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By Jeremy Kennedy – Few things can raise your anxiety levels faster or farther than being sued. The uncertainty of what will happen, the cost of hiring a lawyer, the apprehension of what happens if you lose, and the general unfamiliarity most people have with the legal system can intimidate many people. Because of this intimidation, it is important to know what steps you need to take to protect yourself.
First, speak to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance carrier. Many insurance policies provide coverage for policy holders for most non-contract claims. This has two incomparable benefits. First, the insurance company will provide an attorney for you. These attorneys are vetted, skilled, and you can be completely confident in their abilities. Second, the insurance company will pay for the cost of your defense, saving you possibly tens of thousands of dollars.
Regardless of what happens with your insurance carrier, your biggest consideration is who you want to represent you. It is helpful to look for attorneys on your own, in case the matter is not covered by insurance. Referrals are most helpful in that instance, and can come from many places, including family, friends, and co-workers. Certainly you want an attorney who practices in the area of law you need, but pay attention to the interpersonal chemistry between you and a lawyer. No matter how experienced and well-recommended a lawyer is, if you feel uncomfortable with that person, you may not have the right attorney for you.
Those two things, insurance and finding the right attorney, can make an incredible difference in your experience with the legal system. The path is much longer than those steps, but making the right decisions early on can make the process much smoother for you.