Filing a lawsuit requires careful planning and research to ensure that you don’t come out on the losing end. This rule is valid even if you think you have a good case. It’s very easy to get carried away thinking you’re going to win because someone else won a similar case. However, statistics don’t dictate the results of a lawsuit—your evidence and case do. Here are some useful tips to help you know when to sue.
What is your Financial Standing?
One of the first things you’ll need to assess is your own financial standing. Are you able to pay talented lawyers to take your case forward? Or are you finally strapped? If you find that your actions in the past have created financial challenges for your present, then you must think very carefully before you bring your case before a lawyer.
The last thing you want is for the other party to use your financial problems as a winning coin against you. You also don’t want to start a case with a particular lawyer and then have to switch to someone else. You’ll lose time if this happens, and depending on the statute of limitations for your particular case it may be too late to file the lawsuit. Additionally, court fees for filing the claim and other side costs must be factored into the equation. However, if your financial challenges are caused by the other party then you could have a viable case depending on the surrounding details.
If you’re able to prove that you’re eligible to be considered “indigent,” then you can be assigned a public defense lawyer. The requirements and rules for this classification vary for different states, so you must know how this applies in your state. You will need to file for a public defender through a DUI court, where your financially eligibility will be assessed. This can be a long process with a lot of paper work, so you must be prepared to be patient. If you choose this route, then you must know the level of dedication that’s guaranteed from the public defender that’s assigned to your case. A public defender with many cases won’t have time to dedicate his or her entire attention to your case, which can greatly affect the outcome.
You can also choose to defend yourself, but this will depend on the complexity of the case and how much you know about the governing law. An attorney will save you on research time, so you’ll be able to file your claim faster and accurately.
What Are Your Alternatives?
Do you really need to file a lawsuit, or can you find an amicable way to settle with the other party and get what you’re asking for? If you believe there’s an alternative, then it may be best to take it into consideration. The most common alternatives include negotiation, mediation and arbitration.
If the other party is willing to negotiate, then this is likely your best alternative. In successful negotiations, both parties arrive at a mutually beneficial final decision about the claim and the settlement to cover the requests.
However, you may want to use an unbiased third party to serve as a mediator. You must bear in mind that a mediator may not necessarily act as a lawyer, so it’s important that you know your rights and the legalities that are involved.
Arbitration is a less formal process whereby an arbitrator assesses the case and gives a binding ruling. If you choose this route you must be aware that you cannot appeal if the outcome is not in your favor.
Can the Other Party Pay?
Is the other party financially stable to honor your requests? If not, then you won’t benefit from a ruling in your favor. You must assess the assets that they have and determine how quickly they can be liquidated to get the money you want.
You can also request fixed assets such as houses, cars, etc., if you believe that the other party doesn’t have enough cash to pay. You must ensure that there aren’t any restrictions on any of the assets. You don’t want to ask for a house for example only to discover that it’s listed for foreclosure or has numerous liens against it.
Are There Any Loopholes in Your Case?
A trained attorney can detect loopholes in any case or easily create ones. You must ensure that you’ve met your end of the bargain to follow through with an agreement established between yourself and the other party before filing a law suit. You must also be able to demonstrate that you’ve been fair and tried to resolve the issue in an amicable manner. In other words, there shouldn’t be any available argument that can be used against you to undermine or discredit who you are.
If you find that there may be loopholes, then it’s important that you’re honest with your attorney. This will allow them to prepare your case and your defense for any loopholes. If you’re not honest, then you it’ll be easy for them to be taken by surprise. This can damage your case, because it gives the impression that either you can’t be trusted or you’re negligent.
You must also be transparent from the start if you decide to defend yourself, hire a mediator or an arbitrator.
What Are Your Stakes?
Some people file law suits thinking that they automatically win. However, the tides can shift in the favor of the other party rather quickly sometimes, leaving you with the harrowing thought that you’ll need to honor their requests in a possible countersuit. You should mentality outline what you’re willing to lose to ensure that you’re not taken by surprise and that you are financially prepared. You’ll also be able to better prepare yourself to counter any requests from the other party if amicable alternatives have failed.