A souvenir photo of a group of lawyers


When you need legal help, prepaid services are an option.  But, you may feel that your legal provider is tallying up your tab for services that you’ll never get to use.  Here are some points to help you understand the process of using prepaid services for any legal challenges you may come up against.

At some point in your life, you may need legal counsel in one of four categories: civil defense, civil plaintiffs, criminal defense and issues with transactional or business law.

Liability insurance already covers you for the legal actions pertaining to civil defense. Your insurer will hire a lawyer to defend you.  This lawyer has every incentive to defend you well, because your legal costs are covered regardless of the final outcome.  That’s why you already have “prepaid legal coverage” in place.  An extra legal plan would add little to your coverage.

There are many civil plaintiff attorneys in the Unites States who work on a “no win- no fee” basis.   In other words, you do not pay if your case is lost. You will only be billed if your lawyer wins damages for you in an insurance claim or lawsuit against someone who caused you physical injury.

Contingency fees are calculated as a “commission” on any money won.  Therefore, your plaintiff lawyer has every incentive to defend you and defend you well.  The more you win, the more your lawyer is paid.  When you stand to lose nothing, there is no requisite to prepay.   Likewise, free advice is enthusiastically available to you from plaintiff lawyers eager to compete for your business.

If you’re involved in a serious accident and need to bring criminal charges, or you need to defend yourself against criminal charges brought against you, a prepaid plan is not the best choice. These situations require full client-lawyer rapport.

You should have complete trust in your lawyer. It must be someone you can build rapport with, and someone who is competent enough to defend you in a court of law. A prepaid legal plan rarely gives you the opportunity to speak with your attorney face-to-face.  Most attorneys in the prepaid network will not even handle criminal defense cases.

Prepaid legal services are most effective in the areas of transactional and business law.

If you frequently need to have someone to draft wills, review simple contracts and set up advance health-directives, or you simply want to have competent legal advice at your disposal, prepaid legal services can be the best way to go.  It saves you the trouble of searching for an attorney, and can cost less than paying by the hour.

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