No one wakes up in the morning and wants to sue another person or corporation. It’s a lot of trouble and there could be serious repercussions or a lengthy battle in court. There are unfortunately some situations in which we have to file a lawsuit though, and if you’ve never done it, it can seem confusing and overwhelming.
Filing a lawsuit isn’t complicated but it is confusing for newcomers (and many people filing these suits are newcomers) or anyone who’s unfamiliar with the law.
While the process can be aided by a lawyer, there are some things that you might want to do on your own. But how do you get started?
If you’re unsure, we’re here to help. Here are a few tips for filing a lawsuit that we’ve accumulated. Keep reading to learn more.
1. First, Introspect. Is This Necessary?
Before you begin anything, stop and consider your situation. You know that a lawsuit is going to be expensive and that it’s going to eat up a lot of time unless it’s an open and shut case.
Sometimes when things happen we go a little sue-happy and let our emotions guide us. While you might end up being right about the need for a lawsuit, you might not. A lawsuit shouldn’t be your first response to every slight that you experience.
Make sure that this is really what you want to do before proceeding forward.
2. Consider If There’s a Good Legal Case
You might have a perfectly good reason to sue this person or corporation. Maybe they harmed you or a loved one. Maybe they were slandering you to the point that your reputation or career was ruined.
Even with those things, you need to make sure that a lawyer is going to be able to have enough evidence to carry the lawsuit through. A lawyer might not be interested in your case if they don’t think that it has a leg to stand on.
You can proceed without a lawyer, but know that the burden of proof is on you. Regardless of whether or not you have an attorney, you need to be able to prove that the defendant has wronged you or been negligent in a way that negatively impacted you.
3. Consider Other Options First
If you consult a lawyer that says no to your request for representation, you might want to consider other routes.
There are compromises that you can make with the defendant if they’re up to it and other options tend to be cheaper, easier, and less stressful for all parties involved. You can try to handle the dispute one-on-one or you can opt for professional mediation if the other party is difficult to talk to or unwilling to meet you without some kind of professional council.
You might find that the problem is easy to resolve.
4. Make Sure You’re Within the Statute of Limitations
Different crimes have different statutes of limitations. They can be months or years depending on the situation. If you’re not within that statute of limitations you probably aren’t going to be able to sue (though there may be exceptions depending on your situation).
These statutes of limitations also vary by state. You need to make sure that you’re within yours before you go through the trouble of filing a lawsuit.
5. Make Sure It’s Worth It
Legal battles are expensive. If you’re hiring a lawyer you’re going to be spending a lot of money unless they’re willing to go pro bono. If they are, you shouldn’t have to worry about the rest of this list thus far. They’re likely confident in their ability to represent you in this case.
Do you have the money to support yourself while you’re taking this to court?
Also, consider if the other party has the money. Is the lawsuit going to feel good to you if you aren’t able to receive damages? The defendant might be responsible for the money that you’re owed, but they also might be bankrupt or otherwise unable to pay. Your work will have been for nothing and your wallet will be empty from the effort.
6. Find the Right Kind of Lawyer
Not all lawyers are suited to every kind of case. Lawyers tend to specialize so that they can become more experienced and helpful in one particular area of law. Some lawyers, for example, are only divorce and family law lawyers. Others may work with estates. Others still only focus on technology and cybercrimes.
Personal injury lawyers are probably what you’re looking for but do a quick check online to make sure before you start pursuing help.
Again, you can do this on your own if you feel confident in your case. If that’s the direction that you’re going in it’s still wise to find an attorney to answer your questions so you don’t get lost or make any novice mistakes.
7. Seek Legal Help
Again, even if you’re choosing to pursue this on your own, if it’s your first time, it will benefit you to ask for legal help.
Even if you’re just consulting with lawyers online they can help you with the case and the guidance that you need.
If you do find a lawyer, be sure to look into reviews and testimonies to their ability to represent clients. Some lawyers are interested in taking your money while others are interested in helping you. You have to know the difference.
Is It Time to File a Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit is a big step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take these steps to make sure that you’re making the right decision.
If you’ve got a great case on your hands and you’re owed damages and the knowledge that the other party is being punished, move forward with confidence and get what you deserve.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Finance category