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How to Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer - Jones Law Group

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How to Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer

Recovering compensation without a personal injury lawyer is a challenge in most car accident claims.


  • You can potentially settle a minor accident with little to no property damage and no injuries without a car accident lawyer.
  • A personal injury lawyer is necessary in more serious auto accident cases with significant property damage, injuries, unclear liability, or where an insurance company engages in bad faith.
  • Getting an attorney involved in complex auto accident cases can affect your ability to recover compensation in an effort to seek justice for what you’ve endured.

After a Florida motor vehicle collision, you may see your medical bills mount up within a few days. This can be daunting, especially if you know it’s going to be a while before you can work again. Many people in this situation are worried about expenses and want to know how to settle a car accident case without a lawyer.

While you can settle a car accident claim without a lawyer, doing so can be challenging if you suffered serious injuries in the crash and there are lost wages. Taking matters into your own hands can result in a much smaller settlement than your claim is worth. 

Our team of accomplished car accident attorneys here at Jones Law Group is available to review your case for free, and we are happy to explain the benefits of our service to you. Reach out to us at (727) 571-1333 or send us an email using our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Types of Car Accidents and How They Impact an Attorney’s Involvement

In general, an auto accident with no injuries and little to no property damage and no injuries, like a small cosmetic dent that stems from a slow-speed fender-bender, would fall into the category of a minor accident. Given that you would only likely be making a small claim to get bodywork paid for, it may be appropriate for you to file a legal claim on your own.

Major car accidents are ones that cause significant property damage, such as the totaled vehicle. If crash victims suffer debilitating injuries like burns or spinal cord injury, that would also qualify as a major collision. 

Any fatal car accident involving a wrongful death is a major crash. If you’re seeking advice on how to settle a car accident case without a lawyer, situations like these are generally ones where you would not want to do that.

When and How To Settle a Car Accident Case Without a Lawyer

If your collision fits qualifies as minor, as we described above, instructions for how to settle a car accident case without a lawyer are as follows:

  • You should start by reporting your car accident to your auto insurance company by phone, using their mobile app, or via their website. This is particularly important if you have collision or comprehensive coverage. It is your pathway into utilizing your coverage for your vehicle repairs.
  • You may want to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance to access their property damage versus collision coverage.
  • Since you’re not claiming you suffered any injuries and only property damage, it’s likely that the insurer will request that you bring your vehicle in for appraisal either to their own facility or a third-party one. Do that.
  • That appraisal should result in you receiving documentation detailing the repair cost and how long it will take to address. They should copy that information to the insurer. However, you will want to supply them with it if it is not.
  • Once that repair estimate is approved, it will be your responsibility to take your vehicle to the body shop to undergo repairs.
  • Considering how minor vehicle damage is all you reported, once notified that repairs are complete, the insurance adjuster handling your case should have you sign a release of all claims. This is the preliminary step before settling your claim.

Claims involving only relatively minor property damage are generally resolvable in a matter of days to a few short weeks. Car accident claims involving injuries or compensation for losses other than economic damages often take months or years.

Settling a Claim With the Assistance of a Florida Car Accident Attorney

As suggested above, following the steps we outlined for how to settle a car accident case without a lawyer certainly shouldn’t be your focus after a major motor vehicle collision. This is especially true if the following factors are concerns:

  • There is significant property damage
  • The crash caused significant bodily harm, like a blunt force trauma injury
  • Liability is unclear or in dispute
  • There are multiple potentially liable parties, such as multiple motorists or a driver and an auto manufacturer
  • Insurers are not adhering to the highest standards in processing your claim (a practice known as engaging in bad faith)

Why Trying to Settle Major Car Accident Claims Without a Lawyer is Unadvisable

Why shouldn’t you handle the above-referenced cases on your own? It comes down to what a personal injury lawyer can offer you. Their role includes:

  • Alleviating the burden off your shoulders to handle these cases if you have severe or catastrophic injuries. The only way you’re going to heal is to get rest and recover and not engage in stressful interactions.
  • Helping you gain an understanding of your rights and how to navigate complexities often encountered by car crash victims. This is beneficial in situations where seeking compensation for significant monetary losses is critical, liability is not straightforward, or insurers are engaging in unethical tactics.

As for the latter, for example, while sorting out when to file a survival versus a wrongful death action after a fatal crash may be difficult understand on your own. However an experienced attorney should readily know how to handle the case.

Instead of investigating how to settle a car accident case without a personal injury lawyer in these instances, reach out to legal counsel at Jones Law Group.

How Lawyers Settle Car Accident Claims

More complex auto collisions warrant filing a claim or lawsuit. Additionally, they involve much more follow-up than minor ones. Trying to settle a car accident case without a lawyer may not make sense in serious matters like these, given what has to happen to even get to the settlement stage. This process requires:

  • Having a comprehensive understanding of Florida laws and rights that they afford accident victims
  • Gathering of evidence beyond crash reports and medical records that help clarify and establish who is liable for the auto accident
  • Having regular back-and-forth insurance company representatives about your role in the crash and health status
  • Bringing in a crash reconstructionist, medical experts, actuaries, and others to explain causation and losses
  • Identifying all potential sources for compensation that you may be able to seek
  • Compiling documentation and formulating a demand letter outlining how the wreck impacted you
  • Fielding and negotiating settlement offers
  • Preparing a case for trial if reaching an out-of-court settlement doesn’t prove fruitful

While not exhaustive, these are some of the critical steps that must occur before a case settles. This is a lot to deal with if you’re seriously hurt, grieving the premature loss of a family member, have a vehicle with significant damage, or a combination thereof. You pre-existing obligations can make things even more complicated.

Don’t Risk Losing Compensation by Trying to Settling Your Car Accident Claim Alone

An unexpected motor vehicle collision upended your life in an instant. Now, your focus is on holding liable parties accountable for your losses. If you have realized that attempting to settle a car accident case without a lawyer doesn’t make sense in your situation, you may have questions about what to do next.

Call our law office, Jones Law Group, at (727) 571-1333 or send us an email using our contact form. Give us some details about your car accident, and we’ll schedule a free consultation to discuss your case more in-depth. During your free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers, they can explain your rights and suggest next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is getting a lawyer involved in a property damage-only case unnecessary?

Any settlement offer recovered in a case where just your vehicle sustained damage will only cover repairs. In fact, checks cut by insurers are often made payable to the body shop instead of you. Thus, getting a lawyer involved in cases with only property damage could cause you to unnecessarily incur expenses.

What can I expect to pay if I do decide to work with a car accident lawyer on my case?

Personal injury lawyers like ours generally work on a contingency fee basis as opposed to charging an hourly fee. Thus, our fees come out of any settlement we recover on your behalf. The fee is a set, pre-agreed-to percentage, which we disclose to you before you hire us.

What if I have questions about whether to have an attorney handle my car accident claim or to settle it myself?

The purpose of your initial phone call with our team or sharing details about your crash by email is to determine if you have a pursuable claim. Additionally, the free, initial consultation we offer provides our attorneys with an opportunity to advise you of your legal options. Their insight may aid you in securing a settlement in your case.

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio