Should You Represent A Case Yourself?

Imagine this: Someone tailgates your vehicle on the highway. You need to make a sudden stop. The car behind you can’t stop in time, so they tap your bumper. Even though there doesn’t seem to be any damage, you do it the right way. You call the police. You take the other individual’s information. You call your insurance adjuster to report the accident.

The next day, you see a doctor for minor neck pain. Your insurance takes care of the lion’s share of the cost. You only need to cough up a few bucks for the copay and then a few more for prescription painkillers. 

But you don’t think you should have to pay even a few bucks for an accident someone else caused.

And you’re right! But should you retain a personal injury lawyer for such a small claim, or can you represent yourself in a small claims court to recoup damages? In this case, you might be okay representing yourself. There were no excessive damages. The pain and medical costs were minimal. The police and insurance adjusters both reported the other driver’s fault. A judge will see that — or maybe it’s enough to simply ask the other person to pay for your bills. An out-of-court settlement is always in your best interest, of course.

But let’s say that the driver didn’t own his vehicle or worked for a larger company. You might be better off suing the company — and that’s when you might need a personal injury lawyer. It’s highly unlikely a company will consider a settlement with someone representing their own interests. This is primarily because they know you don’t know the nuances of the law. You can’t do any real damage on your own.

But lawyer up, and they suddenly might be in more of a talking mood. The good news is this. Many personal injury lawyers just starting out are looking for quantity over quality because that’s all there is available before they prove themselves. But those lawyers are qualified enough to handle your case — and you should let them.