Clients come in to me once in a while with a very simple plan: I want to sue X. They then lay out all of the reasons that they should sue this person. I listen, and sometimes I agree, and more often than not, I disagree. Here is part of my thought process on whether you should sue someone.
- Does the person have a good case? I know that “a good case” is not very helpful. But, I look at each case and try to determine if I can prove what I need to prove. In other words, are there documents to support the case? Are there independent witnesses? Does someone have a reason that they did whatever they did so that suing them is not the right option?
- Is there another way to achieve the goal? I had a former client call me tonight and want to sue someone. I made one phone call and it turned out that the other party wanted to resolve the dispute. Had I filed a lawsuit first, the dispute would not be resolved for months to years. Now, however, both sides are going to talk and try to work out their own solution. This avoids the costs of litigation (and makes it so I don’t get paid), but it is in the best interest of both parties.
- If I sue, can I collect if I win? I have handled a half dozen cases in the last year where we have had great cases, but the defendants had no insurance and no assets. If that is the case, then it is very difficult to continue pursuing!
Before you go meet with an attorney, consider these three questions. It may save you some time.