatively small medical bills, and tough insurance companies on the other side.
Even if I cannot get a significantly improved offer from the insurance company – usually I do get an improved offer – I can negotiate with the hospitals, health insurance companies and auto insurance companies you owe money to because they’ve paid your medical bills.
When I started my own office, a woman came into my office after the insurance company had offered her $2,000. It took a couple years, but eventually I got that company to pay its limits, and another company to pay $43,000 – for a total of over $90,000.00.
A couple years ago, in another lawsuit, the insurance company offered to pay my client’s medical bills of $4,000 plus $1,500.00. After she came to me, they paid $18,000.00. Obviously, these are some of the better cases – but they are not that unusual.
If you think I can help you – or if you just have questions about how this works – call me, a Cincinnati Injury Attorney.
I’d love to talk with you about this. Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK. My phone is 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts about your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.