Thinking About Suing Someone? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions First

For better or worse we live in a litigious society. There is an average of one new lawsuit filed every two seconds in the United States. Perhaps you are thinking about adding to that count because someone has breached an agreement you have with him or her. Seeking the advice of a competent lawyer with experience on the issue confronting you is your best bet.

  1. Do you have a strong case?

Your feelings of being wronged and your desire for justice may not be related to the strength or weakness of your case. You may have been hurt and angered by what the other party did, but that doesn’t make your case any stronger on its merits. Discussing the case with an experienced attorney is a must.

Statistics demonstrate that self-represented litigants are more likely to have their cases thrown out of court than those who retained an attorney for their lawsuit. “Pro se” or “do it yourself” plaintiffs usually do not have a firm grasp of the nuances of the law and are more likely to file a lawsuit that is without merit. Talking to an experienced attorney with business and or civil litigation experience will give you a far more realistic idea of whether your case has merit.

  1. Will the defendant be able to pay you if you win?

Obtaining a judgment against someone who has wronged you or harmed you is simply the first step in the process. Collecting on the judgment may be a far more difficult task. Collecting your judgment from someone who has few if any assets may be impossible, and this is something that every client must evaluate at the beginning of the process rather than the end. It is important to evaluate as much as possible whether the person you are suing, or the company you are suing, has the means to pay you if you are successful.

  1. What will it cost to sue and collect damages?

I sometimes hear from a prospective client that is the principle of the matter that is important to them. Whenever I hear this sentiment expressed alarm bells go off in my head. Lawsuits are expensive. It is important to evaluate and assess the cost of the litigation, which includes not only the lawyer’s fees, but also filing fees, deposition costs, and expert witness and other fees. Unless there is a provision in your contract that provides for the payment of your attorney’s fees, or unless there is a statute authorizing payment of attorney’s in your specific situation (very rare indeed), you will wind up paying your own attorney’s fees out of your own pocket. In most every case it is a matter of undertaking a risk/reward analysis before jumping in.

  1. Are you in it for the long haul?

Lawsuits are stressful, and demanding. It will typically take a year or more to conclude. If you are in the process of deciding whether to pursue legal action against another party in Wyoming, or if you have a family law matter that needs tending to, please contact Ken Cohen at 307-733-4946 to schedule an appointment.