Should I consider representing myself?

by Andrew Lind on 8 January, 16

Self-representation is always an option through personal injury claims. Legal fees can be costly, and you need to take that into account when you are considering which option is best for you.

Most of the time, personal injury lawyers will offer you a free initial consultation. This is definitely something you should take advantage of because:

(a) the lawyer should be able to tell you straight away whether you have legitimate grounds for a claim;

(b) they will be able to let you know the complexity of your case; and

(c) they will be able to let you know whether there is a substantial amount of compensation to be sought.

All of these factors will help you to decide whether your matter should be handled by a personal injury lawyer, or whether you can, or should, take it on yourself.

Having this initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer will help you to properly determine what course of action is best for you and your circumstances.

Another offer usually provided by a personal injury lawyers is one of ‘no win no fee’. This option makes retaining a personal injury lawyer accessible to everyone, as the legal fees will simply be taken out of your payout should your claim be successful. However, if a lawyer offering ‘no win no fee’ believes that your claim will not bring about a substantial compensation payout, or that your claim is likely to fail, then they may refuse to represent you. If this happens, it can be a clear indication of your prospects. But all is not lost as, like we mentioned before, self-representation is always an option.

As a rule of thumb, it is always better to have a lawyer representing you in legal proceedings, but representing yourself is not impossible. To assist you, there are several useful and in depth self-help kits to walk you through the process. If you are in Queensland, you may wish to refer to the Online Personal Injuries Self-Help Kit, which is funded by Legal Aid Queensland and is a very comprehensive guide to assist individuals to file a claim for compensation in small personal injury matters in Queensland.

Unless you are very confident in your ability to represent yourself through a personal injury claim, the only two situations where it may be better to self-represent than to instruct a lawyer are where you are seeking compensation for a small amount of money, or if you can’t find a lawyer who will take your matter on.

If you wish to have a free consultation with one of our Brisbane personal injury lawyers, you can contact our office on (07) 3252 0011 or through our general enquiries page.

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