Frequently Asked Questions in Litigation Matters

What can I recover if I win?

Generally, you can recover the money loss that was proximately caused by the legal wrong you suffered. The applicable statutes, rules or regulations may also allow for an award of interest at the legal rate, punitive damages, attorney's fees, an injunction as well as other remedies specific to the legal wrong suffered. Punitive damages are awarded to deter the offending party from engaging in the wrongful conduct again.

Can I recover?

That largely depends on the strength and merits of your case, whether the other side has the financial means to pay the money award, whether you are able to enforce your money award on the other side, and your ability to finance the case.

Will the Law Offices of Steve Tsai charge me to evaluate my case?

The Law Offices of Steve Tsai does not charge for the first half hour of an initial consultation to discuss your case. If you decide to retain us and we agree to represent you, we will require a signed retainer agreement and deposit. We usually apply an hourly rate in litigation matters, but will work with you on a suitable fee structure.

How much will my case cost?

The Law Offices of Steve Tsai prides itself on providing effective, cost efficient legal services that meet the client's needs. It is, however, impossible for us to guarantee or predict actual fees or costs. Our experience indicates that cases involving complex factual or legal issues, multiple opposing parties, foreign or out-of-state parties, parties engaging in scorched earth litigation tactics or parties misguided by unrealistic expectations tend to require greater commitment of time and resources.

When will my case go to trial?

California state courts generally set cases for trial up to one year from the date they are filed, unless unusual or special circumstances exist. As most California courts have cut courtrooms and hours due to budget deficits, it is taking substantially longer for cases to go to trial. Federal court cases in California are generally set for trial around a year to a year-and-half from the date they are filed.

What is mediation?

Mediation is where the parties meet in an informal setting with an outside neutral, the mediator, to explore a settlement solution. The mediator is chosen jointly by the parties based on his or her experience, training and expertise related to the case to guide the parties in exploring settlement. The mediator's job is not to act as a judge or decide who is right or wrong, and he or she cannot force a party to settle. Most courts strongly recommend the parties to participate in mediation early in the case.

What is arbitration?

It is the determination of a dispute, outside of court, by an independent third party, the arbitrator(s), jointly chosen by the parties. The disputing parties vest the arbitrator(s), usually a retired judge or attorney experienced in the subject matter of the case and paid by the parties, with the power to decide the dispute after hearing the evidence and arguments. The arbitrator(s)' decision is generally just as final and binding as a court's.

Do a lot of cases settle?

It has been said that more than two thirds of all cases settle. A great majority of cases settle due to a variety of reasons, ranging from the relative merits of the case, financial resources of the parties, the amount at stake, the parties willingness to see the case through trial and other factors.

What can I do to get my case started?

You can schedule a meeting with the Law Offices of Steve Tsai or a qualified attorney to evaluate your case. With legal matters, it is generally not desirable to wait.

What can I do to help my case?

Keep good, detailed notes of the events, and a list of potential witnesses and the types of information, including documents and materials, each may have concerning your case; and obtain and preserve documents , especially important ones, relevant to your case.

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