Should I Hire an Attorney? Statistics Do Not Lie
Many people file what are known as pro se lawsuits (lawsuits brought without attorney assistance) every year. A large portion of pro se lawsuits that are brought often have no legal merit, but many others do. It is not uncommon for self-represented litigants to secure settlements, but those settlements are often quite small compared to settlements and verdicts in similar cases handled by attorneys. Many other pro se litigants have their cases dismissed due to procedural issues and receive no financial compensation.
Unfortunately, the statistics tend to show that attorney representation is the sole cause correlated with larger settlements and verdicts. More and more injured persons are hiring attorneys, and studies have found that represented injury victims were more likely to receive high-end medical care, received higher net payments on average, and received those payments faster. There are many possible reasons for this reality:
Self-Represented Claimants Are Not Courtroom Procedure Experts
It is generally possible to learn everything needed for effective self-representation either online or by reading law books at a local law library. Not only is that knowledge base not intuitive, however, it is more likely to be misunderstood or misapplied. The number one reason self-represented litigants lose their cases is due to a procedural deficiency or error. Court procedure is complicated, and even though many self-represented litigants can and do learn and follow the procedural rules, mistakes are easy. A procedural mistake can torpedo a valid lawsuit and result in dismissal of the claim.
Insurance Companies and Represented Defendants Take Advantage
In settlement negotiations, the first offer is never the best offer. In highly contested claims cases, a valuable settlement for the injured party rarely results from anything less than a coordinated claims mediation process involving attorneys. Insurance companies have many tricks and strategies ranging from claim denial to under-valuation to convince unrepresented claimants to take less than their case is really worth. Having an experienced attorney negotiate on your behalf precipitously increases your chances of a higher value settlement.
The Evidence and Discovery Game is Foreign to Self-Represented Litigants
Learning courtroom procedure is one thing, but knowing how to use it to your advantage is a completely different ball game. Many pro se litigants learn enough about the law to ensure that their case survives the courtroom process, but do not go further and learn how procedure wins cases. The “value” of a case is constantly re-calculated depending on the available evidence. The average auto-injury broken leg case may be worth thousand dollars with a favorable police report and accident photos, but add the testimony of medical experts and accident forensics, the value jumps by thousands of dollars simply because the weight of the evidence makes a verdict or settlement more likely. Experienced attorneys are not only familiar with the rules of evidence, but know how to use them to scrape more value out of a case.
Experience, Legal Knowledge, and Practice
Personal injury attorneys represent injury victims for a living, and nothing can truly substitute for a wealth of experience and courtroom intuition. Most experienced attorneys have seen just about everything in the legal realm of possibilities and know how to handle most injury cases. Experienced attorneys know the insurance companies, know the defense lawyers, and know the judges. While having an attorney fighting for your case cannot guarantee a verdict, the statistics do not lie; the chance of a legal victory is markedly increased.
If you or a loved one has been recently injured in Wauwatosa and the Milwaukee area, contact the Groth Law Firm S.C. Our experienced team of injury attorneys has been practicing personal injury law for decades. Helping you recover from your injury is our mission, and you can contact our law firm for a consultation at 414-375-2030.