Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?

When you’re already dealing with medical bills and other expenses after suffering an injury in an accident, hiring a personal injury lawyer can seem like a significant — and unnecessary — expense. After all, you are likely familiar with how your accident occurred and have a good sense of whether it was your fault.

However, filing a claim without the help of a skilled lawyer in Ohio can significantly reduce your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. What is possible is not always prudent, and this is certainly true when it comes to your personal injury claim.

Take a closer look at why consulting a personal injury lawyer for your claim is vital.

What It Takes to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The process of filing a personal injury claim in court appears simple at first glance. You prepare a petition that explains the facts of your accident, who you believe is responsible for causing the accident, and the type of compensation you are seeking. 

This document is then filed at your local court, often in the county where your accident happened. But making even a minor mistake in this document can jeopardize your right to compensation. This is where a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer comes in.

Costly Errors in Filing Your Claim

Any errors you make in filing your personal injury claim can cause delays in your case — or even lead to your case being dismissed. Unfortunately, Ohio law doesn’t allow for exceptions due to inexperience.

Some of the more common errors that a lawyer can protect you against include:

Failing to State Your Case Adequately

Your claim does not need to recite every detail of your crash exhaustively, but it does need to include certain essential elements. These elements include the location of the accident, who caused the accident, and a description of what the responsible party did that led to the accident. You also need to specify the damages you are seeking. 

The court can reject a claim that fails to meet these requirements. This delays the ultimate resolution of your case, as you would need to fix the issues with the claim before attempting to refile it.

Filing Your Claim Past the Deadline

In Ohio, you only have two years from the date your injury accident happened to file a claim for damages. This deadline, known as the statute of limitations, begins to run the moment the accident occurs and does not stop counting down until the time period passes.

It is easy to lose track of time and miss this important deadline if you are going it alone. Failing to meet the statute of limitations means that any negligent party you sue could obtain a dismissal of your case from the court. 

No matter how clear it is that the other party is responsible for your injuries, you could walk away with nothing for your injuries and losses if you violate the statute of limitations.

Forgetting to Request All Eligible Damages

One of the key elements of your injury claim is your request for damages. Generally speaking, you are limited to recovering the compensation you identify in your claim document. For example, if you only request $5,000 in damages, you might find yourself limited to recovering that amount.

It is easy to miscalculate the amount of damages you should ask for in your injury claim. In addition to compensation for hospital bills incurred, you could also recover lost wages for time missed from work and emotional suffering, for example. You may also seek compensation for future anticipated expenses and losses. 

Your lawyer can ensure no stone is left unturned when it comes to calculating the damages you are due.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

When you hire a competent personal injury lawyer to represent your interests, your attorney will investigate the circumstances that led to your accident. This investigation will help them identify the parties who caused your accident and the losses caused by the accident.

Armed with this information, your personal injury lawyer will then prepare your claim for filing. In doing so, you can anticipate and expect your lawyer to:

  • Make sure your filing meets all substantive and procedural filing requirements
  • Ensure all essential elements of your claim are adequately noted
  • Calculate the appropriate amount of damages that should be requested
  • File your claim in the appropriate court within the statute of limitations

These services are just the beginning of the list of tasks necessary to succeed in an injury claim. As your claim progresses, your lawyer may continue to investigate your accident and seek new witnesses and evidence to assist you. They can attempt to negotiate a settlement to your case while simultaneously preparing your case for trial.

Beyond this, your attorney will also communicate with other parties involved in the crash, insurance companies and their employees, and others involved in your claim. Doing so saves you from having to make or receive these calls, especially at a time that may be inconvenient for you.

The Rewards of Using an Attorney 

When you choose an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney to help you file your claim, the rewards of your decision will vastly outweigh any potential drawbacks. You will have less worry about making legal mistakes that could deny you the opportunity to recover damages you need to move forward. 

Additionally, having an attorney assist you from the outset of your case will help ensure the other essential steps in the recovery process are completed appropriately.

You may be worried about the upfront costs associated with hiring a lawyer, especially if you’ve been in a car accident and are already facing bills for property damage and medical care. However, personal injury lawyers generally operate on contingency. 

This means that your lawyer will likely not charge you a fee unless they win your case. Even then, this fee will be a percentage of your winnings instead of a standalone expense you are expected to pay up front.

Your Premier Choice for Personal Injury Law in Ohio

When you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Columbus, turn to Schiff & Associates for legal help you can count on. Our experienced team can guide you every step of the way in filing your claim and ensure your claim is handled properly. 

Since 1982, we’ve helped over 50,000 clients succeed in their claims. Let us help you with yours. Contact us to schedule a consultation with a skilled personal injury attorney from Schiff & Associates today.