Posted in News on January 13, 2022
Recovering compensation after sustaining a car accident injury in Montana can be challenging. Even though the vast majority of car accident cases are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, there are times when a personal injury civil lawsuit becomes necessary. You need to know whether or not you can obtain a settlement for a car accident in Montana without the assistance of an attorney.
What Challenges Are Associated When Representing Oneself?
There are significant challenges that individuals will face when they try to represent themselves after a car accident occurs. This is particularly true for anything more than an accident that causes minor injuries or little to no property damage. For those who sustain moderate to severe injuries or extensive property damage, self-representation could create significant problems.
For most car accident claims in Montana, the case will be resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers. However, insurance claims adjusters are notoriously difficult to deal with. These individuals are good at their jobs, and their goal is to limit how much money they pay you in a settlement. Before entering into negotiations with an insurance claims adjuster, you need to have your documentation in order. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- All medical records pertaining to the car accident
- Any medical bill related to the incident
- Proof of lost wages if you cannot work
- Documentation of out-of-pocket expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement estimates
Those who choose to represent themselves for a car accident claim should expect a low settlement offer to come in from the insurance carrier. This will be the starting point for negotiations. You will have to make a counteroffer, and there will likely be ongoing negotiations as you work to receive a higher settlement offer.
In the event the insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement, or if they deny the claim altogether, you have to be ready to file a personal injury lawsuit against the insurance carrier and the at-fault driver.
Individuals who choose to represent themselves need to know where to file their case in the first place. Typically, civil personal injury claims are filed in state court as opposed to federal court, but this will depend on the plaintiff in the case. Federal courts are typically reserved for cases against federal employees or agencies. The vast majority of personal injury claims in Montana will be filed in the state’s civil court system.
Individuals will also have to deal with the paperwork involved in handling the case themselves. This may involve spending some time with the court clerk and familiarizing yourself with state statutes regarding personal injury law. This includes the personal injury statute of limitations as well as determining what types of compensation you may be able to receive.
If it looks like your case is going to go to trial, we strongly encourage you to bring in a personal injury lawyer who can help you through this process.
Can a Lawyer Help Recover a Larger Settlement?
Insurance carriers do not like to deal with personal injury attorneys, and there is a reason for that. In the vast majority of situations, an attorney will handle the injury claim more deftly than the individual who sustained the injury themselves. Attorneys have extensive experience handling these cases, and they have the resources necessary to go head to head with the other parties involved. Even after an attorney takes out their legal fees from a final settlement or jury verdict, it is very likely that the injury victim will receive more money than they would have otherwise received if they tried to handle the case on their own.