Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Utah

If you’ve been accused of a crime, it’s a great idea to hire a professional criminal defense attorney in Utah. You can represent yourself in a courtroom but it’s not advisable because you’ll probably have a higher possibility of facing a jail term. Criminal offense is normally associated with high penalties. Benefits of a criminal defense attorney Utah are valuable because they have enough knowledge about the ins and outs of the legal process. These lawyers strive to excel in your case thus protecting your rights.

It’s a good idea to hire a criminal attorney as soon as possible to prevent any mistakes that can jeopardize your criminal case. This clearly shows that a criminal attorney in Salt Lake City Utah will assist you from the start of the ordeal to the end. Below are reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney Utah.

1. You’ll Save Your Money

A more experienced criminal lawyer will always save a huge amount of money l, especially in the long run. Their experience and skills will reduce your sentence which will concurrently help you to retain your professional license and keep your job. Representing yourself can lead to the loss of a job as well as a professional license because you’ll probably commit some mistakes. This may cost you a lot because you’ll not have time to perform your day to day time or other beneficial investments.

2. Assess Law Enforcement Conduct

An average individual won’t have an actual understanding of the legal limits. Law enforcement can go beyond their limit when obtaining evidence from a criminal case. Experienced criminal defense attorneys have enough knowledge about the nuances of proper procedure. This helps them to identify any loopholes and blind spots in a criminal case thus enhancing your chances of winning the case. Hire a defense attorney as soon as possible so as to prevent police officers from violating your rights. Improper handling of a criminal case investigation can lead to dismissals because the evidence will be thrown away.

3. Legal Expertise and Knowledge

The prominent advantage of hiring an expert criminal defense attorney is the expertise needed in a crime scene. Professional lawyers have enough skills in the ins and outs of a legal system. A certified attorney has studied various aspects of the criminal justice system. This helps them handle well all the cases related to their area of specialization. Utah criminal defense lawyers are licensed thus showing how credible they’ll be in dealing professionally with your case. Their knowledge, experience, and expertise help them build a strong case in which concurrently helps you win the case.

4. Prevents Heavy Penalties

A professional criminal lawyer in Utah will make sure all your rights are well protected from the beginning to the end. Qualified and experienced criminal attorneys in Utah will always ensure you get the best results possible. There in-depth experience in this field helps you win the case.

5. They Catalyze the Process

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is fundamental because it helps individuals clear their reputation as well as regain their freedom. The right criminal attorney will catalyze the entire process to minimize the chances of law enforcement from obtaining more pieces of evidence. This law expertise will react immediately so as to mitigate the consequences and risks involved in your criminal case.

6. Enough Knowledge about Criminal Law System

Reputable criminal defense attorneys in Utah have spent more than five years in this field. They clearly understand the penal law system. During their entire law studies, lawyers gain enough experience and knowledge that plays a vital role in your case. When choosing the right criminal defense lawyer in Utah it’s advisable to select an experienced lawyer with a good reputation so as to get a positive judgment.

7. Assess the Variable of a Case

Cases are thrown out or dismissed only if there are incorrect legal procedures during the arrest or during detainment. Qualified criminal attorneys in Utah have enough skills to make sure that law enforcement adheres to all legal procedures and respects the rights of the accused. In a criminal case, there are aspects and variables that must be considered before and during the case.

Conclusion

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it’s a great idea to hire Utah criminal defense lawyers. These lawyers have enough skills and experience in dealing with criminal cases. This helps them enhance their reputation because they work to satisfy your expectations.

How Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

Many people feel they shouldn’t worry about the accident and worry about things covering their insurance. However, in many cases, a car accident lawyer is needed to help you get what you deserve. Although it is not necessary after each accident or even after each major accident, there are many cases in which you are paid to hire a Las Vegas car accident lawyer.

First, your need for an accident lawyer depends on the severity of the incident and the resulting injuries. Fender Bender generally does not need litigation and probably does not need a lawyer to handle the situation. On the other hand, a serious accident in which one or more vehicles are “assembled” often requires legal assistance that will guide you through the often confusing aspects of dealing with insurance companies. If you are injured in a car accident, Las Vegas car accident lawyers can help you find the comparison you deserve.

The services may be necessary to prove that the other driver was negligent in a car accident in Las Vegas. This problem can be very complicated, especially if the vehicle accident causes serious injuries to the driver or passengers of the vehicle. The lawyer helps prove that the petitioner has suffered personal injury or emotional trauma in a car accident. Lawyers are better able to eliminate unwanted details and focus on the facts while addressing the judiciary on behalf of the client. You are qualified to sue and claim damages.

Searching in local newspapers or searching the yellow pages is the first step in finding a suitable Las Vegas attorney. With the advent of the Internet, information about the Las Vegas Accident Lawyer is also available online. It is important to know and make sure that the final lawyer has successfully represented many auto accident cases in Las Vegas. Knowing the Las Vegas law and the ease of public communication are some of the other factors that you need to follow when choosing a car accident lawyer.

Why is a car accident lawyer important?

• They can help you settle any medical expenses. This includes all other expenses that may arise in the future as a result of this incident.

• They can also help you cover the costs associated with damage to your vehicle.

• It can also be helpful to pay the lost wages of the employer.

• You can work with insurance companies to ensure that all details are well covered and that your rights are protected.

• Make sure that any agony and pain you experience is corrected as soon as possible.

• In case of a passenger death, the lawyers will help you get the compensation to cover the funeral services.

• The cost of illegal deaths will also be recovered in a timely and adequate manner with the assistance of a lawyer.

• Advises the client on how to claim compensation and take legal action against an insurance company to protect the rights of the victim better.

• The lawyer is an expert in evaluating important details in police/medical reports, as well as in interviewing witnesses at the scene.

• The car accident lawyer collects all the necessary information, tries to find out how the accident happened and why it happened, and provides details of all the people involved. By capturing this type of detail, professionalism appears in their work, which also guarantees a better chance of justice for the victim.

• During a conversation with your insurance company about an injured victim, your lawyer must be present. This is because the options that have been taken are very important and you need your advice.

Above all, if you are involved in a car accident, you should first talk to your insurance company if you have previously spoken with an experienced lawyer. The car accident lawyer handles all communications and, if necessary, provides a professional response to any questions asked on behalf of the other party or insurance company.

At some point in his life, he is likely to be involved in a car accident. This can cause trauma and most fearful if it is the first time one is involved in an accident. After an accident, you may feel tired and scared if you repair your car and treat it for your injuries. If you find yourself in such a terrible situation, you must know what to do. Not only do you need to share your contact information and insurance numbers with the other party, but you also need to know when the capabilities of the car accident lawyers are required.

San Diego Attorneys Helping Victims of Auto Accidents

Being involved in a vehicular accident is no joke. Traffic accidents involving trucks can leave severe damages to public properties, people in other vehicles, and bystanders. While it’s not always easy to determine who is liable for the car accident, a 1-800 Hurt-Now truck accident injury attorney will help figure out the parties responsible for the incident. If you’ve been involved in a vehicular accident involving a commercial trucking company and would like to know how to sue the company, here are the steps you can follow.

Determine the Liability for a Truck Accident

Unlike with car accidents where you can sue the other driver for the road disaster, determining the liability in a truck accident can be challenging and complicated. There are many factors to consider when you investigate the truck accident to find out who is responsible for your personal injuries. Fortunately, there are ways to determine the liability of the truck driver and commercial trucking company. One is by contacting a personal injury lawyer to help you file your claim and win your case.

Organize Your Evidence Before Filing a Truck Accident Injury Claim

Before you file a complaint, you should have evaluated your claim and organized your medical and legal evidence. You must identify the responsible party first before you file a truck accident lawsuit. As the complainant, you should also compute your potential damages and evaluate the strength of your negligence claim. You must understand the importance of weighing the strengths and weaknesses of your truck accident injury case before filing the complaint. The other party will easily counter your claim if your negligence claim has its weaknesses.

Hire a Legal Expert in Vehicular Accident Claims

The best way to strengthen your case is to hire a San Diego vehicular accident attorney not a criminal defense attorney. A legal professional will listen to your story, evaluate what happened, and find out the cause of the accident. A San Diego vehicular accident lawyer will also investigate to find out who is responsible for the road mishap. A lawyer can look into a commercial trucking company’s negligence and its role in the truck accident case. In most cases, the company plays a role in the driver’s negligence which results in a vehicular accident.

Sue the Driver and the Commercial Trucking Company

If a commercial trucking company employs the truck driver, you can sue both the driver and his employer for the damages caused by the vehicular accident. The commercial trucking company is equally responsible for the actions and negligence of the truck driver. Therefore, they are both responsible for the road mishap. However, if the driver is acting outside the scope of the company, therefore the commercial trucking company is not liable for his actions. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, it means that he does not have a formal employer. You can sue him for the personal injuries, but you can’t sue the company for the truck accident. You must determine the identity of the parties involved in the vehicular accident, especially the ones responsible for the disaster.

Although it is not easy to win a personal injury case due to the argument and counter of commercial trucking companies and insurance companies, hiring a San Diego vehicular accident lawyer will significantly raise your winning percentage. Since insurance companies can use scopes of employment arguments to deny a truck accident claim, you need a lawyer to make sure you have a strong case against the truck driver and the commercial trucking company. Get legal professional service today and find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your personal injuries from a car accident.

HOW CAN I FIND A REALLY GOOD LAWYER FOR WHAT I NEED?

how to find a good lawyerSomething unfortunate has happened, and your solution involves our legal system.  However, you may not be sure where to begin or who you can trust to get the help you need.  While you probably do need an attorney, searching for legal help may seem overwhelming.

In fact, there is good reason to feel overwhelmed. There are approximately 6,000 lawyers in Sacramento County alone, which is just one of 58 counties in California.  There are also thousands of national firms that advertise in the region, various subscription legal help plans, and countless online legal resources.

Where to begin? Let’s look at some steps to finding the legal assistance you need:

DO YOU REALLY NEED AN ATTORNEY?

Most of us are tempted by a DIY project that might save us money. With so much information online, individuals may be able to reasonably handle certain, straightforward situations on their own, such as:

  • Writing a letter to a company that provided substandard service may resolve your dispute.
  • Limited damage amounts might be appropriate for small claims court, where attorneys are generally not allowed.
  • Minor, non-injury car accidents can typically be managed between representing insurance companies.
  • With employment situations, you may need to exhaust options available to you directly with your employer and/or file a formal labor board complaint before being formally represented by an attorney.

However, there are many important reasons to consider hiring an attorney, including:

  • The other side has retained legal counsel, putting you at a disadvantage.
  • You are facing criminal charges and could go to jail.
  • You feel unprepared and uncomfortable with navigating the legal process, dealing with the court system, or understanding legal rules, terms, documents, and procedures.
  • Your situation is complicated. This includes a contentious divorce, larger estates, adoption, and complex business matters.
  • Bodily injury is involved.
  • Some types of cases do not allow pro se (meaning “for yourself”) legal representation. For example, a pro se litigant is not allowed to act as a class representative in a class action lawsuit.

The risks of legal self-representation can be also costly. Common challenges with taking legal action on your own without an attorney include:

  • Case-Specific Rules – Despite the wealth of information on the internet, there are numerous procedures and rules that apply to any given legal case. For instance, if a statute of limitation (a time limit for pursuing a case) is not met, you may lose your right to file a complaint altogether.
  • Lack of Expertise — A competent lawyer has invaluable training and experience about the law as it relates to you, the legal process, and interacting with the court system. Lack of expertise can be a serious downfall in a complex situation.
  • Unknown Rights – Your rights can easily be infringed upon if you aren’t aware of them. If the other side has legal representation, they can and will take advantage of this.
  • High Stakes – Having an expert on your side is critical when you have a lot on the line. Losing your case may have life-changing consequences.
  • Focus – When you represent yourself, you are acting as both the client and the attorney, requiring all of the time commitment, availability, emotional control, communication abilities, and resources that might be involved.
  • Negotiations – Simply having legal representation paves the way for stronger negotiations, and your lawyer will know what constitutes a good deal and will make informed recommendations.

If your legal situation seems overwhelming, consider speaking with a lawyer. Some law firms offer a free case evaluation or a low-cost initial consultation.

WHAT TYPE OF LAW APPLIES TO YOUR SITUATION?

If you think you need legal representation, the next step is determining the type of attorney to best help with your particular problem.

There are specialty areas of law, just like with medicine. For instance, you wouldn’t consult with a brain surgeon about a broken toe!

Similar to a physician, a skilled attorney focuses on a certain scope of law. There are nearly 20 major areas of law practice, with numerous subspecialties within each area. Here a just a few examples:

  • Family Law – issues involving domestic partners and family units, such as divorce, adoption, alimony, and child custody.
  • Criminal Law – related to violation of laws and punishment or rehabilitation of the offender.
  • Personal Injury – negligence that results in harm to an individual, such as a vehicle collision, unsafe environment, or dangerous product.
  • Labor/Employment Law – relations between workers and their employers, including wage theft, harassment, and wrongful termination.

In many legal fields, lawyers specialize in representation of one side: the plaintiff (the party who is filing a legal case against another) or the defendant (the party against whom the complaint is made).

If you were hurt in a car accident, you would be a plaintiff – filing a legal complaint about the driver who hit you. Your ideal attorney would have experience representing victims and pursuing cases against reckless drivers and their insurance companies. The negligent driver would be the defendant. Generally, defense attorneys for car accidents are hired by the insurance company, not the individual driver.

Online legal articles and resources are a great way to get a basic understanding of what type of law you are dealing with, so you know what type of law firm you should contact.

A lawyer that practices law in many different areas may know a little about a lot, but will not be well-equipped to handle a case with complex issues or aggressive opposition. A lawyer that specializes in a limited area will have a deeper understanding of your legal options, a broader range of relevant resources, and established connections within the applicable court system.

Here at the Arnold Law Firm, we have legal teams with expertise in handling personal injury, employment law, class action, and qui tam cases. We take pride in aggressively representing our clients who have been injured, have witnessed fraud, or were wrongfully terminated from their jobs — but we would not be the firm to pick for your divorce or bankruptcy!

The bigger your reason for legal help, the more important it is to select the right attorney with experience dealing with your specific need.

HOW DO YOU SELECT THE RIGHT ATTORNEY FOR YOU?

Now that you have a general idea of type of law that applies to your situation, there are several factors to consider to help choose a law firm that is a good fit for you.

COMPETENCY

Naturally, you want to hire a law firm that has a history of success in handling cases similar to yours. You can verify their competency and expertise in several ways:

  • Recommendations – Ask your friends and family members if they have used an attorney who specializes in the field of law you need. You can also read online reviews.
  • Results – Most law firms publish examples of case results and/or testimonial statements on their website. Make sure the firm has successfully handled cases that sound like yours. If you think your case may need to go to trial, find out how much trial experience the firm has and the judgments or verdicts they have won.
  • State Bar Profile – Every lawyer licensed to practice must be listed in their state’s bar association directory. For California, you can check the State Bar of California website to see whether an attorney is in good standing.

STAYING POWER

Some types of cases can take months or even years to resolve for various reasons, such as evidence gathering, delays with scheduling courtroom proceedings, negotiations, and trial. Your law firm must have the resources, staff, and experience to manage the demands of your case. An established law firm with a successful history will be better able to meet the needs of larger, more complex cases.

COST

The way legal services are billed varies between areas of law. For instance, a family law practice typically charges an upfront retainer before beginning representation, while a personal injury law firm usually works on a contingency, or a percentage of the money they obtain for you.

Research what rates are common for the type of legal services you need. Your law firm should explain their cost structure clearly and answer any questions you may have before you hire them.

COMMUNICATION

Because legal proceedings take time, attorneys work on multiple cases over that span of time. It is important that your lawyer has an effective legal team to collaborate with for overall case management. Make sure there are multiple contacts that you can communicate with about your case. There may be times when you interact more regularly with a paralegal or case manager than your attorney.

Legal cases are often associated with life-altering events. Your law firm should be there to advise and support you through your case.

Look for a law firm that treats you with respect and is interested in understanding and addressing your individual needs. Having a situation that is significant enough to require legal representation is stressful by itself. Your law firm should be willing to explain the legal process and how it may impact you, so you feel informed when making decisions.

If you have a legal need within our areas of practice at the Stafford And Heafner Personal Injury Law firm, we would be happy to help. We will evaluate your case at no cost and no obligation.

Finding The Right Attorney For You

Having the right attorney can be the difference between securing a settlement or suffering under the weight of medical bills and lost wages following an accident. Whether you were involved in a car crash, suffered a slip and fall, or were involved in any other form of accident, choosing the right personal injury lawyer is a critical decision.

However, choosing a personal injury lawyer does not need to be as complex as you may think. At Weinstein Legal, our trusted personal injury attorneys have connected with countless clients in need of legal representation. Now, we want to help you, by providing our complete guide to hiring a personal injury lawyer near me that is right for you.

1. DETERMINE THE AREA OF LAW YOU NEED AN EXPERT IN

If you don’t know where to start when looking for an attorney, you’re not alone. To begin, figure out the broad area of law that you need an expert in. If you’ve been injured in an accident that was either not your fault, or you were not fully responsible for, you’ll be looking for a trusted personal injury lawyer. In this case, you’ve come to the right place!

Personal injury lawyers fight for clients’ rights to recover damages they sustained in accidents caused by negligent individuals. This can be auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and more. Focus on finding an attorney that has extensive experience in the practice area that you need. For instance, if you sustained injuries in a car crash, look for an experienced car crash attorney.

2. SEARCH FOR LEGITIMATE, LICENSED ATTORNEYS

Next, you’ll want to search for legitimate, licensed attorneys in your area. Refrain from typing in something like “car accident lawyer” into Google. While this might turn up qualified attorneys in your area, you’ll also get a flurry of paid results for lawyers that might not have the best skill set, but had the best budget to advertise.

Instead, you’ll want to consider a lawyer’s experience. Search within the Florida state bar’s association, or search professional organizations based on the specialty you need. Look at the minimum requirements for inclusion into whichever professional organizations they belong to, and check to see if they are board certified in the practice area that applies to your situation.

This can also provide key insights into judicial connections. Participation in local bar associations or contributing to campaigns is an indicator that the attorney is very involved in the local legal culture.

3. LOOK OUT FOR A DISCIPLINE HISTORY

You want an attorney with a clean track record. The easiest way to find one? The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation operates the Attorney Consumer Assistance Program, which administers a statewide disciplinary system. To search public record information regarding any Florida Bar attorney, visit the Florida Bar website.

If you stumble across an attorney with a discipline history, you might want to steer clear. Being noted means that the attorney in question “has received a professional discipline for violating the rules,” by the Florida Bar.

4. SCOPE OUT SIZE AND RESOURCES

Firm age, size, experience, and connections with doctors and medical expert witnesses relevant to your case are all important in a personal injury case. But, don’t be quick to eliminate small firms. While larger firms may have frequent advertising on billboards or radio spots, they will also most likely have larger price tags to meet their costs, and you may receive less personal attention to your case.

Look for firms with a collection of reviews, connections, and referrals from other lawyers in the area.

5. REVIEW PAST CLIENT REVIEWS

Think of client reviews as a chance to test drive an attorney before committing to scheduling a consultation. Past client reviews are an opportunity to get a feel of how personable the attorney is – did his or her past clients recommend him? Did they have an issue coming to agreements on key aspects of the case?

Again, the attorney-client relationship is a personal one. Past clients should have felt comfortable with the attorney, and felt reassured and confident in their skills. Past client reviews will also provide insight into an attorney’s negotiation ability and experience with your type of case. Remember that online reviews are the new word of mouth. You can get a great sense of an attorney based on Facebook, directories, and lawyer-matching services like Avvo.

At this point, it would be in your best judgement to narrow down your possible options to 3-5 attorneys. From here, you can look at each attorney more closely, getting a better feel of them individually and on a first-person basis.

6. CALL THE OFFICE TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

While you can find a decent amount of information about an attorney online, many questions will need to be asked in person or via the phone. We recommend that you call the attorneys you’ve selected to set up an appointment. Likewise, most attorneys offer a free case evaluation form, such as the one on the right-hand side of your screen.

These forms can be incredibly beneficial when you’re looking for an expert opinion on a case. Simply input your name, email address, phone number, and key details about your case. As opposed to needing to pick up a phone yourself, free case evaluation forms are a request for the attorney’s office to call you. Plus, when the office calls they’ll already know the key facts of your case, such as if you were harmed in an auto accident or suffered a slip and fall.

The outcome of these forms is the same as if you placed the call yourself: an appointment is set for a free consultation. With the most basic details out of the way, you can focus on other deciding factors, such as if the receptionist on the line made you feel welcomed or if you felt comfortable discussing your case with them.

7. COME PREPARED WITH QUESTIONS

Personal injury attorneys at Weinstein Legal, will typically provide a free consultation to discuss the details of your claim. During the consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions that can help you decide if you would like to move forward, or if you should check out the other attorneys on your list.

You’ll most likely begin your consultation by discussing your claim: the main reason you’re even in the attorney’s office in the first place.

  • Have you tried these types of personal injury cases before?
  • Have you tried or settled similar cases in my city or county?
  • Do you have the time necessary to actually work on my case right now?
  • If not you, who will be responsible for my case?
  • How will you let me know what is happening in my case?
  • What is your negotiation history? Do you think we will need to go to trial?
  • What is your comfort going to trial? Do we have other options?
  • What will my participation in the claim be?
  • What is your contingency fee and costs? Will I be responsible for any advanced costs if we lose?
  • What do you believe is the likely outcome of my case?

 

8. RATE YOUR COMFORT

Above all, be sure to take note of your comfort with the attorney while you discuss claim details and he or she answers your questions. If you sense hesitation or doubt their truthfulness, trust your gut and move on. If you feel you can easily collaborate and trust in the attorney, this is a good indicator that you have met your match.

Remember, the success of your case will not just rest with how skilled your attorney is, but also how well you two work with one another. Comfort is key to a successful relationship.

9. REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS

Once you’ve met with the attorneys that remained on your list, take the time to review your choices. While you won’t want to spend the next month weighing your options, it would benefit you to at least sleep on the decision.

Consider what you’ve learned in your initial consultation. Does the attorney have experience in the specialty you need? Are you comfortable with their track record? What about their past client reviews? Take all you’ve learned into account before making any decisions.

10. SIGN A CONTINGENCY FEE AGREEMENT

Congratulations! Bearing in mind all of the information you’ve learned, you should be ready to hire an attorney. Your next step will be to sign a contingency fee agreement with your attorney of choice, which will outline the terms of your working relationship as well as any fees.

At the end of the day, you want the best possible chances of receiving compensation for your injuries. Those chances come when you work with a lawyer who is dependable, honest, and determined to fight for your rights. At Weinstein Legal, our dedicated attorneys are vigilant in their pursuit of compensation for our clients, and always keep an open channel of communication.

If you’re on the hunt for a new attorney, bear in mind these tips before making any decisions. Contact Staffordandheafner.com to set up your free consultation today.

 

Common Kinds of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury law (also known as “tort” law) lets an injured person get compensation when someone else’s wrongful conduct (negligence or an intentional act) causes harm. There are a variety of situations that can give rise to a valid personal injury claim, but remember that an injury doesn’t automatically result in legal liability. Let’s look at some of the most common kinds of personal injury cases.

Car Accident Cases

Car accidents spur the most personal injury cases in the United States. When an accident happens, usually it’s because someone isn’t following the rules of the road, or isn’t driving as carefully as he or she should be. A careless driver can (usually) be held financially and responsible for injuries stemming from a car accident. Exceptions do exist in the dozen or so “no-fault” states, where drivers have to collect from their own insurers except in cases of “serious” injury. Learn more about car accident injury cases.

Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and fall claims are another common types of personal injury case. Property owners (or, in some cases, those who are renting the property) have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and free of hazards so that people who are on the property do not become injured. Of course, not all injuries that occur on the property will lead to liability. The exact nature of a landowner’s legal duty varies depending on the situation and according to the law in place in the state where the injury occurred.

See some examples of slip and fall injury cases and learn what you need to prove in a slip and fall case.

Medical Malpractice

medical malpractice claim can arise when a doctor or other health care professional provides a treatment that falls below the appropriate medical standard of care, and a patient is injured as a result. But it’s important to keep in mind that getting a bad result in the treatment setting doesn’t mean malpractice occurred. Learn more about when it’s medical malpractice (and when it isn’t) and why medical malpractice cases are tough to win.

Defamation: Libel and Slander

Defamation in the form of libel or slander refers to an injury to a person’s reputation as a result of untrue statements. The exact nature of what a defamation plaintiff must prove will vary depending on who the plaintiff is, and the forum where the statement was made. The average person usually just needs to prove that an untrue negative statement was made and that actual harm (financial loss) came from it. Celebrities or public figures, on the other hand, usually need to prove “actual malice.” This means they need to prove that the untrue statement was made either intentionally or with reckless disregard to the truth of the statement. Learn more about the legal elements of libel and slander.

Dog Bites

In most cases, the owners of a dog are financially responsible for bites and other injuries caused by the dog. The exact laws on owner responsibility vary from state to state, though. In some cases, strict liability rules exist and the dog owner is going to be liable for dog bite damages even if the dog has never shown any aggression or propensity to bite in the past. In other states, “one bite” rules exist, in which owners only become responsible for personal injury damages once there is a reason for those owners to know their dog is aggressive or prone to biting (like a previous history of bites.) Learn more about “one bite” versus “strict” liability in dog bite cases.

Assault, Battery, and Other Intentional Torts

Unlike most other types of personal injury claims, intentional torts are not based on accidents caused by negligence or carelessness, but rather when one person harms or injures another on purpose. These cases can involve the added aspect of a criminal case against the perpetrator. For example, when one person physically attacks another, he or she may face criminal charges. Additionally, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court and demand compensation for injuries resulting from the attack. Learn more about intentional torts.

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

Motor Vehicle Accident. Each year millions of people are injured, sometimes fatally, in motor vehicle accidents. In 2009 alone, over 2.2 million people were injured and 33,000 killed in accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bike riders. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, either as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your personal injuries and financial loss. An experienced car and truck accident attorney will protect your rights throughout the legal process. Click here to visit our Car Accident Information Center for additional information and resources.

Medical Malpractice. The negligence of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other medical professionals can, and often do cause serious injuries. There are many different types of medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis, improper treatment, surgical errors, medication mistakes, pharmacy errors, birth injury (errors committed during the delivery of a child), and failure to diagnose cancer or other serious health conditions. Medical malpractice cases are complex and require the expertise of a medical malpractice attorney. If you have been injured or lost a loved at the hands of a medical professional, it is crucial to retain an experienced attorney who can promptly evaluate the potential malpractice and, if necessary, aggressively pursue legal action to compensate your for your injuries and loss. Click here to visit our Medical Malpractice Information Center for additional information and resources.

Wrongful Death. As its name implies, the term “wrongful death” describes a type of lawsuit that may be brought when someone has been killed due to someone else’s carelessness. Most wrongful death suits arising out of car and truck crashes, nursing home neglect, medical malpractice, construction accidents, airplane accidents, or the use of a defective or dangerous product. A “wrongful death” lawsuit allows for the recovery of damages that are unique and different from those available when someone suffers non-fatal injuries. Click here to visit our Wrongful Death Information Center for additional information and resources.

Workplace Accident. When someone is injured or killed while working for their employer, they generally are not allowed to bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Instead, the injured employee must institute a claim under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, which requires employers to provide various benefits to their injured workers. These include medical treatment, “temporary total disability” (i.e., wages), and a lump-sum payment, otherwise known as “permanent partial disability,” to compensate the injured worker for his or her injuries. Workers’ compensation law varies from state to state and has many potential obstacles and pitfalls. An experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney will guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected. Click here to visit our Workers’ Compensation Information Center for additional information and resources.

Premises Liability. “Premises liability” refers to accidents caused by a dangerous or defective condition on someone’s land. These accidents can occur almost anywhere, from commercial properties such as grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, malls, and retail stores, to a neighbor’s home or a public or private swimming pool. A wide range of defective or dangerous conditions can give rise to a “premises liability” claim, ranging from falling down a staircase because of a missing handrail to tripping over an obstacle or slipping on a spill in a walkway or aisle, to getting bitten by a dog, among many others. It is critical to document the dangerous or defective condition as soon after the accident as possible. A personal injury attorney will help you do this and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Click here for additional information and resources.

Products LiabilityDangerous and defective products can cause serious injury in the home, in public places, and at work. Improper warnings and operation manuals can also lead to injuries. Examples of harmful products include dangerous drugs, food, consumer products, and children’s products; defective vehicle parts and medical devices; and toxic materials and chemicals. Responsible parties can be individuals, businesses, or government entities who sold, designed, manufactured, or marketed a dangerous or defective product. If you have been injured by an unsafe product, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to evaluate the harmful product, identify the responsible parties, and ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Click here for additional information and resources.

Other Types of Personal Injury Cases. These include nursing home abuse or neglect; aviation and boating accidents; animal and dog bites; brain, birth, burn, and spinal cord injuries; other catastrophic accidents and injuries; food poisoning; asbestos exposure and mesothelioma; legal malpractice.

Common Kinds of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury law (also known as “tort” law) lets an injured person get compensation when someone else’s wrongful conduct (negligence or an intentional act) causes harm. There are a variety of situations that can give rise to a valid personal injury claim, but remember that an injury doesn’t automatically result in legal liability. Let’s look at some of the most common kinds of personal injury cases.

Car Accident Cases

Car accidents spur the most personal injury cases in the United States. When an accident happens, usually it’s because someone isn’t following the rules of the road, or isn’t driving as carefully as he or she should be. A careless driver can (usually) be held financially and responsible for injuries stemming from a car accident. Exceptions do exist in the dozen or so “no fault” states, where drivers have to collect from their own insurers except in cases of “serious” injury. Learn more about car accident injury cases.The 7 Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases | Will & Will

Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and fall claims are another common type of personal injury case. Property owners (or, in some cases, those who are renting property) have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and free of hazards, so that people who are on the property do not become injured. Of course, not all injuries that occur on the property will lead to liability. The exact nature of a landowner’s legal duty varies depending on the situation and according to the law in place in the state where the injury occurred.

See some examples of slip and fall injury cases and learn what you need to prove in a slip and fall case.

Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice claim can arise when a doctor or other health care professional provides treatment that falls below the appropriate medical standard of care, and a patient is injured as a result. But it’s important to keep in mind that getting a bad result in the treatment setting doesn’t mean malpractice occurred. Learn more about when it’s medical malpractice (and when it isn’t) and why medical malpractice cases are tough to win.

Defamation: Libel and Slander

Defamation in the form of libel or slander refers to an injury to a person’s reputation as a result of untrue statements. The exact nature of what a defamation plaintiff must prove will vary depending on who the plaintiff is, and the forum where the statement was made. The average person usually just needs to prove that an untrue negative statement was made and that actual harm (financial loss) came from it. Celebrities or public figures, on the other hand, usually need to prove “actual malice.” This means they need to prove that the untrue statement was made either intentionally or with reckless disregard to the truth of the statement. Learn more about the legal elements of libel and slander.

Dog Bites

In most cases, the owners of a dog are financially responsible for bites and other injuries caused by the dog. The exact laws on owner responsibility vary from state to state, though. In some cases, strict liability rules exist and the dog owner is going to be liable for dog bite damages even if the dog has never shown any aggression or propensity to bite in the past. In other states, “one bite” rules exist, in which owners only become responsible for personal injury damages once there is a reason for those owners to know their dog is aggressive or prone to biting (like a previous history of bites.) Learn more about “one bite” versus “strict” liability in dog bite cases.

Assault, Battery and Other Intentional Torts

Unlike most other types of personal injury claims, intentional torts are not based on accidents caused by negligence or carelessness, but rather when one person harms or injures another on purpose. These cases can involve the added aspect of a criminal case against the perpetrator. For example, when one person physically attacks another, he or she may face criminal charges. Additionally, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court and demand compensation for injuries resulting from the attack. Learn more about intentional torts.

WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You should hire a personal injury lawyer whenever you are injured in an accident or through negligence or wrongdoing.

 A personal injury lawyer helps you seek compensation for your injuries.

A lawyer also protects your best interests against aggressive insurance companies and large corporations who want to avoid paying fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

If you are unsure whether you need to hire a personal injury attorney, this article gives you information to help you decide.

Some personal injury cases do not require an attorney’s assistance. However, it can be helpful to have someone with legal knowledge and experience handling injury claims review your case. An attorney explains your legal rights and tells you whether you could benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer.

No two personal injury cases are alike. However, some situations indicate you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer. Below are five situations that indicate you need to talk with a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible.

SIX SITUATIONS THAT INDICATE YOU NEED TO HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

Six questions to ask yourself if you are unsure whether to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your claim:

1.  IS LIABILITY FOR THE ACCIDENT DISPUTED?

Accident victims must prove that the other party’s negligence, errors, or wrongdoing caused the victim’s injuries. For example, if you cannot prove that the other driver caused your car accident or pedestrian accident, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries. If the other party disputes liability, contact a personal injury attorney immediately.

The attorney conducts a thorough investigation to determine how your injury occurred and who is responsible. Your lawyer gathers evidence and develops a legal strategy for proving liability.

2.  ARE YOU BEING BLAMED FOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE CAUSE OF YOUR INJURY?

The other party’s insurance company might accept liability, but it could claim that you contributed to the cause of your accident. For instance, the insurance company might claim that you were speeding at the time of your motorcycle accident. Therefore, you are partially at fault for the cause of the crash, even though the other driver failed to yield the right of way.

New York’s contributory negligence laws state that your compensation for an injury claim can be reduced by the proportion of your conduct that contributed to the accident.

In other words, if you are judged to be 50 percent at fault for the cause of your bicycle accident, the money you receive for your claim is reduced by one-half.

Insurance companies often use contributory negligence allegations to lower the amount they must pay to resolve a claim. An attorney understands how to fight these unfounded allegations.

3.  ARE MULTIPLE PARTIES INVOLVED?

When multiple parties are involved in a personal injury case, you can benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer. Medical malpractice claimsconstruction accidents, multi-vehicle accidents, and product liability claims are examples of cases generally involving multiple parties.

Attorneys have the experience necessary to deal with the additional issues raised in cases involving multiple defendants. As the parties argue about who is responsible for causing your injuries, your lawyer develops a case that protects you.

Having multiple parties involved can mean more money for you.

However, it can also mean a more prolonged, more complicated, and challenging fight.

4.  DID YOU SUSTAIN A TRAUMATIC INJURY OR PERMANENT DISABILITY?

Personal injury cases involving traumatic injuries and permanent disabilities have issues that are not common in other cases. For example, if you sustain a disabling condition because of a defective product, you could require ongoing medical care. You might be unable to work for the rest of your life.

Because of your disability or impairment, you will incur future damages.

Future damages could total millions of dollars over your lifetime, depending on your age, disability, and other factors. An attorney can retain medical, financial, and economic experts to assist in placing a value on your future damages to ensure you receive the maximum value for your injury claim.

Traumatic injury cases often involve high-dollar settlements.

Insurance companies aggressively fight to lower the value of these claims to avoid losses. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands how to document damages and maximize the value of pain and suffering damages improves your chance of recovering the compensation you deserve after an injury.

5.  IS THE INSURANCE COMPANY ACTING IN BAD FAITH?

The insurance company for the other party is not interested in compensating you for your injuries and damages. If possible, the company would like to get out of paying you anything for your claim. Therefore, some insurance companies act in bad faith when dealing with individuals.

For example, the company may try to drag out your claim so that the statute of limitations expires and you lose your right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Other ways that an insurance company might act in bad faith include:

  • Failing to investigate a claim
  • Requiring unnecessary and burdensome paperwork to process a claim
  • Refusing to pay a valid claim
  • Raising false allegations of contributory negligence
  • Misrepresenting the terms of the insurance policy
  • Intentionally misleading a victim about the victim’s legal rights

There are many ways that an insurance company could act in bad faith. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with various insurance tactics, and they understand the laws related to personal injury claims.

Insurance companies are less likely to act in bad faith when a lawyer is representing an accident victim. 

If an insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement for your accident claim, your lawyer can proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, the mere threat of a lawsuit is sufficient to encourage the insurance company and the other parties involved in the claim to agree to a fair and reasonable settlement.

6.  DOES THE CLAIM INVOLVE A GOVERNMENT ENTITY?

Suing the government for a personal injury claim is much more complicated than the average injury claim. Governments are protected from liability in many cases. However, there are exceptions.

If you are injured in a train accidentbus accidentsubway accident, call a lawyer immediately. The time to file a claim against the government is shorter than the deadline for filing other claims. Whenever an injury claim involves a government entity, it is best to have an experienced lawyer handling the claim.

ONE LAST THING TO CONSIDER WHEN HIRING A LAWYER

The at-fault party’s insurance company has a huge team of professionals working for it to protect it from liability. None of these parties are on your side. The claims adjusters, investigators, and lawyers working for the insurance company are working against your best interests.

It is not a fair game. You need to even the playing field by hiring a legal team to fight for just and fair compensation for your personal injury claim. You deserve to have someone who is only concerned about your best interest on your side.

The Importance of Personal Injury Clients and Lawyers to Size Each Other Up

Choosing a lawyer for your personal injury or wrongful death case is a decision that is similar to picking a partner for marriage. It may be a long relationship and it is always one that commands the two parties, the attorney, and the client, to trust each other. If one party does not trust the other, the common goal of justice cannot be obtained. This is because justice without trust in the result is no justice at all.

9 Factors to Consider When Choosing Personal Injury Lawyers - Ivey Law  Firm, P.C.

I am writing this entry to encourage face-to-face interaction with those seeking legal representation and the actual lawyer who would be trusted with that case. My biggest competitors are out-of-town, big-city lawyers who, in my estimation, rarely actually meet with the injured/aggrieved parties in my area. So it is no surprise that I often get calls from nearby clients of these lawyers telling me that they are not happy with their lawyer because they don’t know what is going on with their case and they do not trust in what they are being told. I always encourage these folks to try to work it out with these lawyers and I do press them to seek a face-to-face meeting, as that nearly always satisfies client concern, at least for the short term.

I know a lot of my competitors, and I will say that most of them are very good lawyers and that their firms are usually reputable. But, to me, there is no substitute for the old-fashioned face-to-face meeting. And I do believe there is still something important in the ability to look someone in the eye.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

How to Prepare for Your Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney

Before I talk about the benefits of personal interaction for personal injury clients, I want to stress the benefit of the lawyer to meet with the client. I nearly always demand to meet with my potential clients face-to-face before my attorney-client relationship begins. I’ve been doing this long enough to be able to identify most potential trust issues early on. For example, when I ask a potential client if they’ve ever had the medical condition that they are complaining of now and they either look down or away, fidget, leave moisture on my glass table, and they answer “no,” then I know to pause and inquire further. I advise them that it does not usually matter if they did have prior issues and that I value trust over preexisting injuries in my clients. If they persist in their denial, I have other methods of verifying the truth, but if I get a bad feeling about a potential client, I will turn down cases on that alone. If I can’t trust my client in the initial meeting, I realize that a jury may have a hard time trusting them at trial.

For injured victims of negligence in Ohio, choosing a personal injury lawyer is easy. If you are in a car accident, your mailbox will likely be flooded with mailings with catchy phrases, DVDs, and all kinds of letters from lawyers all over the state. You can be in Portsmouth, call a lawyer in Toledo, and have a lawyer at your doorstep in a matter of a few hours, or less. But choosing a personal injury lawyer you trust is something entirely different. In the instance of this traveling Toledo lawyer, you will likely never see this person again. He or she is probably just a runner, paid to sign you up as a client. Who is actually handling your case – – at all stages, is a whole other story. While you may still get quality representation, you won’t be able to lock in trust because you will likely feel a void in the relationship.

When new clients don’t meet with the actual lawyer will end up handling their case, they are many times deprived of judging sincerity, which goes directly towards how that person can rely on the lawyer. Meeting with the actual lawyer on your case can also give you the opportunity to judge for yourself that lawyer’s commitment to your case, which goes hand-in-hand with whether you believe that person has integrity. Lastly, by meeting face-to-face with your lawyer, you can judge for yourself their competency and whether you feel they will be consistent in providing results.

How Long Does It Takes for a Medical Malpractice Case to Settle?

If you don’t like the lawyer you meet with, move on to the next one. Because if you don’t like them, a potential juror might not, either, and it is important that you find someone you feel comfortable talking to. And to me, there is no substitute for sharing a cup of coffee with the folks I’ve asked to trust me.

4 Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident

Thousands of car accidents happen across the country every day. Suffering an injury after a car accident can have a traumatic effect on your life. The economic consequences of a car accident can be devastating, even with adequate health insurance and auto coverage. Other costs might include lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and home modifications. If another driver’s negligence caused your car accident and subsequent injury, you might be able to build a personal injury claim against them. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with the process of obtaining the compensation you deserve. Let’s go over some of the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer after your car accident.10 Things Your Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do for You - Dailey Law Firm

 

Your Lawyer will Talk to Insurance Companies

One of the most important jobs your attorney will handle is talking to the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf. Many insurance companies are focused on minimizing payouts to victims and will do whatever possible to dismiss the value of a claim or deny it altogether. Our skilled attorneys have good relationships with many insurance providers, and they know how to counter any attempts to deny claims unfairly.

You Can Focus on Your Health

Building a convincing personal injury claim is tedious and challenging. You may need to gather medical records, eyewitness reports, interview specialists and experts, secure official police reports, track your expenses, calculate future costs, and negotiate for a settlement. Keeping track of these tasks is exhausting and overwhelming for clients. You can focus on getting better while our experienced team handles everything for you by hiring an attorney.

Your Lawyer Will Gather Evidence

When it’s unclear who is at fault or the other party disputes liability, certain kinds of evidence can strengthen your claim. For example, crucial eyewitness testimony could ultimately help prove the defendant was at fault for the crash. When you hire an experienced personal injury attorney, you will gain access to valuable legal resources, including experts and professionals who can speak on various elements of the case.

Your Lawyer Will Negotiate a Settlement

Once your claim is prepared, your attorney will help to negotiate a favorable settlement. When determining the value of your claim, our attorneys consider the damages that you have sustained, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Any future medical treatments
  • Lost wages
  • Any other income that you may lose due to lasting effects of the accident
  • Property damage

By working with an experienced and competitive law firm, you can rest assured that we will negotiate the best possible settlement for your injuries. We here at Snyder Law Group are proud to offer our clients a level of service that they can’t find anywhere else.

How to Be a Good Client During Your Personal Injury Case

When you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer, you want to make sure you end up with the right person for you and your case. And that expectation can work both ways. Every lawyer wants a “good client” if at all possible. But what is a “good client,” and how much of being a “good client” is actually within the client’s control?

How To Build A Strong Personal Injury Case

In a nutshell, a good client does whatever is necessary in order to ensure that the case goes as smoothly as possible and that the best outcome (a fair personal injury settlement, or a win in court) can be reached. That means:

1. Respond to Your Lawyer

Clients get pretty upset when their lawyer doesn’t return phone calls. And lawyers feel the same way. If you don’t return your lawyer’s phone calls, emails, or letters promptly, you’re not just wasting your lawyer’s time, you could also be hurting your case.

2. Attend All Medical Appointments

Your health care provider will note any appointment that you miss, and, if you miss too many, the insurer adjuster (or the jury) is going to assume that you must not have been hurt as badly as you claim. This will cost you and your lawyer money. Be sure to keep all of your appointments.

3. Cooperate in the Discovery Process

If you end up filing a personal injury lawsuit in court, the defendant will send your lawyer written questions called interrogatories, as well as document requests. Your lawyer will send these on to you. You will need to promptly answer the interrogatories and provide your lawyer with the requested documents, or your case could be dismissed. Help your lawyer, and help yourself. Respond to all discoveries as quickly as you can.

Practice for your deposition. Your personal injury deposition is a very important step in your case. Your lawyer is there to help you prepare, offer guidance during the proceedings, and even step in if the other side is taking a questionable approach. Follow your lawyer’s advice and recommendations.

7 Things to Do to Help Your Personal Injury Attorney During Your Case

4. Don’t (Always) Blame Your Lawyer

Personal injury clients who are annoyed that their case isn’t going well will often turn on their lawyer and say that it must be the lawyer’s fault.

Some things are indeed a lawyer’s fault, and any client needs to be attuned to that. But some problems that arise in personal injury cases are the client’s fault, and other obstacles are no one’s fault. Some personal injury cases just aren’t that strong (meaning there’s little or no chance of reaching a favorable outcome). Don’t blame the messenger if your lawyer brings bad news. It’s not going to help your case. Get more tips on how much your personal injury case might be worth, and how long the process may take.

For many lawyers, whether they’ll admit it or not, the perfect client is one who does what he or she is told and doesn’t hound the lawyer for updates at every turn. But it’s not in most clients’ best interests to try to live up to that model. There are times that you have to speak up.

If you sincerely believe that there are problems in your case, you can’t always be the “good client.” You have to ask questions. Remember that it is your case, not your lawyer’s. You are the one who was hurt. You have an absolute right to be kept informed about what is going on. It may seem like you are being pesky by asking pointed, probing questions about your case, but you need to protect your interests by staying informed. Learn more about getting help from a personal injury lawyer.

What to Expect when Meeting Your Attorney for the First Time

What to bring for your first attorney-client meeting

Despite what some popular jokes insinuate to the contrary, lawyers are people, too. They understand that it’s common for potential clients to be nervous or anxious when meeting for the first time. Try to remember that attorneys are there to help you. Knowing what to expect can ease your mind.


Preparation

Being prepared will organize your thoughts, refresh your memory, and do wonders for your comfort level. It will also help to focus the meeting so your attorney can give accurate and relevant advice.

• Gather all significant documents. If your attorney has sent you forms to fill out, complete them in advance and bring them with you.

• Write down a brief timeline of events.

• Make a list of all the issues you are concerned about and any questions you want to be answered before you commit to hiring the lawyer. Sample questions include: What kind of strategy would you recommend for handling my case? What are your rates? What additional costs am I expected to pay? Who else in your office will work on my case?

• Think about what you would like the outcome to be, which will help the lawyer determine whether your expectations are attainable.

Consultation

The meeting is an opportunity for you to tell your story, but it’s also important to get to know each other a bit to make sure you feel comfortable working together. Regardless of the reason you are seeking legal advice (personal injury, criminal defense, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.), be honest and as accurate as possible when describing the events. The lawyer will ask questions designed to focus the discussion on the background facts he or she feels are important.

If the lawyer is willing to take your case and you wish to proceed, you will be presented with a retainer agreement, which should be fully explained to you. Do not sign until you understand it. This agreement is a contract that describes your obligations to the lawyer and the lawyer’s obligations to you, including such details as to how you will receive updates about what’s happening with your case, how much the lawyer is charging to handle your legal issue, whether you’re required to make an upfront deposit and how frequently payments are due.

Payment

How to Prepare for Your First Meeting With a Lawyer - ANTHEM INJURY LAWYERS


If you need a lawyer for a case that doesn’t involve a claim for money (seeking a divorce, criminal defense, filing bankruptcy), then you will have to pay a “retainer” in advance for the work and then pay by the hour once the retainer is spent. Usually, attorneys with more experience have higher rates than novice attorneys, but the cost often evens out because they may take less time to do the same work. Some lawyers are willing to work out a payment plan so you don’t owe everything at once. If you can’t afford the costs that the lawyer outlines, ask if alternative arrangements can be made.

For cases seeking money, such as personal injury or workers’ compensation claims, the lawyer often agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the amount recovered by the client. This is called a contingent fee arrangement and although percentages vary, one-third (33 percent) is common. If you win, either through settlement or trial, the lawyer is paid for the recovery. If you lose, you don’t have to pay the lawyer anything (of course, you don’t get any money either). The lawyer’s fee is different from filing fees and similar court costs, and, win or lose, the client is usually responsible for their payment.

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By the end of your meeting, you should leave with a clear understanding of what you have accomplished and what is happening next. If all goes well, you’ve found an attorney with whom you’re comfortable and who wants to represent you. While meeting with a lawyer for the first time is a new experience, it doesn’t have to be an intimidating one.