Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Taking legal action is a serious step that many people don’t want to take. It is expensive; it means admitting that there is an issue that you cannot resolve on your own, and it means that there is a chance there is an outcome that you seriously don’t want. When taking legal action, you need to consider whether or not it is necessary just as much as you need to know when is the best time to hire that lawyer. Waiting too long can make an open-and-shut case into a loss for you, whereas hiring one when you don’t need to can be costly.

To help you decide whether taking legal action is right for you or not, consider these top four things first.

Can It Be Settled Without Legal Action?

Legal action is a big step to take that can be costly and time-consuming. It can also have repercussions. Take a small car accident, for example. If no one is hurt and instead there is only a bit of damage to your car, you can decide to settle it between yourselves. So long as you make a report of it and then pay (if the accident was your fault) for the fix, you can avoid a jump in your premium.

On the other hand, some situations are notoriously difficult to maneuver on your own. Immigration, issues with the will, and liability should all be handled with a professional.

Who Is the Best Person to Turn To?

The best person to turn to will depend on the case at hand. The government should ratify immigration lawyers. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that they have the best and most up-to-date information. If contesting a will is your goal, then hiring inheritance specialists is the way to go. A lawyer is not capable of doing everything. They often specialize, and it is up to you to find the best person for that one particular job.

What Are the Costs You Can Expect to Pay?

Most lawyers in liability or even in inheritance will offer a no-win-no-fee deal. Their goal is to win your case for you and receive a percentage of your winnings. They will often make more doing this than by working by the hour. Other lawyers offer fixed fees to do this; some hourly. Find a lawyer that works with your budget

How Far Are You Willing to Go?

When dealing with friends or family, things can get tricky. You want your money back or for damages to be paid but you also don’t want to ruin your relationship. Sometimes this means working out your issues yourselves. Other times it will mean hiring a lawyer that can help you mitigate the situation and get it over with as quickly as possible. Taking legal action means using the law to get the outcome that you hope for. On an everyday level, it means calling the authorities when there is an emergency. On a personal level, however, it can mean hiring a lawyer to help you win your case.