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Anticipating a Lawsuit? What You Need to Know

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Nov 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

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If you anticipate that someone will file a claim or lawsuit against you in court, or if you plan to file suit yourself, there is some important information that you need to know first.

Do Not Destroy Documents

When a legal claim against you is expected, do not give in to the impulse to destroy documents. While these documents could be harmful to your case, you also could be penalized  for destroying evidence. Instead, preserve documents, emails, text messages, and physical items that may relate to the claims against you.

If you are planning to file a legal claim against someone else, you may want to make a written request to that person telling him or her not to destroy documents. Disobeying the request could lead to legal liability later on.

Talk to a Lawyer

The best way to evaluate the strength of your legal claims or the claims you believe someone will assert against you is by consulting a lawyer who practices in the area of law relating to your case. For example, if you believe your spouse will file for divorce, consult a lawyer who handles divorce cases. If you believe another business owner may file suit against your business, seek a lawyer who handles commercial disputes.

When you consult with the lawyer, bring all documents related to the claims and give the lawyer a timeline or summary of what has happened. If you have any urgent deadlines (such as an expiring settlement demand or a deadline to bring your claim in court), make sure to tell the lawyer. Ask about your legal rights and claims, any defenses you have, and how to proceed with your case.

Communications with the Other Parties

Sometimes the opposite sides in a dispute try to resolve it before filing claims in court. This is sometimes called settlement communications or pre-litigation discussions. Please be aware that any talks you have with the opposing side in your dispute could be used against you later. It is important to speak with a lawyer before you begin any settlement discussions as a lawyer can advise you how to protect yourself from making admissions against your interests. If you admit that you did something wrong, the court could take that as evidence in your opponent's favor. Be careful what you say (especially in writing). To protect your rights, speak to a lawyer about how to resolve the dispute before someone files a claim in court. Options such as mediation may work for you.

To find out more about preparing for a lawsuit, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.

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