Q: Why should I hire an attorney?
A: The most common situation is an automobile accident, but this could also involve a variety of situations, such as someone being bitten by your dog or getting injured on your property, or injuries due to a defective product. You may have automobile or homeowners insurance, but it is still advisable to consult a lawyer. If you or a family member have been injured, and it appears you have a good claim, most personal injury lawyers will not charge you any fee, but will take payment from the judgment they obtain.
If you are charged with a crime, including domestic violence, tax fraud, or even some motor vehicle offenses (such as driving under the influence, vehicular homicide, or so many unpaid parking tickets that an arrest warrant has been issued), hire an attorney.
It is possible to prepare a simple will, power of attorney, living will, or even a basic living trust without a lawyer. However, you need to be sure you know what you are doing. Especially if there is a sizeable estate, tax issues, or a complicated or extensive distribution plan, it is important to find a lawyer to be sure things are done right.
It is essential that you understand the terms of any contract you are asked to sign. If you don’t understand the terms, or how to prepare a contract, consult a lawyer.
If you need a complex business organization (multiple entities), have complex tax matters, need to file for a patent, or become involved in litigation, hire a lawyer.
Q: Will my case go to trial?
A: Whether a case goes to trial depends on dozens of factors, including your damages, the amount of insurance available, and the circumstances of the case. However, generally speaking, approximately 98% of personal injury cases settle without going to trial.
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations?
A: A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum time the parties involved have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, whether civil or criminal. However, the length of time the statute allows for a victim to bring legal action against the suspected wrong-doer can vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Q: How long do I have to make a claim for personal injuries?
A: For personal injury claims the time period to file a claim could be anywhere from one year to four years depending upon the type of claim that you have. Generally, the time limit is two years to file suit in Texas. It is important to get advice from an attorney because the exact time limits can depend upon the specific facts of your case. It is important to hire an attorney soon after an accident. The insurance companies usually respond immediately and so should you. An attorney can help preserve evidence that otherwise may be lost forever.
Q: Can a lawyer represent both parties in reaching an agreement or a contract?
A: The ethics rules governing conduct by attorneys in the state of Texas prohibits an attorney from having any conflict of interest in any matter, which would preclude that lawyer from representing both sides of a transaction or lawsuit.
Q: Does a lawyer ever have any duty of confidentiality prior to undertaking representation of a client?
A: Yes, generally speaking a lawyer has a duty of confidentiality to a potential client even before agreeing to undertake the representation of the client. See TDRPC, Preamble, Sec. 12; Rule 1.05(a); and TRE, Rule 503(a)(1).
Q: Is my attorney allowed to talk about my case with others?
A: Generally, no. Attorneys are bound by the attorney-client privilege, which means that anything you tell your attorney in the course of your case must be kept confidential by that attorney and shared only with other attorneys in the firm and their staff. In addition, attorneys are generally bound to keep confidential even non-privileged information learned during the course of your representation about you or your case. There are some exceptions, however, which allows a lawyer to discuss your case to protect against harm.