There are certain times where a situation you find yourself in is too difficult to manage alone. Frequently, it’s because you find yourself in an argument with someone else over something that happened.
You could be dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, personal injury, malpractice or something else. You could be talking to another person or an insurance agency. Regardless of the specifics, when you need to protect your own rights, getting outside help makes all the difference.
Is it time to hire a lawyer for some extra help?
Attorney vs lawyer
If you decide legal representation is in order, the first thing to do is pick if you want a lawyer or an attorney. While the terms are often used interchangeably there is an actual difference. What it boils down to really is the possibility of your case going to trial.
Both attorneys and lawyers have a law degree and pass the bar, but they don’t do the same job. An attorney practices law, and will go to court, but most lawyers do not. Many lawyers even take jobs as legal advisors or consultants instead of more traditional legal roles.
What gets confusing is that an attorney is a type of lawyer, but a lawyer isn’t always an attorney. The grey area is if you happen upon a trial lawyer. This is essentially another name for an attorney.
If your case is within the area of personal injury or medical malpractice, it’s best to seek out an attorney. When battling large insurance companies, it’s not always easy to settle out of court, and you’ll want your legal representation to have trial experience just in case.
How to hire a lawyer
Although there are plenty of legal books and websites out there for those of us without a legal degree, these are specific instances where you need to know how to hire a lawyer for help. This is typically necessary when you’re dealing with a particularly complex legal situation or you’re looking for help that’s customized to the specifics of your situation.
To hire a lawyer, you first need to find the right one. Begin with your friends and family. A referral from someone who has gone through a situation similar to yours, and been happy with their legal representation, can make all the difference.
If you don’t know anyone who can point you in the right direction, it’s okay to search on your own, but make sure:
- You only look at law firms that specialize in your particular type of case
- Every firm has a website that contains success stories and client feedback
- The firm offers no-cost consultations
You’ll also need to weed out the law firms based on their size. Big firms are great for complicated cases involving a lot of participants or really big players. Smaller firms are better for those who really need a personal touch in their case, particularly if in a one-on-one situation.
Once you’ve scheduled your initial consultation, don’t make the meeting all about your case. Use this time to ask questions about the law firm itself and the person who will represent you. It’s okay to ask for their success rate, compensation award averages, and experience levels. Make sure the law firm also has recent experience dealing with cases similar to yours and find out those outcomes too. You want to know what they have in store for you, but also how they’ve worked in the past.
As soon as you’ve found a law firm that checks all the buttons, makes you feel important and gives you confidence they’ll win your case, you’ve found the best lawyer to hire.
Which type of lawyer do I need?
There are plenty of different types of lawyers out there, and it’s not always easy to match the lawyer you need with your case. At Nicholson, Silverbach, & Watson, our experienced staff consists of:
- Personal injury lawyers who represent individuals injured in an accident of any kind, including car accidents.
- Medical malpractice lawyers who represent those who’ve suffered an injury due to an error made by a medical professional.
There is often overlap in experience between these two areas of law, making our attorneys well-versed in how to handle these cases all while providing a customized touch.
Paying a lawyer
As you’re going through selecting the right legal representation, the biggest question really isn’t about who to pick, but how much it’s going to cost you. Wondering, “How much does a lawyer cost?” could end up holding you back from picking the best legal representation possible.
Start with lawyers that have no-cost consultations. This allows you to get a feel for them in person without having to pay anything out-of-pocket. From there, upfront costs will vary based on what kind of lawyer you need.
Many of those in personal injury and medical malpractice law use a contingency fee. That means the fee comes from the settlement, so if you don’t win your case, you don’t pay your lawyer. If you do win any compensation, whether it happens in or out of court, your attorney is entitled to a specific percentage.
If your lawyer works on a contingency fee, you should get a contingency fee agreement to review prior to hiring them as your legal representation.
Other types of lawyers may have other fee structures. They may set a fixed fee you’ll receive upfront, charge you an hourly rate, or even ask that you put them on retainer. For the second two options, make sure to ask for an estimate of time your lawyer thinks they’ll need to complete your case so you can budget appropriately.
Is it time for you to find a lawyer?
If you’re currently in a situation where you need the help of a qualified professional, it’s time to take all this advice to heart and start looking. One strong place to start is with the attorneys at Nicholson, Silverbach, & Watson. We’re a dedicated team that is here for you. With our personalized approach, we strive to get you the best possible settlement in a way that takes the stress of the case off you. We want you to focus on healing, and are here to help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.