When do you need a lawyer? When can (or should) you handle a matter on your own?
While some matters can be resolved without legal assistance, nearly everyone agrees that you should talk with a lawyer about major life events or changes, including:
– being arrested for a crime

– being served with legal papers in a civil lawsuit.

– being involved in a serious accident-causing personal injury or property damage.

– a change in family status such as divorce, adoption, or death; and​

– a change in financial status such as obtaining or losing valuable personal property or real estate, starting a business, or filing for bankruptcy.

Understanding when to seek legal help is important as legal issues can have serious consequences on your life, and having proper representation can make a significant difference. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of when you should seek legal
help and the benefits of having a lawyer. We will also give some considerations to make when looking for a lawyer.​

Signs That You May Need a Lawyer

If you have been in an accident of any kind, suffered a bodily injury and have had to be hospitalized, medicated, undergo therapy, etc. you should contact a lawyer. There are financial charges that are associated with these matters that a lawyer can help with – from insurance companies, individuals who may have caused the accident, etc.

A common accident that requires a lawyer is an automobile crash, but there are many other situations as well, such as someone being bitten by your dog or getting injured on your property, or injuries due to a defective product or service. You may have automobile or homeowners’ insurance, but it is still advisable to consult with a lawyer. If you or a family member have been injured, and it appears you have a good claim, most personal injury lawyers will not charge you any fee but will take payment from the judgment they obtain.

If you are facing a lawsuit, it is important to have a lawyer to represent your interests in court. Anyone in the United States has the right to represent themselves in court and file a lawsuit without an attorney. In fact, when it comes to small claims court people are
even encouraged to represent themselves, because small claims court was designed to be accessible to both lawyers and non-lawyers.

However, if your lawsuit is bigger than what your state’s small claims court handles, then you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer. Remember that you might find that you have less time and energy to devote to your work, business, family, and social life
for the duration of a lawsuit. The case may involve completing demand letters and paperwork, filing at the clerk’s office, waiting in court until your turn to speak, and following any of the judge’s orders. Having a lawyer take on these responsibilities can alleviate much of this stress and allow you to continue with normal life tasks with minimal interruption.

If you are facing criminal charges, a criminal defense lawyer can guide you through the criminal justice system and help you understand your rights. If you are charged with a crime, including domestic violence, tax fraud, or even some motor vehicle offenses (such as driving under the influence, vehicular homicide, or so many unpaid parking tickets that an arrest warrant has been issued), you need to hire an attorney.

Find yourself in a dispute with another party? A lawyer can help you negotiate a resolution and represent your interests in court if necessary. However, before contacting a lawyer, take a practical look at the other party’s point of view. Perhaps he or she has a valid argument on the subject matter, or even a potential counter claim against you. If so, adjust your own position accordingly.

If the dollar amount you asked for is an issue, you may want to think about reducing the amount you are seeking. From a purely pragmatic point of view, you may receive more money this way than you would by suing, because you will have to pay attorneys’ fees and other costs in connection with a lawsuit.

When starting a business, a lawyer can provide guidance on legal matters such as incorporation and contracts. For many small business owners, forming an LLC is the best choice of legal business entity. LLCs are simple and flexible, and they give you the ability to manage your business as a single member/owner or with additional partners. However, if you have more complex questions about which business entity is right for you, then it might be worth hiring an attorney to consult about your options and help you make the right choice of business structure.

A well-written business contract can protect your legal rights and ensure that both sides of a transaction get what they were promised. Contracts are one of the fundamental elements of the business world, an experienced attorney is well-versed in the law and can draft an airtight contract that will protect your rights. Spending money on legal services to execute an expertly written contract for your business can potentially help you save thousands of dollars in the future. In complex contract situations you might benefit significantly from getting a lawyer’s help.

When going through a divorce or other family law matter, a lawyer can help you understand the legal process and reach a fair outcome. If there are disagreements over assets or children, if there are allegations of domestic violence, or if you have a sufficiently complex financial situation so that the division of retirement benefits or serious tax considerations come into play, you will certainly need legal assistance.

Planning for the distribution of assets after death, such as drafting wills or trusts, requires legal knowledge to ensure that the individual’s wishes are carried out. An estate planning attorney is a lawyer who specializes in the federal and state laws related to estates, trusts and probate. They can review your situation and help you create or update your estate plan to ensure your plan aligns with your wishes.

Your estate planning attorney can also advise you on more specific questions, such as how you can use different types of trusts to care for family members and create an estate plan that will minimize estate and inheritance taxes.

How to Find a Lawyer

It’s important to find a lawyer who specializes in the type of law relevant to your case. Online reviews and ratings can provide insight into a lawyer’s reputation and level of expertise. Personal recommendations are also valuable to find out about a lawyer’s performance and communication style. Many bar associations also offer referral services that can connect you with a qualified lawyer.

Several legal assistance programs offer inexpensive or free legal services to those in need. Look in the yellow pages under topics such as “legal clinics,” “legal aid,” or “legal advice,” or search online. Most legal aid programs have special guidelines for eligibility, often based on where you live, the size of your family, and your income. Some legal aid offices have their own staff lawyers, and others operate with volunteer lawyers. Note that people do not have a right to a free lawyer in civil legal matters.

BJM Law understands that finding the right lawyer can be a daunting process. Our team of experienced attorneys specializes in various areas of law, including personal injury law. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality legal representation while also offering affordable payment options. Our commitment to our clients is unparalleled, and we will fight tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected.

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