If you’ve been injured in a car accident and the insurance company is dragging its feet or refusing to pay your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit.
You could think that you can handle doing that on your own or that you can just generally deal with the insurance company without a personal injury attorney.
You can, technically, but should you? Probably not. Below, get more information about some of the reasons you should not represent yourself in a legal case, including one related to personal injury.
What is a Pro Se Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A pro se personal injury lawsuit is one you file a lawsuit on your own behalf. You can’t do this in certain cases, such as if you’re suing a corporation, filing a class-action lawsuit, or suing on behalf of your child.
You can if you are filing a personal injury claim in most cases, however. If you file a pro se personal injury lawsuit without an attorney, you are taking action to not just file but manage and direct it on your own behalf.
You submit your personal injury claim to a clerk’s office and pay a filing fee to start the process. You are the plaintiff, and the person or parties you’re suing are the defendant or defendants.
Beyond the basics, below are specific reasons you should think twice before filing a pro se civil suit or representing yourself in a legal case.
You Don’t Have the Knowledge
This sounds simple—and it is in some ways. One of the biggest reasons not to represent yourself is simply because you don’t have the knowledge to do so.
We live in an era where we often think we can just go online and find answers to all of our questions. In some situations, we can, but when it comes to legal cases, there are a lot of intricacies that don’t have a clear-cut or simple answer.
You not only lack procedural knowledge, but you don’t have the experience. A lot is learned by lawyers, well beyond their education, because of their hands-on experience.
Some of the issues of not hiring a personal injury attorney come before you ever file a case.
You are not going to know how to value your case. Without an appropriate and accurate valuation, the rest of your case is going to face challenges.
A personal injury attorney analyzes your injuries, the defendants, available insurance money, and the legal issues themselves to value your case. They don’t just make up a figure and hope for the best.
Investigation and Evidence
A civil case like a personal injury case is different from a criminal case. In civil litigation, the burden is on you as the plaintiff. You have to show that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. That can come down to he-said-she-said without appropriate investigation and evidence.
You’re unlikely to have either the knowledge or resources to fully investigate the situation surrounding your accident.
A personal injury law firm often has a team of investigators, and they can uncover details that would otherwise be easily overlooked and yet could have a major impact on your case.
Insurance Adjusters Will Take Advantage of You
It may sound cruel that an insurance company would take advantage of you when you’re dealing with the fallout of an accident that wasn’t your fault, but the reality is, they will. That’s what insurance adjusters are there for.
An insurance adjuster may deny your claim, drag their feet or give you a very low settlement offer because they know you aren’t working with an attorney.
They might deny your reasonable demand letter, and they can make things so frustrating for you that you give up.
No matter what you think, when you’re dealing with a personal injury case, and you’ve been hurt in a car accident or your loved one has, you will be emotional. You’re emotionally connected to the entire situation, and it’s difficult to take a step back in these situations.
A personal injury lawyer is going to be on your side and represent you, but they don’t have the emotional ties to your case that can cloud their judgment.
Overall, you might not want to pay a personal injury attorney, but not doing so and representing yourself can often end up costing you a lot more in the long-run.