Personal injury claims - should I represent myself?

7:32:00 PM

There has been recent interest in people who have been injured in accidents that weren’t their fault wishing to discover whether they should represent themselves in their claim for personal injury compensation. This is likely due to the fact that, indeed, you may choose to be represented by anyone of your choice, including yourself, which in turn could result in you walking away from your case the victor. You need to weigh up whether this would be more suited to your case than hiring a lawyer (see how much does a personal injury lawyer cost?). However, there are several major issues when it comes to representing yourself. Let’s begin with one of the most salient points.

Pre action protocols
First of all, there is no reason to assume that, just because you declare that you wish to represent yourself in your personal injury claim, matters will progress around you until you are left standing in front of a judge delivering a speech you’ve practiced in the bathroom mirror. This simply won’t happen, because, in order for your case to progress, certain pre action protocols must be followed by the book (involving letters to the other side, gathering evidence, and formally submitting your claim to the court). If these actions are not carried out in full and within time limits, your claim stands zero chance of progressing. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that your case does progress. What next?

Valuing your claims and court proceedings
Valuing a claim isn’t easy, and if you’ve never done it before, you are unlikely to get it right. First, there are general damages for things like pain and suffering that must be valued coherently. Next, there are special damages for things like damage to property and any financial loss (proving this will usually require receipts). The aim is to wrap up proceedings as soon as possible, putting forward a solid case with a reasonable compensation demand that leads the other side to capitulate and pay the reward, thus ending matters and allowing everyone to get on with their lives. Failure to correctly value a claim will mean this process drags on, as the other side is unlikely to agree to terms that it deems to be unfair. If a stalemate happens, the case will progress to court, where court fees must be paid in advance. When appearing in court, a tactful approach can mean that your appeal is upheld, and that the other side is required by law to pay a compensation award. If you are not experienced in the art of the courtroom, you are unlikely to emerge victorious at this stage.

Always seek to speak to a lawyer. Too much can go wrong - at far too great an expense - if you choose to go it alone.

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