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Sue or Not to Sue?

Deciding if you're going to start a lawsuit is a big decision. Lawsuits can be financially straining and take a mental and emotional toll that lasts for years. You can reach your decision faster by asking yourself these two questions:

  1. What am I ultimately looking to gain or achieve

  2. Is the defendant capable of giving me the relief I want if I win?

All lawsuits have uncertainties. But by focusing on what you want to accomplish with what you can realistically achieve, you can better weigh the costs versus the risks of a lawsuit. Are you suing because of a personal offense or trying to accomplish something specific? Is there anything preventing you from getting what you want if you win? This information will also help a lawyer better assess your situation and determine potential obstacles and restrictions upfront. In turn, making your decision more informed and easier to reach.

What Do You Want?

When people consult with an attorney, they want to know their legal options and how likely they are to succeed. But the better questions: Are there legal options for what you want, and; how likely are you to get it? There are plenty of situations where legal relief is available but it isn't the relief you want. For instance, if you want the adverse party to do something, but your only option is to pursue money damages, then filing a lawsuit doesn't make much sense. But if you'd be satisfied with money instead, then a lawsuit could be worth it.

You should at least be able to explain what you're goals are to an attorney during your consultation. The attorney will be able to conduct a better legal analysis, provide more concrete answers, and discuss possible outcomes with you.

Generally, when plaintiffs file a lawsuit they ask the court for one (1) or more of the following:

  • Money damages

  • An order the defendant to stop engaging in an activity or acting; or

  • An order the defendant to take action;

The availability of relief, though, depends on the plaintiff's claims, facts and circumstances of the case, and the governing law. For example, in breach of contact cases, plaintiffs usually cannot make the defendant fulfill their obligations under the contract (specific performance) except when the contact was for real property. But plaintiffs can recover monetary damages resulting from the defendant's failure to fulfill such obligations. Thus, to determine whether you should sue another person, you need to determine whether the the outcome you want is consistent with the relief available.

Getting What You Ask For

Winning a lawsuit doesn't always mean you get what you want. Especially if you win a money judgment against a defendant without money or property. This is why lawyers, when there are multiple defendants, look for the one with "deep pockets." Knowing what you want and having a strong legal argument means nothing if you can't ultimately reap the benefits.


When deciding whether to sue, you should figure out what you want from the adverse party and whether they are capable of giving that to you. As long as you know what you want from a lawsuit, an attorney can help you figure out the rest. Of course, these aren't the only things you should consider but it gives you a starting place.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Martuch Law offers free consultations. We will help figure out your goals and determine the best options available. Click the button below to schedule your free 1-hr commitment free consultation online.


1437 S. Boulder Ave., Ste. 1200

Tulsa, OK 74119


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