One of the main glories of the American judiciary system is that everyone can represent their case by themselves if they want. However, the defendants in the civil cases are not permitted to argue their case in court by themselves, unlike criminal cases. Hence, they will have to rely on a personal injury attorney to represent their case. The self-representing parties in courts are known as acting pro per or prose that means ‘for one’s own person’ in English. Of course, most parties involved in the personal injury cases will be confused about whether to fight their case themselves or to rely on a professional to represent their case. If you are also debating about the same, below is a detailed comparison between the pros and cons of self-representing personal injury cases.
The pros of self-representation
The main reason that parties chose to self-represent their case is to save on the attorney fee. In most cases, money spent on hiring a personal injury lawyer is the money lost since a lion share of the money recovered from the defendant is likely to go to the attorney. Worse, if you lost the case. Hence, if you are confident and courageous enough to stand up for yourself, you may consider this option. This is extremely crucial when the claim value of the damages is limited. Note that the compensation amount that you may get after the attorney expenses in this case will be too low. In fact, small claim value disputes will not usually exceed a certain amount in the American courts. Furthermore, when it comes to some personal injury cases such as a motorbike accident, it will be to better to resolve it out of court than going to trails. Make sure that your injuries are trivial and the property damages are repairable before choosing this option.
The cons of self-representation
If you are planning to self-represent your personal injury case, the court and the opposing attorney may expect you to fulfill the following things.
- File all legal documents within a limited period
- Be familiar with all the civil procedure rules and evidence
- Be able to raise all the necessary arguments
- Be able to recognize the legal issues
Note that attorneys are skilled to assess different cases and argue accordingly. Plus, the likeliness for you to win the case will be higher by hiring a specialized attorney such as a motorcycle accident attorney. Of course, a prose will have to learn all the legal regulations, rules, etc., fast that will be extremely challenging. Furthermore, if you rely on a professional, you will not have to worry about other expenses expect from the attorney fee. When you self-represent a case, you will have to deal with several upfront expenses such as serving pleadings, copying, transcribing hearings, filing, retaining medical experts, depositions, etc. Undoubtedly, costs in personal injury cases are likely to add up real fast. To conclude, while self-representation is ideal for small value claims, it will be better to rely on an attorney to represent high value claims or complex cases.