Pre-Suit Investigation

WV Pre-Suit Investigation Attorney

When facing an employment law claim in West Virginia (WV), employers need to engage knowledgeable counsel well before the claimant files a lawsuit. WV pre-suit investigation attorney M. Andrew Brison helps you save time and money by evaluating an employee’s claim before the lawsuit is underway. If you or your company is facing an employee claim, get ahead of it with the help of a WV pre-litigation investigation lawyer.

Hiring an investigative attorney before the formal filing of a claim can help you better plan your strategy for dealing with an employee’s claim. Early investigation helps you gain a fuller knowledge of the employee’s allegations and the underlying facts, enabling you to determine whether the claim is one you should take seriously and settle quickly or fight if it is without merit.

How a WV Pre-Suit Investigation Attorney Can Help

There are several ways a WV pre-suit investigation lawyer can help you or your company handle pre-litigation claims. To start, an outside attorney can help companies develop a system to handle employee claims. Employees can bring their issues directly to an in-house department when an employer has a complaint procedure in place, which, in turn, can pave the way for resolving the claim before it is escalated.

When a company does not have this system in place, or the employee wishes to move ahead with their claim, a WV pre-suit investigation attorney helps evaluate the claim to determine its merit, so the company can decide whether it should focus on settling the claim or preparing to defend against it in litigation.

First Steps for a WV Pre-Suit Investigation Attorney in Employment Law Claims

Once a company is aware of an employee’s claim or allegation, a pre-suit investigation attorney can dig through the facts of the alleged incident and look for strengths or weaknesses in the case. The attorney’s investigation may include the following:

  • Determining if the company has any insurance that may provide a defense or indemnification for the potential claim
  • Investigating the facts underlying the employee’s claim
  • Interviewing potential witnesses
  • Interviewing the employee
  • Researching the law and advising the company on legal exposure
  • Advising the company of the risks associated with the potential claim

Once the investigation is complete, West Virginia pre-suit investigation lawyers work with their clients to set realistic goals for the outcome of the claim. This includes whether to negotiate and attempt to settle the claim or decide to allow the claim to proceed and defend against it in court.

Possible Outcomes of a Pre-Suit Investigation

Several potential outcomes can result from a WV pre-suit investigation lawyer finishes an investigation. Should the attorney find that the claimant has a legitimate claim, the company can work with them to develop strategies to avoid lengthy litigation, which can be expensive and cause the business to be viewed in a poor light. In such cases, working an experienced attorney can help the company settle the claim as quickly as possible.

In some cases, an investigation will disclose that the employee doesn’t have a strong claim, or the company doesn’t want to settle the claim for other reasons. In these cases, the company can allow the claimant to file suit or seek to engage in alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

If the parties take the alternative dispute resolution route, they can agree to arbitration under WV Code chapter 55, article 10, which allows them to resolve their claims in a quasi-judicial forum instead of going through the formal litigation process. The parties in an arbitration present their cases to a solo arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, who then decide on an appropriate resolution. In addition to investigating the claim, West Virginia pre-suit investigation lawyers can represent your interests in arbitration proceedings.

Another ADR option is mediation pursuant to the West Virginia Trial Court Rules chapter 2, rule 25. Mediation uses a neutral third party who works with both parties to negotiate a settlement of the claim. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the claim may still proceed to formal litigation, but each party has a better understanding of other side’s position.

Time Restraints on a WV Pre-Suit Investigation Attorney

An attorney has limited time to perform their pre-litigation investigation due to time restraints on the plaintiff’s ability to bring a claim. For example, under WV Code § 55-2-6, an employee has five years to file wage payment claims under the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act. However, under WV Code §55-2-12, employees have only two years to assert employment claims alleging civil rights violations under the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

Whether your company is facing a wage issue, discrimination claim, or equal employment opportunity dispute, you are on the clock until the claim becomes a formally filed lawsuit. Getting an attorney to start an investigation immediately is helps prepare you to develop the best strategy for resolving the claim and minimizing the risk to your company.

When facing a potential employee claim, conducting an immediate investigation of the facts is the best first step. To contact an experienced WV pre-suit investigation attorney, call The Law Office of M. Andrew Brison, PLLC at 304-397-8225 or complete this online contact form.

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