The following questions and answers are designed to field many of the basic questions people ask when facing legal action may be necessary for their case
Q: Should I talk to other people about my case?
A: It is best to discuss your lawsuit only with your lawyers and no one else. When you discuss your case with friends, with the insurance company, or with anyone else, the information you discussed may find its way into the hands of an opposing attorney. Discussing your case with people other than your lawyer could harm your case.
Q: How much is my case worth?
A: The value of a case differs based on the circumstances. Countless factors affect the value of a case. Your lawyer can begin to discuss the value of your case only after a thorough investigation of the case and all relevant facts. Every case is unique, and comparing your case to someone else’s can be counterproductive
Q: When should I resolve my claim?
A: For your own protection, you should not resolve your claim until it has been fully investigated. If your claim involves a physical injury, you should not settle until you have recovered or until you have completed treatment with your doctor.
Q: How can I tell if I have a legitimate claim for a lawsuit?
A: The best way to see if you have a viable legal claim is to consult an attorney.
Q: Why is that?
A: A lawyer knows the law and is in a position to evaluate facts of your case to make a determination of the strength or weakness of your potential claim.
Q: What will it cost me to hire a lawyer?
A: There are generally two categories of compensation an attorney receives for handling a case: attorneys’ fees and expenses. The attorneys’ fee compensates the attorney and his or her staff for the time and expertise it takes to handle your case. Sometimes attorneys agree to be paid on a contingency fee basis. This is when an attorney contracts to represent a client and be paid based on a percentage of the amount recovered in the case. The lawyer receives an attorneys’ fee only if he or she wins or settles your case. In some cases, however, attorneys contract with their clients to be paid on an hourly basis, a retainer basis, or a combination of the two.
Q: Are there other financial arrangements?
A: Yes. Depending on the issues in the case, some clients prefer to pay for services on an hourly basis, a retainer basis, or a combination of the two.
Q: What does attorney-client privilege mean?
A: Without the client’s permission, an attorney may not disclose confidential information that a client has communicated to the attorney.
Q: Is every communication covered by privilege?
A: No. Attorney-client privilege protects only that spoken or written information conveyed to an attorney hired by the client, and which is communicated when the client is seeking the attorney’s legal advice on a matter.
Q: What about cell phones or e-mail communication?
A: Care must be taken with their use, since third parties may eavesdrop even on supposedly secure or encrypted communications.
Q: Who “owns” the privilege?
A: Only the client owns the privilege, but it can be inadvertently broken by communicating the confidential information to a third party.
Q: Must an attorney’s employees honor the privilege?
A: Yes, other members of the firm – attorneys, legal assistants, paralegals, and clerical staff – must honor the attorney-client privilege and protect the client’s confidential information.
Q: How long does privilege exist?
A: Only a client’s authorization or a court’s ruling can end the privilege.