When do you need a lawyer?

Many people think of lawyers in adversarial roles, arguing one side or the other in a courtroom dispute. But there are times when a lawyer can play a more personal hand-holding role, simply helping someone get through a major crisis in their life.

Mark Alexander, a personal injury attorney with the Stewart, Melvin & Frost law firm in Gainesville, Ga., tells us about this unique aspect of the attorney-client relationship that many people may not realize.

Scenario: Tragedy strikes in the form of a major auto accident. Your spouse is critically injured. You have enough to do with providing love, care, support, emotional grieving. In the midst of this situation, it can be hard to think clearly and make the best decisions. Who pays the medical bills? Should you pay the medical bills? What is the responsibility of your insurance company? Are you admitting fault if you ask your insurance company to cover your bills? What if the person who caused the accident offers to pay a settlement? A personal injury attorney can help you sort through these issues and let you focus on the tragedy at hand.

Question: Is it correct to assume that a lot of people don’t think to call a lawyer in the midst of a personal crisis?

Mark: Sometimes, people can’t think clearly enough in that situation. There is emotional shock. Another reason is that there is a lot of distrust about lawyers.

Most lawyers are not like the slick characters that you see advertised on TV. They are compassionate, caring professionals who can play an important role in helping victims of an injury or other tragedy get back on their feet. Talk to people you trust and get a recommendation for an attorney whom they may have worked with.

Interview an attorney before deciding to hire him or her. Find out if they are experienced in civil trial work, personal injury law, insurance law, etc. In situations where life knocks you down, an attorney can be there to help put your life back together again.

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