Are you considering representing yourself in a Florida court in a personal injury case? It’s tempting to skip legal representation, especially when you believe your case is “open and shut.”
However, without a lawyer, you’re probably not going to win your case. If you do win, you won’t get anywhere near the amount of compensation you’ll get with an attorney.
Here are 6 reasons you need an attorney to win a personal injury lawsuit in Florida.
1. Successful track records
Attorneys have successful track records. They’ve been in court before, they know the process, they know the law, and they know how insurance companies operate.
You might be able to get a small stipend without a lawyer, but it won’t cover your medical bills or lost income. If you want to be truly covered, you need an attorney with multi-million-dollar settlements under their belt.
Attorneys who have successfully won millions of dollars for their clients know what they’re doing. Each case has a different value, but you can rest assured that a successful personal injury lawyer will get you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
2. Attorneys speak ‘legalese’
Imagine being in the courtroom and not understanding what the judge is asking you to do. For instance, do you know how to file motions? Legalese sounds like English, but it’s not.
To get an idea of what legalese is, check out the legal dictionary from Merriam-Webster and browse the terms. You’ll see that many terms don’t have the same meaning as they do in plain English.
If you don’t know what all these terms mean from A-Z, you’ll get confused in the courtroom and it will not only slow down your case, but your lack of understanding will contribute to the court’s bias against you.
3. No case can be a “guaranteed” win
A big problem pro se litigants face is thinking their case is going to be an automatic win. There is no such thing in court. A lawyer won’t even guarantee their client any specific outcome, including damages and penalties.
No matter how clear a case looks to you, it will look very different in court. There are just too many factors at play for anyone to know a case will be a certain win.
When you believe you will win your case no matter what, it provides a false sense of confidence that can make you overlook opportunities to really win your case.
4. Attorneys know state and federal laws
To properly represent yourself, you need to know federal and state law. Reading about laws online doesn’t count since many people write lengthy articles who don’t actually understand the law they’re discussing.
The main problem you’ll run into is using online forms. Since you’re not an attorney, you’ll have to get your forms online. However, online legal forms rarely, if ever, account for state laws.
There are a variety of state laws that can impact your case. For example, many states require specific language in legal forms. If you’re not aware of these laws, incorrect paperwork can get your case dismissed.
5. Some judges find pro se litigants irritating
Although it’s not exactly fair, representing yourself will make the court biased against you. That’s because pro se litigants hardly ever follow the rules and judges lose patience quickly. Cases like these tend to drag on because people who represent themselves make a ton of mistakes.
If you think you can win your case pro se against an experienced attorney representing an insurance company or another party, think again. You can be polite, well-mannered, and eager to do things right and still irritate the court because of your ignorance.
6. The opposing counsel can’t help you
If you’ve seen television shows or movies where the opposing counsel provided advice to a pro se litigant, that’s not going to happen in real life. You will be completely on your own if you represent yourself.
Even if the other party’s attorney wants to help you, they can’t. Helping you in any way will go against their ethical obligations to their client. They can’t even tell you how to respond to a discovery request or advise you on how to file a motion.
If you’ve been injured, lawyer up
Don’t risk heading into the courtroom by yourself. If you want to win your case, get an attorney as fast as possible.