How do I know I need an attorney?
If you are involved in a situation of any kind that involves the law or requires you to go to court, you need an attorney. The average person knows he or she has legal rights, but might not understand all of those rights or know how to defend them. The court system permits a person to represent him or herself, even when accused of crime, but often, this is the fastest route to losing your case.
Your attorney will look out for you and do what is best in your situation-someone which you cannot expect the court system, insurance companies, or other people’s attorneys to do. If you are arrested or accused of a crime, going through a divorce or significant family change, recovering from injuries from an accident, or dealings with a legal issue of any kind, you need to work with an attorney.
How do I choose an attorney that is right for me?
Finding an attorney that is right for you depends on your case. You want to hire someone who is familiar with the laws at the federal and state level in Tennessee, and you want to work with someone who is experienced handling your type of case. For instance, if you have been accused of DUI, you should not work with an attorney who specialize in Internet crimes.
Even the best attorneys are not perfect for every single case. You might have an attorney that handles another aspect of your life, such as your business or estate, but if he or she does not have experience with your particular legal issue, you are cheating yourself out of an opportunity to defend your rights and ensure the best outcome.
If time permits, speak with more than one attorney and learn as much as you can about the firm’s experience and approach. It is essential for you to be “on the same page” as your attorney, so you move forward together as team with your case.
If my spouse and I have no assets and no children, do I still need a divorce attorney?
Though it is possible to divorce your spouse without hiring an attorney, it is not advisable. Even marriages that have been short in duration or that lack parental responsibilities or financial assets can be complicated to end. Unfortunately, divorce tends to bring out the worst in people. You and your spouse might decide in an amicable manner to divorce, but once proceedings begin, he or she could experience a change in attitude. You do not want to leave yourself vulnerable, which is exactly what happens if you do not hire an attorney.
Many attorneys work with individuals to settle their divorces quickly and affordably. If you are hoping to forego a divorce attorney to save money or make the experience less complicated, be upfront about this desire when you meet with a potential attorney. Hiring an attorney during a divorce-even one that is assumed to be amicable-is truly a case better safe than sorry.
Should I hire an attorney if my issue will be settled through mediation?
In many instances, legal issues are settled through alternative forms of dispute resolution long before they reach the courtroom. Though it is possible to participate in mediation without an attorney, many people choose to have attorney representation to help them along the way. Mediators are not able to give legal guidance. They can only inform clients whether or not an arrangement I legal.
Mediation is less formal than a trial, but it can still be an intimidation experience. An attorney will help you prepare for the negotiation and put you at ease when the time arrives. If you are unsure of your situation or you are concerned you might make the wrong decision during mediation, an attorney can provide counsel and assist you with finalizing your settlement. In addition to providing practical assistance, it can be comforting t have an attorney by your side when negotiating a settlement in mediation.
Do I need a personal injury attorney if the insurance company has offered me a settlement?
Yes! There are instances when an insurance company will offer you a fair settlement following an accident but it is rarely their first offer. It is essential you have an attorney on your side who understands how the system works and knows how to negotiate on your behalf.
No matter how polite and generous the insurance company- and their attorneys- might seem, their goal is always to protect their own bottom line. They want to end your claim as quickly as possible, but often this means cheating you out of compensation you deserve. A personal injury attorney is able to negotiate with the insurance company and help you determine when and if to settle outside the court. In addition to dealing with settlement offers, he or she can also take much of the burden off your shoulders while you focus on healing and recovery after an accident.