The Basics: When to Sue

Whether you’re in Brownsville or in the heart of McAllen, it’s hard to ignore the countless news headlines we’re bombarded with every day. From lawsuits arising due to hot coffee, or more unorthodox reasons like a lost pair of trousers, it’s quite obvious that the media focuses on the outrageous rather than the practical, which can lead to a lot of confusion.

At the J. Gonzalez Law Firm, whether you’re an active client or not, we’re committed to addressing all of your lawsuit related questions and concerns. In our constantly evolving world, being able to discern whether or not you should take legal action in a situation can be a difficult task. Therefore, we’ve made it our mission to help you sort through this trying time so that you will be able to make a decision competently and confidently.

No matter what case you’re considering pursuing, whether it’s personal injury or civil, you should always consult with your lawyer beforehand and carefully weigh your options. In order to make this process as simple as possible, we’ve compiled a list of matters you should explore if you’re thinking about taking any form of legal action. If you find yourself hesitating on any of these points, this is likely a sign that a legal court case might not be the best course of action for you.

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit, your situation must meet the following three requirements:

You must have a ‘good’ case

While the word ‘good’ may seem subjective, in the eyes of the law, it is not. In order for a lawsuit to be valid and stand up in a court of law, it must be able to be broken down into a series of steps or components. Of course, this is only half the battle.

Next, you and your lawyer must examine each of these ‘steps’ and ensure that you can satisfy or prove each one when prompted. Depending on the type of suit you are filing, the type of evidence you will need to provide will vary.

To illustrate this point more clearly, let’s look at this example:

If you were injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence on the road, in order to prevail in your personal injury suit, you must prove the following:

      Duty (the driver was obligated to drive safely on the road)

      Breach of Duty (they failed to drive safely)

      Cause in Fact (if it wasn’t for the driver’s actions, you wouldn’t have been injured)

      Proximate Cause (determines the proximity of the defendant’s actions to the harms caused)

      Damages (physical proof of pain and suffering resulting from the injury)

You should consider Settlement and Mediation

Even if you made it through the previous point and proved all the elements of your case, it’s not quite the right time to head to the courthouse just yet.

For the first time in history, a large number of cases are being resolved outside of court. If you’re feeling a little hesitant about pursuing your case in a court of law, simply sitting down with the other side and seeing if a resolution can be reached is a possible solution. If you’re worried about legality, there are mediation services far and wide that can offer their services for low costs and in some cases free of charge.

Of course, settlements and mediation are simply a suggestion and are not practical for every case.

Consider how you will collect at the end

If you’re certain a lawsuit is the right path for you, it’s time to start thinking about collecting a money judgment at the end of your trial. If monetary compensation for what you have endured is what you desire, you must ensure that the individual you are suing will be capable of paying the judgment in the event that you win the case. If you determine that you will have issues collecting, you will likely have to resort to the help of the authorities to get your rightful compensation. If you are pursuing a personal injury case, it’s important to note that the insurance company would be the party responsible for paying the judgment.

If you decide to pursue your matter legally, it’s important to discuss the different collection methods with your lawyer so that you may agree on the best course of action.

If your situation has met all of these requirements, it is time to sit down and prepare to file your lawsuit. Whether you’re absolutely certain or feeling a little lost, the team behind the J. Gonzalez Law Firm is prepared to assist you, as it is our ultimate goal for you to feel empowered as you pursue your legal matter further.

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