For accident victims who suffer a personal injury, the process of getting compensation can be difficult and stressful. Regardless of whether you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall case, or due to medical negligence, you should be entitled to a fair settlement for any pain and suffering you have endured.
Injury claims can be quite complex as accident victims will be required to provide a lot of evidence supporting their claim and rebut arguments coming from their own insurance and the insurance company of the other party involved. It is possible to reach a settlement without a lawyer in these cases, but the chances of you receiving a fair payout increase substantially with the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in a number of practice areas, and we have successfully handled many settlements over our years of practice. We have a large team of experienced lawyers who will guide you through your personal injury claim to ensure that you are rewarded a fair settlement. Our law firm offers a free consultation so you can speak with us to see whether hiring a lawyer is the right decision for you before making any commitment. We want to ensure that you receive the highest possible settlement to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Is a Settlement?
Instead of going to court to get compensation for a personal injury or property damage, many insurance companies and accident victims prefer to reach a settlement. A settlement is essentially a sum of money that is awarded to you by an insurance company or a court based on the amount of harm you have suffered. The amount you are awarded will be calculated based on the following:
- Medical bills, including future medical treatment and transport to and from any appointments.
- Damage to property, including repair costs to your vehicle or any valuable property.
- Lost wages as a result of your injuries, including potential future earnings.
- Pain and suffering costs, which can include mental anguish and a loss of enjoyment in life.
- Wrongful death, including funeral costs and a loss of consortium.
Once you agree on a settlement, you are unable to pursue any further legal action for the same accident. Your insurance will give you a release to sign, which prevents you from filing another claim. This is why it is important that you are awarded and accept a fair settlement, as you will be unable to increase the amount once an agreement has been reached. It is possible to reach a fair settlement without legal assistance. However, a personal injury attorney will help ensure that you are awarded the highest amount of compensation possible for the harm you have suffered.
What Is an Insurance Adjuster?
As Florida is a no-fault state, as provided under Florida Statute 672.7407, you will have to contact your own insurance first to try and reach a settlement with them. Insurance companies usually have an insurance adjuster or a claims adjuster, who will be responsible for calculating the amount of compensation you are owed for the harm you have suffered. They will do this based on the particular facts of the case and the evidence that is available.
It is important to remember that your insurance company’s main priority is profit, and their goal is to ensure that they do not have to pay you out a large settlement. The claims adjuster in charge of your claim will likely be trying to devalue your settlement as much as possible to ensure that they don’t have to pay you out a large amount. For this reason, you should take caution when speaking with them and refrain from giving too much information about the accident.
We recommend that you speak with one of our injury lawyers prior to speaking with an adjuster as they can guide you on what information you should divulge and can also negotiate with the adjuster on your behalf. If you are unable to contact an attorney prior to speaking with the adjuster, you should just tell them your name and the place that the accident occurred.
Writing a Demand Letter
Regardless of whether you file a claim for a car accident, medical negligence, a slip and fall, or any type of injury, you must provide your insurance company with a settlement demand letter. These letters are vital in insurance claims and will massively influence your settlement amount. In this demand letter, you will have to outline the details of your accident, the damages you have suffered, and your demand for compensation to cover the costs of your injuries.
It is important that you are aware of the particular layout of your demand letter when writing it. Generally, it goes as follows:
- Header – This should include your basic personal information, including your name, contact details, address, and insurance information. If there are other parties involved in the accident, you should also include their names and contact information.
- Description of the Accident – You must lay out the details of the accident scene, including the other parties that were involved. You should refrain from assigning blame to anyone in this section and merely stick to the facts of what happened.
- The Losses You Have Suffered – Next, you should clearly outline what you have lost as a result of the accident. This should include any injury you have suffered, any medical expenses related to these injuries, and any other financial loss you have sustained, including lost income or property damage.
- Legal Analysis – In this part of the demand letter, you must provide a legal analysis as to why you are entitled to compensation. This section is important and is difficult to do without having legal advice from an attorney. This is why we recommend you speak with a lawyer, as they can help you draft a strong demand letter to ensure you receive the compensation you are owed.
- Compensation Demand – Following your legal analysis, you should provide a clear demand for compensation. It is important that you outline exactly why you believe you are entitled to compensation, and you should outline a specific settlement value.
What Evidence Do I Need to File an Accident Claim Without an Attorney?
If you decide to file a claim for your injuries without legal assistance, you will be required to build a strong injury case on your own that holds strong against the arguments of the insurance parties and lawyers involved. Once you have written your settlement demand letter, your next step should be gathering all of the evidence available to support your claim.
Evidence plays a huge role in personal injury cases, and the more you have, the more likely you are to settle with an insurance company. The evidence you provide should clearly indicate that there was another party who caused the collision, and their negligence directly caused you to suffer an injury.
You should provide the following documentation to support your accident claim:
- Medical Records and Bills – You should provide medical records that outline the extent of your injuries and the amount of harm that you suffered. Additionally, you must provide medical bills that indicate the medical treatment that you received and the cost of this treatment.
- Lost Wages – You must provide documentation indicating that you lost your income as a result of being unable to work because of your injuries.
- Evidence From the Accident Scene – It is important that you provide insurance companies with any evidence that is available from the scene of the car accident. This can include a police report, pictures from the scene, and any witness statements.
The more evidence you provide for your accident claim, the better chance you have at getting a high settlement. It is possible to gather this evidence on your own however a lawyer can negotiate with the other parties involved to collect as much evidence as possible. Additionally, they can use this evidence to negotiate a higher settlement offer for you.
How Do I Calculate My Damages Without a Lawyer?
In personal injury cases, the amount of money you receive will be calculated based on two types of damages; special damages and general damages. Special damages are damages that can be easily calculated based on concrete evidence, such as damage to property, lost earnings, bills for medical treatment, and any other definitive money that you have lost as a result of the car accident.
Special damages can also include any future financial losses that you will suffer due to the accident, such as future earnings and future bills for medical treatment. In some instances, it can be difficult to calculate these losses without the assistance of injury lawyers, particularly if you are unemployed at the time of the car accident, but you had plans to start a new job or if you are self-employed. An attorney can help you calculate the earnings you would have made as a self-employed person based on your tax returns and your average earnings for each year.
The second category of damages for accident cases is general damages. These damages can be particularly difficult to calculate as they are not based on concrete evidence. The most common type of loss that comes under this category is pain and suffering. If you have experienced mental anguish, or a general loss of enjoyment in life as a result of the car accident, then you can claim pain and suffering damages.
Pain and Suffering Damages
If you have suffered any of the following as a result of an accident due to the fault of another person in Florida, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages:
- Fear of being fired from a job due to being unable to work.
- Mental distress caused by an inability to carry out general daily tasks as a result of your injuries.
- Insomnia caused by trauma or pain from the incident.
- Distress from being unable to hold your child or use your body properly.
A lot of the time, pain and suffering damages are forgotten about, particularly if you are trying to reach a settlement on your own without the assistance of an attorney. However, this category of general damages is important and can increase your settlement value substantially. Although there is no clear method for calculating pain and suffering damages, attorneys are skilled and experienced in doing this, and they will use their skills to negotiate a fair and accurate value for the pain and suffering you’ve endured.
Doing this alone can be very difficult, and a jury or court may be more reluctant to award you pain and suffering damages if you are not persuasive enough or don’t provide enough evidence to support your injury claim. For this reason, we recommend that you seek the assistance of an experienced attorney from our law firm who can help negotiate to ensure that you are awarded compensation for any mental distress you have suffered.
When Should You File Accident Claims Against the Other Party’s Insurance Company?
As discussed previously, you are required to seek compensation from your own car or health insurance first prior to making a claim against the insurance companies of the other parties involved in an accident. However, in many cases, the damages you suffer go far beyond what is covered under your own insurance policy.
Florida law requires that all drivers have a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and the same amount in property damage coverage. However, if you were involved in a serious accident and you have lost a lot of money as a result, you may need to file a claim against the insurance company of the other party. Once you can demonstrate that you have exceeded the limits of your own policy and you can prove that the other party caused you to suffer harm, then you can file a claim against them or their insurance.
Accident claims against another party’s insurance company are often quite difficult to win as they require a lot of persuasive arguments and evidence against the other person involved. The last thing the insurance company of the at-fault driver wants to do is to pay out someone who is not under their policy. If you are in this situation and the medical bills or lost income you have sustained go beyond the extents of your policy, we highly recommend that you speak with one of our injury attorneys as soon as possible. They can build a strong case on your behalf and negotiate with the other insurance company to ensure that you settle and receive adequate compensation.
Contact The Law Place Today
To summarise, it is definitely possible to get awarded an injury settlement without the assistance of an attorney in Florida. The main question for you to consider when deciding if you should seek legal assistance is whether you are happy to settle for a lower settlement amount than would be possible with an attorney’s help.
Insurance companies in Florida rarely have their client’s interests at heart, and their main hope is that you mess up with your insurance claim so that they don’t have to pay you out as much money as you deserve. Similarly, defense lawyers are skilled in assigning fault to victims in personal injury cases and devaluing claims. So, although it is possible to get a settlement in an injury case without an attorney, it is highly recommended that you seek legal assistance.
At The Law Place, our contingency-fee practice means that you won’t lose any money if we are not successful in winning your case, so you don’t have to worry about being left out of pocket. Our law firm has over 75 years of experience in getting fair settlements for our clients, and we want to help you also. We offer a free case evaluation meaning you can come and speak to us with no strings attached. We want you to tell us about the harm you have suffered so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call today to tell us about your injury case at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open, so you can schedule a free consultation for a time that best suits you.