How Do I Know if I Need an Attorney?

At some point in your personal or working life, you may find that you have legal questions or legal issues that you cannot answer or resolve on your own. Usually a difficult or stressful change in your life will prompt you to seek legal help, such as a divorce or serious car accident. You may have little or no experience with the legal system and this will only add to the stress of your situation. Most people, at one or more points in their life, will need the services of an attorney. You probably do need to hire an attorney if your problem falls under any of the following categories:

  • Your problem involves a complex legal issue or multiple legal issues.
  • You have been served with a lawsuit.
  • You have been injured by the negligence of someone else and your injuries are serious, involve long-term treatment, or have caused a permanent disability.
  • You have tried to resolve a negligence claim on your own, but you cannot get it reasonably resolved.

Remember that trying to represent yourself can often lead to more problems than solutions. For example, an unrepresented person could make a procedural error which eliminates their chance of succeeding. Also, non-lawyers are almost always at a disadvantage when they attempt to represent themselves, and often times slow down the resolution of their cases.

When faced with a difficult legal situation, it is usually in your best interest to retain a lawyer.   A lawyer will be more familiar with the legal process, including legal deadlines, procedural rules, and court procedures. Below are some of the main reasons you should consider when deciding if you need a lawyer.

Not hiring a lawyer could be more costly than hiring one, especially if you need a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case.  Personal injury cases are most often handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not have to pay any legal fees until you receive compensation for your case.  Hiring an attorney can help ensure that you will receive the maximum amount of compensation.  On the other hand, not hiring a lawyer could cost you valuable amounts of settlement or verdict results that you may not get if you were to proceed with your case unrepresented.  Therefore, having a lawyer represent you can actually save you money in the long run.

A lawyer will know how to gather and decipher the evidence in your case and present the strongest argument in your favor.   A lawyer will also know which witnesses will be the most effective for your case.  In addition, a lawyer will have access to certain resources a non-lawyer probably will not, such as a network of expert witnesses.  If you are involved in a personal injury case, having the right expert witness could be critical to the success of your case.  

Lastly, a non-lawyer handling their own case will oftentimes fall into the trap of being too emotionally involved and becoming less effective.  Having an experienced lawyer who can remain emotionally detached will help you handle the ins and outs that may arise during the course of your case.  






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