Maryland Civil Litigation Attorneys


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Maryland Civil Litigation Lawyer

8 Factors We Will Consider in Your Case

If you feel that someone has wronged you--whether by a malicious and deliberate action or even by negligence, then you may be seeking reparation for the damages you have suffered. If you are like most people, you are looking for a solution that makes you completely whole and doesn't cost you a lot of money. That is common sense.

We always aim to obtain the best and most efficient possible outcome that will assist you financially, but getting there is no easy task. Like it or not, you (as a client evaluating possible courses of action) and we (as lawyers evaluating whether to accept your case) are facing a business decision. We must let our heads, not our hearts, guide us.

The following are eight factors that we consider in evaluating a case. If you, as a prospective client, are willing and able to pay hourly professional fees, then you are making a business decision, and the factors below may help you decide whether or how aggressively to pursue your rights through the courts. We can provide you with information and suggestions regarding various paths you could take. Or if you believe you have a case but are not in a position to pay hourly professional fees, we may be able to represent you on a contingent fee basis in which we are paid for our services only if there is a recovery.

In such cases, we also are making a business decision and will evaluate the factors below in deciding whether to invest our time and reputation in your case.

1. Is the conduct of the potential defendant actionable?
Some things are unethical or immoral, but do not give rise to a claim that can be brought in court. Depending on the unique circumstances and laws applicable to each case, we will be able to decide whether, in our opinion, your case merits legal action. It is important for you to understand the difference between immorality and illegality; sadly people sometimes commit indecent and unethical actions towards others, however many of these do not cross the line and become actionable in court. We can help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

2. What defenses might the potential defendant have?
Sometimes a plaintiff (the person suing) has a good case, but the defendant has an equally good and valid defense that can leave the plaintiff without a remedy. For example, in a Maryland case based on negligence (such as professional or medical malpractice), if the injury of the plaintiff was caused even in part by the plaintiff's own negligence, the plaintiff cannot recover in court. Another example: a plaintiff that is a corporation must be in good standing to use the courts. A defendant may be able to have a case delayed or even dismissed if the entity's charter has been forfeited. These factors will not go away by themselves and cannot be ignored. In our case evaluation process, we can sometimes identify and help a client fix such problems before they become an issue. In other cases, however, we may have to conclude that a defense is insurmountable, and the best service we can render is to help a client avoid wasting time and energy on a lost cause.

3. Is the case plausible and what evidence is available to prove the plaintiff's claim?
Is the case based on a "swearing contest" (the word of the plaintiff against the word of the defendant) or are there corroborating witnesses or evidence? Are the plaintiff's witnesses credible? Would a judge or jury believe that the plaintiff deserves to recover?

4. How much money is at stake?
In the United States, each party is responsible for its own attorney's fees and cannot recover such fees from the other party unless there is a statute providing for the award of attorney's fees to a prevailing party (such as in claims under the Maryland Uniform Trade Secrets Act) or the parties have agreed that such fees may be recovered (such as a provision in a contract). Because of this reality, it may not make economic sense to bring some cases because the cost of litigating may be too high in proportion to the expected outcome. We can help you understand the economics.

5. Where can (or must) suit be brought?
Some courts have rules that make it easier to have a plaintiff's case thrown out than in other courts. Sometimes a case can only be brought as an arbitration. Some jurisdictions have a reputation for low jury awards. Although we have confidence in the integrity of our courts and juries, it is a fact of life that in the eyes of attorneys and insurance companies, a case may have a higher or lower settlement value based on where suit can or must be brought.

6. Would a judgment be collectible?
Even if the case has substantial value, sometimes the wrongdoer is in financial trouble and would not be able to satisfy a judgment. Except where the wrongdoer's misconduct was intentional or fraudulent, a judgment against a wrongdoer can be wiped out if the wrongdoer files and completes a bankruptcy. On the other hand, a claim against a defendant with relatively modest finances may still be maintained if the wrongdoer had insurance that would cover damages caused by the wrongful act.

7. What kinds of out-of-pocket expenses will the case require?

A case with only a few local witnesses can be brought to trial with a modest out-of-pocket investment. On the other hand, if there are many witnesses---especially witnesses that are located outside the jurisdiction where suit is brought--it can be much more expensive to obtain evidence and testimony required to prove the case. Likewise, a case that requires expert witnesses such as doctors, economists, accountants, or engineers, can be very expensive on this basis alone. In the vast majority of cases, parties cannot be reimbursed for expert witnesses' fees and expenses. The more out-of-pocket expenses that will be required in your case, the less you are likely to benefit fully from a favorable outcome to your case.

8. What resources are available to the defendant in comparison with the claimant's resources?
In a war of attrition, the side with the larger bankroll wins. However, contingent fee arrangements are sometimes available to help level the playing field. In such cases, the lawyer would be making an investment in your case, so the case must have sufficient merit and likelihood of collection to justify the investment.

How can we help you?

If you are seeking legal representation or are seeking to determine whether your case can be pursued, a Maryland civil litigation attorney would be glad to discuss it with you. In our consultation, we can provide you with suggestions, answers, and advice about your case. If we choose to offer our services to represent you and you choose to engage our services, you can be sure that we will aggressively pursue your rights, your goals and your desires regarding the outcome of your case.

Contact our firm today for a case evaluation and to discuss your options.

Contact The Brennan Law Firm, LLC

We will work aggressively and vigorously to provide you with excellent service and skillful legal representation.

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