To Sue or Not to Sue

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It seems like people are suing (or getting sued) for all sorts of things these days. You’ve probably seen some crazy lawsuits make headlines and it might make you wonder how someone would even think to sue for such a thing. And what’s even crazier is that if you’re hearing about it, it’s probably because the person not only sued, but won.

While it’s true these things happen, it’s probably not a good idea to use these examples to conclude that filing a lawsuit is a good idea anytime you feel you’ve been on the wrong end of a deal. The reason these things make headlines is because they’re rare. Yes, filing a lawsuit may be the best course of action in your given situation but it is a long and costly process so you will want to have a good idea of what you’re in for before you take that route.

The first thing you’ll want to do is talk through the situation with an unbiased party. If you’re considering filing a lawsuit then chances are good you’ve found yourself in a really frustrating situation so having an objective opinion will help you separate the frustration from the facts.

A judge is not likely to respond to emotional arguments when considering a lawsuit so having a good grasp of the legal elements will be crucial. Consulting with an experienced and trustworthy attorney before filing a lawsuit will help you to know what those legal elements are and whether or not you have a good case.

Each lawsuit is different but the process for deciding whether to pursue one is the same. An attorney will first ascertain the cause of action, which is basically a list of the legally required elements that pertain to your given situation. Once you know these elements then it is usually pretty easy to figure out whether or not you have a good case.

If, for example, the dispute has arisen over a transaction then the first step is to figure out the terms of the contract. If you had a written contract then this is more straightforward (but often not as easy as you’d think). If the contract was oral then it can be a little trickier. Once the terms of the contract are established then you can determine whether or not a breach of that contract occurred and what damages resulted from the breach.

With all of the necessary legal elements laid out you will then be able to determine if filing a lawsuit is the right move. Even if you have a good case, however, it might still be advantageous to move toward arbitration or pursue a settlement. Don’t let the big dollar amounts you see in the news blind you to the reality of your own situation.

Call J. Cutler Law Today

At J. Cutler Law, we offer free consultations for you and your business. We can help you outline all the legally required elements pertinent to your situation and advise on the best course of action. Call us today for a free consultation at (801) 618-4469 or contact us online.

3 Things Every Person Should Know About Small Claims Court

Thankfully, most of us will never find ourselves tangled up in the types of messy legal disputes that make big headlines. That being said, it is fairly common for disputes to arise between businesses or individuals that, though not big enough to make the news, are certainly too big to shrug off and ignore. Every state has a Small Claims court section to handle such disputes.

Small Claims Court is less formal than traditional court and tends to be quicker, easier, and more affordable to navigate. While we would never suggest someone walk into a traditional lawsuit without good legal representation, there may be situations in which it is perfectly reasonable to go to Small Claims Court without a lawyer.

If you’re dealing with a legal dispute and feel that Small Claims Court could be a good option for you then you’ll want to be informed on all the implications. Consulting with a trusted attorney about the specifics of your situation is a good idea but it will be helpful to know a few of the basics.

1. What counts as “small” is defined on a state-by-state basis

Each state designates a limit for small claims. These amounts range from $2,000 to $25,000, depending on the state. Utah’s limit is $11,000. If you are looking to sue for an amount that exceeds your state’s established limit then any legal course of action would need to be settled outside of Small Claims Court, such as a State District Court.

2. There is a set process for Small Claims

Although Small Claims Court is less involved than traditional court it does still involve a number of steps. These steps will vary from state to state and city to city but the basics are the same. First, you’ll need to figure out the appropriate place to file. In Utah, Small Claims must be filed in the city where the defendant resides and/or where the claim arose. Second, you will need to fill out the appropriate forms and file them at the courthouse of the city with jurisdiction. Third, you’ll want to prepare adequately for your day in court.

3. Preparing for Small Claims Court

Once you’ve properly filed your paperwork and have a court date set then you’ll want to make sure you are ready to state your case. Gather and organize all relevant documents, practice telling your side of the story clearly and concisely but with sufficient detail and, if possible, bring a disinterested third party to speak to your claim (an expert on the type of service in dispute, for example, could benefit you greatly).

Call J. Cutler Law Today

At J. Cutler Law, we offer free consultations for you and your business. We can draft and review demand letters for small claims, help you navigate the paperwork, and consult on any stage of the process. Call us today for a free consultation at (801) 618-4469 or contact us online.