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What You Should Know

When the lawsuit ends: Understanding the emotional aftermath

You two went to battle together; maybe even war. She saw you at your worst and you saw her try to do her best in spite of it. In the end, you probably got a result you can live with. It might not have been what you wanted. It may not even be what you think was fair. But you can live with it. Maybe you didn’t settle your case. Maybe you decided to roll the dice and go to trial where the stakes are higher. At trial, even a win can be a loss; sometimes juries tell you you’re right, but fail to demand you be made whole.

When a result is not what we would have hoped, we immediately look to assign blame. What kind of lawyer did we hire? Did we have doubts about him that we ignored? Should she have done this and not that? Some blame themselves. What did I do to sabotage my claim? Did I understand what this really involved? Did the jury think I brought a frivolous lawsuit? Add to that the unsolicited input from family, friends, and coworkers, and the emotional aftermath of a lawsuit can be difficult to process.

Now that it’s over, you feel relieved to be able to put that behind you and look forward. Hopefully you’ve recovered enough money to make real changes in your life and you’re on track to where you want to be. But maybe you “won,” but it barely covered your medical bills and attorneys’ fees and left you, the injured person, with virtually nothing. Or, worse yet, you might have rejected an opportunity to get out of the lawsuit without going to trial and now you actually owe the other side its attorneys’ fees and costs!

Those things can certainly leave a bad taste in your mouth about your lawyer and the entire judicial system. You may feel like your attorney is as happy to be rid of you as you are of her. Don’t assume that. More likely than not, this is your first lawsuit. You probably don’t make your living litigating, but your lawyers do. Things that bring you so much anxiety are an attorney’s stock-in-trade.

Furthermore, every case has its warts, and yours is no exception. There are times during every case that you may regret ever pursuing a lawsuit. That’s normal. Your lawyer understands your emotional investment can affect your behavior. Trust me, her feelings are not hurt. She only wants the best for you.

Although the horrors of litigation may be old hat to them, it doesn’t mean attorneys are not deeply affected by their cases. The bonds people forge when going through adversity together are genuine and lasting. Your lawyer is your friend and your advocate – for life. Regardless of whether she yelled at you during mediation, or took your phone away from you to keep you from firing off an email you’d later regret, your attorney always puts your interests first, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

At Fasig and Brooks, we hope you’ve had a good experience with us. If you haven’t, we hope you’ll give us the opportunity to discuss the situation and make it right. If you’re a former client, we hope that if you or someone you love ever needs an attorney, you’ll give us the chance to serve you again. We appreciate the ability to continue to be there for you when you need us most.