Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Heading to the Courtroom
When people feel like they’ve been wronged by another party in some form or fashion, taking a lawsuit against that party to court tends to be one of—if not the first—options they entertain. Understandably, we can all fly off the handle to an extent after incurring any sort of real or perceived damages, but it’s generally a wise choice to consider avenues other than litigation to settle a dispute. If you are thinking about taking a lawsuit against another person or entity to court, ask yourself the following questions, for there may be a better alternative.
1. Do I have a solid case?
For anyone (e.g., the court, an attorney, a jury or judge) to support your stance in a lawsuit, you must have a legitimate legal claim, also known as “cause of action.” Each type of case has its own set of requirements in terms of essential legal elements, but at the very least you must show:
- An agreement or contract was made between you and the opposing party. This is quite easy to prove if you and the other party have a written agreement; however, it is possible to prove that an agreement was implied if nothing is in writing.
- You held up your end of that agreement.
- The party you plan to take to court did not do what was expected as laid out in the agreement.
- You sustained damages (e.g., injury, financial loss, severe emotional distress, etc.) due to the work (or lack thereof) that was performed by the other party.
2. Is it possible to settle the lawsuit out of court?
People don’t often realize this, but taking a lawsuit to court can be expensive—even if the court rules in their favor—due to court costs, legal fees, attorneys’ fees and other expenses. So before you take a lawsuit to court, consider other settlement options, such as:
- Mediation – A method of alternative dispute resolution wherein disputants meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions to a conflict.
- Collaborative Law – A voluntary legal process that allows disputants, along with their respective lawyers, to devise a settlement plan that is in both parties’ best interests.
3. Can I collect restitution from the other party?
This may be the most important question to ask yourself when contemplating taking a lawsuit to court. There is no use in seeing your lawsuit played out in court if you cannot collect an award from the other party. Further, it is not the court’s duty to ensure you collect your award; it will simply rule in your favor and deem you entitled to such an award. It will be up to you to find a collection source that will help you obtain your restitution. However, you should know that you probably won’t receive anything from someone who doesn’t have the means or assets to give it to you.
If you are considering taking a lawsuit to court, do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP. Our attorneys are well versed in many areas of law and are perfectly capable of answering questions regarding your case. Whether you require representation, want to settle out of court, have questions about your lawsuit or want to know if you indeed have a legitimate case, give us a call at (940) 387-3518 or contact us here. We’ll be glad to assist you in any way we can!