If someone has caused you damage or you’ve had some bad experience with them, you might think that you’re in a position to sue. Perhaps, you had a chat with a friend or want to know some things you should consider before filing a lawsuit.
But remember, here’s our usual disclaimer: it’s always better to speak with an attorney than doing your own research. Our law firm in New York offers free consultations, so get in touch with us now to talk through the specific aspects of your case. But if you’re busy with something else and might not have time for that right now, here are some things to think about before you sue.
1. Do you have a legally based, valid case?
Does your claim stand on legal grounds? Is your claim founded on evidence-backed facts? Do you have a valid, good case?
By a valid ‘legal claim’ or ‘legal grounds,’ we mean your claim isn’t rooted in happenstance, opinion, or an emotion – the basis should be lawful.
Did the actions of the individual you’re suing unintentionally cause you damage? In this situation, can they be held legally accountable? Did they intend to break the law? If not, ch ances are, your legal claim isn’t as solid as it’s supposed to be.
Here’s an instance of a baseless claim. The person under discussion was busy doing mandatory community service. While working on the roadside, he took off his orange vest.
When his supervisor saw him, he requested him to put the vest back on. However, the man didn’t obey. Since he didn’t cooperate, his supervisor gave him an additional day of community service.
To dismiss his second of community service, the man decided to present his case in court. In this case, the person had a sob story, a ‘reason’ for not obeying that was rooted in emotion and personal opinion. However, it was ultimately his fault. He didn’t just take the orange vest off but didn’t obey when asked to put it back on.
Fortunately, he didn’t take this case to court. Otherwise, the judge wouldn’t even consider it. The man would’ve wasted time and energy in court and money on travel costs and a lawyer. Since a judge considers every aspect of your case, so ensure that your case is neither one-sided nor emotional.
Since a professional lawyer is trained to act as a judge, they can identify a valid case. Here are some more advantages of hiring a knowledgeable, experienced lawyer.
2. Did you try to settle outside of court?
In the majority of cases, parties would try settling outside of court than in it. By settling, we mean they’ll reach an arrangement without involving lawyers and a judge.
Sometimes, it’s better to settle the case outside of court as it helps parties save time, expense, and a fair bit of resources. You can avoid the court system and still get a fair payment. The other party can steer clear of the mess of appealing in court, hiring lawyers, being served, etc.
Here are two possible outcomes of settling:
- You can reach a compromise. The perfect compromise would serve both parties’ interests. In most cases, parties agree on a compromise.
- To save face in court, the other party may meet your demands instantly. Or so they don’t have to pay that amount in addition to the legal fees. However, the likelihood of this is low.
If you’re looking to find out how you can settle outside of court, read this article.
Plus, you don’t risk losing everything in court. Why if the judge didn’t award you anything and dismissed the case?
Or, the judge orders you to pay something because they found you partly at fault – which goes against your goal. Of course, this isn’t a rare occurrence and happens a lot.
3. Can the other party afford the retribution/money?
Just imagine, you invest your energy, resource, time, and money into your lawsuit, and the judge says that the other party won’t be able to meet your demands. What if the judge dismisses the case? So, there’s always a possibility of you walking away without any judgment.
Usually, you’ll have to call your lawyer because knowing the correct amount to sue a party for is pretty challenging. Both your lawyer and you should conduct an honest assessment of the other party’s financial situation, carefully considering what they should offer with respect to retribution.
Ask yourself: Would their payout be worth it? Are my demands reasonable? Is there a possibility of collecting judgment?
4. Can you afford the required time and resources?
Lawsuits take a lot of time. For instance, waiting for your court date, witness preparation, alibi preparation, document preparation, and meetings with your lawyer can eat up your valuable time. If there’s no settlement in your initial court appearance, you’ll have to do more preparation, wait more time, and await a later court date and judgment.
A lawsuit can take away a lot of time from your day-to-day life. What if you have other dependents such as your kids who need your time? Can you afford to put your life on hold for some time?
Lawsuits also consume resources. Can you afford to focus on your case solely? Do you have a job you can walk away from for an extended period?
Can you get capable people, connections, and witnesses to help you? If yes, your best bet would be to take your case to court. Trust your intellect if you consider your potential gain to be worth the risk.
5. Can you afford the required money?
Lawsuits require a great deal of money. Some people just can’t afford the fees of an attorney.
In addition, what if your case takes longer than you anticipated? If this happens, your expenses will continue to burn a hole in your pocket.
Simply put, when you sue someone, you don’t really know what you’ll have to pay – or for how long. Before opening a lawsuit, ensure your financial situation isn’t bad.
In the US, the average cost of hiring a civil suit lawyer was between $200 to $400 per hour – and that’s just the attorney fee. It doesn’t include court fees, document preparation, and filing fees.
Reach out to your lawyer for an estimate of legal fees. Get the estimate and do your math to find out if the case is even worth this amount.
Compute your risk tolerance. Your final estimate should never miss out on this aspect.
While it can be worth it, you should ensure that it’s before you begin. If you think your case is worth the financial risks, please proceed to sue by hiring a lawyer.
Verdict: Be confident in your lawsuit before suing someone
So, you’re looking to sue a party. Remember, lawsuits can be emotional, pricey, involved, and lengthy. Wouldn’t you want to guarantee your claim before investing so much into it?
- Consider your lawsuit’s legal grounds. Do you have a law-based, valid claim that’ll hold up in court? Will a judge view your claim as necessary and legitimate?
- Try to settle outside of court. To avoid the expenses of the court, many companies and individuals try to reach a reasonable agreement.
- If you’re defendant is broke, you win nothing. Is their financial situation worth yours?
- Consider the financial situation of the defendant. While successfully making your case against them won’t be difficult, would you collect a judgment?
- Can you devote time to court, research, and meetings? Can your lawsuit receive your undivided attention?
- Consider your resources. If required, would you be able to take off for a longer time?
- Can you afford to work, research, and travel to make your case? Can you afford this for a sustained time (if your lawsuit takes longer than anticipated)?
- Consider your financial situation. Can you afford an attorney and whatever it requires?
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