There are many reasons to sue someone, but not all cases require a lawyer. You might be able to handle your case if the defendant is an individual or small business, you have a straightforward legal claim, and the amount of money at stake is relatively small.
In more serious cases (such as sexual assault), you might want to consider hiring qualified sexual assault lawyers to help you file a lawsuit. Read on for tips on whether to file a lawsuit or negotiate a settlement.
Filing a Lawsuit
Suing the at-fault party and going to trial may be the best way to get the full compensation you deserve. It may also be the most expensive and time-consuming option.
If you choose to file a lawsuit, you must determine first which court has jurisdiction over your case. You will prepare and file a complaint, a document laying out your legal claims against the defendant. The defendant has an opportunity to respond after the complaint is filed.
The case will then go through a discovery process, during which both sides will gather evidence through depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents. After discovery, both sides will have an opportunity to file motions, and there may be a settlement conference. If the case cannot be settled, it will go to trial.
Benefits of Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit has a few benefits, even if it is more expensive and time-consuming than negotiating a settlement.
1. You May Get More Money Than When You Settle
The main benefit of going to trial is that you may receive a larger financial award than if you had settled the case. This is because, when you settle, you are typically limited to the defendant’s insurance policy limits.
However, when you go to trial, the jury can award you any amount of money it believes is fair, including punitive damages. Punitive damages’ goal is to punish the responsible party and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
2. You May Get a Faster Resolution
Another benefit of filing a lawsuit is that it may help you get a faster resolution than if you were to negotiate a settlement. This is because the court will set deadlines for each stage of the litigation process.
For example, the court will set a deadline for the completion of discovery. This can help move the case along more quickly than if you were negotiating a settlement, during which there is no set timeline.
Risks of Filing a Lawsuit
There are also risks associated with going to trial, such as:
1. You May Get Less Money Than When You Settle
You may get less money than if you had settled the case. This is because, even if you win at trial, the jury may not award you the full amount of damages you seek.
Juries can be unpredictable, and they may not see things the same way you do. Additionally, the jury may not believe your evidence or find it persuasive.
2. You May Not Get a Resolution Any Faster
Another risk is that despite the court’s deadlines, your case may not resolve faster than if you were to settle. This is because there are often delays in the litigation process, such as when one side files an appeal.
Note that appeals can take months or even years to resolve. Additionally, even if you win at trial, the defendant may choose to file for bankruptcy, which could delay the resolution of your case even further.
3. You Don’t Have Control Of the Outcome
When you go to trial, you are putting your case in the hands of the jury. In other words, you can’t control the outcome.
For instance, even if you have what you believe to be strong evidence, the jury may not find it persuasive. Additionally, the jury may not see things the way you do and may find them in favor of the defendant.
Negotiating a Settlement
If you sue the responsible party, you can still try to negotiate a settlement. Often, it is the fastest and cheapest way to resolve a case.
You can send a demand letter outlining your legal claim and the amount of money you seek. The other party or insurance company will then respond with their offer. If you cannot agree, you can still sue them.
Determining Whether to Settle or File a Case
Consider the following factors when deciding whether to settle or go to trial:
1. The Severity of Your Injuries
It may not be worth your expenses and time going to trial if your injuries are minor. It’s because even if you win at trial, you may not be awarded a large enough sum of money to justify the cost of litigation.
On the other hand, if your injuries are severe, you may want to go to trial to receive a larger financial award. Remember that the jury may award you more money than you would receive if you settled the case. Just make sure to hire experienced lawyers like this Halifax law firm to help you with your case.
2. The Amount of Money at Stake
If it involves a small amount of money, it may not be worth the trial. This is because the cost of litigation can sometimes exceed the amount of money you are asking for.
On the other hand, if it involves a large sum of money, going to trial may be your best option. This is because you may be able to get a larger award from the jury than you would receive if you settled the case.
For example, filing a social justice case against a large corporation may require a lot of money upfront, but it could be worth it if you can get a large financial settlement with the help of the best social justice lawyer.
3. The Strength of Your Case
Another factor to consider is the strength of your case. You may want to go to trial to present this evidence to the jury if you have strong evidence, such as eyewitness testimony or video footage.
On the other hand, if your case is weak, you may want to settle so that you can avoid the risk of losing at trial.
4. The Cost of Going to Trial
You should also consider the cost of going to trial. Litigation can be expensive and may take months or even years to resolve. If you do not have the financial resources to litigate your case, you may want to settle so that you can resolve the case quickly and without incurring additional legal fees.
5. The Risks Associated With Settling
You must also be aware of the risks associated with settling your case. One risk is that you may not receive a fair settlement offer from the at-fault party or their insurance company.
In this case, you may want to go to trial to receive a larger financial award. Another risk is that the at-fault party may not have enough insurance coverage to pay your settlement.
This could leave you responsible for paying your medical bills and other damages.
The Bottom Line
Whether to file a lawsuit or negotiate a settlement out of court depends on specific facts and circumstances. The most important thing is to speak with an experienced attorney to help you make this decision.