Can You Settle Your Case Yourself?
Many small injury cases are best handled by the client. Although insurance industry studies have demonstrated that people represented by lawyers get more money for their claims, we will not accept cases with little to no property damage and minor connective tissue (soft tissue) injuries that resolve in a few weeks. Why not? We only take cases where we feel that we will benefit you. In a small injury case, after deducting attorney fees and costs and paying your medical bills, you may be left with little to nothing from a settlement. That’s not fair and its not why we do what we do. You are likely to come out better in a minor accident/minor injury case settling your own case and not having to pay any attorney fees.
Cases that we decline may involve the following facts:
- Low speed impacts with little to no damage to the car.
- A long delay in treatment between the date of the collision and your first medical visit.
- Medical expenses and out of pocket losses less than $2500.
- Cases involving exacerbation of significant pre-existing injuries.
- Claimants that have made many similar recent claims.
Insurance companies don’t pay a lot for these cases. The sad reality it that they are likely to make a lousy settlement offer for cases with a mix of these factors. Their low ball offer, possibly less than your medical bills, forces you to either accept the unfair offer or go to trial. Allstate insurance company is the biggest offender in these situations. They call these MIST cases, which stands for minor impact soft tissue. They know that taking one of these cases presents a significant investment of time and expense for the lawyer and his client and no guarantees of success. Sadly for most lawyers and their clients, the cost-benefit analysis of going to trial on a MIST case doesn’t usually make sense. Substantial victories in these cases are rare. Representing yourself in small claims court might be the way to go.
If we turn down your case we would be happy to act as a resource if you have any questions or refer you to a good lawyer that will handle small cases.