While statutes generally enable individuals and entities to file cases against wrongdoers, it takes legal expertise to determine whether you have strong evidence to tip the scales of justice in your favor. A case evaluation is, therefore, necessary before deciding to pursue a lawsuit.
Most plaintiffs consult with legal experts to determine how to move forward successfully. If you’re curious to know what happens in such a process, you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll understand what a case evaluation is and how it works.
What Is A Case Evaluation?
A case evaluation analyzes a legal case to determine its strengths, weaknesses, and potential for court success. The process typically involves gathering information, identifying legal issues, researching legal precedents, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the case, developing a legal strategy, and assessing the potential outcomes.
These initial discussions will require an individual to contact an instance case evaluator to discuss the necessary details. Depending on the facts stated an attorney may suggest postponing a lawsuit in favor of other legal remedies, like settlements.
Why Case Evaluations Are Necessary
Millions of cases are filed in state trial courts annually, while thousands of others are lodged before the federal courts. Research has shown that only two percent of federal criminal cases went to trial in 2018, while eight percent were dismissed.
Besides being time-consuming, litigation can be costly. So, before spending such a hefty amount, it’s in a complainant’s best interest to hire a legal counsel to study the case and assess their chances of winning a lawsuit.
What To Expect In A Case Evaluation
A case evaluation should precede any case filing. While there are slightly different ways in which evaluations are conducted from firm to firm, here are common things to expect when discussing your situation with a legal expert.
- Expect The Evaluator To Be Thorough
A lawyer takes each case uniquely, even if they have been handling similar cases for several years. Multiple considerations could affect your situation, and a lawyer will ask questions to help you discuss details that significantly contribute to the case.
An evaluator typically focuses on three primary elements: liability, damages, and collectability. The case must establish who is at fault, and the complainant must have incurred specific damages from such deliberate action or negligence.
Through a case evaluation, a lawyer can discuss these technicalities with you to ensure you are in a favorable position.
- Expect The Evaluator to Ask For Supporting Documents
In general, you’re not strictly obligated to gather all the documentary evidence you can use to support your allegation or denial. This may come at a later stage. However, it helps to show supporting evidence early to back your claim.
For instance, showing copies of your insurance policy, police reports, and details of potential witnesses can help strengthen a personal injury case. In other words, the more supporting documents you have, the better your position will be in winning your case.
- Expect To Have an Honest and Open Discussion With The Evaluator
Legal counsels are responsible for maintaining open communication with their clients before, during, and after a trial. As much as you want clear information and an open discussion with your attorney, they also want you to be upfront during this initial meeting.
Don’t be afraid to inform your lawyer if you can’t remember the details rather than make up stories. Hiding specific details about the case to win it may have the opposite effect. Honesty is crucial, whether for simple situations or tricky personal injury lawsuits, as the legal practitioner will base their evaluation and future strategies during a case evaluation.
- Expect To Ask Questions
A case evaluation is a two-way street. Thus, the evaluator will give you time to ask questions about the litigation process and if your complaint will hold up in court. You can now raise your concerns, learn more about the legal system, and ask about the potential outcomes or the firm’s success rate.
A good rule of thumb is to bring a note with a list of all the questions you can come up with. For instance, you can ask for the lawyer’s length of practice, expertise, and success rates. Ask how they resolved this kind of lawsuit if they’ve handled similar cases before. A good lawyer should be able to answer them without making you feel stupid or insignificant.
- Expect The Evaluator To Discuss Future Steps
A case evaluation isn’t the best time to sugarcoat things. While you think you make a good case, your lawyer may think otherwise. A case evaluator may think a lawsuit may not be the best legal action, as most civil cases are settled before a lawsuit is filed or while the litigation is ongoing.
If the evaluator thinks you have a strong case, they will discuss the procedures, including a timeline, payment schemes, potential case outcomes, and what they need from you.
- Expect Confidentiality
While the lawyer-client relationship doesn’t start upon hiring, communication between the two remains privileged even before hiring or if the client hires another counsel. This means that discussions during a case evaluation stay confidential. The same can be said for public lawyers who consult with an arrested person in jail or a police station.
Conversely, it may not be the case for a lawyer refusing legal representation to a potential client who continues to reach out despite the rejection.
Case evaluation processes vary from firm to firm. The list above gives you a rough idea of what happens during this exercise. Knowing what to expect in such initial consultations helps you prepare your thoughts and organize your information to assist an evaluator in better assessing your situation.
Should your case proceed into a full-blown trial, an effective case evaluation helps make a lawsuit more organized, less time-consuming, and ultimately cheaper.