Every year, Americans file more than 16 million lawsuits.
Are you currently struggling with a legal matter? Are you wondering whether you should file a lawsuit or try and deal with the issue yourself?
Some people would have you believe that you should always hire a lawyer to help you fight your battles. That’s not necessarily the case, though.
Read on to learn more about when you ought to hire a lawyer and when you should try to handle the issue on your own.
You’ll also learn some helpful tips on how to find a good lawyer should you choose to hire one.
When to Hire a Lawyer
There are many times when it’s helpful to have a lawyer on your side. The following are some situations that definitely call for legal representation:
Sometimes, a divorce can be settled out of court in an amicable way. This is actually considered the best option for minimizing stress and protecting children.
As we all know, though, divorces are often anything but amicable, and court proceedings can’t always be avoided.
If you’re in the middle of a complicated divorce — you’re trying to get full custody of your kids, there are property issues, etc. — it’s good to have a lawyer on your side.
He or she can represent you in court and ensure that the judge makes the decision that’s best for you and your family.
If you are injured in a car accident or are injured while you’re on someone else’s property, you may want to hire a personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer is especially helpful when the insurance company of the at-fault driver or property owner is unwilling to cover the cost of your medical expenses.
They can also be helpful if the insurance company is compliant but is refusing to cover the total cost of your medical expenses.
A personal injury lawyer will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and make sure that you are fairly compensated.
Facing a Lawsuit
If you have recently been sued, you need to have a lawyer representing you. It just makes sense that if the person suing you has legal representation, you ought to have it as well.
If you don’t work with a lawyer after being served with a lawsuit, your chances of winning and avoid the loss of money or property go down dramatically.
It’s true that most lawsuits are settled out of court.
It’s still important to have a knowledgeable, experienced negotiator on your side, though.
They might not be able to get the lawsuit dismissed altogether. But, they can help to decrease the amount of money you owe and will help to minimize some of the stress associated with a lawsuit.
When Not to Hire a Lawyer
Of course, in some cases, it’s better to not hire a lawyer. Here a few situations that typically don’t require legal advice:
As a general rule, it’s not necessary to hire a lawyer when you’ve received a traffic ticket.
Just pay the fine and move on. Usually, the fine is much less than the cost of lawyer’s fees. Paying the ticket will save you a lot of time, too.
The only exception to this rule is if this ticket will lead to a license suspension or serious increase in your car insurance rates.
In these cases, it might be worth it to hire a lawyer to help reduce the ticket a bit and help you avoid getting any more points on your license.
Small Claims Court
Legal representation isn’t necessary for issues being settled in small claims court.
Small claims court is informal and meant for handling civil disputes that don’t involve a lot of money (for example, a landlord recovering unpaid rent or other relatively small debts).
There’s rarely a need to spend money hiring a lawyer for these kinds of issues.
Pleading No Contest
If you have been sued but are willing to pay the amount of money for which the other party is suing, there’s no need to hire a lawyer. You can just pay the money and move on with your life.
You will still need to appear in court if you decide to take this approach. But, if you’re not planning to contest the lawsuit, you won’t need to have a lawyer present.
How to Find a Good Lawyer
The process of deciding to hire a lawyer is a very personal one. Sometimes, it’s worth it to invest in representation and other times it’s not.
If you do decide that it’s best to hire a lawyer, here are some tips that will help you make sure you’re hiring a qualified and credible one:
- Learn their specialty and make sure they have experience handling cases similar to yours
- Research their educational background and make sure they’re in good standing with your state’s bar association
- Ask about their fees and when they require you to pay them
- Find out whether they specifically will handle your case or if it’s someone else in their office
- Read their online reviews and find out what other people are saying about them and their work
It’s a good idea to pay attention to the level of customer service you receive when you first meet with the lawyer.
Are they friendly and attentive? Are they easy to contact and do they respond to phone calls and emails in a prompt manner?
The answers to these questions will help you determine whether or not a lawyer will give you and your case the attention they deserve.
Learn More About Hiring a Lawyer Today
As you can see, there are times when it pays to hire a lawyer and times when it’s best to save our money and handle your case yourself.
If you decide that it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer, be sure to keep these tips in mind so you can remember how to find a good lawyer in your area.
Do you want to learn more about choosing the right lawyer for your specific case?
If so, we have lots of articles to help you. Start by checking out this one on selecting a great immigration lawyer.