Civil litigation is stressful, costly, and time-consuming. The costs can lead to excessive debt that takes months or even years to resolve, affecting your quality of life for an extended period. By taking the following steps, you can reduce and even avoid excessive debt regarding civil litigation costs.
Resolve Your Case Without a Federal Court
Explore alternatives to a trial, no matter the issue. Even if you’re angry or feel that a federal court is the only way to resolve the issue, it will mean you’re stuck in an expensive and drawn-out process. Few cases make it to federal courts today, with only roughly 1% making it to trial, versus 11.5% in 1962.
Set an Early and Realistic Budget
You’ll need a realistic budget for the legal process, and while you can’t prepare for everything, having the money already set aside will put you in a much better position. This is a conversation you should have with your attorney, and you should require that they forecast tasks necessary during the process and help you plan financially. The opposing counsel may multiply the complexity of a case, which is a common strategy and something for which you need to be prepared.
Explore Settlement Early in the Process
Although defendants can be reluctant to make settlement offers early in litigation, have a conversation with your attorney so you have a constructive settlement dialogue early. Defendants often dread litigation as much as defendants and will probably want the whole ordeal to be over as quickly as you do. It’s more likely that they will accept a low settlement payment quickly, rather than wait until a year of bitter legal wrangling has happened.
Warn Your Attorney to Avoid Wasteful Spending
Ideally, this wouldn’t be a scenario you even needed to discuss with your legal team, but part of having a good relationship with your attorney is making sure they have your best interest at heart and don’t see you as a way to make excessive money that you don’t have. Attorneys and clients rarely discuss billing limitations, even though they have written billing guidelines. Therefore, discuss overall fees, the number of attorneys on the file, and the extent of discovery and motion practice.
Understand Civil Infractions
There are different levels of severity within the legal process, and things such as civil infractions and minor law violations are typically punishable by fees. Therefore, before you enter the legal process, understand the potential punishments that come with the situation and if they are worth the time and effort. Infractions like this include speeding, running a red light, noise violations, or littering. While civil infractions might seem minor, they can still have severe financial penalties and should be taken seriously.
Know Your Attorney’s Role
According to practicepanther.com, there are 1,315,561 lawyers in the United States. It’s no secret that they play a crucial role in civil litigation and represent clients in various legal disputes, ranging from personal injury claims to legal disputes. During your case, your lawyer will be responsible for filing legal documents, gathering evidence, negotiating settlements, and representing you in court. All of these actions come at a cost, which is why you need to understand exactly what your attorney will do during this process and what will be required of you as well.
In the event of civil litigation, you may be tempted to take the case all the way to the federal courts in order to get justice. Unfortunately, the reality is that the process would cost you a lot of money and stress along the way. Therefore, during this time, make sure you set a solid budget, have a good relationship with your attorney, and avoid any excessive expenses.