At one point in human history, all disputes were settled between the two parties immediately after an incident, sometimes with unfair or even violent results. In the past, corruption was also rampant with those who can curry the favor of local authority figures often finding decisions going in their favor.

In modern times, we’ve created a much more equitable legal system to resolve disputes of both the criminal and civil nature. If someone has been wronged, chances are there are opportunities available for them too. Legal proceedings have many rules that govern them to the point where legal writing has its own informal term, legalese. This is why lawyers enjoy such a booming business, courts are often the only recourse available for people seeking to make legal claims, and lawyers are specifically trained to understand the legal documents governing specific cases. Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a burden of proof on the client’s behalf. Ensuring that you do everything you can before you even enlist professional help makes a huge difference.

So if you’re someone who’s about to make a claim, here’s what you should go through before you see your day in court:

Understand what your claim is

Claims can be made from a myriad of different reasons. Whether it is a wrongful dismissal claim, a personal injury claim, or even a medical malpractice claim, it is important to understand what kind of law your claim will fall under. Law is a very broad field, and not all lawyers are up to the task. If you fully understand what your claim is and what litigation will involve, you will be in a much better position to find the proper lawyer. Certain cases are much more subject to change than others, such as medical marijuana laws. For instance, Jeff Preszler, partner at Preszler Law, says that thanks to adjustments in Health Canada’s Marijuana Medical Access, it is now possible to obtain medical marijuana prescriptions for chronic pain. Proper understanding of new legal statutes is essential to any lawyer, yet some are woefully behind on new decisions in the higher courts.

Collect all of your relevant documents

Since court dates happen after the fact, it is important to collect and organize all of your supporting documents before giving them to your legal counsel. In court, it is all about what you can prove, not necessarily about what actually happened. Without documents from insurance companies, doctors, or police officers on the scene, there’s very little besides your word to corroborate your story.

Not only that, if you have significantly more documents than the other party, there is less that they can refuse to detract from your case. Most courts rely on the principle that something must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the more concrete evidence you have, the less opportunity there is for reasonable doubt. Anything you think might be relevant is important to collect, you can rely on your lawyer to later sort through what is compelling and what isn’t.

Don’t pick the first lawyer you consult with

There’s a very good chance that there’s much more than just one legal office in the town in which you reside. Lawyers are first and foremost servants of the justice system, but they are looking to get paid just as much as any other professional, making them salesmen in an abstract fashion. No matter how flashy their office is or how concrete their claims may be, it is important to shop around to ensure you are receiving the right level of legal help for your case at a price you can afford. A simple fender bender may not require the best lawyer in a two hundred mile radius, while other lawyers may overquote you, for a kind of case they don’t even handle on a regular basis. If you consult as many lawyers as possible before making your decision, you’ll be able to get a feel for which office will actually appreciate your business and put as much of their resources as possible towards getting you the help you need.

Half of a successful legal claim is proper preparation. There are certain procedures that have to be adhered to while in court, and while they might not make sense to the average citizen, ultimately they’ve been put in place to ensure the maximum level of justice can be served for all. Court cases can be intimidating and confusing, which is why lawyers have become a necessity for anyone seeking proper remuneration after an adverse event. As long as you do everything in your power to allow your legal counsel to prepare a compelling case, there’s little else you could have done to ensure you get what you desire.

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