You are legally allowed to sue for damages in the wake of a personal injury without a lawyer. However, whether you can sue for personal injury without a lawyer is not the only question you may need to ask. This article will provide an overview of what a personal injury lawsuit involves and what you can expect if you choose to proceed without a lawyer.
Common Personal Injury Lawsuits
Personal injury lawsuits are cases where the claimant believes that another party’s careless or reckless behavior was responsible for their injury. You can file a personal injury suit after any number of accidents, such as:
- Motor vehicle accidents: this includes accidents caused by drunk or distracted driving, speeding, and more. It also includes accidents involving a truck or a motorcycle, or an accident where a vehicle hit a pedestrian.
- Dog bites: you were attacked by someone’s pet or guard dog.
- Slip and fall accidents: you fell and were injured on someone else’s property because they failed to maintain it properly.
- Medical malpractice: your doctor made a mistake or was negligent during treatment or surgery.
This is just a small sampling of the situations that may result in a personal injury lawsuit. Every case is unique and will involve different causes, results, and potential damages.
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How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit involves more than just informing all of the relevant parties.
To convince the other party that you deserve compensation, you will need to put together a strong argument that the accident and your injury happened exactly as you claim. Evidence may include:
- Medical records
- Repair bills
- Eyewitness testimony
- Maintenance records
- Surveillance video
- Police reports
Studying Relevant Laws
There are a number of laws you must take into account when suing for personal injury. The laws relevant to your case will vary depending on the nature of your accident. However, there are two laws that apply to most, if not all, personal injury lawsuits in Texas.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 sets the statute of limitations for personal injury cases at two years. That means you typically have only two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
You will also need to consider proportionate responsibility when building your case. Proportionate responsibility, as defined in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001, states that you cannot receive any compensation if you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
Suing for Personal Injury without a Lawyer
Section 35 of The Judiciary Act of 1789 gives everyone the right to represent themselves in legal matters. That said, your case will likely involve many complex, interlocking laws and procedures. The system will not make allowances for you just because you are not a lawyer. You will be expected to submit all paperwork correctly, gather evidence in a timely manner, and, in the event of a court trial, abide by all courtroom rules of behavior.
When you file a lawsuit, you are really asking the responsible party and/or their insurance company to compensate you for money lost and injuries suffered. In many cases, the insurance company would much rather settle out of court than go through the hassle of a trial.
If the insurance company offers you a settlement, you have several options. You can negotiate for more money if you believe they are lowballing you. If and when you are happy with the amount offered, you can accept it. In either case, it might be wise to have a lawyer look at the offered settlement. That way, you can be sure you are getting the money you deserve.
If you and the insurance company are unable to agree on a settlement, you can take your case to court. At court, you will have to present a strong case to convince a jury that you deserve the damages you are asking for. This may involve tracking down and questioning witnesses, submitting supporting documentation, and more.
Whether or not you go to trial, lawsuits require a great deal of time and effort, as well as a comfortable knowledge of the relevant statutes. If you do not feel you are physically and emotionally equipped to handle it all, you may want to hire an attorney. Many lawyers, including those at Loncar Lyon Jenkins, work on a contingency basis, so you do not have to pay them unless and until you receive compensation.
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Schedule a Free Consultation with a Legal Professional
You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free consultation to find out more about the process of suing for personal injury and decide if you want to proceed with or without a lawyer.
Call in the Strong Arm. Loncar Lyon Jenkins has the experience and the skill to fight for your rights, whether at the negotiating table or in the courtroom. Call our office at 800-777-7777 for a free case evaluation.