Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim Myself?

Date: January 16, 2024

New Jersey law does not require you to retain a lawyer to pursue a personal injury claim, though it is in your best interest. Personal injury law is complicated, and dealing with insurance companies can be extremely difficult and frustrating.

Most people who self-represent put themselves at a distinct disadvantage throughout the process, and the results are almost always unsuccessful. When inexperienced people represent themselves without extensive legal knowledge and negotiation skills, insurance companies win nearly every case.

What Does a Personal Injury Claim Involve?

One of the most challenging aspects of personal injury claims is determining who is responsible for the accident and your injuries. The law defines negligent behavior as illegal, irresponsible, dangerous, or unreasonably harmful actions, resulting in conditions for others to suffer preventable injuries. More importantly, you must also demonstrate that the responsible party acted negligently in causing your injuries, which can be difficult. To establish negligence, you must prove the responsible party:

  • Owed you a duty of care.
  • Breached that duty of care.
  • Directly caused your injuries.
  • Your injuries caused financial damages.

If your claim does not meet the negligence legal threshold or you cannot prove that the responsible party caused your injuries, your claim may not be valid. Pursuing your personal injury claim also requires you to:

  • Investigate the case and gather evidence.
  • Determine and prove liability for your injuries, which can include multiple parties, depending on the circumstances.
  • Learn and understand the applicable personal injury and insurance laws.
  • Calculate the economic and non-economic damages of your injuries.
  • Prepare and send a demand letter to the responsible party.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies to attempt a settlement out of court.
  • File a civil lawsuit if the settlement offer does not cover all of the damages.
  • Defend your case before a judge or jury in court.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Personal Injury Claim?

Filing a personal injury claim is difficult and time-consuming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process. A skilled lawyer has exceptional knowledge of personal injury law, understands the system, and has an established network of investigators and experts to provide valuable information to prove your claim. A lawyer can strengthen your case by doing the following:

  • Investigating your case: A personal injury lawyer can help prove your injuries were caused by another individual’s negligent actions, including interviewing witnesses, studying police reports, analyzing physical evidence, reviewing photo or video footage, and obtaining expert testimony.
  • Handling communication: Statements you make to insurance companies can harm your claim. Having a lawyer minimizes your contact, prevents you from accidentally jeopardizing your case, and helps you prepare statements.
  • Calculating your damages: A skilled lawyer can evaluate your current and future losses, ongoing healthcare needs, and your injury’s impact on your overall quality of life to calculate the full extent of your damages.
  • Negotiating with insurers: Insurance companies try to minimize payouts in personal injury claims, regardless of the severity of injuries. Personal injury lawyers have experience pushing back and negotiating reasonable settlements, providing legitimacy to your claim.
  • Representing you at trial: While most claims are settled during out-of-court negotiations, some go to trial. Sometimes, filing a civil lawsuit and going to court is the only option to recover fair compensation. Personal injury lawyers are skilled litigators and well-versed in handling court trials.

Hiring an experienced lawyer to handle your case also allows you to focus on your recovery and alleviates the stress of navigating the complex legal process on your own.

Recommended Resources

Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC Help Injured Clients Pursue Claims for Compensation

Pursuing personal injury claims can be challenging on your own, especially without extensive legal knowledge. If a negligent driver has injured you, contact our New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC. To schedule a free consultation, call 732-800-9474 or contact us online. Located in Manasquan and Brick, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.