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Should you handle your accident or medical malpractice or wrongful death case on your own?


A: You could. However, before doing so, make sure you understand the following:

You must understand all the procedures involved with evaluating a case, starting a case, proceeding through a case, trying your case and appealing your case.

More specifically, make sure you understand the time limit necessary to file a lawsuit; understand what a summons and complaint is. Know how to prepare those documents, how to serve them and where to file them. Make sure you understand how much time the defendants have to answer and what to do if they do not serve an answer in a timely fashion.

Do you know what a notice of medical malpractice action is? Do you know what a preliminary conference is? Do you know what documents must be exchanged as part of the discovery process–and more importantly, do you know what documents you should never exchange?

Do you know how to conduct the deposition and what objections to raise? Do you know how to question a doctor at a deposition? Do you know what elements are necessary to make out a prima facie case?

You know how to answer or make motions to the court together with legal support to argue either for or against a particular position?

Do you know how to prepare your case for trial? Do you know what subpoenas you will need? Do you know how to introduce evidence and prepare a memorandum of law? Do you know how to handle opening arguments and direct examination and cross-examination of different witnesses?

Are you familiar with a charge conference and what is involved with a charge conference? Do you know what you can and cannot say during closing arguments? Do you know what motions you must make at the end when the jury has reached a verdict? Do you know how to oppose a motion for summary judgment?

If you know how to do all these things, I want to congratulate you since you are way ahead of most people who need legal advice.

The short answer is that you do not need an attorney to represent you. However, the better answer is that unless you are a practicing trial attorney who handles accident cases, personal injury lawsuits, medical malpractice cases or wrongful death cases on a daily basis, my recommendation is to hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the litigation process.