3 Questions to Ask Before You File a Lawsuit
Do you have the money to file a case?Most people don't understand court procedures or that there are substantial costs (beyond attorney fees) that you will incur in a lawsuit. For example, there is a fee to file the case; if you need to take someone's testimony before trial, there are court reporter costs; and even money to park at the courthouse for hearings. You will also likely need a lawyer and most lawyers will not file litigation without a retainer (money put in trust to assure that the lawyer gets paid). My rule of thumb is that you will need $500 for every $1000 you are suing for. If you are suing for less than $1000, you might do it on your own ("pro se") in small claims court.
Are you prepared to fight a long battle?Small claims cases move relatively fast and you might get to trial in a few months. But most cases larger than small claims move very slowly and some might not get to trial for 2-5 years depending on where you live. During that time you will be dealing with motions; discovery (gathering evidence); and preparing for trial. If you have a full time job, you will likely be using up your sick days or personal days even if you have a lawyer. If your answer to this question is no, you are not ready to file a lawsuit.
Do you want reimbursement of money or revenge?If you want revenge, don't file a lawsuit. Most lawyers won't take your case if they sense that you are seeking ye olde "pound of flesh" from your opponent. The reason is because you won't be realistic about the outcome. If, however, what you really want is to get money back for the harm that was caused you, you are on the right track. As stated above, most cases settle. If you want revenge, you won't be able to settle and won't be happy if you lose at trial (FYI, no one has an 'open and shut case'). If you are looking for reimbursement, you are more likely to be reasonable about a settlement and compromise.