Yes, from a legal perspective, you can file a malpractice suit without a lawyer. However, before making this decision, you should consider many other factors, including the deep complexity of this type of case, as well as the fact that it could cost you nothing to hire a lawyer to file your case and represent you—meaning you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking with a lawyer.
Even if you believe your case involves a straightforward medical “never event” that clearly illustrates a doctor’s liability, with two strong benefits clearly detailed above for speaking with a lawyer about your case, why would you file a malpractice suit without a lawyer?
The Complexity of Representing Yourself
The decision to file a malpractice suit without a lawyer is something you should consider carefully. Malpractice lawsuits represent a complex type of civil lawsuit, largely because as the plaintiff, you must prove both legal and medical issues.
Also, keep in mind that you will be facing lawyers who represent the defendant or more likely the defendant’s malpractice insurance carrier. These attorneys may retain a team of investigators and subject matter experts for the exclusive purpose of refuting your case.
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The Many Details that You Must Address
If you choose to represent yourself, you will be responsible for:
- Filing motions.
- Obtaining evidence, witnesses, and documentation.
- Meeting court deadlines.
- Deposing witnesses.
These tasks represent only a partial to-do list for pretrial procedures. On top of these tasks, you still must prepare for trial. You will need to prepare an opening statement and insightful questions, as well as know how to conduct yourself in front of a judge and jury.
The Physical Toll You May Experience
As the sole responsible party for a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must leave your house to file certain documentation, meet with potential witnesses, and take care of other issues.
Ask yourself whether you have the stamina to commit the necessary time and energy to file a malpractice lawsuit, gather evidence, calculate an accurate range of damages, negotiate with insurers and lawyers, and possibly represent yourself in a court of law.
Consider whether any medication you may be taking could cloud your judgement. Also, consider any mobility or travel issues that could restrict your ability to get everywhere you need to be throughout the lifespan of your case.
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The defendant’s lawyer may argue that if you feel well enough to tackle a lawsuit on your own, you may not be as seriously injured or negatively affected by malpractice as you claim.
You will need to obtain evidence and testimony to support your claim for injuries and damages. Also, prepare for the reality that the defense will openly question the validity of your case. Such questioning could rattle you, causing you to respond in a manner that ultimately damages your case.
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Preparing for a Drawn Out Process
Defense lawyers for the insurance company benefit from a deep knowledge of the legal system. They know how to make the system work to their advantage. They also know that you may not enjoy the same level of familiarity with liability and negligence laws.
Malpractice insurance companies can afford to wait you out so they can settle as cheaply as possible. On the other hand, most people cannot afford to wait months or years for compensation. The situation worsens for people who cannot work because of their injuries.
What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You if You File a Malpractice Suit Without a Lawyer
When you make a conscious decision to file a malpractice suit without a lawyer, the court will treat you the same as the defendant’s lawyers. They will expect you to understand and follow the same legal process as the defense.
In general, the court does not have much patience for plaintiffs who arrive late, come unprepared, or delay the proceedings. You could innocently or inadvertently jeopardize your case because you lack an in-depth understanding of medical malpractice law and courtroom protocol.
Money May Be a Non-Issue
If you want to file a malpractice suit without a lawyer because you think you cannot afford a lawyer, you should reconsider your decision. Our malpractice lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC work on a contingency fee basis only. This means that you pay nothing upfront. You pay us if and when we recover the compensation you deserve. In addition, a medical malpractice lawyer can request that the defendant pay your attorneys’ fees as part of the settlement.
We Invite You to Call for a Free Case Evaluation
Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to some researchers. Ben Crump Law, PLLC has helped many clients recover compensation and achieve justice. If you or a loved one suffered an injury through medical malpractice or negligence, please call for a free case evaluation. You pay no fees unless we are successful. Call today: 800-641-8998.
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