The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

A Brief Primer on Lawsuits

What is a lawsuit?

A lawsuit is a legal proceeding in which one party (the plaintiff) alleges that the other party (the defendant) has committed an illegal act or wronged them in some way.

The Legal Process

The legal process can be long and drawn out. It can take years to get your case heard in court, and then it may be more years before you see any real results. But if you win your lawsuit, that could be the end of the legal proceedings for you.

In order to win a lawsuit, you need to prove that the other party did something wrong and that you suffered as a result. This is often difficult because there are so many different ways that people behave when they're not in the wrong. Even if you have evidence of wrongdoing, it's still usually up to a jury to decide what's appropriate compensation or punishment. So even if you win your lawsuit, it doesn't mean that your problems will go away immediately--you'll need to work through them on your own first.

There are several reasons why lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming:

  1. Lawyers are expensive (though unlike most law firms, Whistleblowers International does not charge you anything unless we win you a recovery and we are paid only based on a percentage of that recovery)
  2. Court costs vary depending on which state the case is being filed in
  3. This type of dispute might not be covered by insurance (which often determines whether the defendant can pay the judgment)
  4. The duration of most complex litigations ranges from 1-5 years (this is especially true for whistleblower cases and mass torts and class actions, as these types of cases are often very complex and require spending a lot of time investigating the matter and litigating it in court.)

The Cost of Litigation

One of the first things to consider when weighing whether you want to go through with a non-contingency (most non-whistleblower or non-personal injury matters are on a non-contingency basis) lawsuit is the cost. Litigation can be expensive, ranging from $500 for small claims court cases all the way up to more than $1 million for class action suits (which the class representative’s lawyer usually pays).

On top of that, litigation isn’t always successful. So not only are there costs associated with the lawsuit, but a lot of people may have invested time into it and see no return on their efforts.

If I win my lawsuit, will that be the end of the legal process?

If you win your lawsuit, that could be the end of the legal proceedings for you. Legal proceedings can go on for a long time, and some people worry that it would be easier to just settle at this point and not take their case to trial. For example, if you're suing someone who owes you money like a bank, they may agree to a settlement before going to court. Even if you don't win your case at trial, these types of settlements are still valid.

So what's the moral of the story? You'll have to decide for yourself whether or not it's worth continuing with your case should you win. Your risk tolerance will determine whether or not this is something you want to pursue in the future. Oftentimes, a settlement can be as good as a victory inside of a courthouse. Most lawyers in fact, spend the vast majority of their careers negotiating settlements instead of litigating cases inside of actual courthouses.

The good news is, with whistleblower and mass tort lawsuits, you don't pay anything unless you win. And what you pay is a percentage of whatever your lawyer wins for you.