An estimated 40 million lawsuits are filed each year, but not everyone receives the settlement they expected.
From personal injury claims to breaches of contracts, there are tons of reasons that people sue and get sued. The problem is that sometimes, a plaintiff may feel that they’ve been wronged when, in fact, they don’t have legal grounds to sue.
Don’t get caught up on a case you can’t win. Make sure you know that you have legal grounds to sue before you invest your time, money, and energy into your claim.
Read on to learn more about whether or not you have legal grounds to sue.
Common Reasons for Lawsuits
There are so many kinds of lawsuits that we can’t cover every legal possibility in one article. However, we can talk about some of the most common reasons for lawsuits. These are:
- Breach of contract
- Personal injury, whether caused by a private homeowner, business, or driver
- Copyright infringement
- Misleading, defective, or harmful products
- Breach of the professional standard of care
- Medical malpractice
A General Guide to the Legal Grounds for Suing
Each case is dictated by a specific set of laws and precedents as said by The GC Index, that relates to the individual claim. However, all cases have a few things in common that can determine whether or not you have legal grounds to sue. Let’s take a look at what those are so you can get a better idea of where you stand.
Establish the Relationship
In order to sue another party, you have to establish what your relationship was. Think of this as establishing that a contract existed between you and the defendant, even if that is not literally the case.
For example, if you are a consumer in a business, you have a relationship with the owner of that business. It is reasonable that you would expect them to ensure your safety while you shop for their products.
Intent vs Negligence
One thing you may not realize is that intent isn’t necessarily the key to filing a claim. Instead, all you need to prove is that the defendant’s negligence led to a breach of the contract (literal or otherwise) and caused you to harm in some way.
For example, a driver does not have to run you off the road on purpose in order for you to have legal grounds to sue. You just need to prove that their negligence–their failure to drive with reasonable care–led to the accident.
Lay Out the Damages
To file a claim, you need more than cause, alone. The impact is just as important.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if someone behaved negligently if it didn’t harm you in some way. If a doctor diagnoses you with the wrong disorder, but the misdiagnosis doesn’t worsen your condition or put you at risk, your case likely won’t make it very far.
You’ve Filed Your Claim: Now What?
So you’ve decided to file your claim. From here, your attorney will answer most of your questions and guide you through the legal process. In the meantime, you might want to learn more about the process of settling.
Take a look at these frequently asked questions about collecting settlement money.
Make Sure You Have a Case Before You Sue
Don’t waste time and money trying to fight a case that you can’t win. Make sure you have legal grounds to sue before you begin the long process of filing a lawsuit.
Looking for more financial advice? Take a look at our financing section and find out more ways to protect your wallet.