Litigation, or taking someone to court, is usually best done with lawyers to represent you. This is true even if you think you have a very simple case and if the other side seems very cooperative. If you need to sue someone for any reason, even something seemingly minor such as property damage or defamation, note why it's good to have a lawyer represent you and some answers to questions you might have about their representation.
1. Why should you consult with a lawyer before serving someone papers?
You might do your homework online by looking up similar cases like yours and assume you know how to handle your particular case, but reading things on the internet is not like having an experienced lawyer advise you. For one thing, there may be precedents that have been set with cases since information was printed online and the information you're reading is outdated. Online information also doesn't tell you how the other party might argue against your case or how to handle anything they present in their own defense. Knowing these things may make you think twice about filing a case, which is why it's good to consult with a lawyer before you even start the process of litigating.
2. What if the other party is willing to settle?
It's good to consult with a lawyer before you sign any type of settlement agreement, as you may be overlooking certain factors that are not included in the agreement. For example, if you sue someone for defamation and they're willing to stop saying defaming things about you, will they also remove things they've said online? Posts on social media and other such sites can remain for years if not indefinitely, so a promise to stop defaming you in the future may not be enough to salvage your reputation.
A lawyer can also note if your settlement should also include any other restrictions; for example, a neighbor whose teenager vandalized your car may agree to pay for the damages, but will you also need a restraining order against them to ensure it doesn't happen again? If the damage was caused by a falling tree branch, do you need an agreement from them to remove the tree at their own expense? These things are what lawyer are accustomed to handling and why they're good to have with you even if the other party seems willing to cooperate with your initial demands.Share
21 January 2016
My dad died when I was still pretty young so it's been a big surprise all the stuff I've had to do to sort out his estate. I'm an only child and my folks divorced when I was a baby so most of the work fell to me. He was kind of disorganised and grumpy, but at least he'd spoken to his lawyer and got a proper will drawn up which saved on confusion at a tricky time. If you are a young person dealing with the estate of a deceased parent, this blog is designed to help you navigate the legal processes.