Absolutely not. You have right to represent yourself -- although it's a really bad idea when there are plenty of lawyers who might take this case in anticipation of being paid from the settlement. To use your term, it is "obvious malpractice" for a non-lawyer to represent you in court, POA or not. The only circumstance where a judge might entertain the idea is if you were incapacitated -- and in that case, the judge would appoint a lawyer as an guardian ad litem to represent your interests.
You may have a pretty decent case -- but you need a lawyer to help you out here. Get one.
You need to find a competent attorney that will be able to handle your case. There are many attorneys out there who would be willing to take your case on a contingent-fee, meaning they get paid from whatever settlement you are able to recover. To start you should contact the Mass. Bar Association's Lawyer referral service and they will refer you to attorneys who maybe willing to take on your case.