If You Plan to File a Lawsuit, Make Sure You Have the Right To Do So

If you plan to file a lawsuit, you need to first be sure that you have the right to do so.

Many companies have mandatory arbitration clauses or mediation clauses in their contracts.  These contracts provide that you cannot sue the company.  You must resolve disputes through arbitration or mediation, which are out-of-court methods.

Courts strongly favor arbitration and mediation clauses, and they routinely enforce them.

You must also ensure that the statute of limitations has not expired on your proposed claim.  The statute of limitations are laws passed by state and federal legislatures to set the maximum time after an event when litigation may be initiated.

You have already identified the statute or statutes that you will be suing about. Go to your favorite search engine, and search to find the statute of limitations for that particular law.  Type your state’s name and the law (e.g., breach of contract, trespass, harassment), and then type “statute of limitations.”  So, for example: “Florida breach of contract statute of limitations.”  One of the first-page search results will usually provide what you are looking for.  Here is the result of this search.

If the event took place within the last year, you should be fine.  From my experience, two years or longer has been the norm.

You only have a short period of time to file a lawsuit. The specific amount of time will depend on the kind of lawsuit you are bringing and the state you are bringing it in. This time limit is called the “statute of limitations.”

Statutes of limitations start running from the time the alleged injury occurs.

There are some exceptions to the start date for the statute of limitations period. For example, if the defendant hit you but an injury did not appear until later, then the statute begins to run from the date you became aware of the injury. This is known as the “discovery rule.”

Always file suit as soon as possible in the appropriate court.