What Should I Do If I Think I May Be Involved in a Lawsuit?
Regardless of whether you think you might be sued or may want to sue someone else, there are things you can do, and sometimes must do, to better position yourself for litigation. For instance, keeping good records of all of the transactions or occurrences giving rise to the dispute is important. Keep copies of all documents, take notes of in-person or telephone conversations, and take pictures of things that you think will be important. Frequently, before suing someone else, certain types of notices must be given to the other side. There are many other lawsuit prerequisites that must be followed before beginning litigation. Consult an attorney to determine what must be done in a specific instance.
How Does a Lawsuit Work?
Most lawsuits follow the same general procedure, which is governed by many different Court rules. For a detailed explanation of what can be expected in a “typical” lawsuit, please see Anatomy of a Lawsuit. Depending on the complexity of your case, lawsuits can be resolved in varying amounts of time. You case will be resolved faster if you reach a settlement as opposed to being tried to a jury. The complexity of your case will also determine the length of time it takes to resolve. Most cases that are tried to jury take approximately one year, start to finish.
What Is the Client’s Role During a Lawsuit?
You will make nearly all important decisions on your case. Clients generally make the following decisions, after getting needed advice from our attorneys: Starting a lawsuit versus negotiating informally with the other side; whether to settle the case and acceptable settlement terms; and spending money on expert witnesses and investigation materials. Nearly every litigation decision has a consequence both financially and legally. Clients generally make these decisions after receiving the advice of our attorneys, which is based on past experience and legal analysis.
What Will it Cost to Prosecute or Defend a Lawsuit?
This question cannot be easily answered. Litigation matters are difficult to estimate for fees and costs. Numerous factors influence cost. Our lawyers typically work on an hourly basis, with the client paying for the time attorneys or paralegals spend working on your case. Attorney rates generally are reflective of the level of knowledge and experience of a particular lawyer. Another influencing factor is the attitude of the other side. Sometimes, a collaborative effort can be made to find a solution to a problem, which generally results in a quick case resolution at a lower cost. However, in the event the parties are unwilling to compromise on anything, the litigation generally takes much more time and will increase its cost. Depending on the type of case, additional expenses may be incurred for investigative materials or retention of expert witnesses. If your case requires the use of an expert, expert fees will add to the cost of the litigation. Clients generally have input in how much money is spent on litigation, with the understanding that the decision to do or not to something in your case will have some sort of impact, whether positive or negative.