If you’ve never been involved in a lawsuit before, it can be a terrifying prospect. Whether you’re facing charges or considering bringing a claim against someone else, the stakes can be very high. It’s not something to take lightly. Seek out a legal professional to discuss your case and your options before you do anything else. This can help you avoid costly missteps. Here are a few things you need to know before you get involved in any lawsuit, whether it’s by your own choice or not.
Only Your Attorney Is Really on Your Side
Everyone involved in the lawsuit has an agenda, so you need to be careful with what you say and how you say it. The opposing lawyer will use it against you if you say something careless or inconsistent. You should only allow yourself to speak openly with your lawyer. That’s also why it’s essential to get a lawyer you can trust to represent you. You need to be comfortable enough to tell them everything so that they can be prepared to defend you or fight your claim effectively.
If you’re involved in a criminal case, having effective representation is even more critical. Not only money but your freedom is at stake. Before you say or agree to anything, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney and get some professional advice.
The Process Can Go on for a Long Time
Some cases can drag on for months or even years without being resolved. Sometimes this is because of intentional stalling tactics, but it’s also because the process for preparing for trial takes a long time. Evidence has to be prepared, and witnesses have to be gathered. In large cities, enough people are waiting to go to trial for different cases that the wait is going to be even longer. Trials themselves are very time-consuming.
You’ll have to be patient as you wait for your case to proceed. As long as you communicate with your lawyer and stay on top of things as they come, you can go about your life and not stress over the slow process of your claim.
They Can Be Very Expensive
I shouldn’t have to tell you that the stakes for a lawsuit can be incredibly high, whether you’re fighting for your freedom or compensation for your medical expenses. Merely going through the process of the lawsuit itself can also be very expensive, however. If you are the one taking up the claim, you need to think carefully about the costs and benefits of the whole process. Some types of cases and attorneys will allow you to recoup the attorney fees through the decision itself, but that isn’t always the case. Regardless of the financial costs and rewards, you’ll never get back the time you spent in litigation.
It Doesn’t Always Go to Trial
Because trials are so time-consuming and expensive for nearly everyone involved, there are often many incentives to avoid litigation one way or another. In a civil case, the defendant may offer a certain amount of money to settle the case out of court if they believe the plaintiff has a viable claim against them. This lets both parties avoid the financial cost and time investment of the extended process.
In criminal cases, the prosecution will often attempt to negotiate with the defense to offer a plea bargain. This means that they’ll offer to seek a lesser charge or a reduced penalty for the crime if the defendant agrees to plead guilty and waive their right to a trial.
Sometimes the plaintiff in a case might even drop the charges eventually if they decide they don’t have enough evidence or the case isn’t worth the effort to pursue. The stakes are high, so all decisions concerning lawsuits should be thought through very carefully.