Although many of us like to believe we can personally handle anything that comes our way, the truth is that we all need a little help from time to time. That’s especially true when it comes to legal matters. With over 1.35 million lawyers practicing in the United States during 2019, there’s certainly no shortage of attorneys who can lend their expertise to a given case.
That being said, not all lawyers are created equal. If you’re looking to hire a lawyer, you’ll need to conduct some thorough research first. You’ll want to find out more about their style, their success rate, and how experienced they are with cases like yours.
Most reputable lawyers will stick to a certain area (or a few different areas) of law they practice. In other words, you won’t want to hire a lawyer with a lot of experience trying DUI cases if you’re looking to sue someone for libel. Although that attorney might be perfectly adept and well-respected within specific areas of law, they won’t be likely to transfer over those same capabilities to an area in which they aren’t overly familiar.
Think of it like making a visit to a doctor: you wouldn’t be inclined to make an appointment with a podiatrist, who specializes in foot problems, if you’re worried about lung cancer. You’ll want to hire the professional who’s most experienced in the area that’s relevant to your needs. It’s the same when you need to hire a lawyer. You should look for a legal professional who’s known for their prowess in the legal realm that’s impacting your life.
Fortunately, there are lawyers for virtually every situation under the sun. You may not even realize that some legal areas even exist. But whether you’re facing fallout from a criminal accusation or you simply want to protect your assets, a brilliant attorney can ensure your rights are protected and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Let’s take a closer look at some stressful situations that can be improved by the involvement of an astute lawyer.
Here’s How a Lawyer Can Help You When You’re…
…Going Through a Divorce
No one wants to think about the possibility that their perfect marriage might fall apart in the future. But tragically, 827,000 divorces happen each year. Although that doesn’t mean your union is destined to be doomed, it does mean that odds are fair that you could need assistance from a divorce attorney at some point.
Some couples think that they can resolve their issues and dissolve their marriage without much fuss. Amicable divorces can occur, of course, but many divorce cases quickly become heated when there are financial issues or when child custody becomes a factor. It’s generally a good idea, even when ex-spouses are able to reach an agreement, to have a lawyer by your side throughout the process. They can help make sure your best interests are being prioritized and that you won’t end up with the legal short straw once your case is resolved. If nothing else, your attorney will ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and that your divorce can be expedited if at all possible, allowing you to move forward with your life that much faster.
Many Americans are dealing with financial struggles. Whether your business is struggling to survive the current economic downturn or you’ve become overwhelmed with other kinds of debt, you certainly aren’t alone. In fact, U.S. bankruptcy filings are currently on an upward trajectory.
However, that doesn’t mean that filing for bankruptcy is your only option if you’re swimming in debt. Although you can technically file for bankruptcy on your own, your bankruptcy attorney might caution you to pursue other options if at all possible. Bankruptcy is a serious decision that can haunt you for years to come. It may be necessary in some cases, but avoiding it can sometimes be the best choice. Your lawyer can guide you through the options available to you — and if it’s determined that you should file, your lawyer can help you through this process, too. They can prepare and file all necessary paperwork, represent you in court proceedings, and facilitate the best possible financial outcome for your situation.
…Dealing With the Aftermath of a Car Accident
Imagine you’re driving down the road in your used SUV without a care in the world — when suddenly, your vehicle is hit by another driver. In some situations, it may be appropriate to file insurance claims in order for the other driver to pay for the damage to your car. But this process doesn’t always go as smoothly as you’d think.
In some situations, an insurance company might refuse to pay out for damages. If your own insurer refuses to pay for coverage you should have, particularly if you have PIP (personal injury protection), you might need to take legal action against your insurer. Insurance dispute lawyers can file claims against insurance companies who wrongly deny a claim. This legal action can be an important step in obtaining the insurance coverage victims deserve.
In other situations, it’s more appropriate to file a claim against another driver who’s been deemed responsible for the crash. If there’s evidence to suggest that the motorist’s negligence directly caused the accident (and lead to subsequent injuries of others), an accident injury lawyer may recommend that a suit be filed against that driver. Some lawyers may also file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, particularly if the other driver was operating a commercial or corporate vehicle.
Regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding your accident, it may be appropriate to file a case against other parties to hold them liable for the damage they’ve caused. It’s a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been hurt in an accident to discuss your options and, if necessary, begin to prepare a case.
…Fighting Copyright Violations
If you’re an innovator or an artist, you probably can’t wait to share your hard work with the world. But unless you take steps to protect it, you could suffer unimaginable losses if and when someone else tries to steal or take credit for your incredible idea or product.
Although it might not be high up on the list of top reasons to hire a lawyer, this is nonetheless an important area to discuss — especially if you’re looking to start your own business or shape the world with your creative entrepreneurial spirit. An intellectual property lawyer can help you file and enforce trademarks, patents, and copyrights for your designs, artwork, and other inventions. With their help, you can register your unique offering with the proper agency and prevent the unlawful reproduction or use of your protected product or concept.
Not every idea can be protected via IP laws, of course, and many items are actually granted automatic copyright. However, it’s important that you take the step of registering what’s most important to the success of your business or brand whenever possible to keep others from profiting off of your hard work. A lawyer can help you do just that — and will help you to fight back if someone tries.
…Accused of a Criminal Act
A not-so-surprising reason to hire a lawyer is to protect yourself if you’ve been accused of a crime. Whether the accusations are false or your involvement in the crime actually occurred, you should work with a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights in a court of law.
Criminal defense attorneys can provide assistance in a number of situations, ranging from drunk driving cases to physical assault. Despite the fact we’d all like to believe that our legal system works to protect the innocent, that isn’t how it always shakes out. There are likely thousands of people currently serving prison sentences who have been wrongly convicted of a crime. It’s important to have stellar legal representation to ensure that scenario doesn’t happen to you.
Rather than speak directly to police, you should always ask for a lawyer following an arrest. If you invoke your right to legal counsel as soon as possible, you’ll be in a better position to protect yourself from a miscarriage of justice.
…Making End-of-Life Plans
Many Americans opt to hire a lawyer when they’re facing a stressful situation in the present. But you can also decide to hire a lawyer in order to stave off potential stress in the future — for both yourself and for the people you love.
We don’t want to dwell on the idea of death, as it isn’t a pleasant subject for anyone. But it’s important to prepare for what might happen years down the line. If you fail to do so, you might unknowingly create a family rift or fail to ease a financial burden. Before you ever make it to your local funeral home, you’ll want to be proactive about end-of-life plans.
Even if you think you have no substantial assets to speak of, it’s a good idea for you to talk to a wills and trusts attorney. Your lawyer can ensure that your estate — whether it’s real estate and other property, family heirlooms, stocks, or financial assets — will be distributed according to your wishes. Even though there are websites that claim to help you create a will on your own, only a lawyer can determine whether your will and testament will actually hold up in court. An estate planning lawyer can also provide guidance if you need to establish a power of attorney or a healthcare proxy, which are commonly warranted in situations when an individual is elderly or unable to make health-related decisions themselves.
You might not enjoy thinking about how you need to hire a lawyer for these reasons, but the reality is that doing so can provide a lot of relief for your family while ensuring that your intentions are carried out properly after your death. Ultimately, it’s one of the most caring acts you can undertake for the sake of your loved ones.
After Determining the Type of Lawyer You Need
Now, it’s clear why you may need to hire a lawyer in certain scenarios. And if you do decide to hire a lawyer, you’ll probably have a clearer picture of the type of attorney you’ll want to look for. But even once that’s sorted out, your work won’t be finished.
You’ll now need to do even more research on the respected law firms in your area that can help with your case. In order to hire a lawyer who can serve your needs, you’ll want to look at online reviews, ask friends and family for recommendations, and schedule complimentary consultations to get a feel for what your experience might be like.
There’s nothing that says you have to hire a lawyer just because you’ve met with them once. Your initial consultation should be like a job interview — only you’ll be sitting in the employer’s seat. Although you might want to know whether an attorney can help you, it’s important to remember that the client should be evaluating the law firm (and not the other way around). You’ll need to decide whether the lawyer in question is a good fit for your needs and whether they’re equipped to handle your case.
Be sure to prepare a list of questions and pay close attention to every aspect of your interactions with them. If you get the feeling that your case wouldn’t be important enough to them or you feel an attorney doesn’t have enough experience, keep looking. You’ll want to ask about their track record, their approach, and even their payment structure during this first meeting. If you’re looking to hire a lawyer for one of the situations outlined above, you’ll want to leave no stone unturned. Don’t make the mistake of being intimidated. After all, your lawyer should be your biggest advocate and should provide you the protection you deserve. Before you decide to hire a lawyer for your case, make sure your confidence is well-placed and that you feel great about your choice.