When should I hire a lawyer?

For certain legally complex or time-consuming disputes or problems, there is no doubt that a lawyer is necessary. For example, if you want a will prepared, or a more complex business deal handled, you will need to hire a lawyer. And, if a court case is involved, you'll almost always need a lawyer.

When deciding whether to hire an attorney, consider the following:

  • Does the matter involve a complex legal issue or is it likely to go to court? Is a large amount of money, property, or time involved? These factors indicate that you need to hire a lawyer.
  • Is there a form or self-help book available that you can use instead of hiring a lawyer? You may be able to solve certain problems with only minimal assistance.
  • Are there any non-lawyer legal resources available to assist you?

What legal fee arrangements are best for me?

The most common types of fee arrangements used by lawyers are listed below.

Contingency fee. Under this arrangement, the attorney's fee is based on a percentage of what you are awarded in the case. If you lose the case, the attorney does not get a fee, although you will still have to pay expenses. 

Flat fee. The lawyer will charge you a specific total fee for your case. A flat fee is usually offered only if your case is relatively simple or routine.

Note: While lawyers will not set a flat fee for litigation, they can usually give you a good estimate of the costs at each stage.

Hourly rate. Attorneys charge by the hour (or portion of an hour). For instance, if your attorney's fee is $200 per hour, and he or she works ten hours, the cost will be $2,000. 

  • Tip: If you agree to an hourly rate, be sure to find out how much experience your attorney has had with your type of case. A less experienced attorney will usually require more time to research your case, although he or she may charge a lower hourly rate.
  • Tip: Ask what is included in the hourly rate. If other staff such as secretaries, messengers, paralegals, and law clerks will be working on your case, find out how their time will be charged to you? Ask about costs and out-of-pocket expenses, which are usually billed in addition to the hourly rate.

Depending upon the kind or type of case any one of the above fee arrangements may be used. While contingency fees are often used in personal injury matters an attorney cannot represent an individual in criminal or domestic matters under such an arrangement.

Will I have to go to court?

It is unlikely that you will have to go to trial. Quite frequently, cases are settled before even filing. This occurs if the defendant or the insurance company agrees to pay what we believe your case is worth and only if you agree to settle for that amount. If a case cannot be settled before filing, it nonetheless will likely be settled without going to trial by means of mediation and negotiations. Very few cases actually proceed to trial.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is where an impartial third party facilitates the parties’ own private resolution of the dispute. The third party does not make any decisions, rather they simply facilitate. The benefits of a mediation are countless including the fact that it is far cheaper than proceeding to trial, the process is completely confidential, but most importantly, both sides get to craft a deal that they want rather than having the end determined by a third-party.

What are the time limits for filing suit for an Ohio personal injury claim?

Generally, in the State of Ohio you have two (2) years from the date of the incident to file your claim. However, the length of time could be more or less depending upon the particular type of case. For instance, medical malpractice actions generally limit you to one (1) year from the date of the event giving rise to the claim to file. Because of the nature and complexity in determining the appropriate statute or limit of time for your case we encourage you to contact us immediately.

What is a Medical Malpractice claim?

A medical malpractice claim is a claim against a medical professional and/or provider (e.g., doctor, nurse, hospital, etc.) for negligently causing harm or death during the course of treatment. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, or died, as a result of an error or omission of a medical provider, you may have a medical malpractice claim.

Can I bring a claim if my relative has passed away or is incompetent?

Yes, a claim can still be established even if the victim is deceased or incompetent. If your loved one has passed away, his or her estate is allowed to bring a claim. If no estate has been opened, the attorneys at Scanlon & Elliott will assist you and your family in opening the estate in order to pursue the medical malpractice claim.

If your loved one is still living but is incompetent due to injury or illness, a family member who has been named Power of Attorney may be authorized to bring a claim on his or her behalf. If no Power of Attorney was established before the incompetency, or the Power of Attorney is limited in scope, we can assist you with applying for a guardianship with the Probate Court. Once named guardian, you may bring a claim on behalf of the incompetent party.

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