FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What happens when a business issue is litigated?
It depends. The process is generally the same for civil lawsuits, but specifics are determined by the actual case. In most cases, a person will get an attorney, and go through the pre-trial process: motions, settlement negotiation (if applicable), trial, and if necessary, appeal.
Are there other options besides litigation?
ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) is the most popular method because it is more efficient and less expensive than typical litigation. ADR is using mediation or arbitration to come to a solution.
MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION
Mediation and arbitration rulings: can they be appealed?
In order to allow appeals on arbitration, it must be agreed upon beforehand that one may be allowed, because arbitration is generally a legally binding decision. Mediation however is not, and therefore does not require an appeal. If unsatisfied, the party may bring the case before a judge.
Is mediation or arbitration solution binding?
Typically, when using arbitration, the parties mutually decide beforehand that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding. Mediation is not binding – so if one or both parties are unsatisfied, they may continue to pursue the case in court.
Mediation and arbitration – how are they different?
Both methods use a neutral third party. The difference between the two is that mediation means you’re coming to a mutual agreement, arbitration means you present the facts to someone and they make a decision.
What are class-action lawsuits?
These lawsuits are necessary when a large group of people have been injured/wronged. One or two people will represent the group of plaintiffs. This is much more efficient that every individual processing their own case.
I’m a business. Can I be part of a class-action lawsuit?
As long as you have the same injury as the rest of the plaintiffs, then you qualify to be a part of the class-action.
How are legal fees assessed in a class-action lawsuit?
In most cases, lawyers are only paid if they win the class-action. They are paid on a contingency-fee basis, which is the preferred method.
Toxic torts: what are they?
Any legal claim that pertains to being exposed to, and injured by, a dangerous substance (chemicals, drugs, pesticides, etc) is called a toxic tort. These injury claims can happen in the home, at an occupation, or from purchased consumer products. Potential claims can include exposure to:
- Store bought chemicals
How is fault proved in toxic tort cases?
There are several ways a toxic tort case can be filed. Generally they are one of three things, liability, fraud, or negligence.
- Liability: some behavior is considered so risky, that anyone who engages in that behavior is liable for any damages. In these types of cases, the victim doesn’t have to prove that they acted carelessly.
- Fraud: if a substance is dangerous, but that fact is deliberately concealed in order to market the product, the plaintiff could have an intentional misrepresentation claim.
- Negligence: some individuals, such as employers, are responsible for the safety of people (whether it’s their employees or the general public). When these individuals fail in their duty to keep people safe, and someone is injured, it becomes a negligence case. For instance, if an employer doesn’t provide proper safety equipment when handling dangerous chemicals and someone is burned as a result, that person now has a case.
I’m a victim of a toxic tort. Who do I sue?
There are so many people involved with development, transport, storage, and usage of the product that this can be hard to determine. Your lawyer will be able to review all of the facts and determine the best course of action.
I was exposed to a toxic tort years ago, but have only just begun exhibiting symptoms. Can I still sue?
There is a statute of limitations on all injury cases. This means the case must be brought to court within a certain period of time after the injury is discovered. There is a “discovery rule” though. This means even if it has been years since the initial exposure, if you didn’t know about the injury until recently, you are still eligible to sue.
I wasn’t awarded a settlement, so do I have to pay the expenses?
Legal costs to you are incurred only if you are awarded a settlement. If there aren’t any funds, you aren’t responsible for the costs of filing.
Are there any upfront costs?
Most lawyers, ourselves included, work based on a contingency fee. This means that if you are awarded funds, we get paid from that. So there isn’t an initial financial risk when filing with us.
What if I disagree with the amount of the settlement? Can I contest it and take it to trial?
Any settlement must be accepted by you. If you feel that the funds are insufficient, you can reject the offer and continue to take the case to trial.
I’ve filed a lawsuit, when do I receive the funds?
It depends on how severe your condition is. If you’re very ill, you can receive a partial payment in as little as four months. Typically the process is complete and funds are distributed within six to twelve months.
Is it necessary for me to attend the trial?
Most often, these types of cases are settled outside of the courtroom. This means you don’t have to go to trial. However, you are able to request that the case be taken to trial, if that’s how you want the case to go.
How much work is there on my end if I file a lawsuit?
Fortunately for our clients, once the decision to sue is made, we do everything in our power to make the process as easy for you as we can. We handle all of the nitty gritty.