FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. Does your office review potential personal injury cases?
Our experienced attorneys provide free, no obligation consultations regarding personal injury cases. If we accept your personal injury case, there is never a fee unless we win. The free consultation helps inform you about your rights and options after an injury that wasn’t your fault. Unlike some other firms, you always meet with an experienced attorney, not a staff member. Our attorneys will explain what legal issues are involved in your case and the value of your damages. The attorneys can also explain the various statutes which require reimbursement of payments made for medical expenses, including those by Medicaid (Medical Assistance), Medicare and certain health plans. Our experienced attorneys will explain the entire process from beginning to end and can suggest and explain the does and don’ts in order to maximize your net recovery.
2. What is a statute of limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws which restrict the time period within which certain causes of action may be instituted. If the lawsuit is not brought within the specified period, it is forever barred and no recovery can be obtained.
The statute of limitations for many causes of actions, such as ones for automobile accidents or other personal injuries, is two years. For written and oral contracts, the statute of limitations is four years. Lawsuits for damages against a governmental unit because of injury to a person or property must be brought within six months, unless the claimant has filed in the office of the governmental unit, and in the office of the Attorney General (if a Commonwealth agency is involved), a statement in writing setting forth certain things.
If you are injured, you should quickly speak with an attorney to make sure that your claim is presented before the applicable statute of limitations expires.
3. I am thinking about buying a home or refinancing my current home. Should I hire an attorney?
You should hire an attorney any time you are making a purchase such as a home or other real estate or borrowing against such property. Banks will often try to persuade borrowers to use the bank’s settlement company, which typically does not have a lawyer involved. Using such a settlement company is no less expensive than having a lawyer assist you. With such an important matter, you should have the assistance and advice of a lawyer.
By having a lawyer represent you for your real estate transactions, you have the benefit of the education and experience of the lawyer in reviewing your sale documents and title search. The lawyer is available to advise you concerning all of the legal issues that are involved in the transaction. In addition, the lawyer is there to represent and protect you should any matters arise concerning the purchase. If a right-of-way or driveway use agreement is required by the lender, a lawyer (not a settlement agent) is needed to prepare the legal document. If you are considering buying a home or borrowing against your home, contact our office for assistance.
4. I have been arrested and charged with violating multiple statutes. Is it possible to have some charges dropped or charges changes to a charge with a lesser punishment?
The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved by a plea deal in which the Commonwealth agrees to drop or change certain charges in response to a guilty plea without the case ever being tried before a judge or jury. It is extremely important that you consult with an attorney as soon as you have been charged to discuss the facts of your case and the elements of the charge the Commonwealth is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney is able to assist you by arguing your case to the District Attorney at the first appearance. An attorney can explain the process and guide you throughout all stages of the criminal case, from beginning to end. The sooner you hire an attorney, the greater the likelihood that your attorney will be able to obtain the best possible result for your situation resulting in no jail time, a lesser sentence, a lower fine or complete dismissal of the charges.
5. I am thinking of starting a business, can you help?
At Hall & Lindsay, we represent many businesses and we can help you in selecting the appropriate type of entity and prepare the required documents, whether it is a limited liability company, a corporation, a partnership or a joint venture. We can explain the advantages one entity may have over another for your situation.
6. What happens if I die and do not have a Will?
If a resident of Pennsylvania dies without having written a Will, there is a statute that specifies who receives the property from one’s estate. 20 Pa. C.S. §2102. Persons who are entitled to receive your property pursuant to this statute might not be the same persons as what you would desire. By having a Will, you get to chose who receives your property. You also get to chose who will be in charge of your estate when you pass.
A carefully written Will will minimize the possibility of problems in the administration of your estate. It also will minimize the potential for conflict among the beneficiaries of your estate. By discussing your situation with an attorney, your Will will be structured to minimize taxes and ensure that as much of your property as possible passes to those you wish to receive such property.
7. How often do I need to update my Will?
Your Will should be reviewed anytime you have a significant change in your life. If a spouse or child passes away, if you go through a divorce or if the value of your assets increases or decreases considerably, you should review your Will with an attorney. In the event of a divorce in Pennsylvania, the former spouse is treated as having passed away prior to the person who is the subject of the Will. However, other persons named in the Will can still inherit after the divorce.
8. How do I know if will lose my driver’s license if I plead guilty to a criminal charge?
Often, there are collateral civil consequences for criminal convictions. For instance, in Pennsylvania, if you plead guilty to a drug crime such as possession of a small amount of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia, you will be forever prohibited from obtaining a permit to carry a concealed firearm (unless you receive a pardon from the governor). At our office, we often receive calls from individuals who tried to obtain or renew their concealed carry permit and were denied because of a drug or other conviction.
If someone is convicted of a crime which is rated as a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher, they cannot purchase, own or possess a firearm.
Certain convictions, such as underage drinking, result in the suspension of a driver’s license.
If you are charged with a crime, you should speak with Attorney Lindsay and know all of your options before agreeing to any plea deal offered by the District Attorney. Attorney Lindsay can discuss your options and all of the consequences of a plea deal offered by the prosecutor.