Deciding When to Take Legal Action: Points to Considerby Courtney Myers Professional Writer and Editor
If you or a loved one have been hurt, discriminated against, threatened, or otherwise placed in harm’s way, you might feel the need to take immediate legal action. After all, that is what the law is there to do, right? If we cannot take our grievances to our local authorities, where can we turn? While it might be a natural human reaction to reach for the phone and call a local lawyer to get the process started, it is important to keep in mind that there might not always be a solid, complete case in which you can do so.
Before you take that next step and pursue legal action, take a look at the following points below. Considering your case and your specific situation against these guidelines can help you determine whether taking that next step is a wise move or not.
1. The element of proof.
Sure, you were there at the scene of the crime or the incident and you can remember every single detail in crystal clear color. Yet, can you adequately prove that events unfolded in exactly the way you are describing them? Or, will it come down to your version of the scenario against someone else’s if you decide to take the claim to court?
While you might be able to convince a judge and jury to sympathize with your version of the incident, you will stand a more solid chance of success if you can back up your claim with plenty of proof. This might include video or audio footage, invoices, emails or receipts. Or, you can use a witness to the event as an element of proof as well. For instance, if someone you know was killed in a motorcycle accident, anyone who was on the road at the time of the crash might have valuable information to provide in court and can even help identify the offender.
2. The question of legality.
Put simply, there are some scenarios that just will not stand up in court. For instance, many petty disagreements, though they might seem like the end of the world for you, have no legal recourse and should be settled out of court, ideally with a mediator present as you and the other party work out your issue.
If you have any question at all about whether or not it is wise to take your case to court, it is in your best interest to do your research and your homework beforehand. To avoid paying hefty court fees, missing time off work and going through the emotional toil that it can take only to have your case thrown out or dismissed later on, contact a local legal professional to hear the details. He or she can ascertain from there whether you have a legal leg to stand on, or whether you would simply be spinning your wheels by pursuing further action.
3. The overall timeline and fees.
If you have an issue that needs resolving via the Minor Civil Claims Court, you can pursue that legal action at any time. However, for almost all other cases, you will need to act in a swift manner or risk missing the window of opportunity for taking your case to court.
Even with a minor civil claim, the time it takes to actually see your issue resolved in court could take months, and that is assuming that the other party agrees to the claim that you are putting forward. Even after the court session is adjourned, it might also take additional time before the judgment is put forward and enforced. Specifically, if money is at the root of the issue and you are expecting a repayment from someone, keep in mind that you might not receive that money in one lump sum, but rather in installments paid over the course of a few months or even a few years.
As such, keep in mind how long a court case could take, and whether or not you have missed the statute of limitations surrounding how quickly you need to act on your particular case. In addition, remember that as you take a case to court, you will incur fees. Do these exceed the cost of the payout you are hoping to receive? If the answer is “no,” you should still ask your legal team as soon as possible what the likely costs will be so you can better prepare financially.
4. The factor of personal relationships.
There are some instances, such as automobile accidents, in which you will absolutely want to take legal action to see justice served and protect others from being harmed down the road. However, if the scenario is far less impactful and is more over a personal spat, remember that taking a case to court can be the linchpin that permanently severs your relationship with the other party.
Before taking legal action, consider if the relationship is one worth preserving or if you would rather see legal proceedings occur than salvage that friendship or family tie. You should also weigh whether or not taking legal action will negatively affect your reputation. This is especially important if you are a small business owner or local dignitary who is in the spotlight and for whom press surrounding the case might be more significant than others.
Deciding to Take Action
Taking a case to court can be a lengthy and costly process, but there are many situations in which it is required. If you do decide that legal action is a necessary and important next step, you will need to partner with a reputable law firm before doing so. This part is critical, as finding the right team of legal professionals can make or break your case in court. Take your time, explain your case thoroughly and find qualified and experienced experts who can guide and advise you as you move forward along this journey. This is one aspect that cannot be overlooked and will be essential to leaving the courtroom satisfied with the overall outcome.
Created on Jul 30th 2018 20:20. Viewed 416 times.