Hiring a Lawyer: Five Frequently Asked Questions
August 11, 2016 @ 9:39 am
Updated on: March 5, 2021
For most people, legal waters are confusing, overwhelming and frustrating to navigate through. For this reason, it is essential to find a trusted attorney capable of handling your case. In searching for a lawyer, you will undoubtedly have many questions about the process. To help you get started, here are five answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions:
1. How do I find a good lawyer?
When picking a lawyer, be sure to check his or her credentials. All lawyers should have a degree from an accredited institution, and they should have passed all examinations to practice in your state. Moreover, verify that the lawyer is experienced in the field of law that applies to your case. For example, it’s not recommended to hire a personal injury lawyer for criminal defense. It is also important to discuss the cost of services in order to see if you can afford to hire the lawyer. Never hesitate to ask for references.
2. How much will does it cost to hire a lawyer?
The cost to hire a lawyer can vary depending on the lawyer, the nature of the case and, in some instances, your ability to pay. Each lawyer dictates his or her own pay structure, but many provide different payment options to better serve clients. For simple cases, the lawyer may use a flat fee. More complex issues warrant a contingency fee or an hourly charge. Contingency fees are a set percentage, which is taken from any winnings. If you lose your case, the lawyer does not receive payment, but clients are still expected to pay for expenses. The lawyer may alternatively charge hourly rates. In these cases, clients pay for the time the lawyer devotes to the case which may include research and litigation.
3. Will my case go to court?
Despite the abundance of courtroom dramas on television, most cases never make it to court. No matter what type of case you are dealing with, it is more likely to settle matters before the case is brought before a judge. In some instances, lawyers may be able to negotiate a solution that benefits everyone. In other situations, parties may decide to settle for a compromise based on their prospects. However, even when cases do get settled, the entire process could take months or years.
4. How long do I have to file my lawsuit?
Usually, there is a limited window of opportunity to take legal action. The amount of time varies based on the nature of the case and where the paperwork is being filed. Each state determines its own statute of limitations. Personal injury cases, for example, must often be filed within one year of the injury. Cases of medical malpractice may have even stricter time requirements. Because of the varying time frames in which a case can be brought, it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
5. Do I really need a lawyer?
If the legal matter is minor, it may be possible to find alternative resources to complete your task. For example, basic wills and other legal documents can be made online. However, these resources are rarely adequate substitutes for the advice of a real attorney. Many lawyers will provide initial consultations for free or at a reduced rate to discuss what advanced legal support can do for your case.
If you need legal support in Opelousas, Louisiana, our team is here for you. By choosing a personal injury attorney at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik, you are choosing a dedicated team of trial lawyers with more than 170 years of combined legal experience. To learn more about how a personal injury lawyer can help, contact one of our experienced attorneys today.