5 Most Common Questions That Lawyers Get Asked

January 27, 2020 @ 3:58 pm

judge's gavel photo for most common law questions blog

As personal injury attorneys specializing in a variety of law areas, we represent clients through many of life’s most stressful events. You might be surprised at just how common some of these questions are and how simple many of their answers are, too. Here are a few of the most frequently asked law questions that we hear—and answer—often.

1.  Do I need a lawyer, or can I handle this legal issue myself?

If you’re wondering if you need a lawyer, you could probably benefit from at least speaking with one. Finding a legal solution to a problem—or preventing a problem in the first place—usually requires everyone involved to follow certain filing requirements, meet certain deadlines and remain accountable throughout the process.

What’s important is that you speak with a reputable lawyer who is experienced in the type of legal advice or representation that you need. He or she should be able to explain the level of complexity and the challenges involved for you to address the issue — both with and without professional legal help.

2.  If my attorney does something that I don’t like, can I fire him or her?

Short answer: Yes, you can fire your attorney. The caveat is that relationships between lawyers and their clients require honesty. Clients must present the truth even if it may reflect upon them unfavorably. Likewise, lawyers must be honest about what a client can reasonably expect to be able to accomplish within the scope of the law. When you hire a lawyer, they should be able to count on you to stick to the facts, show up for appointments on time, complete all requested documentation and paperwork, and pay a fair rate for their services.

Before discharging your attorney, consider carefully whether the problem is with the attorney or the court process and whether switching to another lawyer might actually disrupt or delay action on your case. Also, keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for paying your current lawyer for any work performed as well as the work your new attorney will have to do to get up to speed on your case.

3.  If I’m hurt, how long do I have to decide whether to hire a personal injury lawyer and file a case?

This is actually a question about Louisiana’s statutes of limitations. That is the law that determines how long a plaintiff has to file a case. Out of all the US states, Louisiana has one of the shortest statutes of limitations. You usually have just one year, and that year begins on the day the event—injury or death—happened. In some cases, the year may begin on the date that you realized that you’d suffered harm.

Either option leaves little room for delays or indecision. It takes time to receive specialized medical attention, gather diagnostic reports and assessments, or collect assessments on the needed rehabilitation or long-term damages. You may even have to arrange travel for medical consultations or treatment. In most cases, as long as you are within the one-year time period, you can file a personal injury case and even drop it later if you want. However, once your year has closed, the statute bars you from pursuing compensation if you haven’t already filed. Remember, though, that certain types of cases have time frames that fall well before the normal one-year date; it is important that you seek legal consultation early so that you don’t forfeit your rights later.

4.  How much money can I get from a personal injury lawsuit?

The actual amount of compensation someone receives in a personal injury lawsuit typically corresponds to the severity of the injury and the impact that it has had on their lives so far as well as the impact it will have in the future. The value of your case can also be affected by the degree of negligence of the parties involved — including the injured person.

Compensation usually seeks to cover all damages: for example, current and future medical expenses, permanent impairment, lost wages, lost future wages, funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial contributions, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and other costs associated with the injury. The commitment is to ensure that victims and their families have the proper care and support to which they’re entitled under the law.

5.  If I’m injured offshore, how do I file a personal injury lawsuit?

You’ll need to document everything that happened to you, and you will likely need to file a report with your employer. Those two things are vital. You or your family should quickly contact a lawyer who specializes in maritime law. The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) are two statutes governing the responsibilities that employers have to employees working on US vessels — but they are not the only laws that may apply to your case.

If multiple parties are responsible, you may need to file multiple cases. Meanwhile, the one-year statute of limitations typically begins on the date of the injury or death. Filing a successful case depends on hiring an experienced attorney who knows and understands the precedents of personal injury compensation under maritime law and will use your time efficiently and effectively.

If you don’t see your question here among our five most frequently asked law questions in Louisiana, reach out to an attorney at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik. Our lawyers have more than four decades of combined experience in personal injury law, with cases ranging from the oil industry and maritime law to the trucking industry as well as settlement and mediation. Contact us online, or call us at 1-800-356-6776 to schedule your free consultation.

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