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How High Is Your Risk Of Getting Sued?
As we travel through time in our daily routines, we all have read or hear about a lawsuit against someone you know, perhaps a coworker, a relative, a friend, the company you worked for a couple of years ago, etc. Some times the matter is much closer to us than a faraway friend or an acquaintance, some times the matter is too close for comfort. Consider the following routine actions we do almost in the daily basis: We visit swimming pools, we are or we have teenage drivers, we have dogs, we rent an apartment or a house, we buy groceries, we ride bicycle or motorcycle, we take the bus to work, we walk at the park, we go to weddings, we go to church, we park our car at different locations several times in a day and many, many more daily chores and activities. You get the idea! Each one of them is a RISK. Yes they represent a legal risk. Depending on a given activity is the associated legal risk to it. Walking down the path at the park at sunset may not be equally a high risk as riding your motorcycle at rush hour down a busy highway; nonetheless, if we were to bump into a baby stroller at the park, it may totally change the risk factor and the outcome of the tiny event. It could end up with a simple “I am sorry” – “don’t worry everything is fine” scenario or you could see yourself in court several weeks after the event at the park. A lawsuit could come to us for a gigantic number of reasons. The District of Texas Court Cases displays a figure of 302,818 cases for July 2017. Check_This Lawsuits are serious business, requiring plenty of time, energy, and money. Here are some things to consider if you are involved in litigation. 1. You should take ANY lawsuit seriously. Even if you are being sued for starting a nuclear war against North Korea, you have to deal with all the issues raised in the lawsuit as if they were real claims. 2. Most people don't have an atterney. If you get involved in a lawsuit, you most have an attorney. You and your attorney are going to spend a fair amount of time together during the course of the lawsuit, and you need to find someone you can work with. Make sure that you have a written retainer agreement with your attorney, detailing what you will be charged and for what, and what your attorney will do for you. 3. A great deal of information will be exposed to the open during the process. Be honest and forthcoming with your attorney. Even if it is embarrassing, it is better if your attorney knows. Giving your attorney insufficient information is like hiring a chauffeur and not telling him or her that your brakes don't work. 4. Most people can't really afford the expenses of a full-blown lawsuit. You should look at all legal actions as a balancing act between the expenses of going forward and the costs to you if you don't. The question is, really, whether you can afford to ignore it. 5. Why are we fighting over this? You should realize that most lawsuits settle, and that the court system is designed to put pressure on you to settle the lawsuit. You continually need to reassess whether the lawsuit makes economic sense. If you are spending a large portion of the amount at issue in the lawsuit on legal fees, the lawsuit is probably not a good move. Remember that your time is worth something. So is your peace of mind. 6. Adequate preparation for a lawsuit, though, takes time. Make yourself available to your attorney for discussions regarding the case, including working on discovery and preparation for depositions and trial. It is not a waste of your time if it helps you to win the lawsuit. In this case, you will see that time is money. 7. A courtroom can be an intimidating place. That means you should follow your attorney's advice about courtroom decorum and behavior, and don't be afraid to ask him or her if something is appropriate. It's one of the things that you are paying your lawyer for. 8. Don't take this lawsuit personally. If you are being sued, it is probably for economic reasons, not because you are a bad person. If you are forced to sue someone, it is probably for economic reasons or because communication has broken down. 9. Well, at least my opponent will have to pay my fees. Probably not. Even if there is a statute saying you can be awarded fees, judges are very reluctant to award them unless the positions your opponent takes are frivolous. Never make the decision to bring a lawsuit based on the possibility that you might be awarded your attorney's fees. Even then, it may not happen. Don't pursue a lawsuit for revenge, either. Lawsuits are expensive, which means that revenge is expensive. 10. Don't be intimidated by the amount that your opponent is requesting as damages. Often, this figure is dictated by a civil procedure rule or statute, and bears no relation to the opponent's actual damages. Also, remember that no one asks for the reasonable damages that they feel they are owed; in a lawsuit, they are asking for their best-case scenario. Conclusion Today, we hear the expression “I’ll see you in court” rather frequently. It is truly becoming fashionable to sue and to be sued for anything you imagine. It seems as if trivial legal demands are the entertaining pastime of our times. Nevertheless, they are expensive in both time and money. They have consequences lasting a long time, for some people, years of fighting the consequences of legal actions brought to them with enormous monetary expenses. We have two options when it comes to this area: Option 1. Loses some of your freedom avoiding legal actions. This is, be vigilante of your actions, what do you say, where you say it, to whom you express your ideas and be attentive of who could be offended of your actions. Avoid all kinds of accidents and actions that could potentially bring legal actions against you. In a few words, be politically correct. Option 2. Be prepared. Have a team of lawyers ready to assist you in any area. Do not lose your freedom nor compromise your happiness over the fear of frivolous legal actions against you and your family.
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July 7 2017