Something happened to you. It was awful. Maybe it was an injury at work, a collision on a highway, or a corrective surgery gone wrong. Whatever it was, it was traumatic, and it was wrong. You were wronged. You will not be a victim, however.
You decide to act and correct that wrong, and you seek the advice of an experienced attorney to help you with your problem. You’ve been advised that you need to file a lawsuit to garner the attention of the wrongdoer and to receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Your lawyer explained the legal process to you and how you will engage their services. But were you advised about the emotional toll and impact of litigation? Are you prepared?
Why litigation is stressful
In litigation, you’ll have to revisit that wrong, and you will have to revisit it on multiple occasions in-depth and in great detail, under oath and under pressure.
In their 2017 paper “Anticipating and Managing the Psychological Cost of Civil Litigation,” researchers Michaela Keet, Heather Heavin, and Shawna Sparrow explored the psychological cost of litigation and determined that there is a phenomenon of “litigation-generated stress” that can have far-reaching effects, affecting a litigant’s daily mental, emotional, and physical life.
How to deal with the emotional stress of litigation
As you decide about whether to pursue litigation, you should seek advice not only about the legal process and procedures but also about its cumulative impact on your life. Consider what support system you have in place to guide you through the litigation process.
While your attorney will be able to provide legal guidance and expertise, they generally aren’t the best (or most cost-effective) resource for the emotional and psychological needs you may encounter during the litigation process.
Consider establishing a support network of trusted advisors as you embark on litigation. This could include a therapist, counselor, spiritual, or church leader. By establishing a support network at the outset of litigation, you can better prepare yourself for the emotionally taxing moments of litigation: independent medical examinations, questioning under deposition or at trial, or important hearings.
With this support system in place, you can be more clear-headed and in a better position to make crucial decisions under the advice and guidance of your lawyer. You will be able to assess the risks and rewards during the litigation process so that you can achieve the best outcome to right the wrong that was done to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need
Unfortunately, there will be occasions in life where you sustain an injury or endure a wrong, and you will need to resort to the legal process to correct it. You will need to engage a trusted, knowledgeable, and experienced attorney to guide you through the legal process, and it’s important that you go into litigation prepared so you can make informed decisions that will impact your life in myriad ways.