People involved in business disputes often rush to judgment and reflexively decide to sue. Here are some things to think about before deciding to start a lawsuit:
- Do you have a good case? Not only do you need to have a genuine legal claim or “cause of action,” but it must also be valued high enough in economic terms to justify taking it to court. For example, the fact that you might have been sold a defective product worth $500 may not usually justify suing an out-of-state defendant. There may be extenuating circumstances or other possibilities that come to light, however, after an appropriate legal consultation.
- Have you made a final demand in connection with your dispute?This step may seem obvious, but is often overlooked by people in their rush to the courthouse. If they know they are at fault and are able to make the situation right, most individuals or businesses will do what they can to resolve the matter, rather than be dragged into court. Also, many times the recovery of attorney fees may be dependent on an appropriate demand.
- Will you be able to collect a judgment if you win?Take a hard look at the financial condition of the party you are going to sue. You want to be reasonably certain that you will be able to collect a judgment before you spend a lot of “good” money chasing uncollectible or “bad” money in a lawsuit.
- Do you have the money to pay a lawyer to handle the lawsuit?Lawsuits can be expensive, and recovering your attorneys’ fees is often not an option. Ask your lawyer for an estimate of legal fees, and do the math or see if they would entertain alternative fee arrangements, like taking the case on a contingency based on a successful outcome.
- Do you have the time and resources to devote to a lawsuit?A lawsuit may take a lot of time and energy, and it can be emotionally draining. Remember that you might find that you have less time and energy to devote to your work, business, family, and social life for the duration of the lawsuit.
- Are you within the applicable “statute of limitations?”Check with your lawyer to make sure that any time limits for filing a lawsuit have not run out or do not get so close to expiring that it may make it difficult for you to find legal representation.
- Where will you be able to sue?If you are suing someone from a different state, a court in your state may not have power or “jurisdiction” over that person. In that case, you might have to sue the defendant in his or her location, which will probably be more expensive and inconvenient for you.
Contact our Attorneys
If you have a potential claim and would like to have it evaluated by a team of experienced litigation attorneys, contact Shaw Cowart, LLP using the form on this page or call 512-499-8900 today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Austin, Texas.