Car Accident Aftermath: Should you Represent Yourself?

Notwithstanding what statistics show, most people, regardless of where they live, believe that they are fully capable drivers. The auto insurance industry, however, has released data showing that the average driver will have to file an auto insurance claim once every 19 years. This means that it doesn’t matter how great of a driver we think we are; we can still get in an accident. There are many things to consider about accidents, and this includes who’s likely to be involved in one and how to handle the legal aspect afterward.

What’s Likely to Cause an Accident?

As already mentioned, anyone, regardless of how safe of a driver, can be in an accident. It’s important to note, however, that there are certain behaviors that can increase a person’s chance of being involved in these crashes. The main cause of auto accidents is distracted driving. In 2010 alone, a full 18 percent of all accidents were caused by distracted driving. This may not seem significant, but when a person considers the fact that there are hundreds of other possible causes of auto collisions, such as speeding, weather, DUI and following too closely, it’s obvious that distracted driving is a huge contributor. When combined with a few other accident causes, in fact, distracted driving, such as texting, talking on the phone and “rubbernecking,” causes an overwhelming majority of wrecks. The combination of speeding, driver fatigue and inattentiveness, a form of distracted driving, actually makes up a full two-thirds of all light truck and car accidents.

Can a Person Represent Themselves?

Every person in America has the absolute right to represent themselves, and forgo professional legal services, in any legal matter before them. This includes auto collisions. Many auto insurers are more than happy to speak directly with someone who is filing a claim. There are times, such as when property damage is minimal (ie. fender bender) and there are no injuries sustained, where it may not be a terrible idea to represent oneself. If an insurer fights a claim, however, the whole situation may end up in court. Once again, an individual can represent themselves, and this is known as going “pro se.” Many people believe that they save money by going this route, but it’s important to understand what representing oneself really entails.

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Should a Person represent Themselves?

Just because a person can represent themselves; it doesn’t mean that they should. Even when the issue hasn’t yet landed in court, it’s imperative to have an attorney. Every insurance company, whether in Miami, FL. or Anchorage, AK. is trying to turn a profit. This means that their main goal is to pay out as little as possible. When a person doesn’t have legal help, these companies will take advantage by offering a low settlement.

In fact, many insurers, knowing that a person doesn’t have representation, will try to get a quick interview over the phone. They often ask leading questions that can make an accident victim slip up and say something incriminating. Unfortunately, this can preclude them from receiving any compensation at all. If the whole issue does end up in court, only a legal professional will know the laws specific to the case. Also, in reality, the insurer will have high-priced attorneys on their side, and this never bodes well for those standing alone.

Becoming a proactive and safer driver can greatly reduce a person’s chances of being involved in an auto accident, but it cannot eliminate the possibility altogether. Distracted and negligent drivers can easily cause a safe motorist to be in an accident. If this occurs, it’s important to realize that obtaining legal help is very important. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and a person who doesn’t have legal help can end up settling for much less than they’re owed.

Legal writer, Lisa Coleman encourages anyone who has been injured in an accident to consider hiring an attorney for your case. At, Steinger, Iscoe & Green attorneys share general points to understand about insurers and the law. The Florida firm aggressively represents clients for auto accident issues, and advises them how to handle the court system.

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