You are the owner of a small firm that manufactures lawn mowers. While using one of your products, a person suffers severe injury and now is suing, claiming that your product was negligently designed because it did not adequately protect the user. You have no experience with the legal system. You learn that lawyers charge as much as
$250 per hour and must be paid whether they win or lose their cases. You are surprised at what must happen before a trial can occur to determine who is at fault. First, your lawyer may move to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds. If that fails, both sides will take costly depositions of likely witnesses. You will have to turn over reams of internal documents related to the design of your mower. Each side also will have to pay several hundred dollars per hour for experts as the lawyers prepare the case. These experts will have to be paid again when they testify at trial. As the time for the trial approaches, each side will spend money trying to discern the most sympathetic type of jury. Years after the lawsuit was first filed, the parties will be sitting in the courtroom waiting for jury selection to begin. More money will have been spent defending this case than the plaintiff was seeking when the lawsuit was first filed. Many questions come to mind:
• Should you have settled the case at the beginning?
• Has your attorney been getting rich at your expense?
• Is discovery more of a burden than a help?