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Here’s Why You Can’t Represent Yourself

By Byron Warnken, on May 8, 2014

Because you can’t sue.  You cannot file a lawsuit.  You are sticking up a liquor store with a toy gun that everyone knows squirts water.  Why would they give you any money?

You are an officer without backup.  You are David, they are Goliath, and you have no slingshot.

Can’t is the wrong word.  You can represent yourself.  You are allowed.  But you will get less.  In a tough world where every dollar matters, why should you take less?  Insurance companies are out to make a profit.  Whether it’s car insurance from a car accident, workers’ compensation insurance from an on-the-job injury, or any other kind of insurance, their business is making money.  When they pay you less, they make more.  That’s their whole idea.

  • But they’ve been fair to me throughout the whole process.

You perceive they have been fair to you.  If you perceived they were being unfair, you’d get a lawyer.  They don’t want you to get a lawyer because that means they will not be able to give you less.  It behooves them if you perceive them as fair.  See what would happen when you suggest you are not getting what you deserve.  See how fair you think they are then.  No one wants to be confrontational (most don’t, I actually do).  They exploit the idea that you don’t want to be confrontational to give you less.

  • Getting a lawyer will delay my money

Probably not at all.  In fact, it can sometimes happen you will get paid quicker with a lawyer.  But let’s say the process does get delayed by two weeks, but you get twice as much.  Was it worth it?

  • I don’t want to involve lawyers

They already did.  Insurance adjusters know the law.  They work with lawyers.  They are often trained by lawyers.  A lawyer may have even reviewed your file already.  The whole process is legally driven, whether you know it or not.  Shouldn’t you have your lawyer too?

  • Lawyers cost a lot of money, I don’t want to pay lawyers

The standard fee is 1/3 for a settlement, 40% for a lawsuit.  If your lawyer doubles your settlement by filing a lawsuit, let’s do the math… You were going to get $7K in a settlement with the insurance company.  The lawyer gets you $15K with only the threat of suit, not an actual suit.  The lawyer gets $5K.  Instead of getting $7,000, you get $10,000!  You paid a lawyer, but you got more.

In Maryland, workers’ comp attorney fees are standard at 20%, and only on permanency!  That means your weekly TTD check is not impacted at all.  Generally, the adjuster won’t even talk to you about permanency.  Therefore, it might be 20% of money you weren’t going to get anyway.

  • But personal injury lawyers are slimy

My experience is this is absolutely not true.  Most injury lawyers simply believe that the people should get the loot, not the companies.  Most PI lawyers actually do feel for the injured and champion the underdog.  Most insurance defense lawyers champion the system, the corporation, the powerful.

Maybe you don’t want to view yourself as the underdog.  Maybe you want to be part of the system, the secure, the powerful.  If you have been injured in an accident and you are depending on insurance money to make you whole, you are the underdog.  I’m sorry, but that’s simply the way it is.  You are playing the underdog, if only for this one role in life.

Most injury lawyers say Fuck You to the system to some degree or another because the system chews up and spits out.  The system will run you over.  The system does not have time to stop for one little injury by the side of the road.

The system does not care about you.  One insurance adjuster might be paid to pretend to care about you – maybe they actually do – but when faced with getting good reviews at their job or giving you more, they will pick themselves every time.  It’s simply human nature.  I do not begrudge them anything.  But I would never trust them to look out for my interests over their own.

Am I slimy?  I don’t think so, but I guess even slimy people don’t think they’re slimy.  I want hurt people to get paid absolutely as much as they can.  They should.  You should, right?

If you are still reading this post, maybe you started out or are still wondering “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?”  It’s just logic.  Of course you do.  But get one or don’t.  I don’t have enough mad in me for you.  I only have enough mad in me for my clients.  Otherwise, the system would simply wear me out too quick.  Good luck to you no matter what you do.

One thought on “Here’s Why You Can’t Represent Yourself

  1. Pingback: A Healthy Amount of Self Interest is Good

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