Legislation & Litigation

Myth #4: A Lawyer Can’t Help Me Outside of Court

Written By:
August 12, 2011
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Written By: Karen Marshall,
August 12, 2011

Most people don’t turn to a lawyer until they have to go to court. But lawyers can use their skills to help with more than filing lawsuits and trying cases. You may not realize that the skills that make lawyers useful in a courtroom also make them useful in other situations.

My first win for a client did not happen in a courtroom. In fact, there was no plaintiff or defendant. My client, a man with a terminal illness, had applied for Social Security disability benefits and was denied. He was unable to work and had no family to support him. With legal help, he appealed the denial and was awarded much-needed disability benefits.

Nothing about his condition or inability to work had changed during his appeal. He just needed to clearly explain his situation to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

I helped him do that by combing through his medical records and talking to his doctors. I used evidence I gathered and my understanding of the SSA’s rules and regulations to persuade the SSA that my client was eligible for benefits. I also used knowledge of the SSA’s procedures to ask for a quick review of his appeal.

How Lawyers Can Help

A big part of my job as a lawyer is to understand relevant laws and rules and to apply them to the facts of my client’s case. I must also know my audience. This is because the process for making my client’s claim differs based on the audience. Sometimes it’s a judge or a jury. Other times it’s another decision maker like a government official or claims representative. Each has different procedures.

Regardless of the audience, my ultimate goal is always the same: I must present the law and facts in a way that persuades the decisionmaker to rule in favor of my client.

Another part of my job is listening to my client’s problems and explaining their legal options. Sometimes they have more than one option available. Not all options involve going to court.

If you’ve suffered because of an asbestos-related disease, you should consider all available sources of financial assistance to help with your expenses. An attorney can help you review your legal options, such as your eligibility for the following: Also, remember that filing a claim — whether or not it’s done in court — requires a lot of research and planning. It can be difficult to prepare on your own if you’re ill. An attorney’s expertise can help, so put your legal advocate to good use. If you haven’t added a mesothelioma attorney to your care team, consider doing so today.

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