As the injured victim (plaintiff) in a personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska, you need to know several important laws and legal terms. Having at least a basic grasp of Nebraska’s personal injury terms could help you protect your rights. Choosing pro se litigation, for example, could be a costly mistake for you as a plaintiff or the right choice, depending on the circumstances. Explore the pros and cons of pro se litigation with help from an Omaha personal injury lawyer before making your decision.
Definition of Pro Se Litigation
Pro se litigation is the legal phrase for self-representation during a court case. If a plaintiff chooses to represent him or herself during a personal injury claim rather than hiring an attorney, that plaintiff is engaging in pro se litigation. The Latin phrase pro se translates to for oneself or on behalf of oneself. Pro se litigants are relatively common in low-value claims, such as claims that go to Nebraska’s Small Claims Courts. They are less common in higher-value cases where the plaintiffs have more to lose, however. If you choose to go pro se, you will be in charge of litigating your personal injury lawsuit on your own.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Pro Se Litigation?
Pro se litigation comes with important pros and cons you must understand as a plaintiff. It is your responsibility to fully comprehend the risks you are taking by choosing pro se litigation. Historically, despite potentially saving the claimant time and money, pro se litigation can pose many problems for self-represented plaintiffs as well as the defendants involved in the case.
- Pro: saving money on attorney’s fees. The number one reason plaintiffs decide to represent themselves is to save money. You will not have to give a lawyer a percentage of your recovery if you choose pro se litigation and win your case.
- Con: doing without professional legal advice. The courts in Nebraska will hold you to the same standards as an attorney; however, you will not have the knowledge or advice of a lawyer to support you – possibly leading to serious mistakes on your part.
- Pro: knowing more about your case. During pro se litigation, you will be the person who knows the most about your case. You will never be in the dark about the status of your lawsuit, as you might be with a lawyer handling things.
- Con: not having the resources and skills of an attorney. It can be easy for the opposition to take advantage of you as a pro se litigant. Without the experience, knowledge and skill of a lawyer, you may be unable to protect yourself from common defense tactics.
It is critical to thoroughly investigate all your options before choosing pro se litigation. Opting to represent yourself could be a mistake depending on your specific case. Do not assume you have what it takes to successfully represent yourself without first talking to a personal injury attorney. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations so you can discuss your options at no cost or obligation. If you decide to handle your case on your own, keep the lawyer in your contact list in case you decide to hire representation later.
What Are Your Legal Options?
If the potential benefits of pro se litigation interest you but you are nervous about fully representing yourself, consider a hybrid option. You may be able to find a lawyer who is willing to mix pro se litigation with professional counsel or representation. Working with an attorney during at least parts of your claim could help you avoid serious mistakes.
If, however, your case involves high-value losses, catastrophic injuries, the wrongful death of a loved one, or complicating factors such as broken laws, hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you. Pro se litigation on a complex case could lead to devastating mistakes such as accepting less than your injuries are worth. Talk your options over carefully with a personal injury attorney in Omaha to make the correct decision for your case.