So you have gotten over the shock of being served with your lawsuit. Hopefully, you have scheduled a meeting to speak with an attorney. Perhaps you have even scheduled a meeting with the fine folks at Fornaro Law. But now you contemplate what your role will be going forward. How do I react to all of this? Well the first thing you do is get the idea of reacting out of your mind! Winning a lawsuit, like everything else in life, takes a well thought out plan. So step number one, with or without a lawyer is formulate a plan.
Plan to win or you will fail. What does failing mean? It means spending lots of money without an end in sight. So the first step you must explore is whether you can work out a settlement. You may have just fallen out of your seat. I can almost read your mind, “I am not settling with that so and so!” You are emotional about the offense of being sued. Stop it! Stop it now! Emotion has no place in your plan to win!
You have to remember, winning has a lot of different formulations. If you spend $100,000 in legal fees just for the satisfaction of saying you have been vindicated, have you won? Maybe, if you have unlimited funds. For most of us, the resounding answer is NO! So the first thing you have to consider is whether you can get out of this mess at an affordable price. If so, this is most definitely the road to take. Remember, litigation is costly and slow moving. It is much better to settle at the beginning of the case then to spend big money and then settle for the same amount at the end of the case.
So how do I approach settlement? Well, you have to honestly evaluate your case. What are the facts of the case? What can I prove? What evidence do I have to disprove what is being alleged by the Plaintiff (the one suing you). How much is it going to cost myself and the plaintiff to take this to trial? Most importantly, what leverage do I have? Leverage is the name of the game when it comes to settling a case. If you don’t currently have leverage, you need to think about how you can get it. Is the plaintiff strapped for cash? Then maybe you threaten long drawn out litigation. Is the plaintiff suing for an emotional reason (you have angered them in some way and they are using the legal system to get back at you?) If so, maybe you approach settlement in a more conciliatory manner. Is there merit to their claims? Then maybe you make an equitable settlement offer.
The point is you need to identify your leverage and use it to your best advantage to try to reach a settlement. In order to identify your best leverage, you need to unemotionally examine your case and your chances of winning. Settling at the beginning of a case can save you huge amounts of money in the long run.
At Fornaro Law we believe in obtaining beneficial resolutions to our client’s legal issues. Often this means exploring the possibility of settlement before the parties start spending hard earned money in vain. If you would like to set up a consultation, please contact us at 708-639-4320.
In our next Blog we will explore the next steps of putting a winning game plan together for your lawsuit.