Frequently Asked Questions

How is a criminal case different than a civil case?
There are many differences.  The State of Missouri or the federal government decides whether to pursue criminal charges against a person when they have committed a crime.  However, in a civil action, the victim may choose to pursue legal action against the person or entity who caused them harm.  In a civil case, the victim usually seeks monetary compensation for damages and the standard of proof is lower in a civil action.  A civil action may be pursued whether or not a criminal case has also been filed.  While a criminal conviction can sometimes make the civil case more likely to be successful, it is not necessary; even if a defendant is found not guilty in a criminal case, you still may be able to file a civil action against the abuser or a third party.

How much will my case ultimately cost me?
It depends on several factors.

In most personal injury cases, Donelan Law works on a contingency basis; this means you do not pay a fee for the services unless we win and make a successful recovery. A personal injury case is a civil legal claim brought by an individual seeking compensation for wrongs committed by an individual or entities who caused them preventable harms and losses (i.e., suing an abuser or third party for money damages).
In other types of cases, Donelan Law can be hired for an hourly rate or a flat fee.  For example, representation for obtaining an order of protection is often based on an hourly fee or a flat fee.  After reviewing the facts of your case, we will let you know the initial retainer fee to open a case and candidly discuss potential costs from the beginning and throughout your case.

Will my information stay private? 
Yes! Donelan Law takes the utmost precautions to ensure your information stays private and it is always the individual's decision whether or not to move forward with legal action.

I have suffered significant abuse, why should I invest money in any legal services? 
In many types of cases, Donelan Law will only receive a fee after a monetary recovery has been made.  However, in some legal battles with abusers, having an experienced attorney can make all the difference; it can better protect your time, money, mental health and safety.  Sarah has over 10 years of experience fighting for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and she understands the real dangers of some abusers and knows the complicated legal system.

I need help with a legal problem not specifically listed under Practice Areas, can you help?
Donelan Law understands that abusers can wreak havoc on all areas of your life, and you may need support with several issues.  We are here to help you navigate whatever legal issues you are facing or make sure you find the right help. This might include defamation claims, criminal charges, and housing issues.  Please note, however, Donelan Law does not generally represent clients in family law cases (i.e., divorce and custody cases).

At Donelan Law, we will listen to you, discuss all your legal options, and fight for you.