I get this question sometimes, and it reminds me of a caller I spoke with a while back. The story is worth mentioning now.
The lady I spoke with had settled her auto accident case just a few before calling me. She had been in a car accident where the other driver had rearended her vehicle, causing her vehicle to spin off the road and in to a ditch. Her medical bills that totalled around $15,000.00. Her health insurance had paid the medical bills. She decided not to hire an attorney for her case because she thought she could settle with the insurance company for the at fault party and save by not having to pay and attorney out of her settlement.
The woman told the auto insurance company adjuster that her medical bills had been paid by her health insurance and the adjuster “offered” to pay the bills and give her an additional $3,000.00. Thinking this was a great offer, the lady settled the case and signed the insurance company’s full and final release of liability for the accident.
Unfortunately, the woman did not know that her health insurance company would seek reimbursement for the medical bills it had paid. When she came to me, she wanted to take back the agreement she had made with the auto insurance company to settle her claim. Unfortunatley, since she had not used an attorney to advise her on the subrogations rights of some health insurance policies, she was not aware that in fact, her policy allowed the health insurance a right to recover the sum it had paid for her medical bills. A competent personal injury attorney would have known this and would have known that the settlement she accepted would not fully compensate her for her injuries.
Since she had settled the case and signed a full release, there was nothing I could do to help her. While there are some cases that can be settled on your own without an attorney, there are many more cases where a good personal injury attorney can in fact SAVE you thousands. That’s why it is always a good idea to at least speak with an attorney before settling your injury case on your own.