Navigating the legal field is difficult and confusing, compounding what is likely an already traumatic moment in your life.
Chances are, if you’re looking at our website, you’ve already got a lot on your plate. You may be concerned about your own wellness or the wellness of a loved one, uncertain about the appropriate next steps, and overwhelmed that you might need to hire a lawyer to address the circumstances.
While people dream about planning for life-changing events like buying a house or car, nobody ever looks forward to the time in their life when they must consider hiring a lawyer because of injuries caused by another person, product, or company.
There’s no obvious playbook to follow, and skimming through websites and peer networks to have someone “recommend a lawyer” can feel intimidating, awkward, and ultimately invalidating.
Forum Law Group is here to tell you:
You’re not alone.
We set up this page as sort of a “So I Might Need a Lawyer 101” guide you can follow through a tough time. Our firm has years of practicing law and working with clients facing unspeakable tragedy and concerns about their ability for restorative compensation, and we’ve compiled the following information that provides some answers for individuals unsure of how to proceed with their potential case.
Immediate concerns: Are you okay?
Before taking legal action, it’s best to ensure that your immediate health and well-being is addressed.
Getting your health care sorted out can be complicated. We can help you navigate questions and concerns about the insurance system, including who should be paying your bills and what to expect from the claims process.
If possible, collect receipts from medical bills, descriptions, photographs of injuries, accounts and contact information from other witnesses and individuals, contact information for the responding police officer(s), photographs and estimates for property damage. You’ll also want to keep an updated list of every provider and healthcare facility where you receive treatment for your injuries.
Don’t rush, but don’t delay.
Statutes of limitations vary widely depending on the type of legal case, the state where the injury occurred, and a litany of other circumstances. If you’re on the fence about whether you’d like to pursue legal action, it’s best to look into the matter sooner rather than later or your window to pursue a case may close. Consultations with law firms are typically free - a quick phone call to our firm or to whichever firm you're considering can provide clarity as to any relevant deadlines you need to know.
Look for a lawyer with experience handling cases similar to yours.
Not all lawyers and law firms are alike. Most specialize in only a few specific areas of practice. You’re best off finding a firm that has experience working in a specific area of relevant law. This might sound self-evident, but it’s worth reiterating - a lawyer who has tried numerous traffic cases and knows the specifics of Oregon’s crosswalk laws is likely going to be more successful advocating for the rights of a hit-and-run survivor than someone who hasn’t.
Do your research. Many folks beginning their search for legal assistance use AVVO, a website that rates lawyers similar to the way Yelp rates restaurants. Here at Forum Law Group, we have mixed feelings about the website; our lawyers have excellent ratings. but you’ll notice we don’t actively tout them (although you're free to look us up). Ultimately, for many of the reasons we've outlined above, we believe the website’s algorithms don’t necessarily reflect the relative strengths that make for the best for any specific, individual client. The resource is but one of many available at your disposal to learn more about a law firm, and we encourage you to do your homework thoroughly.
Every case is different. Depending on the circumstances, legal success might require extensive research, investigation, and/or review of documents. A case about overperscription of opioids, for instance, might require significant pharmacological research, or review of complicated academic literature. Certain law firms are better equipped to take on these cases that don’t always have an immediate parallel precedent. These are relevant questions you should ask of any law firm you're considering hiring as your professional advocate, whether it's Forum Law Group or anyone else.
Here at Forum Law Group, we specialize in a handful of specific areas - including traffic law, opioid overprescription, child/elder abuse, and defective medical equipment, among others. Check us out. Consultations are typically free, and we're eager to discuss your case.
If you have talked to a law firm and they are unable to represent you, it’s fairly common for the firm to refer you to a different firm that might be more suited to take your case. Our firm often works with other firms and sometimes can provide suggestions for a lawyer who works in the area of law in which you need help.