Can I lose compensation without a lawyer?

Ashley Park | 8 Jan 2016

The short answer is yes. If you’re deciding whether to contact a personal injury lawyer or handle the claim on your own, this choice can make a huge difference on the outcome of your case. Whether you’re filing a claim against a business, an insurance company, Workcover, or an individual, this can turn into a much longer and strenuous process than you imagined.

Mishandling your case can end up costing you more; as you may not recover the legal expenses you’re entitled to, or the insurance company takes the upper hand and you settle for less than you would otherwise be entitled to. Even when you choose to manage your own case and hire a personal injury lawyer later, this can complicate the claims process. Therefore, it’s important to know exactly what’s involved with handling your compensation claim.


The following situations explain where you could be losing potential compensation without hiring a personal injury lawyer.


When you’re researching the facts and finding evidence to build a strong case

The first step in any personal injury claim is to gather any information that can help you show who was at fault and how much compensation you’re entitled to. This could include police reports, photos of the accident scene, and photos of your injuries, medical bills or witness statements.

If you don’t have enough evidence to support your claim, it will affect the strength of your case. If you don’t have a compelling case, you may not get all of the compensation you’re entitled to.

In this situation, a lawyer knows exactly where to look to gather this evidence. If you don’t have photos of the accident scene, they have the experience and legal knowledge to know alternative ways to prove and build your case.


Assessing your damages and settlement amount

This is one area a personal injury lawyer can really assist your personal injury claim. Most personal injury cases will settle out of court however to do this, you need to have a figure in mind to settle your case and the appropriate legal evidence to back it up. For example, they might be able to help you access footage of the accident.

There are economic and non-economic damages in nearly every personal injury case. Economic damages refer to the financial loss you’ve experienced as a result of the injury (e.g. not being able to work) and non-economic damages refer to your pain and suffering.

This isn’t an easy calculation. While you may be able to substantiate the amount of income you’ve lost as a result, it can be a lot harder for someone who isn’t represented by a lawyer to calculate fair figure that represents your pain and suffering but also takes into account the law in this area. Without the knowledge and experience of a personal injury lawyer, there is every chance you will not recover everything you are entitled to.


Negotiating with the insurer (claims handler)

When you are seeking compensation for a personal injury, it’s highly likely you will be dealing with some type of insurance company who is representing the other party involved. In the majority of claims, claims handlers investigate insurance claims and negotiate payout figures. It’s important for you to realise that the claims handler you’re dealing with doesn’t always have your best interests in mind. They are trying to keep the payouts as low as possible.

When you hire a personal injury lawyer, this immediately lets the insurance company know that you are taking your rights seriously. A lawyer will know how to determine the fairest settlement for your case and use their negotiation skills to get you the best outcome.


Accepting a lump sum offer for your work injury

If you have filed a worker’s compensation claim, you will receive a Notice of Assessment that provides you a percentage of work related impairment and a lump sum offer. In most cases, injured workers will be anxious about whether they should accept the offer or not, as they don’t want this to have a negative impact on their employment.

This is the point where an injured worker can let their loyalty or relationship with the company cloud their judgement. A personal injury lawyer will help you remain impartial to ensure you’re not losing any further compensation that you may be entitled to.


Countering and accepting a settlement

After negotiating with the insurer, they will generally offer you a settlement figure. As previously mentioned, you need to keep in mind that this offer may not reflect all of the compensation you’re actually entitled to. At this point, you need to consider whether you’re going to accept this or not.

If you’re not happy, you can decline the figure and attempt to negotiate a figure that reflects what you believe your claim is worth. This can turn into a very tedious and frustrating process, which may compel you to settle for second best.  At this point you also need to ask yourself; do you actually know what your claim is worth?

This may be the first time you’ve had to deal with an insurer whereas a personal injury lawyer deals with them every day. If you don’t have the energy or time to be going back and forth in negotiations, this is where a lawyer’s perseverance, experience and dedication to your case can get you the best outcome possible.


You don’t have to do it alone

If you need to make a claim, our team at Lime Lawyers can work with you to claim the compensation you’re entitled to. Call us now on 1800 LIMELAW or visit us in our North Lakes office.

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