I get a lot of phone calls from people about filing a lawsuit for whatever reason. A lot of these people are reacting emotionally to one or more incidents that occurred and do not necessarily realize the commitment involved in litigation. Filing a lawsuit is, and should always be, a last resort. It is not something to do to get back at someone or one-up another. Litigation is actually much more intense than most people probably realize.
The litigation process is slow
The first thing that surprises most people is the length of time it takes to litigate. Maybe with the exception of small claims court, litigation is not a matter of filing a lawsuit and simply showing up in court. When filing a lawsuit, you’re talking about a commitment of potentially two, three, or more years.
After a complaint is filed, you may have to deal with a motion to dismiss. Then you’ll have to deal with the court’s calendar when it comes to scheduling hearings. Often it is difficult to set a hearing within one month; it is not uncommon to have to schedule one three months out.
There are other issues – discovery delays, motions to stay, etc. – that you may not expect. Plus, there is the court’s calendar when it comes to setting the trial. Your trial date may not be set for more than two years in the future, and it may take a year before the court even sets the date.
Filing a lawsuit is expensive
Litigation is rarely if ever cheap. First, you have out-of-pocket costs: Filing fees, service of process, court reporter fees, interpreter fees, and more. The harder you litigate (the more depositions, etc.) the more costs you incur. Then you have attorney fees. The more time involved, the more they rack up. And they can add up quickly.
Litigation can make you cry
If you thought that the issue that gave you the idea of filing a lawsuit was emotionally draining, wait until you get into the litigation itself. I’ve been to depositions where a clients break down crying after being questioned about a subject that is so sensitive that it opens the door to deep emotions. I’ve had clients crying in my office, crying on the phone, crying at mediation. Face it: Litigation can make you cry. It can keep you up at night and result in whatever other results happen from stress.
Still prepared to go forward?
That all said and done – if you’re still ready to deal with the time, costs, and stresses of filing a lawsuit, it may be time to take action – and consider these 9 things to do before you file a lawsuit.
If you would like to talk to the law office of Cynthia Conlin, P.A. before you take legal action, contact us or call us at 407-965-5519.