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Can I Represent Myself in Court if I Sue Someone After an Injury?

After an injury that wasn’t your fault, it’s possible (although not recommended) to try and get compensation on your own, whether it’s through your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurer.

However, there’s a good chance the insurance company won’t pay you the money you’re owed. At that point, your next step is filing a lawsuit and, if it doesn’t settle in a timely manner for a reasonable amount, going to court.

Just as you technically don’t need a lawyer to pursue or negotiate compensation after an injury, you also don’t need a lawyer to go to court. You can represent yourself by appearing “pro se,” and some people attempt this in order to save money on lawyer’s fees.

But as with pursuing compensation on your own, not having a lawyer on your side in court is a very bad idea, and here’s why.

The At-Fault Party or Insurance Company Will Have an Experienced Legal Team

Representing yourself in court puts you at a huge disadvantage when it comes to getting compensation. Even if you have plenty of evidence that shows you aren’t at fault, being in possession of evidence is only a small part of winning trials.

You must also know how to present the evidence in a manner that convinces the jury that the other party is at fault. This is more difficult than it sounds, as evidence isn’t always clear and often requires in-depth explanations at trial. You also may simply be unable to acquire certain types of evidence such as crash scene reconstruction data—but the other side is likely to have it.

You Will Have a Tough Time Countering the Other Side’s Arguments

Personal injury lawyers aren’t just adept at gathering and presenting evidence and negotiating settlements for their clients. They’re also highly skilled in the courtroom, and that’s a must when it comes to succeeding in personal injury trials.

The legal defense for the at-fault party or the insurance company will be aggressive in protecting their client, and they know how to twist victims’ words to make them sound liable for their injuries even when most or all of the evidence says otherwise. If you aren’t experienced in these types of courtroom exchanges, it will be very difficult for you to convince the jury you’re not at fault and deserve compensation.

Representing Yourself Creates a Lot of Stress That You Don’t Need

After an accident, you should focus on your recovery and spending time with your family. The less stress you experience while recovering, the faster and more complete your recovery is likely to be. Representing yourself in court after an injury is one of the most stressful things you can do, especially if you don’t have any experience in a trial.

In addition to not being experienced at presenting evidence and countering the other side’s arguments, you will also experience stress due to things like courtroom procedure (who talks when, how to address the judge and jury, and more) and decorum (how to behave appropriately and respectfully in front of the judge and jury). As experienced personal injury lawyers, we know these rules well. But if you’re inexperienced, they can be very stressful and confusing.

We Work on a Contingency Fee and Charge No Upfront Fees

If you’re thinking about representing yourself throughout the duration of your claim because you want to save money, think again. At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we don’t charge our clients any fees upfront, whether it’s for consultations, office visits, or even going to court. The only time we get paid is if we win our clients’ cases. If we don’t get you money, you don’t owe us anything.

And while it’s true we get paid via a percentage of our clients’ recoveries, studies show that people who have lawyers on their sides end up getting more money in settlements or in court than people who don’t. That means that there’s a good chance that even if you manage to beat the odds and win your case representing yourself, you still may end up with less money than if you hired a lawyer!

Contact Our Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyers Today to Discuss Your Case

Insurance companies are almost always reluctant to pay victims the money they deserve, but their attitude frequently changes when they find out victims have experienced personal injury lawyers on their sides. They know they’re in for a fight, and they become more open to negotiation and paying fair settlements. And when cases go to trial, victims who have lawyers on their sides do much better than those who don’t.

You’ve been through enough after your accident. You don’t need the added stress of trying to collect and present evidence, learning legal codes and courtroom decorum, and debating an experienced team of trial lawyers on the other side. Let the Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers handle everything for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.