The thought of representing yourself in a personal injury case, known legally as proceeding pro se, and saving at least 1/3 of the total amount is pretty tantalizing. After all, how hard could it really be? Well, it’s not hard to get less than full value for your case. It’s much harder to get the full value for your case, even with a lawyer. Some law firms don’t even try to maximize your award. A Baton Rouge Personal Injury Attorney may be able to help you in ways that you have not considered.
As the plaintiff in a personal injury case (as with any legal proceeding), you have the right to act as your own attorney. But should you? Or should you instead enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer with experience and expertise? Personal Injury Attorney Ed Kramer is dedicated to helping his clients recover the maximum award. Not just a slogan or a saying on TV, but a real dedication to the law and representing YOU!
To figure out which option is best for you, here are five important things a personal injury lawyer can do that you probably can’t:
1. Know What You Need to Prove in Court.
As the injured party, you may feel that you have all the information you need to win your case. But there is more to a personal injury case than just proving you were hurt.
Simply testifying about, or providing evidence of, certain elements of a personal injury case may not be sufficient: For example, you may need to locate and call an expert witness to show the party who hurt you was acting unreasonably. There are also particular rules about hearsay and what types of evidence a court can even consider.
And the most important thing to remember: The insurance company is not your friend. They are under no obligation to advise you as to what other insurance may be available, what your injury case may worth and what else you can do to protect your rights
2. Negotiate a Fair Settlement.
A good personal injury lawyer can often spare you the long wait, expense, and uncertainty of trial by negotiating an out-of-court settlement. However, there are many factors to consider before entering into settlement negotiations such as:
- Your chances of winning at trial,
- Verdicts and settlements in similar cases,
- Possible weaknesses in both sides’ evidence,
- The scope of the defendant’s insurance coverage and monetary resources, and
- If your personal injury lawyer is trying to settle your case out quickly and cheaply.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to gather and scrutinize this information competently and quickly. An attorney can also deal with the other party (and the other party’s lawyer), which can be a headache for non-lawyers. (See No. 5, below.)
3. Meet Important Deadlines.
Louisiana personal injury law (excluding medical malpractice and maritime law) has a code of civil procedure that governs civil lawsuits such as personal injury cases. Included in these codes are deadlines for everything from serving the other party to filing the case within the statute of limitations.
Failure to bring a case within the statute in your jurisdiction may result in the case being dismissed. And once the case is filed, there is a litany of further deadlines that must be met. Unfortunately, courts generally have no sympathy for pro se litigants who miss deadlines.
4. Prevent Removal to Another Court.
Often, large corporate defendants in personal injury cases attempt to ‘remove’ their cases from state to federal courts, which are generally perceived to be friendlier to defendants and are less likely to award large amounts of damages. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to try to prevent this, and can also tell you when removing your case to another court may actually be to your benefit.
5. Deal With the Other Side.
If you decide to take the pro se route, it is likely that your opponent will retain counsel. This means that throughout the stages of a personal injury case — discovery, motions, trial — you will be up against a trained, tested, and (in most cases) experienced attorney who knows the rules of civil procedure, the rules of evidence and the legal tactics needed to serve his or her client.
If your main concern about hiring a lawyer is cost, keep in mind that most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they only get paid if you do. If you have questions or want to know more about why you may need an attorney for your personal injury case, contact the InjuredGo.com Personal Injury Law firm for a free consultation