How to Know You Need an AttorneyAttorneys get a bad rap. It’s fair to say that people are often reluctant to talk to a lawyer. Maybe they’re nervous about the possibility of going to court. Maybe they’re worried about how expensive legal services might be. And maybe they believe the popular stereotypes of attorneys as ambulance-chasing opportunists.
The truth is that attorneys are there to protect people when they need it most. No one wants to talk to an attorney, but when trouble strikes, an attorney can be the difference between coming out on top of your problem and watching as your entire life falls apart.
Many people don’t realize this, however. They might think that they can handle their case on their own, only to find out later that they’re in over their head. Of course, no one wants to pay for legal services if they don’t have to. So how do you know if you need an attorney or not? Here are a few of the situations you might find yourself in that could make speaking with an attorney worth your while:
You Were Injured in an AccidentGetting hurt in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence is easily one of the most common reasons to need an attorney. Whether the accident was a car crash or involved getting attacked by a neighbor’s dog, you have the right to seek financial compensation to cover the injuries, financial expenses, and non-economic damages that result.
Of course, many of these situations involve insurance companies, and accident victims often make the mistake of assuming that the insurer is there to look out for them and provide them with all the funds they need to make a full recovery. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. In fact, insurers are notorious for paying out as little as possible—all in the name of protecting their own profit margins.
The catch is that most accident victims don’t realize that the settlement they’ve been given is too small to cover all their needs. But by then it’s too late. An experienced personal injury attorney can make certain that you don’t get taken advantage of in this way. By working with an attorney, you can make certain that all of your losses are factored into the settlement.
What’s more, a good attorney will build a strong case that puts you into a strong negotiating position. Insurers like to portray accident victims as being at fault because it reduces what they’ll have to pay. For example, if you were hurt in a traffic accident, the insurance might try to say that you were partially responsible because you didn’t maintain your car properly. A car accident lawyer can build a strong case that proves the other party’s fault and minimizes yours.
You Were Arrested for a CrimeFacing criminal charges can be a terrifying situation. Depending on the crime that you’re accused of, you might be looking at a fine worth thousands of dollars, community service, or even a jail or prison sentence that could cost you years of your life. This is not a situation you want to tackle on your own, as there’s simply too much at stake to trust to inexperience.
Even if you qualify for a public defender, you’re still better off retaining your own criminal defense attorney. Public defenders are often overworked, which means that your case likely won’t get the level of attention it deserves.
Even a DWI charge should be fought with help from an experienced defense attorney. Any conviction will mean decreased future opportunities, as housing, employment, and loan applications often want to know if you have a criminal record. And a sex crime conviction could land you on the registered sex offender list.
A good defense attorney can help you out of this mess. Depending on the evidence in your favor, it might be possible to get your charges reduced or dismissed. With an attorney on your side, the prosecution might be willing to offer a generous plea bargain—something they rarely do for people who choose to represent themselves. Even if these options don’t pan out, a defense attorney will know how to deliver a compelling case in court, possibly swaying a judge or jury to decide in your favor.
You Need a DivorceEven if you and your spouse come to an amicable decision to divorce, you still want to have an attorney represent you throughout the process. Divorces are tricky business, and while it might start out friendly, things might be different by the end of the divorce—especially if kids or valuable assets are involved.
Child custody often proves to be a sticking point, as each parent wants to protect his or her relationship with the children. You might even be convinced that time with your soon-to-be ex is detrimental to the kids’ well being. It’s not enough to feel this way, however; you must prove it to a judge. Family law judges will always rule in what they view to be the best interests of the children. A family law attorney will know how to present this type of argument in a way that hits on all of a judge’s key concerns.
Dividing assets is another difficult component of any divorce. You might even think that your spouse is hiding assets so that he or she will be able to keep more. Any divorce attorney worth his or her salt will have investigative resources available to uncover any hidden funds or properties.
Getting the best divorce decree possible means tackling all of the issues that arise in a divorce logically and detached from emotion. This will be hard to do by yourself, so it’s best to let an attorney handle these details for you.
You’ve Received a Traffic Ticket
Many people don’t realize it, but every single traffic ticket should be fought.
Most states follow some sort of driving points system where you lose your license after you accrue a certain number of points. Well, some tickets incur more points than others, and getting to the suspension threshold can happen surprisingly quickly. It may be that the final ticket can’t be beaten, which is why you should fight every ticket as if it’s your last.
Beating Your Traffic Ticket
Qualified Traffic Ticket Attorney
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Don’t let the legal system chew you up and spit you out. Instead, find out what an attorney can do to help you find the best outcome possible.