Representing yourself is called, in civil litigation, being in Pro Per. A self represented litigant is not that uncommon. The primary motivation for self representation seems to be avoidance of the attorneys’ fees, or the contingency fee paid to the attorney at the conclusion of the case. Self represented litigants feel that they can represent themselves, they can learn the procedures, they can muster enough to advocate their case. Even if they do not do as well as an attorney, they reason, they will still end up ahead, since they have no attorneys’ fees. People seek to represent themselves as plaintiffs in personal injury accidents, auto accidents, or other motor vehicle accidents.
Self representation, however, has severe disadvantages. It is not that the self represented litigant cannot learn the procedures sufficiently to keep his or her case in court, or that the self represented litigant cannot advocate for his or her interests. Generally, the courts and judges will try to make things easier on the self represented litigant.
It is the unfamiliarity with how to properly advocate, or defend, the case that leads to the greatest detriment. Your adversary- whether a lawyer, an insurance company, or some other type of claims handler, will take severe advantage of you and rob you of your ability to obtain the proper compensation that you may deserve. Even with the attorney’s fees, your case will be worth so much more with proper representation that you will end up in a far superior position, even after incurring attorney’s fees, than if you remained self represented.
If you are interested in self representation, take advantage of a attorney’s free consultation and discuss the matter with an attorney. Take his or her advise seriously regarding whether or not self representation is the proper course.