The Downside of Representing Yourself in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Despite a decrease in the number of fatal motorcycle accidents nationally in recent years, New Jersey has had a troubling increase in serious motorcycle accidents. In 2017 alone, the number of fatal motorcycle crashes increased by 15 percent. If you have suffered an injury in a New Jersey motorcycle accident, you may have a valid claim for damages.
While it may be tempting to represent yourself in your injury lawsuit, the reality is you could risk missing out on recovering compensation for your injuries due to a technical error or similar mistake. Here are a few of the pitfalls in handling a case on your own.
Your Investigation Might Miss Something
Investigating the facts of a motorcycle crash is one of the most important skills a motorcycle injury attorney in NJ can have. An attorney will review every aspect of your crash with a fine-toothed comb to determine who was at fault. This process can involve a variety of techniques, including:
- Reviewing the accident report
- Engaging with crash reconstruction experts
- Interviewing witnesses
- Researching the other driver’s record
From tracking down security cameras to ensuring you have good contact information for all your witnesses, the investigative part of a motorcycle injury is best handled by an experienced hand. If you fail to overturn a seemingly minor piece of evidence, you could miss out on something that will be important later.
You Could Forget a Deadline
Lawsuits are full of legal deadlines. The most prominent deadline in a motorcycle accident case is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a New Jersey law that sets a limit on the time in which a plaintiff may file a lawsuit. Should you file a lawsuit after the expiration of the statutory period, the judge in your case will likely dismiss your lawsuit permanently.
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations to file a claim is two years from the date of the accident. It is possible to see your case dismissed even with the claim itself was strong. Skilled legal counsel can help you keep track of your legal deadlines and avoid having your case dismissed on a technicality.
You Lack Legal Knowledge
In a real courtroom, you will need more than a thorough knowledge of procedural crime shows to get through a jury trial. Navigating the legal system independent of legal representation can be a challenge and rarely works out on your own. When you file an injury lawsuit, the other driver or their insurance company will likely supply their own legal counsel. The end result could involve you going head-to-head with a skilled attorney that has a deep track record of these types of cases. Experience and education still matter here. That is why the guidance of an experienced attorney can be so valuable.
Your Lack of a Support System
When a personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit, they typically have a team in place to support them. Every attorney’s office is different, but a support system can include investigators, paralegals, office assistants, and other attorneys. Experienced attorneys also have useful connections to expert witnesses and court reporters that most non-attorneys would not have. If your injuries are severe, your case could end up being a colossal undertaking. Trying to handle it on your own is likely more than you can handle.
You Don’t Have Experience Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Most cases are resolved through a settlement instead of at trial. This fact makes experienced negotiating with hostile insurance companies valuable. Insurance companies will go to great lengths to push inadequate offers in hopes that they can low-ball an accident victim and save some money. If you do not have experienced handling these negotiations, you will not have a frame of reference for what a good settlement offer looks like.
Contact a Motorcycle Injury Attorney in NJ
Ultimately, your best shot at a positive outcome in your motorcycle accident case is with the help of an experienced lawyer. To discuss your case with a New Jersey attorney who rides, contact Jerry Friedman, Esq., at 1-800-LAW-4-Hogs.