Corporate Law

The Steps to Take if Your Business Wants to Sue Someone

Lawsuit Hammer

Taking legal action to sue someone is not something that any business owner wants to have to do. It’s a big step; it can be costly and you might not even get the outcome that you were looking for. But, sometimes, it’s the only option, and it simply has to be done. Here are the steps to take if you find yourself in a situation like that.

Try to Settle Things with the Individual First

You should talk to the person or organisation that you are thinking of suing first of all. You should never jump straight into legal action without first trying to discuss things. If you can settle things out of court, then that can only be a good thing for everyone. It will save you a lot of money and a lot of the stress that comes with taking someone to court and fighting a legal battle.

In many cases, there is simply a misunderstanding between the two parties. It’s not uncommon for someone to have made a mistake somewhere along the line that has caused this whole dispute. By talking to them and communicating effectively, problems like this can be sorted out and rectified in a relatively swift manner. And that can be done without the help of lawyers and judges. And that’s always the best way to sort out a problem of this nature.

If That Fails, Try Mediation

If you can’t settle things with the person that you’re in a dispute with, then there are other options open to you. You could, for example, try mediation. This is when you get together with the other person in a neutral setting, with a mediator who will help to keep the negotiations going. It’s much better to do this than have to take the issue to court. It’s an option that does sometimes work, so it’s worth a try.

For it to work, though, the people on both sides of the argument have to be willing to negotiate a little. You won’t get very far if you go into the mediation sessions without being willing to give some ground. If both sides can compromise, then it might be possible to reach an agreement that is just about acceptable for everyone. If not, then you will move a step closer to a court battle.

Ask Yourself If You Can Afford a Court Battle

There is no doubt about it; fighting a court battle can be hard. If the defendant is as sure as you are that they’re in the right, then it could drag on for a while. This is especially true if they are determined to appeal the verdict when it comes back in your favour. That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself if you can really afford to take on a costly legal battle at this time.

It’s important to be very pragmatic when you are answering this question. You shouldn’t let your emotions or personal prejudices guide you when you are making the decision. You have to look at the facts and think about the long-term interests of the company. If pursuing legal action could throw it into financial turmoil, is it really worth all that risk for a relatively minor reward?

Talk to a Lawyer About Your Case

When you have exhausted all the options and you have checked your finances, you should contact a lawyer. If you want to go ahead with the legal action, you’re going to need a professional lawyer by your side when you are taking action against the defendant. They have the experience that is so important when it comes to winning a legal battle. Without that expert knowledge and experience, it could be very hard to get the outcome you’re looking for.

Talking to a lawyer will also allow you to find out how strong your case is. If they don’t want to take on your case, this might be a sign that the case is not very strong. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, you might have to accept that you can’t win the case. But the lawyer might be willing to represent you in court and take your case forward. Just listen to what they have to say and listen to their expert advice.

Find Out How the Court System Works

There are different kinds of courts, and you will need to find out which one of them actually applies to you. If your case is small and you are only suing someone for a relatively small amount of money, you will go to a small claims court. But you might be suing for a larger sum of money and have a larger case that needs dealing with. In that case, you will need to use a bigger court.

So, you should take some time to learn about how the court that applies to you operates. When you know about how it functions, you will be more comfortable with going ahead with your legal action. After doing this, you should go back to your lawyer and make sure that they are happy to take on the case. If they are, you should take the next step, which is filing your claim.

File Your Claim

When you are ready to proceed with legal action, you will first need to fill in the relevant court forms. When that’s done, give them to the court clerk and get on with filing the actual claim. You will have to include how much you want to sue the person for, and this will then determine the size of the fees. The more you’re suing for, the higher your fees that you’ll have to pay will be.

When you have filled out the claim form and everything is done, you will have to take this to the same court clerk. They will then ask you some questions relating to your form and your case. They will then file the claim for you and it will be stamped. When this is done, you will have to move on and serve the claim to the person who you want to sue. After a while, the date will be finalised for your court appearance.

Serve the Claim

Serving a claim is when the person or organisation you want to sue is given a copy of the relevant court papers. It’s necessary to do this because it’s illegal to take legal action against someone without them being notified of what is happening. So, if you fail to do this, and do it correctly, then it could derail and destroy your entire claim, so don’t neglect this.

One important thing that you need to know is that you can’t be one that serves the claim. No one who is listed in the case can be the one to physically serve the claim to the defendant. It has to be someone who is independent of the claim. You can hire a process server for legal documents. They will do the serving duties for you, ensuring the whole process is done legally and correctly.

Go to Court

When the claim has been filed and served, you will be given a date at which your case will be heard in court. This will happen in a civil court in front of a judge who will eventually deliver a verdict after hearing evidence from everybody. You do need to put a plan in place alongside your lawyer if you’re going to perform well in the courtroom though. First of all, you need to know what you’re going to say.

This is something that is easier said than done though. You’ll have to decide what your main points are and which of those points will be most effective in winning the case for you. You will also need to take copies of all the documentation that relates the case. And finally, you should get witnesses and experts to testify on your behalf and support all the claims that you make.

Accept the Verdict of the Court

At this stage, you’ve done everything you possibly can. You’ve presented your case and the judge has all the information, and that means the decision is out of your hands. Try to remain patient while you wait for the verdict to come back. It might be nerve-wracking waiting for the verdict if you have a lot riding on it, but there’s nothing you can do to speed it up.

There is a lot to know about and do when the verdict does come back. If you won the case, you would then have to try to get the defendant to pay the money that they owe you. The court will order them to do this, but they will have the option to appeal the verdict. On the other hand, if you lose the case, you won’t be able to appeal. The person who files the claim cannot appeal the verdict unless the defendant sues them back. So, if you lose, you’ll have to just accept it and move on.

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Beth Jones is a valued contributor to various blogs.

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