Fiedler Deutsch LLP headshot

Handling a Personal Injury Claim on Your Own vs. Hiring a Lawyer


After a personal injury, you may be wondering whether it is worth it to hire an attorney or handle the claim on your own. The cost may make you feel hesitant, but there are significant advantages to having legal representation in your corner. 

Managing Your Case

The law does not require you to hire an attorney, and it is possible in some situations to represent yourself through the insurance claims process or Small Claims Court. For example, you may not need to hire a Westchester County personal injury lawyer if you are filing a no-fault claim and your injuries do not meet the threshold to pursue a lawsuit, if the insurer has offered you a settlement that is the same as the maximum policy limits, or if you get into a car accident and your injuries and property damage are minor. 

However, the more severe your injuries and financial losses, the more complicated a personal injury claim can become. If you’re unsure about what steps are right and you make an error or mishandle your claim, it can cost you much more money down the road than it would to hire an attorney. 

Negotiating Compensation 

Knowing the types of compensation you can recover and accurately estimating the value of your claim are critical to negotiating a settlement. If you are well versed in these subjects and feel confident about going back and forth with the insurance company until you reach a fair agreement, then you may not require a lawyer. Keep in mind that self-representing presents no real threat of a lawsuit, which can lead the claims adjuster to use tactics that minimizes their liability and your payout. Lawyers are highly skilled in negotiation and will make sure you recover the maximum amount of compensation available. 

If an agreement on fair compensation cannot be reached, you may need to pursue your claim in court. That will require researching applicable state laws on liability and damages, knowing filing deadlines and the type of paperwork required, as well as collecting evidence to build a solid case. By hiring an experienced attorney, you can take the pressure off yourself and focus on recovering from your accident. 

The Costs of Handling Your Claim

There are many costs associated with filing a personal injury lawsuit. These include court costs, expert witness fees, administrative expenses, costs for depositions, the costs of investigating and gathering information, and in some cases, the costs of taking time away from work to build your case. Many law firms take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Although you will owe a percentage of your settlement or verdict to your Mount Vernon personal injury lawyer, they will advance all costs associated with pursuing your claim. If you do not win, you do not have to pay for their services, so there is no risk to you. On average, personal injury victims who hire an attorney recover two to three times more compensation even after legal fees.