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When To Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Wondering if you need a personal injury lawyer? If you were hurt and it was someone else’s fault — or a company’s fault — you could be due monetary compensation.

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on insurance companies to be fair with you. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not giving it to you. They make a profit by low-balling you. Be careful when you give them a statement, because part of their motivation is to keep you from filing a lawsuit later. It’s like the cops say when they read your Miranda rights: “Everything you say can and will be used against you.” (Don’t sign anything either — you may be signing away your rights.) Female doctor with senior patient

Insurance company adjusters are trained to frustrate you. They want you to feel like your claim is hopeless so that you will take less money from them. They will initially treat you like gold, but then they will not return your calls, tell you they will not cover your bills, or try to imply you have done something wrong. This frustration is a strategic move on their part to see if you will simply go away.

That’s where a personal injury lawyer comes in. We know how to obtain top dollar from the insurance companies because we deal with them every single day. Whether you were in a car wreck that wasn’t your fault or you were just hurt by someone else, we know the law and how to make insurance companies pay. We will help you obtain the most possible money for your claim settlement or we take your case to court.

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Real talk: A tiny claim with low to no injuries isn’t worth hiring a personal injury attorney. You don’t want to waste your time or money. But, here are examples of when you should hire a Missoula personal injury lawyer:

  • You or someone else in your car is seriously injured (whiplash, back pain, burns, brain or spinal injuries, broken bones, severe animal bite, etc.)Patient with a cast on arm
  • A death resulted from the negligence of another
  • The insurance company is frustrating you or not being fair
  • The other driver didn’t have insurance (or enough insurance)
  • A physician made a mistake (medical malpractice)
  • Nursing home staff neglected or abused you or a loved one
  • You were hurt at work and the workers’ compensation doesn’t seem fair
  • You slipped and fell on someone else’s property and you’ll miss work or need expensive medical care

Although minor injuries usually aren’t worth hiring an attorney for, you should still have your doctor examine you after an accident. You may have sustained damage that will only get worse (and more costly) over time. Get any injuries assessed, whether you decide to work with a personal injury attorney or not. If you aren’t sure, you can always get a free consultation with us at the Judnich Law Office about your case. We’d be happy to talk you through your options.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Personal injury lawyers specialize in what’s called “tort law.” Tort law involves negligence, carelessness, and accidents. If someone intentionally hurts you, that’s typically covered under criminal law, not tort law. You don’t have to be physically hurt, either — a personal injury lawyer will defend you if someone infringed on your rights or damaged your reputation.

We personal injury lawyClose up Wooden Law Gavel on the Tableers give you advice about your case, thoroughly investigate it, research case law, file complaints, negotiate a settlement, and/or argue your case in court. We work with expert witnesses, obtain medical records, examine police reports, and prepare you for the deposition. Our goal is to get you justice. Our experience with claims helps us achieve top dollar settlements with the insurance companies.

Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Personal injury attorneys usually charge 33% to 40% of your total award. So you don’t pay an hourly rate up front for an attorney — we both work hard to get the most possible money for your claim. We’re often able to get you a much higher award than you could by yourself.

What’s the Time Frame for Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you’re hurt. That way we can start investigating right away and prevent you from saying anything to your insurance company that they could use against you. There is something called a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, so if you wait too long, it could hurt your chances at getting fairly compensated.

Personal injury cases aren’t settled overnight. Typically it takes several months or more for a settlement, and longer if we decide to go to trial. Don’t let your insurance company discourage you from talking to a personal injury lawyer by saying the process will be long and drawn out. You deserve the medical care you need to get better and be fully and fairly compensated for all of your losses.

Talk To a Missoula Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one were hurt, first know that we’re sorry. You shouldn’t have to suffer because someone else was careless. Call or email us for a free, no-obligation consultation with our Missoula personal injury attorney. We’ll explain if you have grounds for a personal injury case and what your choices are. You will get through this.

Call now: 406-721-3354 or toll-free: 855-853-1482

How Much Does a DUI Cost in Montana?

How much does a DUI cost, compared to a DUI lawyer’s fee to help you fight the charge? I’m glad you asked. Almost every day as a private criminal defense attorney in Missoula MT, I quote prices to people looking to hire a defense attorney for a DUI charge. Private DUI defense prices can range from $2,500-$5,000 depending on many different factors.

Police car in pursuit

Often, people decide that they don’t want to invest several thousand dollars into hiring an attorney to represent them after a DUI arrest. I am almost universally shocked when people don’t consider the alternative cost of what a DUI conviction may cost them. 

Consider the cost of actually receiving a DUI conviction. In addition to fines, fees, surcharges, and alcohol program fees, a DUI conviction will also cost you in insurance rates (plus you have the emotional cost of having a DUI on your record). Looking at the long-term costs of a DUI conviction makes the price of private defense seem not only like a deal, but an investment worth making.

You probably don’t realize that your insurance company may drop you completely after a DUI conviction. This means that you’ll have to get brand new insurance at a much greater rate. Following a DUI conviction, insurance companies consider you to be a high risk, and your rate reflects that. A higher rate, month after month, and year after year really adds up. In addition, a DUI conviction may restrict you from traveling internationally as some countries will not allow a U.S. citizen with a misdemeanor DUI conviction to enter their border, such as Canada.

See my graphic below for the DUI cost for a first-offense conviction in Montana:



Just walking out of the court, a first-offense DUI conviction will likely cost you over $2,000 in various charges resulting from a conviction. Add to this figure what your insurance is going to cost you, and the figure comes even more into perspective.

Most preferred insurance companies will completely drop you after a DUI conviction. This means that you’d have to go to a less-than-ideal insurance company for any insurance at all. Companies such as Progressive and Geico will insure people convicted of a DUI. However, after a DUI conviction, your insurance rates typically will increase 26% to 55% of what you were paying before.

Money in woman's hand

Adding the $2,000 cost of the court system with a 50% increase in your insurance premium every year for a DUI conviction can quickly add up to thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars over the span of just a few years. When you consider the cost of a private attorney who can potentially obtain an outcome other than a DUI conviction for you, that kind of money is far less than the cost of a DUI. For example, if you pay around $1,500 per year of car insurance; after a DUI conviction, you would pay out around $5,000.00 for the first year following a DUI conviction. Each and every year, that conviction would cost you an extra $1,500 per year more than you had been paying. Over just 5 years, the DUI conviction would cost you: $9,500 or more.

It’s your call whether you want to pay a DUI defense attorney a one-time fee…or pay fines, fees, and higher insurance rates for years to come. If you’re facing a DUI charge and are thinking about investing in legal defense, call my experienced attorney team today for a free consultation at 406-721-3354 or toll-free at 855-853-1482. We’d be happy to help you figure out your options.


Family Law and personal service

Why Family Law Matters by Lucy Hansen


I’ve had many people, lawyers and clients, over the years, ask me “why family law?” There are many people who view family law as a low rung on the ladder of legal issues to master.  Many attorneys only take family law cases because they “have to” to pay their bills.  Many other new lawyers start with family law cases, as a way to build their practice, and then move on to other areas of the law.  Not me.  For the past twelve years I have dedicated my practice to family law and child welfare practice.  Not because I had to, but because I am fundamentally interested in using my knowledge and skill as an attorney, to help people during some of the worst times in their lives.


The ending of a marriage, the breakup of a family, and the fear of losing the care and custody of your children are some of the worst times in a person’s life.  Protecting client’s interests and advocating for their needs while they are facing difficult life changes, is rewarding to me.  I get to know my clients, their fears, and their wishes for the future.  I value my relationships with clients and achieving the best possible outcome for their lives.  I am also a mother, and I know first-hand, what is at stake in a family law case.

Family law encompasses a wide array of complex issues.  I am here to assist in any of the following areas, and more: annulment, divorce/dissolution of marriage, legal separation, domestic disputes, restraining orders/orders of protection, prenuptial agreements, child custody/parenting, paternity, adoption, legal name changes, legal guardianship, grandparents’ rights, step-parent adoptions, Guardian ad Litem investigations and reports, and representing individuals in state child custody cases (Department of Family Services).

In the coming weeks, I will address each of these areas in more detail, and how I can assist you in obtaining your best possible outcome in these life matters.

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Judnich Law Office | 2419 Mullan Road Missoula, MT 59808 | Phone: (406) 721-3354

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