Arbitration, the use of law to resolve conflicts between two or more parties, has existed for centuries. Many jurisdictions, including the US, have embraced courtrooms with outstanding enthusiasm. This is why you should know how to sue someone when you are in a dispute or conflict instead of taking matters into your own hands. If you try to resolve matters on your own, you could get sued instead, especially if you injure the person or damage their property.
Civil litigation is common these days. In fact, a lawsuit is filed every two seconds in the US, with millions of others waiting to be resolved. Suing has become a growth industry. According to the American Bar Association, there were over one million attorneys practicing today, and law schools continue churning out new lawyers each year. If there is someone you have an unresolved dispute with, this content is for you. The article highlights how to sue someone, reasons you might want to do so, considerations for filing a suit, and how to determine whether you have a good case.
Reasons You Might Need to Learn How to Sue Someone
There is a myriad of reasons should learn how to sue someone. The following are a few of them:
Another person’s actions may cause you harm or injury. This may happen, for example, after you’re hit by a baseball at a major league ballpark or getting food poisoning after eating food at your local pizza joint. You might want to know how to sue someone so you don’t drown under expensive hospital bills. Suits to recover damages can also cover wages lost during your recuperation since such instances will probably ground you for some time preventing you from attending to daily duties and tasks.
Your success depends on a legal finding that the other party was negligent, in which the party should have known their action or inaction could cause harm financially, physically, or emotionally.
Enforcing a Contract
You might need to know how to sue someone in order to protect your interests in enforcing a contract between you and another party. This is especially relevant when you want to collect a debt. This is also an appropriate suit to bring when you need to force another person to complete a previously promised action, such as transferring the title of a purchased house or car.
In most instances, disagreements arise over the interpretation of a contract, whether the contract is in place, or how to enforce the terms and clauses in the agreement. You need to resolve the conflict by seeking legal action against the party who has not kept his or her part of the agreement.
Protecting Your Property
Sometimes you may have disputes pertaining to your property. The disputes over ownership of property, whether it is your home or car, are common in today’s social and business environment. For example, if your neighbor builds structures such as a fence that extends over your property, you may have to sue them so they remove the structure and recover your property.
Dissolving a Marriage or a Partnership
Many marriages usually end in divorce. Even though some marriages are resolved amicably, most of them involve different levels of anger, stress, and efforts intended to financially punish the opposite side. This is why you need to know when and how to sue someone since family laws protect a person in these instances.
Essentially, family law is very important in these scenarios and is a separate system of courts, specialized attorneys, justices, and unique conflict resolution procedures. Family law focuses on the equitable and reasonable end of partnerships as fairly as possible to all the conflicting parties, including the children who are affected in such a scenario.
Replacing a Fiduciary
It is common for individuals to use others as trustees to act on their behalf for a myriad of reasons. For instance, you may decide on setting up a financial trust with a bank so you secure your children’s future, such as in property, in the event that you unexpectedly pass on. The trustees are often sued by the grantors of the trusts or beneficiaries for a perceived or actual failure in managing the trust property.
5 Ways to Determine if You Have a Good Case
Any lawsuit can be broken down into specific components that are legally required for the case to be a “good” case. As the plaintiff, a lawyer provides a checklist of elements and makes sure you can satisfy each with evidence. The cause of action depends on your lawsuit, but you need to consider whether your case meets the required elements.
If it is a breach of contract, such as when you have hired a contractor for home renovations and doesn’t meet their end of the deal as established in the contract, you must prove the following elements:
- Whether there was a valid contract in place. As the plaintiff, you need to show that a valid contract existed between you and the second party. If it is a written contract, it should be signed by both parties.
- Evidence of breach of contract. Here, you prove that the other party breached the contract by not doing what you had agreed on or had promised to do. For example, in our home renovation example, you must show that the contractor did not make the renovations you had agreed on.
- Performance. For a successful breach of contract action, show that you held up your end of the contract terms, such as the provision of capital for the contractor to fulfill the obligation.
- Damages. You must prove that the breach of the contract led to economic damages. For example, if the home renovations were meant to facilitate a certain business, you should include the profits you would have otherwise made.
For negligence, you must prove the following 5 elements:
- Duty. The defendant should have owed a duty to the plaintiff. The duty arises in several forms. For example, drivers have a duty to all other drivers on the road by driving safely.
- Breach of duty. Here, it should be established that the defendant breached the duty with respect to the plaintiff. Here, it should be established that the defendant failed to act reasonably to fulfill his or her duty to the plaintiff.
- Cause in fact. Here, it should be established that if not for the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff would have suffered no injuries.
- Proximate cause. This is related to the proximity of the actions of the defendant to the harms that were caused. For instance, if a pedestrian is hit by a motorist they might call their mother from the hospital. The mother might then suffer a heart attack instantly. It should be established whether it is fair to attribute the heart attack to the actions of the defender.
- Damages. You must prove damages were incurred, such as medical bills, or pain and suffering caused by the injury.
Considerations before Filing Suit
The following are the considerations before suing someone:
- Whether you have a good case. The elements of a good case must be met.
- Whether you have tried settling the dispute by compromise. The other party may have a valid argument or a potential claim against you. In that case, adjust your position accordingly. The court may look unfavorably on your suit if you did not seek to resolve the dispute outside of court despite the other party’s willingness to do so.
- Whether you have made a final demand in connection with the dispute. The defendant will want to settle the dispute and resolve it instead of sorting it out in a court of law.
- Whether you’ll win the dispute. You need to be reasonably certain that the judgment will be in your favor before spending a lot of money on the case.
- Whether you have the time and resources to devote to the lawsuit. Lawsuits drain a lot of energy and time. If you don’t have enough time for it due to work, social life, or family, it may not be worth it.
- Whether you can pay your lawyer. Lawsuits are typically expensive and you should have the money to cover the legal fees. A few lawyers will agree to only charge fees from the defendant after winning the case in your favor. You will want to check beforehand if your lawyer is willing to agree to this arrangement.
- Where you’ll be able to sue. If a person is from another jurisdiction or state, you may not have the power or jurisdiction to bring a suit against the person. Therefore, seek services in his or her location.
- Whether you’re within the applicable “statute of limitations.” Here, check with your lawyer to ensure that the time limits of the lawsuit have not run out.
- Is it a small claim and can you represent yourself? If it is a small claim, use a “conciliation” or “small claims” court. Here, you might want to represent yourself as you’ll save attorney’s fees.
Civil suit court cases are fairly common these days. For you to protect your rights and interests you should know how to sue someone. This helps you get compensated for injuries and also ensure that you protect your property. In most instances, you’ll sue someone to enforce a contract, recover damages, dissolve a marriage or a partnership, protect your property, or replace a fiduciary.
For the lawsuit to be a good case, it must meet the elements discussed in the article. Look into the considerations highlighted for you to sue. We hope this article has adequately addressed how to sue someone, reasons you might want to do so, considerations of filing a suit, and ways of determining whether you have a good case.