You’ve Signed up for Legal Help: What’s Next?
If you are reading this, it likely means that you have signed up for legal help to have a lawyer or law firm review your situation and determine if you have a legal case. You may be wondering what comes next or how a lawyer will determine if you have a case. Then, if you do have a case, will the lawyer take it on? And how much does the lawyer cost?
Here, we hope to provide you with some clarity and helpful information about what you can expect after you sign up for legal help.
What to Expect After you Sign Up for Legal Help
Once you sign up for legal help or advice, your message and contact information will be sent to the law firm or attorney. From there, an attorney will review your information and decide if an exploratory investigation is appropriate. If so, here’s what you can expect to happen next:
The first thing that will happen after you request legal help is that the attorney and/or law firm staff will begin to gather information about your situation. Some of what this exploration will do is:
- Identify the parties in the claim (the child, parents or guardian, the person allegedly responsible, etc.).
- Identify the injuries (who was injured, to what extent, and by whom).
- What facilities have, or are participating, in treating these injuries (doctors, hospitals, therapies, etc.).
- Does the defendant (the party believed to be responsible) have insurance or assets that may cover the damages to the victim?
Request Medical Records
Next, you will need to give the attorney written permission to obtain your medical records. Then, the attorney will request your medical records directly from applicable doctors’ offices or hospitals. This is done via fax, online or by mail, and can take some time to process.
For this request, you will not pay for the medical records yourself. The law firm will cover these costs, and it will be calculated into the overall fees associated with your case. We’ll talk more about that shortly.
If the attorney determines that you do have a case and have grounds to file a claim (lawsuit), the next thing that will happen is that you and your attorney will complete the attorney-client agreement. This is what establishes that you have hired the attorney and he or she will be working on your case. In other words, your relationship is official.
At this point, you are probably wondering about fees. After all, attorneys are expensive, right? Legal fees can certainly add up, especially if your case takes a long time to resolve. However, the good news is that most attorneys who handle personal injury, medical malpractice or products liability claims work on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee basis means that the attorney getting paid is contingent on his or her obtaining a verdict or settlement on your behalf. If they “win” your case, then a percentage of your compensation will go toward covering those fees. That means you do not pay out of pocket for any fees up front.
For more detailed information on how lawyers get paid, visit our article here.
Building Your Claim
Once you have hired the attorney, your next step will be assisting them in building your claim. This is a process that requires you and your attorney to work together to gather all necessary information and documents related to your case. It is important that you provide all relevant information and are honest about your situation.
Your attorney will compile your complaint and the facts of your case into the Complaint – the legal term for the lawsuit. The Complaint establishes the following:
- The Plaintiff: The victim and/or their legal representatives
- The Defendant: The person or entity allegedly responsible for the injuries
- A description of the parties (plaintiff and defendant)
- Details of the allegations (who was injured, why, by whom, and what damage did these injuries do)
- Specific legal claims (details why the victim is entitled to legal remedy)
- Request for damages or relief (details the type(s) of compensation the victim is seeking in the lawsuit)
Once the Complaint is complete, your attorney will file it in civil court and the defendant will be served (given) a copy of the Complaint. It will be physically delivered to the defendant so it is confirmed that they received it.
The Legal Process
Next, you will begin the legal process. This process includes “discovery”, which is when both parties – plaintiff and defendant – ask each other for evidence, information, witness statements, etc. During the legal process, you (or your attorney) and the defendant may each appear in court to decide if arbitration or mediation are possible. If so, you will receive instructions on those alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. If not, a trial date will be set.
Depending on whether your case proceeds in arbitration or trial, there may be additional documents filed with the court. There may also be hearings or meetings to discuss the case and possible resolution. Your attorney will be with you every step of the way.
No matter what type of case you have – products liability, medical malpractice, birth injury, etc. – we can provide the legal help and guidance you need to protect your rights. Learn more by calling us at 866-913-0571.