Everyone agrees that legal services are essential, and yet, most people avoid contacting one if they can help it. Most of the time, this is caused by an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of what lawyers actually do and how much they charge. Although awareness has increased in the past few years, and we have the Internet to thank for that, many people still imagine that hiring a professional legal practitioner is a luxury that only the rich and famous can avoid and that if the average person is involved in a car accident or suffers an injury because of their employer, they should simply resign themselves to the situation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the same way that everyone deserves to be treated by a good doctor, legal services are essential for yourself and your family’s wellbeing, and even though they come at a cost, they are actually better for your finances in the long run.
A 2017 analysis found that, in the US, millions of people try to navigate the judicial system without a lawyer, which often leads to them losing the case. Something similar also happens in the UK, where people may choose to be “litigants in person”, that is, represent themselves in court, without a solicitor or legal counsel. Unfortunately, it’s quite rare for litigants in person to be successful because they lack the legal know-how and court experience to present their case. And besides, most people don’t even choose to represent themselves in court because they don’t know their rights and end up covering expenses that should be someone else’s responsibility.
Here’s why hiring a professional lawyer is a better idea, both for your peace of mind and finances.
Legal services don’t have to be expensive. No win no fee lawyers are the perfect example
Lawyers are too expensive! We can’t afford to hire one!
This is, without a doubt, one of the most common reasons why people prefer to suffer injustices in silence. However, there are two factors they’re not taking into account:
- You may have the impression that you’re saving money by not hiring a lawyer, but, in the long run, you’re actually wasting money. For example, the costs of paying for an injury lawyer are much lower than covering the costs of hospitalization yourself.
- Not all lawyers are expensive. For example, in the example of personal injury cases above, you can find no win no fee lawyers. These lawyers don’t charge you anything upfront. Instead, they only charge you a small fee, but only if they win the case. On average, the fee is 25% of the compensation secured, and it’s only deducted after the compensation is paid. This way, you’re not taking any risks. Besides, no win no fee lawyers usually only take the cases that they know have a realistic chance of winning. No win no fee services are one of the best things to have happened to the judicial system recently because they empower clients with professional solutions they wouldn’t have benefitted from otherwise.
Needless to say, some legal advice is free. For example, you can read about cases similar to yours on a free legal advice platform and even get in touch with a professional who will tell you if your case is worth pursuing in court. Many people are actually surprised to discover that accidents they would have otherwise let pass are actually worth filing a claim and that they deserve to be financially compensated for physical and emotional damages.
For example, after slipping and falling on a wet surface at work and twisting their ankle, an employee may assume that they were just clumsy and pay for the recovery from their own pocket. However, if the wet surface wasn’t signaled in any way, the employer could actually be to blame, and the employee may be entitled to financial compensation.
People often underestimate the extent of a seemingly innocent incident but, after talking to a professional lawyer, they’re amazed to find out that they’re entitled to five-figure amounts. Let’s take a car accident, for example. Even if you only had a few bruises, when damages are calculated, lawyers take more factors into account:
- Hospitalization and treatment required by the victims involved in the accident, including long-term care (i.e. physical therapy).
- Financial losses caused by the victim having to miss work.
- Emotional damage. If the accident was traumatic and required therapy, compensation would cover that too. The coverage can extend to other people involved in the accident who didn’t sustain any physical injury but were traumatized by seeing their loved ones seriously injured.
- Long-term impact on your career. If you were seriously harmed in an accident and this prevents you from doing your job, compensation will be higher. A famous example is that of singer Gloria Estefan, whose tour bus was hit by a tractor-trailer. In the accident, she sustained a serious back injury that prevented her from going on stage for one year, which affected her career. She and her husband filed a claim against the company that owned the truck, and they won almost $9 million.
In the case of premium legal services, you usually get what you pay for
Not all cases are covered by the terms and conditions of no win no fee lawyers. Sometimes, if a case is quite complicated, your lawyer or law firm may require a different payment structure, and their services will be more expensive. While these costs may seem intimidating, you usually get what you pay for.
While it may be tempting to go to the cheapest option and choose the lawyer that offers you the best price, that may not be such a good idea in the long run because that lawyer may not be qualified or experienced enough. Premium services are premium for a reason. In the same way that a doctor who doesn’t have any experience can waste your more money in the long run, the same can an unqualified lawyer.