Personal Injury Law – Should You Represent Yourself
Any resident of Texas has the right to self-representation. So you may, if you so choose, handle everything by yourself after a car accident, from conducting your own crash investigation to finding and interviewing witnesses, to filing legal papers, to negotiating a settlement. You may be successful. You probably could change your own car’s oil, do all your own plumbing, and re-tile your own kitchen floor, too. However, you usually don’t. Not because you can’t, but because you will put more effort into it and the risk isn’t worth the reward.
Know Your Limitations
Lawyers are specialists not only in knowing the laws but in verifying contract verbiage. In the instance of winning a case or judgment, they will check your work to make sure it’s accurate and complete. If you add or subtract a word here or there is a legal contract, the entire award can be compromised. More here
In other words, being a clear victim of a car crash doesn’t automatically give you an upper hand. Being intelligent doesn’t give you an understanding of the appropriate verbiage in a well-written contract. And watching The Good Wife religiously doesn’t qualify you to argue a case in front of a judge or jury. If you make a mistake it can’t be undone and the consequences of doing all this yourself may haunt you for years to come.
You must carefully consider the potential outcome of the decision to represent yourself. In most cases, you’ll be at a serious disadvantage. The driver who caused the accident will certainly have hired lawyers – all of whom are well-trained professionals who understand the complex system. They will know how to negotiate and assume that you don’t. They know you have little understanding of how things are actually done and they may throw obstacles in your way. And at some point, even if you determine you need help, you may have done enough damage to your own case that it’s no longer salvageable. More info here
Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish?
Anyone who represents him or herself in a court of law or in any other legal capacity is acting pro se, or ‘on one’s own behalf.’ Of course, situations exist where it may make sense to act as your own attorney – but not when you’re the victim of a bad car crash. If cash is tight, and you’re trying to conserve, this is one area where the money spent is well worth the reward.
We’re Here to Help
Better yet, most attorneys will work on a contingency basis. A contingent arrangement means that your lawyer gets a percentage of whatever money you receive after the resolution of your case. If you receive no money, your lawyer collects no fees. The size of a contingency fee is usually 30-percent of any recovery. Some cases are straightforward; others can be much more uncertain. Many firms, like our Law Firm, may actually free up cash for you prior to settlement.
Our Law Firm focuses on Texas auto-crash-related litigation. One of our team of dedicated attorneys look forward to providing you with a consultation, advising you of all your rights, and answering any questions that you may have. In that respect, our lawyers are available for a free consultation and specialized representation all hours of the day or night.