Niedner Law Attorneys

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I go about getting a lawyer?

Start by calling our office at 636-949-9300 to make an appointment. In most cases, one of our attorneys will offer a free consultation in which you can discuss together the basic facts of your pending case and what can be done to help you. After the consultation, if you decide to retain our services, we’ll walk you through your next steps.

What is a fee deposit and why do I need one?

A fee deposit is an advance payment that secures your attorney for services to be performed. Once “retained” your attorney works for you and cannot be recruited by an opposing party. In cases requiring a fee deposit, the fee deposit allows your attorney to begin working on your case immediately while having the funds available to bill against.

Does your firm have an hourly rate?

Lawyers typically bill at an hourly rate which will be discussed with you personally upon your agreement to retain your attorney.

What are your hours and what should I do if I have an emergency?

The firm is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Once you have retained an attorney with the firm, after-hours availability will be handled and considered on a case-by-case basis between you and your attorney.

What is attorney-client privilege?

Established to ensure open and uninhibited conversation so a client’s legal needs are fully addressed, attorney-client privilege protects the communications between a client and his or her attorney by keeping them confidential. Additionally, this rule protects either the attorney or the client from being compelled to disclose these confidential communications. However, even though it’s rarely exercised, courts do have the right to compel disclosure of information on a case-by-case basis.

What is mediation and could it benefit me?

Mediation occurs when opposing parties in a dispute voluntarily sit down with a mediator — a third party who is neutral and impartial. The mediator makes no judgment and does not control the outcome of the case. Instead the involved parties come to an agreement on the disputed matter with the help of the mediator.

Compared with a lawsuit, mediation is quick, private and less expensive. Mediation can also help preserve relationships for parties that require future interaction such as employers, neighbors, co-parents, landlords, etc.

Have you been injured? Here’s personal injury information you need to know:

How long do I have to make a claim for personal injury?

In most cases you have five years to make a personal injury claim for injuries suffered in an accident. However, if you are a victim of medical malpractice or suffered an on-the-job injury, there is a two-year statute of limitations.

What should I do if I’m involved in an automobile accident?

Anyone involved in an automobile accident should have reported it to the police. In some accidents, especially those involving injuries, the police will send an officer who will come to the scene. In all accidents you should get the other party’s full name, driver’s license number, license plate number and their vehicle insurance information including the name of the insurance company, the policy number and the name of the person identified on the insurance card.

When should I involve a lawyer?

In most cases involving an injury, you should talk to an attorney who can advise you regarding the potential value of your case, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, an attorney working on your behalf can handle a great deal of paperwork you’ll begin receiving from the insurance companies.

Should I talk to the insurance company?

While you must communicate with your own insurance company, you are not expected to talk to the insurance company representing the other party. In fact, most attorneys would recommend not talking with the other party’s insurance company.

How do I pay for a lawyer?

In most personal-injury cases the lawyer will take your case on a contingent fee basis, meaning you will not have to pay the lawyer unless he or she obtains a settlement or judgment for you.

Need to file a worker's compensation claim? Here’s helpful information:

What should I do if I’m hurt on the job?

Any time you’re injured on the job, even if you feel it’s a minor injury, you need to report it to your employer in writing. Start with your supervisor and follow the proper procedures.

What benefits does workers compensation provide?

If you are hurt on the job your employer must provide medical care and pay for missed time from work. Your employer is also expected to provide compensation for any permanent injury that you suffer.

Why should I hire a lawyer?

Workers compensation insurers typically want to provide only the minimum treatment required to get you back to work. If you hire a lawyer, he or she will work on your behalf to ensure you receive the best possible medical care and a fair settlement for your injuries. In most cases hiring a lawyer will result in a better outcome for anyone hurt on the job.

Have you been charged with a crime? Here’s what’s important to know:

I’ve been charged with a crime. Now what do I do?

It is important to obtain competent legal advice from an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Many criminal defense cases are lost before an attorney is even contacted because the person who has been charged is inexperienced and does not fully understand his or her rights. This can result in making admissions to law enforcement or having law enforcement misinterpret statements made to them, which are later used to infer your guilt. Never agree to talk to or make a statement (either oral or written) to law enforcement prior to receiving legal advice.

Wouldn’t it be better for me to just tell the officer that it was all a “misunderstanding” and that I can explain it all?

Despite what you may believe, investigating officers are professionals trained to interrogate suspects. While you may be put in the position of being interrogated for the first time, the officer has most likely dealt with hundreds of suspects. An officer may claim to “understand,” may tell you that if you simply make a statement you won’t be arrested, may even tell you you’ll look guilty if you don’t make a statement, but the truth is, it’s the officer’s job to gather evidence and if there’s any question of your guilt, anything you say will be used against you. As you may have seen on TV, police are allowed to lie to you. It’s commonly considered good investigative police work.

Will I get arrested?

Misdemeanor charges:

Typically, if you’re charged with a misdemeanor, the court will issue a summons to be served on you by a police officer who will advise you of the charge against you and a date to appear in court. As long as you appear on the court date, a warrant will not be issued for your arrest. Once you appear, the court will likely give you a continuance with a new court date to give you time to hire an attorney if you haven’t already done so.

Felony charges:

If you’re charged with a felony, the court will set a bond amount and issue a warrant for your arrest. It is in your best interest to retain an attorney to take steps to resolve the bond issue before you are arrested.

How does a bond work?

When a judge sets a bond and issues a warrant for your arrest, a specific dollar figure is set. For example, on a class C or D non-violent felony, a typical bond might be $10,000. If there is no other designation, all alternatives for posting a bond are available to you. The court may limit your alternatives, for example, by stating $10,000 cash-only bond. This means the only choice you have would be to post $10,000 to get out of jail. Other options would be a surety bond, a property bond or a 10% cash bond.

A surety bond involves hiring a bondsman to post the cash. Bondsmen routinely charge 10% as a fee for posting the full amount. In other words, you would pay $1,000 to the bondsman as his/her fee.

With a 10% cash bond, the court would allow you to post 10% and you would be liable for the entire amount if you fail to appear in court. The 10% cash that you post with the court is held by the court but is returned to you at the end of your case.

Sometimes the court will authorize 10% cash bonds when the warrant is issued, but usually will not do so until an attorney enters on your behalf and argues a bond reduction motion, asking the court to authorize the 10% cash bond. All bonds are held until the case is disposed of by a trial, a plea or a dismissal of the charges.
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