Do I Need a Lawyer?

If your child's injury was caused by a defective product or someone's negligence or misconduct, there may be legal actions. You may be contacted by lawyers or asked for statements or depositions. Hiring a lawyer may seem like the last thing you want to think about right now, but a lawyer can give you expert advice. A lawyer with experience in personal injury law may be able to help you pay for medical expenses. A lawyer can also negotiate with the insurance company regarding coverage for your child's care.

Most lawyers do not charge for the first meeting or consultation. Some legal services are given on an hourly basis with a set fee. In personal injury cases, many lawyers work on a contingent fee agreement, which means they take a percentage of the settlement of a successful lawsuit. In other words, you pay them only if they win the case and secure a financial settlement for your child. Whether you use a lawyer on an hourly basis or on a contingent fee basis, prevent misunderstandings about legal fees by insisting that any agreement for legal services is in writing.

If you do not have a lawyer, contact support agencies such as the New Hampshire Disability Rights Center, Parent Information Center, and the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire. Most agencies will not make a formal referral, but they may be able to suggest a lawyer who has worked with other families. You may also contact the New Hampshire Bar Association at http://www.nhbar.org or New Hampshire Legal Assistance at http://www.nhla.org for a listing of lawyers practicing in your area. Your local district court can usually provide a list of attorneys, some of whom may work on a "pro bono" (no fee) basis or a sliding fee scale.

TIP: The Law Line is another resource that provides free consultation with a lawyer. For more information about this and other legal services, visit the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire website at http://www.bianh.org/resource/legalservices.htm.