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The Importance of Getting Legal Advice Early

When it comes to seeking legal advice, at times people can wait too long and consiquently the issues worsen. In this podcast, South Geldard Lawyer’s Senior Lawyer, Ted Orange, talks about the importance of getting legal help early.


Dan: When it comes to seeking legal advice, at times people can wait too long, and consequently, the issues worsen. In today’s podcast, I’m talking with Ted Orange, Senior Lawyer from South Geldard Lawyers, about the importance of getting legal help. Ted, what do you say to people who may well be wanting legal advice but are a little bit concerned about jumping the gun or wasting their time and money?

Ted: I would say that regardless of the issue, whether it be contractual, negligence, employment, or any other dispute, a party is never disadvantaged by being more informed. There is no consequence of that, the more information you have about your legal position the better you’ll be placed to actually deal with it and address any issues that arise both in the future and take steps to resolve it so that you actually save money.

Accordingly, if you find yourself being concerned about a person’s conduct, document, email, letter, when you start to feel concerned, that’s the time to get advice. I always tell clients to trust their gut, if something feels not too right or too good to be true, it potentially is. It’s much worse to find out later that you missed an opportunity to either resolve it quickly or seek compensation than whatever the small cost of initial advice is. I think that initial advice is probably the most valuable thing you can get, and in hindsight, I think it’s very unlikely that people will see it as a waste of money.

Dan: In your experience, does communication from a lawyer escalate an issue or make matters worse?

Ted: The goal of any decent lawyer is to obtain the best outcome for a client. When we’re engaged to assist in a dispute, a careful assessment is undertaken to identify how it can be resolved whilst protecting the client’s interests. Part of this process is looking at when communication is necessary and actually when it’s not. If we feel that communication from us is going to have some undesired outcome, blow things out of proportion, not necessary, then you’ll get that advice. Most of the time, though, by the time that the matter comes to us, it’s already had several attempts by the client to actually deal with it and they haven’t received a response or it hasn’t been satisfactory, it’s been confrontational.

Communication from us can then become a useful tool to one bring a sense of seriousness about it, but it also creates an incentive to have it resolved. That we’ll also look to narrow the matter in dispute and ensure that client’s position is clearly communicated without any further detriment to it. If, however, rights need to be protected, but there is a genuine concern regarding how a letter or phone call might be received, there are other options available such as us giving the client the actual wording to use. So it really does depend on the circumstance.

Dan: Now, Ted, you and I both know the importance of time limitations in relation to litigation generally. But what do you say to those people that might be listening to this podcast who say, Look, I’m not going to do any just yet. I’ve got a few years to wait before I need to litigate.

Ted: I would say don’t make that assumption. There’s a misconception based around what is known as statutory limitations. Now, statutory limitations are just time periods set by governments in which a claim of a typical type must be brought, the time limit that they set depends entirely on the nature of the dispute, and it can vary from several years to only a few months in unique circumstances.

So there’s no one rule fits all and the other issue is it’s not just about those time limitations. Even if you can sue later, that doesn’t mean that you should sue later. The majority of cases, the sooner you bring a claim, the better it will be. Particularly if your claim relies on evidence given by people. The evidence you had several years ago may no longer be found, or the person who you’re relying to give it may not be reliable, and that may ultimately impact the success of your claim.

Thank you for listening. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate contacting Rockhampton lawyers at South Geldard on 07 4936 9100.