Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why do I need a lawyer?
A: In order to ensure that you are getting accurate, up to date information that is tailored to your circumstances and not just generalizations about your situation, you should consult an attorney. In most instances, lawyers offer FREE initial consultations.
Relying on information from non-legal professionals is risky, as these individuals do not have the same ethical obligations as attorneys, who have a license issued by the state.
Q: How do I know when to sue someone?
A: A consultation with an attorney does not mean you will sue anyone. Education and information about the law and your legal rights is the purpose for contacting a lawyer. Once you determine whether you have a valid legal claim, you can determine if you wish to take further action. Lawyers do not make the decision to pursue cases, clients do. You will always be in control of the actions a lawyer takes as he/she works for you and must follow your directions as to whether or not you wish to proceed with a case.
Q: How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
A: Most attorneys commit to a free initial consultation either in person or by phone. After that, each attorney may charge for their services in the following various ways. Lawyer’s Fees
Q: How do I find the right lawyer?
A: LocalLawyersReferral.com is a centralized legal directory that allows you to easily search for legal assistance specifically on Cape Cod. Their specialized practice areas will help you find a lawyer whom is precisely familiar with your issues.
Q: What should I ask a lawyer?
A: If possible, before you speak with an attorney try to organize your information. This will make the situation easier for both you and the attorney, minimizing time and allowing the attorney to determine whether it is a matter with which they can assist you appropriately. In general, lawyers are interested in facts such as dates, times, places and people involved.
Q: How much is my case worth?
A: There are several factors involved in determining whether (or not) you have a case and how much that case is worth. Many pieces of information must be gathered before this can be derived. For example, in an injury case current medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, permanency of injury, physical pain, mental suffering, loss of consortium (spousal/parental) would need to be considered before a case can be valued. An attorney will be able to determine these elements for each individual circumstance.
FAQ’s by Law Category
Q: Do I qualify for bankruptcy and how long does it take?
A: Almost everyone qualifies for some type of bankruptcy whether it’s Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
Q. What Debts Are Discharged in Bankruptcy?
A. The short answer is unsecured debt and promises to pay (such as credit cards).
Click Audio for Detailed Information:
Business and Contracts Law:
Q: How do I pay interns working for my business? Are interns considered employees or can I use a 1099 form?
A: Hiring interns in Massachusetts is complex. Paid vs. Unpaid, Employees vs. Subcontractors are just a few factors that confuse matters. In Massachusetts, there’s a 6-point test that determines whether someone qualifies for an unpaid internship. Paid interns are considered employees and must be accounted/paid through payroll services, not by 1099 forms.
Civil Litigation Law:
Q: What is Civil Litigation?
A: Litigation refers to the process of resolving a dispute in court. Civil disputes focus on wrongs, which are not criminal in nature and civil lawsuits and civil lawyers are not dealing with crimes. A typical civil lawsuit deals with issues such as a breach of contract or negligence and covers a wide range of law categories whether it’s injury, business, employment or other.
Q: Is my CORI information private and confidential?
A: No. It is not privileged information like a medical record, which usually can only be disclosed upon the person’s consent. The law in Massachusetts is directed at determining who is entitled to CORI records and under what circumstances.
Criminal Defense Law:
Q: What is Criminal Law?
A: Criminal law involves society punishing an individual for social harm incurred either through conduct or a specific lack thereof through either action or inaction. Social harm typically occurs when the health, safety, or property of a person or the general public is endangered.
Q: Why Do I need a Criminal lawyer?
A: If you want to understand your rights and be compensated appropriately if wronged, then you will need a lawyer. Clients can work with our office, and in particular, the lawyer, to work out payment plans to ensure representation.
Q: What is a CORI and can it be cleaned up?
A: A Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) compiles each individual’s criminal history with respect to any criminal case in a Massachusetts state court. Even if a charge does not result in a conviction, is continued without a finding (CWOF) or eventually is dismissed, it leaves a trail. You can request a copy of your CORI by going to the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information (DCJIS) or by mailing a notarized CORI request to the DCJIS.
Q: Am I eligible for Federal student loan forgiveness if I have a disability?
A: You may be eligible but beware of the consequences:
(1) If your prior loans have been forgiven your ability to acquire future financial aid in the form of loans may be limited. You may be ineligible or restricted in your ability to qualify for student loan forgiveness in the future; and
(2) Any student loan debt over $600 that is forgiven will be considered income and subject to income tax. Under some circumstances this may increase the taxes you owe. Consult a tax specialist for future information about your specific situation.
Divorce and Family Law:
Q: Is an adopted person entitled to their adoption records?
A: Under the law in Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 210, an adopted person has the right to obtain any information that does not identify the biological parents.
The general rule is that an adopted person does not have an automatic right to access identifying information of their adopted parents. In order for that information to be released a judge must find there is good cause for doing so. Simply wanting to know the name or address of one’s biological parents will not be a good enough reason for a judge to disclose their identity. Before allowing the records to be released, a judge must weigh the interests of the adopted person in obtaining the information compared to the privacy rights of the parents.
Personal Injury Law:
Q: What’s my case worth? A: Click Play Button to listen
Q: If I have a pre-existing condition, such as prior history of chronic back pain, and I am injured in an auto accident, can I sue (or make a claim) for my worsened condition?
A: Yes. The negligent driver is liable (legally responsible) for all injuries caused by his/her negligence. READ MORE
Q: Is there a penalty for texting while driving?
A: Yes. The penalty for texting while driving in Massachusetts ranges from $100 for the first offense to $500 for the third and subsequent offenses. READ MORE
Real Estate Law:
Q: What does conveyance mean?
A: The legal process of transferring property from one owner to another.
Wills and Estate Planning Law:
Q: Why do I need an estate plan, even if I have few assets?
A: To help reduce or eliminate Massachusetts estate or Federal taxes. An estate plan can be as simple as a Will or more complex involving a Trust.
Q: What is probate?
A: Probate is the legal process of seeing that the terms of the Will are followed.
Workers’ Compensation Law:
Q: If I’ve been injured at work, should I contact an attorney even if my company insurance is taking care of the claim?
A: Yes. The process is long and involved and, if you choose not to take ‘No’ for an answer, legal expertise would be advised.
Q: If I’m out of work because of a work injury, does my employer have to keep my job open?
A: The Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation Act does not require your employer to hold your job but you may have rights under other acts or accommodations. READ MORE
A: No. You cannot waive your right to Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts under any circumstances.