Steps to Avoid Civil Litigation -


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Steps to Avoid Civil Litigation

For those who have had the good fortune of never dealing with any form of litigation, it is important to note that civil litigation is when an individual or business files a lawsuit regarding a civil matter (e.g., personal injury, fraud, medical malpractice and negligence) to dispute a civil case against another individual or business. While one or both parties may have valid cases, litigation of any form can be costly and time consuming. While filing for civil litigation may, at times, be your best option, it is important to note that it is not always your only option. The process from pre-trial to the judgement might cost you more than the amount being disputed.  Here we are presenting a mock case study to consider three methods that can be used to avoid civil litigation, when possible.

Case study: Let us pretend that you are a homeowner. You hired a contractor to redo your bathroom. The contractor agrees to the work, you agree to the price, and the contractor says the project will take two weeks and starts working with a deposit. Now it has been a month, your bathroom was torn apart two weeks ago, but no work has taken place over the last two weeks due to various reasons given by the contractor. You start to lose your patience and consider suing the contractor. Take a moment to consider these alternatives first:

  • Be patient. When people say patience is a virtue, let’s all be honest, it’s a virtue we don’t always have. If you, as the homeowner sue the contractor for not providing a timely completion of a service (demolishing the old bathroom and building out your new bathroom) it is important to note that the litigation may take longer than allowing the person to finish the job he or she was tasked with, not to mention that burning the bridge with a vendor may leave you with an incomplete project sitting before your eyes for months (or ever years). If possible, maybe go back to the contractor and ask for an absolute final deadline for when the bathroom will be completed and show the contractor the struggle you are facing due to the lack of completion.

  • Try to negotiate on your own. Generally, two parties do not begin a dispute by threatening each other with lawsuits. One party, in this case you, the homeowner, often reaches out to the other (the contractor in this example) in regard to a problem they are experiencing or have experienced and requests the first party to reach a settlement and resolve the issue. It is when that discussion goes awry that lawyers get involved. In this situation, it is important for the party who is being requested to resolve the issue to understand that lawyers’ fees and court fees may cost more than satisfying the client’s wishes. It is important for the contractor in this case to avoid being penny wise and pound foolish when possible.

  • Consider Mediation. Let’s say you have been patient and have tried to negotiate on your own with the contractor and still have had no luck, mediation may be your next best bet for bringing the contractor to the negotiating table. Mediation is a conflict resolution method that allows an impartial third party to conduct an investigation by hearing both sides through a specialized communication method with negotiation techniques embedded. There is no trial, which saves both time and money for both parties. After hearing both sides, the (impartial) mediator helps both parties reach a compromise.

            In the event that you have tried conflict resolution steps and feel that a civil litigation attorney is your best course of action, our team of attorneys are here to help. At Dsouza and Strachan law, you will find a team of attorneys well versed in civil litigation cases who can help you walk through your options and choose the best possible steps forward, to ensure the best outcome for you and/or your company. For a no obligation consultation, give us a call today (Phone number) or visit our website

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