Answering the question “what is business litigation?” and determining if it’s right for you.
If you’re asking, “what is business litigation?” chances are you have encountered a legal dispute and are examining all of your options. Whether it’s contract disputes, workplace liability claims, intellectual property ownership, or other business-related issues, business litigation is always an option. However, it’s wise to understand it’s not your only one.
Alternatives to Business Litigation
We’ve compiled a short list of alternatives, along with their descriptions, to help educate you on all of your options. While not exhaustive, this list represents the three most common substitutes for a lawsuit:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (also known as ADR): Many companies have ADR clauses inside their terms and conditions, mandating a customer can only settle a dispute through means of mediation or arbitration. Think of mediation as a simpler form of dispute resolution, in which an impartial third party hears both sides and tries to arrive at mutual compromise both sides can accept. Arbitration takes it a step further, acting more like a trial-light version; there’s less formality and fewer procedural rules guiding arbitration. As a result, both methods are cheaper than a comparable trial.
- Small Claims Court: If the lawsuit in question is relatively minor, you may want to consider small claims over an outright lawsuit. However, the qualifications for small claims can vary significantly by region, so be sure and check the regulations governing the local courts in your area.
- Class Action Lawsuits: This involves pursuing litigation on both your own and others’ behalves. If you are a part of a group of people who experienced similar issues, you can band together to file a single, major case. The benefit in this instance is efficiency; by consolidating cases, you have less individual expense and a larger legal team from which to draw.
What to Consider When Deciding to Embrace Litigation… Or Not
There are a few items to consider when deciding whether or not you want to move forward with business litigation:
- Cost: Is the payout likely to be enough to justify the expense?
- Time: If there’s a sense of urgency, you may be able to settle more quickly outside of the courtroom.
- Stress: There’s no question—litigation is stressful for all parties involved. You’ll need to be prepared to handle it for the duration of the trial.
- Publicity: Do you want the case on public record or potentially drawing the attention of the news media?
There are many other factors to consider as well, but these are the ones to think about before speaking with a qualified business attorney regarding the specifics of your case.