Are you thinking about filing a lawsuit? Before you rush to the courthouse, sit down and think about your options. Lawsuits are time-consuming and expensive. There’s no guarantee that you will win your case.
A good lawyer will want to know the answer to at least two questions before they take your case. Do you have a good chance of winning? Will you able to collect if you do win a settlement? If the answer is no to either of these questions, there’s no reason to file your suit.
There’s no strict rule determining what constitutes a “good case”, but there are general requirements that need to be satisfied. For example, let’s say that you’re considering filing a personal injury suit. If you think that your injuries are due to negligence, you may have a case.
According to Corpus Christi liability lawyers Brunkerhoefer PC: “An accident caused by negligence may result in injuries ranging from lacerations and broken bones to severe illness, head injuries, or in the worst cases, death. These injuries can be devastating and may result in a significant monetary loss if you require medical treatment. You should not have to suffer a physical and financial burden caused by another person’s irresponsible behavior.:
Now, if you want to have a good chance of winning your case, you need to be able to prove a few different elements. Was the defendant guilty of a breach of duty? Humans can’t be held to an impossible standard. You have to demonstrate that a reasonable person would have behaved differently.
You also need to prove that you were damaged. If you were merely annoyed or slightly inconvenienced, that won’t be enough to sway a judge or jury.
Now, once you prove that you have a solid case, you still may be able to avoid going to court. Many lawsuits are settled through mediation. If the defendant agrees that you have a chance they may agree to a settlement. Everyone saves time this way. In fact, the judge may require you to sit through mediation before you can go to court. It’s a common clause in lawsuits as well. Juries are tricky and may award the plaintiff an amount that’s far higher or lower than expected.
Whether you win your lawsuit or you win a settlement, you’ll have to collect. Winning a judgment doesn’t help you if the defendant is completely broke. You get the moral and spiritual satisfaction of having won your case but that’s it. The judge can order someone to pay you, but they won’t pull the money out of the defendant’s account for you. You may need to get your local sheriff’s department involved if you’re having trouble getting paid.
What to Do
Fortunately, the legal procedure has clearly defined steps. Once you determine that your lawsuit is valid and you think you can collect, it’s time to think about hiring a lawyer. It’s not a necessity. Many people have successfully argued their own case.
However, if you’re filing a suit against a big company, you may want to consider working with a professional attorney. They may be able to get you more money. Corporations are used to steamrolling individuals. In addition, your lawyer understands the intricacies of the court better than you. They may have insight into your case that you don’t see.
Instead of hiring the first name you find in the phonebook, spend time researching and interviewing potential candidates.
The process isn’t over when you find a lawyer, it’s just beginning. The courts are often overburdened with criminal and civil cases. It may be months until you get your day in court.
In the meantime, be patient. Don’t harass the defendant. Filing a lawsuit is a very aggressive move. The defendant knows that your upset. Getting into a fight outside of the courtroom will only hurt your case.
America has been described as litigious society. However, that’s not a bad thing. People are more likely to sue in the U.S. because it’s easier to defend their rights. In many countries throughout the world, you have no recourse if a powerful company injures you.
Filing a lawsuit should never be done frivolously, even if you think you can afford it. It ties up the court from dealing with more important matters. If you’re caught filing a frivolous suit, the judge could punish you and you may get counter-sued. A situation where you hoped to make money will now end up costing you.
You can avoid this if you pay attention to the above advice.