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What Happens If You Engage In A Lawsuit Without A Lawyer?

Most of the time, when people talk about lawsuits, one of the first things that come to mind is the need to consult and work with a lawyer. That’s usually common sense for most people as the courtroom and a lawsuit are a highly specialized “battleground,” and it is lawyers who have been professionally trained, with a degree, to understand and make use of the “rules of engagement.”

But while lawyers are often important for winning lawsuits, they are not, legally speaking, required. So what happens if you try to sue someone on your own.

Sometimes It’s Necessary

There are occasions when suing someone without a lawyer may not only be possible; it may be recommended. This is usually the case with smaller disputes that go to small claims court. In Florida, small claims are for $8000 or less, and while it’s still possible to hire a lawyer for such a case and be represented in court by that lawyer, most lawyers are reluctant to take such cases since often the fee for the attorney will outweigh whatever financial damage is won.

For these smaller amounts, it’s often better to take the advice of lawyers who will likely tell you to try to sort out this kind of litigation on your own. Small claims court is faster and simpler than a standard lawsuit trial that involves a jury and the discovery process.

Going On Your Own

For larger cases, such as a defective product from a company, wrongful death as a result of a car accident, or even premises liability, such as an injury sustained at a poorly maintained shopping mall or amusement park, lawyers are normally advised. If you don’t work with a lawyer and decide to move ahead with the lawsuit on your own, you will face certain obstacles, such as:

Court Protocol

American courtrooms have very specific, very detailed rules for the process of behavior and communication in court. If you don’t already know this process, you will have to educate yourself on how to behave and represent yourself in court, because failing to do so can get your case dismissed.

Small claims court is designed to be navigated by every day, average Americans, with simple rules and procedures. A formal trial, however, with a jury that needs to be convinced, and an opposing defense lawyer is a completely different situation. Not being prepared for it could mean errors that will cost you your case.

Building A Case

Winning a lawsuit means convincing a jury that your case is legitimate and deserves compensation. This means gathering and presenting evidence, and putting together a compelling argument, all within the established confines of the judicial system.

Building a case often means falling back on different sources of expertise. Accident reconstruction experts may be required for a traffic incident. Getting examined by a qualified medical expert who may then be required to give expert testimony to explain your condition is another possibility. Lawyers already have the connections, experience, and resources to assemble this evidence for a case. If you attempt this on your own, you’ll have to try to make these connections and investigations yourself.

If you’re injured, and you want to go to court, do with the help of a personal injury attorney. They only get paid if you win, and the money you think you’re saving may cost you the entire case.

Michael J. Babboni's wide-ranging legal career is based on the strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and have access to effective legal help. Michael began putting his beliefs in action by helping the people of St. Petersburg Florida get what they are owed in civil trials fighting to protect families by making corporations pay, and honor their obligations.

What Happens If You Engage In A Lawsuit Without A Lawyer?

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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