PERSONAL INJURY VICTIM DISMISSES HER LAWYER
A personal injury victim dismisses her lawyer and tries to represent herself, and gets a rude shock in court.
A woman named Melissa claimed that she suffered personal injury as the result of a car accident. Melissa claimed the accident was caused by a man named Christian. Supposedly, Christian turned his vehicle in front of her.
Melissa hired a personal injury lawyer. The personal injury lawyer filed a court complaint.
After receiving an offer of settlement that she deemed to be inadequate, Melissa fired her personal injury attorney. Melissa proceeded to represent herself.
In later court papers, she maintained she did all she could to prosecute her case.
But the trial judge dismissed Melissa’s case because she didn’t respond to certain information requests made by Christian’s lawyer. The dismissal was made without prejudice. That means that Melissa could still refile the case later.
After Melissa received the order of dismissal, she provided some responses. Christian’s attorney then personally advised her that, under the court rules, she needed to file a court motion to reinstate her case. The lawyer provided specific instructions on how to do so.
However, despite the fact, Melissa received assistance from the trial court staff and Christian’s lawyer, she failed to file the proper motion.
As allowed by the court rules, when sixty days had passed, Christian’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the case with prejudice. That means that Melissa would not be able to refile the case later.
Melissa now filed a motion to reinstate the case. But her written motion apparently did not comply with the requirements of the Court Rules.
Melissa did not even appear in court to argue her case before the judge, as required by the court rules. She maintained she was told by a clerk that she did not have to appear.
The trial judge claimed otherwise. He stated his staff reached out to Melissa and that she opted not to appear.
Therefore, the judge dismissed her case with prejudice. Melissa could not recover any compensation for her claimed injuries.
Melissa filed an appeal herself. She lost, though. The appeals court stated that the trial judge was within his discretion to dismiss her case with prejudice.
There’s an old saying. A person who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client. There’s a lot of wisdom in that saying. Especially for a personal injury victim. It would have been better to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.