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Tulsa How Can I Determine If I Need a Lawyer? Attorneys

The following is general information for Oklahoma residents and not intended as legal advice.

Q. Do I always need a lawyer?

A. No, you only need a lawyer if the lawyer can do you some good. In some circumstances, you might need a lawyer for some limited purposes to make sure that things are being done correctly.
Q. What kind of situations do not require a lawyer?

A. The following are some common examples where no lawyer is needed:

Example 1: Your car is totaled in an accident. You are not hurt and neither is anyone else in your family. The other driver was at fault and his insurance company has offered you a good price for your car plus pro rata share of tag, taxes and title expense. Furthermore, they have agreed to pay you for a rental car during the time that it took for them to adjust the loss plus one or two days extra so you could buy another car. You do not need an attorney because an attorney cannot do anything for you that has not already been done.

Example 2: You are in an accident and your vehicle is totaled. No one in your family is hurt. The other driver, who was at fault, did not have insurance coverage. You do have collision coverage but you have a $500.00 deductible. The other driver is 18 years old and does not have a job. Your insurance company adjusts the claim and pays you for your vehicle less the deductible and also pays you the pro rata share of tag, taxes and title on the vehicle. You could sue the other driver for the deductible in small claims court. As a practical matter it is probably not worth the effort to do so as you would probably not be able to collect the judgment without a lot of expense and effort.

Example 3: You are injured in an accident. Property damage to your vehicle is not an issue as it has already been settled or because you personally did not incur any property damage. You incurred emergency room bills and went to the doctor a few times, but now you have fully recovered. The responsible party’s insurance carrier has offered you a settlement that not only pays your medical bills, but also covers any lost wages you had plus provides some extra money above those amounts for pain and suffering. You feel the settlement offer is fair. Furthermore, your medical bills have been paid under your own medical payments coverage. If you feel the offer is fair and you are happy, then you probably do not need a lawyer. However, you may need to contact a lawyer to help you evaluate whether the offer really is fair and to explain what you may be able to recover.

Q. When do I need a lawyer?

A. The following are common examples of when you do need a lawyer to handle a claim or potential lawsuit:

Example 1: You have been injured in an automobile accident that was not your fault and the other party’s insurance carrier or even your own insurance carrier is playing hardball and not offering you a fair settlement for your injuries.

Example 2: You have been injured or a family member has died as a result of a defective product or as a result of medical malpractice.

Example 3: You have had a fire loss, but your insurance carrier does not want to pay everything that is owed to you under the terms of its policy.

Example 4: Your insurance company is refusing to pay amounts that are due under their policy, regardless of whether it is an auto policy, health insurance policy, home insurance policy, general liability policy, life insurance or disability policy.

Example 5: Almost anything that could involve a civil suit for money damages or which appears to have potential for a lawsuit.

Example 6: You have been arrested, charged with a crime or are being investigated or interviewed by the police.
Q. When do I need an attorney to check to make sure things are being done correctly?

A. The following are examples of situations where you may want to consult an attorney to have a particular task checked or performed:

Example 1: You do not know whether you need to talk to a lawyer. When in doubt, call a lawyer.

Example 2: You have been severely injured or your spouse was killed in an automobile accident. The responsible party’s insurance carrier has offered their liability limits and your own insurance carrier has offered you the policy limits under your uninsured motorist coverage. You may want to hire an attorney by the hour to make sure that there is no other source of funds that you are waiving by settling your claim.

Example 3: As a result of an injury to one of your minor children, you have agreed upon a settlement. The liability insurance carrier for the other party and/or your insurance carrier wants to have a court approve the settlement agreement. This could also happen as a result of a settlement in a case involving a death. You may want to hire an attorney on a flat rate basis to go over the paperwork and explain the process to you.

Example 4: Any real estate transaction should probably have an attorney involved to check over the contracts and/or title situation.

Example 5: Estate planning, wills, probate, business planning, incorporation and any long-term ongoing legal relationship should have an attorney involved in either drafting the paperwork or checking same.

Example 6: Virtually any legal relationship of an ongoing nature should possibly have an attorney involved for purposes of planning to avoid or minimize future legal problems. This would include review of contracts that you are considering entering into as part of the operation of your business.

Example 7: Any claim involving in any way a governmental entity including, but not limited to, school districts, cities, counties, departments of the State of Oklahoma or the federal government or any of its agencies probably are going to require that you need a layer as they are generally difficult to deal with and all have special rules which can apply to them on everything from statute of limitations to procedures.

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Taylor, Ryan, Schmidt, Van Dalsem & Williams, P.C.
850 Boulder Towers, 1437 South Boulder Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74119
Phone: 918-948-6958
Toll Free: 866-761-7693
Fax: 918-749-9531