The Ins and Outs of Arbitration

Choosing to pursue a legal case can be an intimidating process. But sometimes it can calm you down to think about the exact steps you need to take, so you will feel you have some form of control over the process. To make this easier, we've outlined some of the steps for you.

Decide your case

First, you need to know exactly why you're pursuing a case. Was a wrong done to you? What were the results of that wrong? Did someone do it intentionally or negligently? How has your life changed because of it? Why do you want to pursue a legal action? What proof can you offer that you are in the right?

Pick a lawyer

The answers to the above questions are what you will need to present a lawyer to help him or her decide if you have a case. You should choose a lawyer who you know by reputation and recommendation, or you should pick one based on his or her specialty. If at first you discover you have consulted the wrong type of lawyer, ask for a referral. You should feel confident in your selection. Work with someone whom you feel is solidly on your side, but realistic in your chances. Don't be afraid to ask for references.

Follow up

If your lawyer decides that your case is worth pursing, he or she will give you guidelines and recommendations on what you should and should not be doing while waiting for the case to begin. You should follow these exactly. If your lawyer tells you to get checked out at a hospital, do so right away—and don't ignore follow-up appointments. These could make or break your case. If you need to see an auto mechanic, do so immediately (so you are not accused of doing additional damage in between) and get a report in writing. Document everything before the case comes to court.

Remember your cause

When you get tired and frustrated with legal action, stop and think about why you're doing what you're doing. Whatever your reason, sometimes it's hard to think about why justice moves so slowly. But just think—soon, you will be proven on the side of right, and your world can go back to normal.