To sue or not to sue? Solving a common legal dilemma

  • 2023-12-06

It doesn’t take much effort and research to find a comprehensive how to sue guide as there are plenty of online and offline resources addressing this topic. However, there are nowhere near as many guides on whether you should sue or not. So, we’re going to try to fill this gap for those who could use a bit of help and clarification in this respect. 

Figuring out if filing a lawsuit is the best course of action is a legal dilemma that many people face when dealing with a legal issue. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it. The same reasoning applies to lawsuits. There are cases when suing is absolutely necessary and others when a lawsuit can cause you more damage than good. Knowing which of the two situations applies to your specific circumstances is crucial for maintaining your mental health and financial wellbeing

So, here’s what you need to keep in mind before you decide which path to take. 

Understanding how lawsuits work 

In an ideal world, everyone would follow and abide by the laws and regulations that each country has set in place. But as it happens, the real world is less than perfect and although the majority of people comply with the law, there are some who break the rules and commit serious infringements, either intentionally or negligently. And that’s why lawsuits exist. 

Lawsuits can be described as civil actions taken by one or more entities (plaintiffs or claimants) against one or more parties (defendants) in order to solve a legal dispute. Obviously, you can’t just go around suing anyone and everyone just because they’ve done something to upset you. You need to have solid reasons to file a lawsuit. 

So, it’s not enough to think that someone has done something wrong. You must also be able to prove that they caused you damage and that their actions go against the law. That constitutes the legal claim or cause of action. These include, but are not limited to, events like:

- Breach of contract – a violation of the terms and conditions set out in a legally binding contract by one of the parties.

Copyright infringement – the use of materials protected by copyright law without the permission of the copyright holder.

- Breach of fiduciary duty – when someone who has fiduciary fails to act in the best interest of a client fails to do so.   

- Negligence – when the negligent actions of a person or entity cause someone physical or material damages. 

- Defamation – when certain actions or statements about a person result in damage to that person’s reputation.

- Dissolution of partnership – when two or more parties disagree on the terms of dissolution. 

Any of the instances listed above can serve as a cause of action. While these examples seem pretty straightforward, it’s not always simple to prove that someone has wronged you. You have to make sure that the facts and circumstances meet the requirements of a cause of action and that you can bring enough evidence to support your claims. Otherwise, your case can be dismissed by the judge for not having any legal basis.

Aspects to consider in the decision-making process 

Determining if you have a solid case is the first, and most important aspect you need to clarify when considering a lawsuit. However, even if after long and careful consideration you’ve come to the conclusion that your cause of action is valid, doesn’t mean you should move forward with filing a civil action. There are other factors and aspects to take into account if you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing. 

First, you need to think about legal representation. Since you’re not a legal professional and you can’t navigate the highly intricate legal system on your own, you’ll need to hire a good lawyer to guide your steps and provide legal support, should you want to proceed with your lawsuit. Without a skilled and experienced lawyer by your side to handle all the legal proceedings, your chances of winning the case will be significantly lower.

There are certain situations when a lawsuit, although valid, might not be necessary. There’s no reason to drag someone to court and waste your own time and money in doing so if there is a possibility for you to solve your dispute through an amicable agreement. So, before you file a claim, make sure you’ve exhausted all other options and have done everything in your power to settle the case out of court. 

You also need to be aware that taking a case to court is a lengthy and cumbersome process. Even cases that seem less complicated at first glance can take a long time to solve. And the more time it takes for the judge to make a decision, the more money you’re going to spend. You have to ask yourself if you have the time, money and mental strength to go through such a challenging and stressful process. 

Another thing that you need to think about is the possibility of losing the case. Even if you are confident in your chances of winning, there is no guarantee you’re going to get a positive result. That’s why you need to do the math, and a bit of introspection, and figure out if the potential benefits are worth the risk. 

Final thoughts 

There’s no denying that lawsuits are complicated matters, which makes it rather difficult to decide if you should sue or not. Since no two cases are the same and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to solve all legal disputes, you have to analyse your situation carefully and take all the aspects mentioned above into consideration before you come to a decision. If you don’t know what you should do, consulting with a legal professional can make it a lot easier for you to find the answers you’re looking for.