Hiring an attorney is the best way to protect your legal rights and interests. Laws are complex and unless you’re an attorney yourself, you probably don’t know what you should or should not do. It’s equally important to hire an attorney at the right time. Don’t make the mistake of acting too late. Here are 4 things you shouldn’t do without an attorney.
1- Prepare Legal Documents
This is somewhat obvious, yet people do it all the time. Rather than hire an attorney to properly draft a document, you quickly write something or search for samples/templates online. It’s not until an issue arises that you realize you’ve made a terrible and costly mistake. The fact is, legal issues are much more expensive than simply hiring an attorney to prepare correct legal documents in the first place.
2 – Sign Contracts
Just as you shouldn’t write your own contracts, you shouldn’t sign them either until an attorney has reviewed them. Certain provisions may be written incorrectly or key information may be missing altogether. Issues can compromise the benefits you receive or result in personal liability. Also, beware of claims by the other party that a contract is “standard.” There are very few contracts in Massachusetts that are actually standard. Most documents are written by one party with a specific goal in mind. You must have your own legal representation to negotiate the terms or to advise you whether to sign at all if the other party refuses to consider changes.
3 – Negotiate Settlements
Another thing you shouldn’t do without an attorney is negotiate settlements. Whether it’s an offer from an insurance company for personal injuries from an accident or an employer’s offer to cover medical bills for a workplace accident, speak to an attorney first. Although a quick payout may be appealing, what they offered you is not usually fair or just. You may be giving up money that will help you better recover from your injuries and improve your quality of life. Always consult with an attorney to review and negotiate legal settlements.
4 – Reply to Lawsuits
You’ve received paperwork notifying you of a lawsuit. What’s the first thing you should do? Call an attorney! Any response that you submit will become part of the lawsuit and can be used against you. You should never reply without first consulting an attorney and understanding your options. Every lawsuit is unique, so no amount of searching online or speaking with friends will give you the information needed to properly address such a serious matter. Instead, rely on legal professionals who are trained and experienced to do so.
Summary of Things You Shouldn’t Do Without an Attorney
These are just a few of the many things you shouldn’t do without an attorney. As you can imagine, a full list would be quite extensive. Don’t take the chance of making a costly mistake. The rule of thumb is, if something requires your signature and you don’t fully understand it, contact us. Our team is available to assist with all of your legal needs including personal injury cases, estate planning, divorce, business law, real estate matters, and more. We look forward to working with you!