First of all, what is PRO SE? Simple enough to answer, but a good question nonetheless. Unless you live, eat, and breath in the legal environment or you’ve been to court representing yourself, you may never have heard these words.
Pro se is Latin for meaning “for oneself.” It means in a court of law that you decide to represent yourself rather than have someone else represent you. It can also be interpreted to mean “on one’s own behalf.”
It’s not uncommon for folks to want to save the money of hiring an attorney, but is that always the wisest route to go? When it comes to personal injury cases is the ordinary person as capable of representing themselves as a schooled personal injury attorney? Let’s take a look.
• Minimal, if any, law knowledge
• Minimal, if any, experience with personal injury case
• Injury may cause physical or mental impairment – inability to represent self
• Likely settle for less than if represented by attorney
Personal Injury Attorney
• Law degree and Law school
• Daily job – handle personal injury cases
• Takes care of the case preparation, evidence collection, paperwork, and court appearance helping you to worry only about recovery
• Often obtains higher settlements because they know how to negotiate for fair compensation
Given all of these facts, do people still do Pro Se? Yes, they do. In fact, in 2010-2011, in California courts there were about 9.5 million cases filed. Almost 31,000 were civil cases. Check out this breakdown:
That’s a lot of people who apparently did not receive the best representation or didn’t get the best settlements possible. Why does this occur? This survey of 61 chief justices may give us a clue into the problems associated with Pro Se cases.
• 70% believed pleadings/submissions were not understandable, unnecessary, and/or illegible
• 67% believed responses to motions for dismissal or summary judgments were flawed
• 58% felt the Pro Se litigants lacked law knowledge sufficient to help their cases
• 54% felt the Pro Se litigants failed to object when they should have
• 53% felt the Pro Se litigant actually failed to understand the consequences of their own actions or inactions
• 49% stated that the Pro Se litigant failed to file their pleadings or submissions to completion
Most people would agree that education as a whole is good. People would also likely agree that individuals go on to higher education for purpose. It would then seem to reason that people would agree the purpose and intent of higher education is good. Why then would individuals not seek out representation by an educated attorney when they would more than likely be more successful?