When You Need a Lawyer

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 When Should I Consult a Lawyer?

If a person is facing a legal issue, it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer. Although it is occasionally possible to resolve legal issues on one’s own, there are many situations that definitely require a lawyer’s help. Today, most lawyers are willing to have an initial consultation for free or for a low fixed fee, so it does not cost much or anything at all to speak with a lawyer and get their input as to how they might help a person with their issue.

For example, a person should definitely contact a lawyer when:

  • A person has been arrested;
  • A person has been formally charged with a crime, either by indictment or information;
  • A person has not yet been charged with a crime, but thinks they might be charged soon;
  • A person has been sued;
  • A person wants to file a civil lawsuit in connection with a business issue;
  • A person wants a divorce, or has been served with divorce papers;
  • A person is involved in a child custody dispute;
  • A person is undergoing a major change in their financial status, such as buying or selling valuable property;
  • A person has been harassed by creditors and feels that they may not be able to pay their bills;
  • A person has received a notice of foreclosure of their mortgage loan;
  • A person has received notice that their landlord is going to evict them from their residence.
  • A person believes that they or their child has experienced discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, or any other impermissible basis, they would want to consult a lawyer who specializes in discrimination.
  • A person has been unexpectedly and unfairly fired from their job;
  • A person wants to start a business, perhaps with a group of other people and need to know what form of business they should have.

Many situations can give rise to a need to consult a personal injury lawyer. Some of those are as follows:

  • A person is injured and their car damaged in a car accident that was caused by another driver;
  • A person received medical treatment from a doctor or dentist and the results were not what the person expected;
  • A person bought a product of some kind that malfunctioned and led to an event in which someone was injured;
  • A person’s child was injured in a pool accident on the property of someone else, at school, at a playground or neighbor’s house.

If a person has been injured at work while engaged in their job, they need to consult a workers compensation lawyer. Claims for injuries suffered on the job should usually be presented to the workers compensation system in the state where a person lives and works.

If a person wants to prepare a will, which is a smart move, they want to consult a lawyer who specializes in wills and trusts. If a person has significant assets, they may want a more comprehensive estate plan, so, again, they want a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. If a person has a child with special needs and requires a plan for their child after the person passes away, they would definitely want to consult with a lawyer who specializes in a special needs trust for beneficiaries with special needs.

If a person has gotten an unpleasant letter from the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or their state’s tax authority, claiming that they did their tax return incorrectly and owe a large amount in taxes. This is a situation in which a person definitely wants to consult a tax lawyer.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

As can be seen, there are many legal issues that require the assistance of a lawyer and which a person may not be able to handle on their own. If the lawyer evaluates a person’s case and decides that they may have a valuable claim, the lawyer will explain the options to the person. In addition, the lawyer can explain the steps that would be necessary to make sure that the person’s rights and claims are protected.

There are situations for which a person may NOT need a lawyer. Some examples of these are as follows:

  • A person is planning to sign a contract. If the person has read the contract thoroughly, and understands its terms, they probably do not need to consult with a lawyer before they sign it. However, if a person is at all unclear about what the contract says, a person should have a lawyer review it and explain what it means before the person agrees to it and signs the document.
    • Or, a person may feel that they are not getting the best deal possible. Also, a person may think that the contract is not complete and does not include all the terms of the deal. In these situations, a person may want to consult a business lawyer for advice;
  • A person has to appear in small claims court. In many states, lawyers are not allowed in small claims court, and parties are expected to represent themselves. The procedure in small claims court is usually simple and streamlined, making it accessible to people who are not legal professionals;
  • A person understands their case and can explain the case on their own to a judge;
  • A person understands legal terminology and can read, understand, and respond to all the documents that they receive from a court.

There are other situations in which legal help may be useful, but a person does not necessarily need a lawyer. For example, if a person only needs information about the law relating to some topic, they may well be able to get that information without talking to a lawyer. While only lawyers are competent to give legal advice, anyone who is knowledgeable about the law is technically competent to share their legal knowledge.

Still, a person would want to know what qualifies a person to share knowledge of the law and how they acquired it. A person also wants to be on guard about falling into the hands of a person who is practicing law without a license. There are many people who may have gone to law school or graduated from a paralegal program who offer services that should only be offered by a licensed attorney. If a person finds out that they have been involved with someone who is practicing law without a license, they may want to contact the police.

How Do I Choose the Right Lawyer?

Choosing the right lawyer for a case is a critical factor. It is highly recommended that a person speak to several attorneys about their case before they sign a retainer agreement.

As noted above, most lawyers offer free initial consultations or charge only a low, fixed fee. A person can ask questions about the lawyer’s education, expertise, and whether they have handled similar cases. They could also ask the lawyer what result they obtained in other similar cases on which they worked. When meeting with a lawyer, a person should be sure to bring all relevant paperwork connected with their case.

It should be noted that the lawyer who charges the higher fee is not necessarily better. A higher fee does not mean that the lawyer is more experienced than lawyers with lower fees. A lawyer should be judged on their experience and the quality of their work. Of course, a person may consult a lawyer whose fee is just not affordable to them, and there is nothing wrong with that. The person should shop around until they find a lawyer in whom they have confidence whose fee fits their budget.

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