Accident Cases and the Risks of Self-Representation
After the trauma and distress of a car accident, the last thing a lot of people want to do is wrangle with insurance companies and fight to recover damages. Hiring a lawyer right away is sometimes a very clear-cut step in the recovery process. However, if you have doubts about the necessity of legal representation after a car accident, you should be aware of the risks involved in undertaking your own defense.
In cases where fault is contested, or when the involved parties can’t agree on a settlement, only one thing can happen: The case will go to trial. In court you have everything to lose, and if you go in alone you most likely will. A good personal injury lawyer will know court procedures and the technical rules of evidence like the back of his or her hand. Are you comfortable educating yourself on these rules? Do you feel confident that you can compile and present a case that will hold up in court — especially if the other party has obtained legal representation of their own? Think carefully about these questions before you decide to represent yourself in court.
In reality, only a small percentage of auto accident cases go to trial. The costs of taking a case to court tend to escalate rapidly, and more often it makes the best sense for both parties to reach a settlement. In many instances, the only people who review a case after an accident are insurance adjustors. However, we recommend that you treat this more common scenario as seriously as you would a trial, especially if you know fault will be contested or the expenses will endanger your financial stability.
Insurance companies, including your own, are not in the business of playing fair. Insurance companies are “for profit” companies. What does that mean, exactly? It means they have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to maximize the return on their investment. As a “claimant,” you are not a shareholder — get the picture now? Fortunately, Florida has enacted strong laws designed to make sure insurance companies play fair. The problem is, most people do not know of these laws.
The attorneys at Wittmer & Linehan PLLC have more than 35 years of combined experience in personal injury law and a trial record that’s both lengthy and successful. Insurance companies keep detailed records on attorneys and law firms involved in this area of practice. They know which firms consistently settle cases, and which firms are skilled enough to take a case to trial to maximize each client’s recovery. Our practice has earned a reputation of being tough in both the courtroom and with insurance companies. Choosing a highly regarded firm can mean a larger settlement to you.
If you’ve been in an accident and you’re worried you won’t receive fair treatment or the full recovery you deserve, give our office a call for a free consultation. You’ll be glad to have Wittmer & Linehan in your corner.