Thinking of Suing? Here are a few things you should know first

Before deciding to go down the path of suing someone, there are a few things that you absolutely need to know and a few more that you will want to understand to ensure that this is the right route for you to pursue your rights.

Funding Options
Potentially taking someone to court can involve costs to cover legal fees, court costs and other expenses such as expert witness testimony. There are ways to reduce your financial burden and your best option will depend on your circumstances and possibly the type of case. Your solicitor should take the time to explain the benefits and implications of each option and help you make the best choice.

The main options are:

  • A deferred payment plan where fees are payable once the case is settled.
  • Fixed fees or caps that limit the total fees chargeable.
  • Litigation funding, where a 3rd party funds your case in a return for a share of any damages or awards.
  • Conditional fees, where a percentage of the fee is charged, plus a success fee if you win.
  • Damages based agreements where your solicitor takes a percentage of the damages.

Fees can also be covered by insurance and you may have applicable cover on home or motor policies. Sometimes ‘after the event’ cover can be arranged to cover your opponent’s fees should you lose.

The best policy is to manage your potential exposure to costs by working with a solicitor who offers ‘pay as you go’ arrangements, such as PowellsLaw. This way you keep on top of the fees at every stage of the process rather than having a large bill at the end.

This brings us to the second thing you should clearly understand: the cost consequences if you lose. Generally, the losing party will pay some or all of the costs of the winning party. A judge may award less than the full amount depending on how parties have conducted themselves and whether alternatives such as mediation have been explored.

Success Prospects
The outcome is rarely 100% predictable. Your solicitor should give you an honest and frank appraisal of your case, pointing out the key strengths and potential weaknesses. Ultimately the choice is yours but a good solicitor will always give you a clear assessment of your chances.

Having covered the items you need to know there are some further important details to understand which are centred on what you may want to know, as summarised below:

  • Timescales: even a case routed through the small claims court can take 6 months to be concluded. Fast track and multi-track cases will probably take over a year.
  • Total potential fees: not all solicitors offer fixed fee arrangements. But they should give you an accurate picture of the total fees and costs you are likely to incur.
  • What happens when you win: you are still liable for your solicitor’s fees and other costs, even though you may subsequently be able to recover all or some of these from the losing party.

Finally, recovering costs and damages is not always straightforward but the judgement creditor has the power to enforce the settlement through taking control of assets, attachment to earnings or ultimately insolvency proceedings.

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you should sue someone, we would recommend that you speak to an experienced and well trained professional to fully understand the process and your chances from the outset. If you are considering starting a case contact our professional and experienced Litigation team on 01934 637 906 who can assist you.

Join our mailing list...

Need some help?

Contact us to request a call back

Need help?