Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions – Ask a Lawyer Free of Charge

After an individual is injured, whether that be in a car accident, workplace exposure to a chemical, or through a drug or device you used, there are often questions that arise. You are not alone – the legal industry can be confusing. At TorHoerman Law, we want to ensure peace of mind during this confusing process by answering any questions you may have.

Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions, ask a lawyer free of charge through our no-obligation consultation form or by calling our office. Our team of exceptional lawyers holds the highest respect for both the courts and our clients.


Q. What does a lawyer do?

A lawyer is an officer of the court, acting as a legal representative, advisor, and counselor for their client. As an advisor and counselor, a lawyer must help the client navigate their legal options, suggest legal decisions, build a strong case for their client by conducting research and preparing the case for court. As an officer of the court and legal representative, a lawyer represents their client in both civil and criminal court proceedings. A lawyer keeps open forum with the opposing counsel and judge, files actions, and argues on behalf of the client.


Q. What kind of lawyer do I need?

There are many different kinds of lawyers for the many different legal disputes that courtrooms handle. Almost every type of legal dispute has a specific kind of lawyer trained to handle that niche of the law. However, lawyers are generally broken into two broad classifications – criminal defense lawyers and civil trial lawyers.

Criminal defense lawyers represent individuals or parties who are being tried for a crime, usually against the state or municipality which acts as the plaintiff.

Civil trial lawyers represent individuals or parties who file a civil lawsuit, essentially all non-criminal lawsuits. Civil trial lawyers represent both the plaintiff and defense.

If you have committed a crime and are being tried for your crimes, you would need a criminal defense lawyer.

If you are involved in a non-criminal lawsuit, you would need a civil trial lawyer. If you are the party being sued, you would need a civil defense lawyer. If you are the party filing the lawsuit, you would need a civil prosecution lawyer.

Depending on what type of lawsuit you are involved in, it is best to seek legal representation from a lawyer who is experienced in this specific type of law. For example, if you are involved in a car accident lawsuit, you would need a car accident lawsuit lawyer. If you were involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you would need a medical malpractice lawyer.


Q. Attorney vs. lawyer – what’s the difference?

In short, in the U.S. legal system, “attorney” and “lawyer” are interchangeable terms. A lawyer is exactly the same as an attorney. There is no difference between the two.

Traditionally, “lawyer” is a vague term that describes an individual who gives legal advice. A lawyer may or may not be practicing law, but they are still qualified to offer legal counsel. An attorney (attorney-at-law), is a practicing lawyer and acting officer of the court.


Q. Can I ask a lawyer free of charge?

At TorHoerman Law, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your case and answer any questions you may have. You can call our office at 1-888-508-6752.


Q. What is a multidistrict litigation?

A multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a special legal procedure that consolidates cases so that they are managed by one court. It is designed to speed up the process of complex litigations. Additional information regarding “What is a Multidistrict Litigation?” can be found here.


Q. What is a class action lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit, or class action, is a lawsuit where the plaintiff is comprised of a group of people represented collectively by one member of that group – the named plaintiff/class representative. Although the named plaintiff/class representative is the only person named on the lawsuit, the other plaintiffs are still participating equally in the suit even though they are considered absent parties. The named plaintiff/class representative only acts as a figurehead for all absent parties involved in the class action. Any decision made about the named plaintiff/class representative’s case also applies to all other plaintiffs.


Q. How to file a class action lawsuit?

Class action lawsuits are extremely complex. If you want to file a class action lawsuit, it’s best to seek legal-council from an experienced prosecution lawyer. In order to qualify for a class action lawsuit, the plaintiff must fill out a complaint file sheet, file a complaint with the court, serve a complaint to the defendant, receive class action certification from the court, and find other individuals with the same complaint that are willing participants in the class action.


Q. How to file a lawsuit?

There are 12 steps of filing a civil lawsuit:

  1. Seek legal representation
  2. Ensure that you have legal standing to file a lawsuit
  3. Decide where it would be most appropriate to file your lawsuit
  4. Make sure you meet all statutes and limitations
  5. Write a Summons to Appear and send it to the court and named defendants
  6. Draft a complaint and send (serve) it to the defendants
  7. Draft a Certificate of Service
  8. File the complaint with the court
  9. File a Proof of Service
  10. Participate in the discovery process
  11. File all pretrial motions
  12. Choose a jury (if it is a trial by jury)


Q: How long will the legal process take?

It depends on the complexity of the case. Most litigations take 18-36 month. But some litigations can take as long as 3-4 years or more.


Q: Do you recommend a loan against settlement?

Law firms cannot ethically lend money to clients. There are services that provide loans against cases, but these loans are often subject to extremely high-interest rates and unfavorable terms.

We strongly recommend that you speak with your attorney before entering into any lawsuit loan agreement.


Q: Do you accept cases in Michigan?

We do not reject any cases based solely on your state of residency.

However, Michigan law prohibits lawsuits against the manufacturers of many drugs, so there are times when we cannot take cases for which pharmaceutical use and injury occurred in Michigan. We recommend speaking with one of our attorneys about the specifics of any Michigan case.


Q: Why do I have to notify all potential heirs of this case?

State laws dictate the notification requirements for certain types of cases. Please speak with your attorney about the requirements of your case.


Q: You don’t have an office in my state — how can you handle my case?

Our office litigates cases across the country. In states where we do not have a physical office, we often associate with co-counsel and utilize other resources to accommodate the circumstances. Location is not a limitation for us.

As for interacting with our clients, we are available by phone, email, and video-conference. Additionally, we meet with our clients in person as their cases progress. Contact us to learn more.


Q: Will you give weekly updates?

Unfortunately, there is no designated amount of time a particular case can take. For long, more complicated cases, we typically only provide updates as they occur. More than likely, there will not be weekly updates, but we are always available by phone or e-mail to provide you with the current status of your lawsuit.


Q: Why do you want me to get my medical records — don’t you do that?

We can definitely get your medical records. However, you can get them more quickly and less expensively than we can, so it often benefits you to get your own records. If there are time-sensitive situations, getting your own records may be the only option.


Q: When are you going to file a case?

We will file your case after we have collected the necessary evidence in order to support your claims and we have strategically determined that it is in the best position to initiate litigation. This may be immediately or it may be after we have exhausted pre-suit settlement negotiations with the Defendant.

When we file an individual case also depends on the statute of limitations, the health of the plaintiff, particulars of the case, expenses associated with filing, and the arc of the litigation overall.


Q: Will my case go to trial?

The overwhelming majority of civil suits in the United States are resolved without a trial. In all likelihood, yours will be, too. Even so, our goal is to prepare our cases for trial so that we are ready and your case is in the best possible position should we need to try your case.


Q: How many cases like mine do you have?

This number varies over time, as we are regularly evaluating new cases and re-evaluating existing cases.

Our goal is to leverage the strength that comes from having multiple, similarly situated cases, as well benefit from economies of scale. That said, we do not take so many cases that we cannot give each case the individual attention it requires.


Q: Can you give me an overview of the civil lawsuit process?

Every case goes through the same basic process.

  1. Intake & investigation
  2. Filing of lawsuit
  3. Fact discovery
  4. Expert discovery
  5. Trial

In many cases that get through the trial, there will also be an appeal. Of course, settlement discussions can occur at any phase of litigation, and a successful settlement ends the litigation process.

Detailed information on the civil lawsuit process can be found here.