Five Signs You May Have a Case to Sue a Corporation

By | October 6, 2011

Ever since the film “Erin Brockovich” was released in 2000, a lot of people across the country have dreams of taking down an unethical company. Other people simply have dreams of collecting the kind of awards only big corporations are capable of doling out.

But if you want to sue a large company or corporation, it has to be for the right reasons. Frivolous lawsuits are quickly thrown out by judges all across the country, and cases with scant evidence won’t attract high settlement offers from the defendants. If you sue a big company with a lot of lawyers working for them, you’d better be sure you’re right.

Luckily, determining whether or not you have a case is exactly what this article is going to explore. Let’s take a look at five potential signs – in no particular order – that you may have a case to sue a corporation.

Sign #1: When a company knowingly makes a mistake. In the film “Erin Brockovich,” there is a solid case because the lawyers are able to prove that a large company knowingly made the mistake of allowing toxic chemicals into water sources. Of course, your individual case could vary wildly, but if the principle is the same – namely, you can prove that a company knowingly made a mistake that ended up harming others – then you will certainly have a case. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not always easy to acquire, of course, but you should consult with a lawyer to determine if the evidence already present is enough upon which to build a case.

Sign #2: When a company’s negligence causes injury. A company can still be at fault if their negligence can be established as the reason an injury or some degree of financial harm occurred. Negligence can happen at a variety of levels; for example, a designer on a new product might be negligent as to a design flaw, or a quality control inspector can fail to notice one particular unsafe product making it through all the way to shipping. When a product or service is being used by a customer just as a company intends but harm is still caused one way or another, your internal alarm bells should be going off. There may be a good chance that what you’re sitting on a good case against the company responsible.

Sign #3: When deception has occurred. One of the best signs that a company might be liable for certain injuries or harms is when they knowingly deceive the public and any segment of their customers. Of course, the difficulty in this case is proving that a deception did occur – and that people at the defending company knew about it – but if you are aware of a deception, there still might be a case to file.

A key phrase to remember is that in order to convict a company – or any party – of wrongdoing, you have to be able to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Or, more accurately, your lawyer has to accomplish that feat. A lawyer will know best whether or not they’ll be able to do so and be able to advise you accordingly, but keep this rule of thumb in mind as you contemplate a lawsuit.

Sign #4: You receive a strong settlement offer. You already know you have a case against a large company or corporation if you’re at the stage of receiving settlement offer.  In many cases, the size of the settlement offer can be a good indication of the solidity of your case (though not 100% accurate by any means). Depending on your situation, it might be a good idea to press forward with the case anyway; this can be done in order to bring a company’s wrongdoings to public attention, and is especially effective when you don’t have a lot of financial interest in accepting a strong settlement offer.

Sign #5: Breached contracts. Having an agreement set down in writing in the form of a contract is one of the surest ways to ensure you’ll have a case against someone if they wrong you in some way. Of course, it goes without saying that the contract has to cover the issue at hand; for example, failure to be paid by a certain company when the payment was laid out in the terms of a contract will represent a strong case.

Breached contracts don’t only happen between companies and employees, however. Business-to-business contracts are just as valid and will hold up to scrutiny in court as well.

Do you have a case against a company that’s wronged you? If you recognize your case in one of the examples above, there’s a good chance you do – but keep exploring and eventually you’ll find the answers you need.

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