What Are the Reasons Individuals Consider Self-Representation?
After looking at the facts, you believe you have a strong case, so self-representation seems like a reasonable way to go. You feel confident about gathering the necessary evidence to prove the other party was at fault. If you don’t know how personal injury contingencies fees work, you may assume you couldn’t afford an attorney, even if you want to hire one.
In some cases, individuals who have bills piling up and can’t work think that giving a lawyer part of the compensation doesn’t make sense. Most individuals consider self-representation because they do not realize how complex a personal injury case can be, so they forge ahead doing what they hope works or, perhaps, feel is the only thing to do given the circumstances.
Why Is Pro Se Litigation a Risky Choice?
Pro se is a Latin term meaning “on one’s own behalf.” In judicial speak, pro se litigants are people who represent themselves in a legal action. If you choose to litigate a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, you have a steep uphill climb. Often, judges do not look favorably on self-representation because of issues that upend orderly courtroom procedures. The legal system is not designed to accommodate your inexperience with full dockets of cases needing to be heard.
If you decide to defend yourself, a simple mistake or missed deadline could result in a summary judgment for the defendant, and your chance for a recovery is over. On the off chance that you prevail, compensatory damages will likely be much lower than if you had an attorney handling your case. However, the almost insurmountable hurdle of self-defense is knowing all the essential things necessary to make a winnable case. These are critical reasons it’s not a good plan to go the lawsuit route alone.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Dealing with insurance companies can be a brutal undertaking for the uninitiated. Insurers have no interest in paying out significant sums of money or admitting fault for car accidents, and they will battle to protect their interests. A skilled lawyer knows how to handle complex negotiations and protect your rights.
If you go toe-to-toe with seasoned insurance company representatives or their legal teams, one misstatement is all it takes. They know how personal injury claims work and won’t hesitate to leverage your missteps against you.
Proving Your Case
As a pro se claimant, the burden of proof lies with you. A key aspect of a car accident personal injury claim is proving these four elements:
- Duty: You must prove the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care.
- Breach: You must prove the defendant breached the duty of care. It is crucial to show how another person would have acted with reasonable care in the same situation and how the defendant’s actions did not meet this standard.
- Causation: You must prove that the defendant’s actions were the cause of your injury. A defendant’s negligent actions must have contributed to the accident.
- Damages: You must show actual damages a defendant caused you. The purpose of a damage recovery lawsuit is to make a person whole. If you fail to prove damages, there is no claim.
Proving these elements is an exceedingly difficult thing to do, and remain objective when you are the person who was harmed. You must present the information in a compelling and composed way while meeting the high bar of the legal system. Representing a case requires a delicate balance of nuance and knowledge that a skilled attorney draws on repeatedly to shape a winnable case.
Knowing How To Litigate in a Courtroom
If all the other personal injury law matters weren’t difficult enough, standing in a courtroom and presenting your case in front of a judge and jury is undoubtedly intimidating. This is especially true when pitted against a team of skilled lawyers for the defense. A defense team knows how to rebut your arguments at every turn.
Once the trial begins, there will be a flurry of legal motions, and you will be inundated with procedural rules that must be followed. The legal jargon can be overwhelming, yet you are expected to respond knowledgeably and keep the process moving. Quite honestly, there is no way to prepare for what will occur because lawyers spend years training to handle courtroom situations. The amount of information the other side will throw at you takes a team of paralegals to manage.
The risk is too great. A loss means you don’t recover and get the compensation you deserve. A bad outcome is catastrophic if you have long-term injuries or a permanently disabling condition. It is imperative to have legal counsel throughout the legal process.
Why Is It Important To Hire a Lawyer?
It is crucial to remember that you will be attempting to represent yourself after you have been injured and still need time to heal. Aside from a lack of experience and knowledge in handling a case on your own, dealing with the aftermath of an accident is exhausting on every level. Moreover, car accident personal injury lawsuits can take years to resolve, so the physical, mental and emotional drain of staying in the fight usually proves too much to manage.
Even after all their efforts, pro se litigants typically lose. Having an attorney by your side gives you more than a supreme legal advantage; you also have an advocate who cares about you as an individual and works diligently on your behalf for the best possible outcome. Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and don’t get paid until a case is settled or won. With that assurance, get a consultation on your case and see where you stand.
Choose the Right Firm To Represent Your Car Accident Case
After a car accident, choosing a firm with experience with personal injury cases is important. You need a law team with a proven record regarding settlements and verdicts. The right firm for you has attorneys who are practiced in handling accident claims. It’s essential to hire an attorney who understands the impact this event is having on your daily life.
For residents of New York and New Jersey, Judd Shaw Injury Law is the firm you need to represent you when someone’s negligent actions cause you harm. We are guided by a set of core values that make the difference in how we represent our clients. We work to get the compensation you deserve so that you can move forward with your life. Contact us for a free consultation. If you can’t come to us, we will come to you.