Legal Advice for the Remainder of 2020: How You Can Handle the Unexpected

It’s no secret that 2020 hasn’t exactly been the favorite year of many people. In fact, plenty of individuals can’t wait to ring in the new year. However, with a couple months left, it means that anything can happen. And that includes an unexpected legal situation that could throw anyone for a loop.

Although you’re certainly not planning to experience a legal situation during the rest of 2020 or into 2021, you may find yourself in a scrape. It can happen to the best of people, after all. But the most important thing to do when you get into a legal situation is to understand how to proceed.

What are common kinds of legal situation events that ordinary people face every day? Check out the list below. Each legal situation includes a description of what it is and what you can do to mitigate any problem. Oh, and remember that even the scariest, most annoying legal situation will eventually pass, just like 2020.

Legal Situation #1: A Car Accident

As far as legal problems go, these are some of the most frequently seen. After all, car wrecks happen every day around the nation. From parking lot fender benders to catastrophic crashes, car and truck accidents are unfortunately part of modern living.

If you’re in a car accident, you need to follow a few tips to make the situation better, even if you were negligent. First, be sure to call for roadside assistance services by dialing 911 immediately. Then, wait for emergency responders to get to you. When the police come, give them your honest report. However, don’t be tempted to take any blame or say you’re sorry. You don’t need to do that, and it could cause you issues down the road if the accident wasn’t really your fault after all.

You should definitely get checked out by medical personnel to ensure that you’re okay. Sometimes, physical problems aren’t evident. After an accident, you may have a rush of adrenaline that masks pain from whiplash, cuts, or even broken bones. Therefore, get a doctor’s opinion before you assume you’re okay.

In the days following the crash, you may want to get in touch with an accident attorney if you have been hurt or the at-fault driver’s insurance company is playing hardball. Accident attorneys are well-versed in knowing how to get you the best settlement offer possible. Insurance adjusters often try to downplay injuries suffered during car wrecks. Though you’ll pay an attorney a percentage of any settlement offer you receive, you won’t have to deal with insurance providers alone.

Legal Situation #2: A Drunk Driving Accident

Make no mistake about it: Being convicted of a DUI, which means driving while under the influence, is a serious crime in America. It can lead to anything from the loss of your driver’s license to time spent behind bars. Consequently, the best way to avoid a drunk driving accident or even being pulled over for DUI is to never get behind the wheel if you’ve had anything to drink.

Of course, despite these warnings, you may find yourself facing a DUI charge. At that point, your best bet is to contact a local law firm immediately. Every state has different penalties as part of the drunk driving law. Nevertheless, DUI is a criminal conviction. This means it would stay on your permanent criminal record.

Not worried about it and think that getting a lawyer involved is unnecessary? It’s important to think about the fact that having a criminal record will never go away. It may also impede your ability to do certain things like getting a bank loan, being able to rent the apartment of your dreams, or even being eligible for student loans. For those reasons alone, you should definitely speak with an attorney who specializes in this type of legal situation.

If you thought it wasn’t possible to get out of a DUI charge, you might be surprised. Again, criminal lawyers may be able to help you figure out a loophole that allows you to avoid a conviction. Even if you’re guilty of DUI, you may be able to work with the court through your attorney if this is your first offense. Really, it’s just good practice to call a criminal lawyer to give you more opportunities to make your legal situation go away.

Legal Situation #3: An Eviction Notice

You haven’t been able to pay your bills for a few months, including your rent. Though you’re trying to make ends meet, you’ve had it rough. Then, you get a dreaded letter in the mail. It’s an eviction notice telling you that you have to vacate the premises because you’re so far in arrears. What do you do?

Once again, you should start scouring the Internet, this time for an eviction attorney. Lawyers who practice in this area can potentially help you stay a little longer in your apartment. They may also know about emerging laws that you don’t that could earn you a bit more time to pay back some of your rent.

Since COVID-19, some regions of the country have made it illegal for landlords to throw out tenants who cannot pay rent because they lost their jobs due to the coronavirus. Your landlord might not know that, though. Therefore, retaining a lawyer could be a good decision. If nothing else, you could always set up a free legal consultation with a lawyer just to talk about your legal situation. It never hurts to get a professional’s advice, especially if you don’t have to pay anything. Based on the advice, you can decide what to do next.

One thing: Don’t ignore the eviction notice. Your landlord has taken the first steps toward getting you out of your apartment, house, townhome, or condo. Never assume that the landlord isn’t serious about following through with the eviction.

Legal Situation #4: A Problem at Work When You’re the Employee

What types of legal situation occurrences can happen at work? Let’s first consider a problem that can happen when you’re the employee.

As a worker, you expect to get certain benefits and perks for working at your job. Maybe your employer pays for a certain portion of your health insurance or has promised you matching contributions into your HSA or IRA. Later, you find out that the employer hasn’t done anything of the sorts. An employee benefits lawyer could potentially help you figure out this mess, particularly if your company doesn’t do anything to lift a finger. Of course, you should always speak with your human resources personnel manager or supervisor before immediately retaining legal counsel. That way, you can prove that you diligently tried to resolve the issue on your own and in good faith.

Another commonplace legal situation facing workers is a denial of workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance should pay for medical bills following a workplace injury such as a repetitive motion stress fracture or broken bones after a serious at-work accident. However, workers’ compensation may deny a worker’s claim. In that case, you’ll want to appeal the claim alone or with the help of a legal representative. Many appeals are approved after having been originally denied. But you have to display a lot of tenacity and persistence to ensure that you’re heard.

Legal Situation #5: A Problem at Work When You’re the Employer

Time for a reversal of the situation: Now, you’re an employer rather than an employee. What legal situations could rear up during the rest of 2020? How about being sued by another business who has hired a commercial litigation lawyer? Or being sued by an employer who claims that your workplace is a site of employee discrimination?

As an employer, you probably already have an attorney who helped you with some of your legal documents. Call the attorney and ask what to do next. Your attorney may not practice in the area you need but can probably send you to a different lawyer who can be of service.

Legal Situation #6: Getting Arrested

No one likes to imagine the possibility of getting arrested for something. Nevertheless, police arrest men and women every day for a variety of alleged crimes. For instance, you might have a loud fight with a neighbor. You don’t intend to fight the neighbor, but you’re both very heated. What if another neighbor calls the police? You could both wind up being hauled into jail under the charge of disturbing the peace. And from there, the nightmare could continue.

Again, you probably won’t set out to do anything that will get you arrested. But if you do find yourself in this predicament, you’ll want to get out of jail fast. That’s where getting in touch with a bail bond service can be extremely handy.

Bail bond service providers do exactly what their titles imply: They provide the upfront money to get you out of jail on bail. Your bail is set by the courts, of course. In exchange for letting you out of the jail, the court keeps the bail money. If you “jump bail”, the court will not pay the bail bondsman back, which means you’ll be on the hook for the full amount. In other words, make sure that if you do get arrested and use a bail bond service that you take your role as a lendee seriously. Otherwise, you could lose some of your assets.

Legal Situation #7: A Separation or Divorce

You just found out that your spouse wants to leave you. This means a separation and probably a divorce is on the horizon. You’re heartbroken. You’re probably a little angry, too. However, you’ll want to hold your tongue rather than lashing out, particularly if you have kids with your soon-to-be-ex.

The best thing you can do after hearing that your spouse is filing for divorce is to get yourself a good family law attorney. It might seem over-the-top or callous to immediately think of legal representation, especially if you hope to reconcile. But not all marriages can be saved, and you need to think about what’s best for you.

Family law attorneys aren’t all cut-throat, either. They won’t try to make you get into some kind of a long, drawn-out, contentious divorce. They’ll just help you retain as much of your wealth and assets as possible. They’ll also be enormously helpful if you find yourself in a custody battle.

On the other hand, if you’re the one who’s asked for a divorce or you and your spouse both agree that your marriage is over, you may want to try mediation. A mediator can work with you both to figure out how to follow-through with a divorce without necessarily involving attorneys. Depending on what state you live in, you may be required to at least try mediation to see if it can work in your circumstances. If nothing else, it forces you to look at divorce from a different perspective.

Legal Situation #8: An Unexpected Injury

You were walking down the street and tripped on an uneven sidewalk. Suddenly, you’re flat on your face and not feeling so great. You go to a local family medical care facility only to find out you broke your wrist and suffered a nasty gash on your forehead.

After getting treatment, you contact the business that cares for the sidewalk. You ask about filing a claim against the company’s insurance, only to be denied by the company owner. You can’t even find out who the insurance provider is. Should you call a lawyer?

Even if your injuries are mild and not severe, you may want to at least consider bringing in a law firm. You may not need much help, but it could be worth the effort and time. Sometimes, paying an attorney to spend just a little time on your case can help you recover the damages you deserve due to a property owner’s negligence.

Here’s hoping you don’t actually get into a legal situation in 2020. If you do, though, you’ll be prepared to smoothly ride through the experience and get to the other side unscathed.

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