Should I File a Lawsuit (and Learning to Pick Your Battles)

Should I file a lawsuit: Learning to Pick Your Battles

Should I File a Lawsuit (and Learning to Pick Your Battles)

563 355 Cynthia Conlin

I talk to many people who have sought out an attorney because they’re angry. They’ve been wronged. They’re done with this $#!%! They want to sue.  They ask: Should I file a lawsuit?

If you’re in this position, you may not be considering the expense, time, and stress involved in filing a lawsuit.  And for good reason, as those are things you don’t usually consider when you’re angry, depressed, or embroiled in some other strong emotion.

Should I file a lawsuit?

If you are asking yourself, is this battle worth fighting, you may want to ask yourself the following questions.

1. What will happen if I do nothing?

If you do nothing, will the situation sort itself out?  Will your life go back to normal in a few days?

Or, on the other hand, is there a continuing injury, something that needs to be stopped?

2. What will happen if I take action?

Opposite of the former question: What will happen if you take legal action? What will the potential Defendant do?  Consider your relationship with this person.  Will that really make things better, or will it make things worse.  Once you get lawyers involved, your relationship with that person will never be the same.

3. Am I thinking about this objectively?

Support logical arguments with real data – not just emotions or hypotheticals.  Imagine you are someone else, and try to step back and look at your situation from an outside perspective.  If this situation just happened today, maybe you should sleep on it and see if you feel the same way tomorrow.

4. Would my time or money be better spent on other things?

Here’s your cost-benefit analysis.  Would you benefit from filing a lawsuit?  Or would you benefit more if you don’t file a lawsuit, and instead focus your time, energy, and money on something else?

5. Does the potential defendant have any money?

In many cases, unless you’re suing for injunctive relief (to order someone to do something or stop doing something), there’s no point in moving forward against a Defendant who has no money.  If the whole point in filing a lawsuit is to obtain an award of damages, what’s the point if you get a six-digit judgment but you can’t collect on it?

Or, what if the Defendant has some money, some assets, but a lot of debt? Consider that he or she may file bankruptcy.  If they file bankruptcy, your judgment may be toast.

6. Could this backfire?

Would the potential defendant lash out in any way?  Might he or she file a counterclaim against you?  Think about potential situations where this suit may backfire.

7. What is it that I really want?

This question is important.  What do you really want?

Do you want the other person to just be out of your life?  Do you want some tangible property returned to you?  Do you want to be reimbursed your money?

Figure out what would make you happy.  And also consider: Is that outcome reasonable?

8. Are there any other options?

Once you have figured out what would make you happy, consider is there any other way that can happen.  Is there a way you can just work things out, amicably, just by talking to the other person?  Maybe using a third-person intermediary?

Even if you are in a place where you would be more comfortable to have an attorney on your side, you don’t necessarily have to file a lawsuit.  One option is to have that attorney send a demand letter.  This is a softer and less expensive approach than jumping in with a lawsuit, but it still has some teeth and can be effective.

Need to find an attorney?

Once you’ve gone through all these questions, if you think you’re ready to get an attorney involved — whether to help you file a lawsuit, send a demand letter, or just for a consultation — feel free to call our office.  You can reach us at 407-965-5519.

Cynthia Conlin

Cynthia Conlin is the lead attorney at the Law Office of Cynthia Conlin, P.A., an Orlando law firm focusing on assisting businesses and individuals with litigation needs.

All stories by:Cynthia Conlin
  • Ann Abbitz

    These are some good tips. Thanks for sharing them. I wonder though, can you file a lawsuit against a parent who has NOT paid any child support in years, and collection and enforcement hasn’t been productive? I have a couple of friends who are going through this with their ex, and I brought up obtaining a lawyer, but they said since the state is trying to ‘collect”, they’re not sure how effective a lawyer would be.