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When is a civil lawsuit the right choice?

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Every year, tens of thousands of civil lawsuits are filed against individuals in the United States. While most of these lawsuits do have merit, some of them do not and are a legitimate waste of time. The question that many people who feel that they have been wronged have to ask themselves at one point or another is if they feel that their experience warrants a civil lawsuit being filed. Let’s take a look at a simple mental checklist you can go through to see if you should contact a lawyer and file a civil lawsuit in court.

By far, the biggest motivation for filing a civil lawsuit is the possibility of a monetary reward, but for some people, having to go through the rigorous court system is more than enough of a deterrent to never file a civil lawsuit, no matter what. This often is a much harder decision than most people think as the grind of the court system can wear down anyone, but depending on what your case is about, the promise of a cash reward is more than enough to get the wheels of justice moving. A simple Google search on the type of civil lawsuit that you are considering filing can give you a general idea of the chances of success you might have, although it is important to understand that every case stands on its own merits.

Probably the second most common motivation for filing a civil lawsuit is to expose the violation in rights that occurred and for the offending party to be prosecuted. Since there can be no jail time for a civil case, a punitive damage reward is often the only form of justice that can be handed out. You often hear many civil plaintiffs say that they aren’t pursuing the case for the financial award but so that others know of what happened in hopes that others will seek justice through the court system just like they did. Again, you will have to weight the time consuming nature of court proceedings against your will of exposing the violation in rights that happened to you to see if you want to go ahead and pursue a civil court case.

One excuse that many people use for not pursuing a civil court case is that they can’t afford representation. In criminal court, if you can’t afford a lawyer, the state or the federal government will provide a lawyer for you free of charge. Depending on where you live, it may be difficult or even impossible to find free or low cost legal representation, but there are nationwide organizations like the ACLU that will provide a free lawyer to help represent your case. Often times, the costs of going to court can seem overwhelming but they can be overcome, even if you live in a rural area.

Going to court is never an easy choice, and it is something that most of us wish we could avoid, but there are times when justice needs to be served and a civil lawsuit must be filed.

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