/ Personal Injury / Can I represent myself?

Can I represent myself in my personal injury claim?

It is possible to represent yourself in your personal injury claim, without using the services of a personal injury solicitor.

But you need to know what you are doing: read below to see some of the issue you will need to consider if you decide to take this route for your personal injury claim.

Disclaimer

This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist personal solicitor for advice on your specific circumstances.

Can I represent myself in my personal injury claim?

Yes. There is no requirement to hire a solicitor when making a personal injury claim. You can represent yourself in settlement negotiations and in court. But – representing yourself is a big task. So carefully consider the pros and cons before making a decision.

Personal Injury Solicitor Northern Ireland
Solicitors aren’t exactly popular, are they?
They’re never there when you ring them.

They’re expensive.

And it’s not clear what exactly they do to justify the big fees.

So…if you can represent yourself in court, why not cut out the solicitor and save all the money and hassle?

Well, let’s look at the pros and cons of hiring a solicitor for your accident claim – and then you can decide what’s best for you.

Representing yourself: the pros

• You might save some money on legal fees if you represent yourself.

• You are the person who is living first-hand with the consequences of the accident. So you might be the best person to communicate that to the defendant, insurance company, judge, etc.

• Some people think that people who represent themselves in court have an advantage.

Representing yourself: the cons

• Insurance company claims managers are seriously tough negotiators. Their job is to get away with paying you as little as possible. If you aren’t an experienced negotiator and don’t have a knowledge of the law, you’ll be at a disadvantage.

• Litigation is complex. You will spend many, many hours learning legal principles, court procedures and rules of evidence (just winging it won’t work).

• Mistakes are costly. Something you miss could reduce the amount of compensation you get. Or could wreck your claim completely (in which case you may be responsible for the defendant’s legal costs – likely to run into thousands of pounds).

• You’ll have to prepare all the evidential documents to prove your claim (many hundreds of pages of evidence wouldn’t be unusual).

• If you hire a solicitor and they make a mistake with your claim, you can sue the solicitor for your losses. If you mess up the claim, you can’t blame anyone but yourself. You just have to live with the consequences.

• A Law Society and Financial Conduct Authority study revealed that people who used solicitors in personal injury claims got on average 2 – 3 times more compensation than those that didn't.
Of course, the choice is yours. 

But remember – no defendant will hand over thousands of pounds of compensation to you easily.
It’s going to be a fight.

Just like you want to get as much compensation as possible, the defendant will do everything they can to pay you as little compensation as possible. Or nothing at all.

That’s their job.

For a small number of people, who relish a challenge and the risk involved, representing themselves will be a viable option.

For everyone else, hiring a good personal injury solicitor will be the best way to secure a good result for your claim.
The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.

If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.
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