Someone has wronged you. Perhaps another driver’s negligence left you with painful injuries. Maybe a business associate breached the terms of a contract. A tenant may have violated your rental agreement, or your employer fired you based on your protected status. These are only a few ways in which someone may have violated your rights, but no matter your circumstances, you want justice.
However, should you take the matter to court? Are you prepared for the stress and demands of a lawsuit? It is a tough and very personal question, but there are some factors you can consider that may help you make this difficult decision.
Negotiation may not be in your best interests
To begin with, if someone violated your rights and left you struggling, you have every right to pursue redress through the civil courts. The courts exist to bring fair resolution to difficult disputes. Nevertheless, going to court is typically the last resort in resolving a civil matter. This is because cases often overwhelm the courts, litigation can be expensive and there is no guarantee of the outcome. For this reason, many choose mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
However, ADR is not always appropriate. The following facts about settlements may cause you to seek more information about whether litigation is the more appropriate choice for your situation:
- Settling your case means compromising, so you may have to concede some of what you deserve to reach an agreement.
- There is always a chance that the outcome of a trial will include a higher damage amount than a settlement.
- If appropriate, litigation may consider punitive damages, but a settlement is not likely to include this award.
- Receiving the money you agree upon in a settlement is difficult, and you may have to go to court anyway to get a court order.
- After spending time and money trying to settle, you may end up in litigation after all if negotiations break down.
Of course, every situation is different, and alternative dispute resolution works well in many cases, saving the time, money and stress of a court battle. This is not always the case, however, and like many, you may be unable to obtain the fair compensation you need and deserve for the pain, loss or violation of rights you have suffered unless you take the matter to court.