While bullying is a historical issue, it has just recently come to the forefront as a major problem in society with individuals, companies, and schools priding themselves on being “anti-bully”. This is indeed a positive step, but the reality is bullying still occurs and those responsible for it sometimes fall through the cracks and are not held accountable for their behaviour. As a result, it is occasionally necessary to take matters into your own hands to put a stop to the bullying that you or your child faces or to seek damages. Following these tips will help you pursue your bullying case and increase the chances of a successful outcome.
1. Know the definition of bullying
Before pursuing a lawsuit it would help to know whether your case in fact constitutes bullying. If you do take action and the offending behaviour is not seen as bullying, you could waste lots of time and money. Bullying is defined as aggressive behaviour involving negative and unwanted attention repeated over an extended period of time. This could include verbal abuse, physical abuse, coercion, exclusion from activities, and unwanted text messages or emails. If you are unsure whether the behaviour constitutes bullying, it may benefit you to still consult with an attorney. That way, you know for sure if you have a case.
2. Get your facts straight
Before consulting an attorney, you need to gather all of your information because this will ultimately be used as evidence to support your case. Compose a log of every incident including date, time, location, and the actions of the aggressor. If possible, include any emails and text messages you received from the aggressor and if injuries were incurred, photograph them. This information will aid your attorney in deciding whether you have a case and if it should be pursued.
3. Give the opportunity to settle the issue
If it is decided that the offending behaviour is classified as bullying, your first step should be to give the opportunity to the individual to stop. Addressing them verbally is helpful but be discreet and ensure there are other people around to guarantee your safety. You may consider putting something in writing however as it is a physical document and can be used as evidence if you need to take the issue to court. If the bullying does not stop and it is taking place in a workplace or school, take your case to the officials of these places and give them the opportunity to remedy the issue. If you have already been in contact with an attorney, request that they send a “cease and desist” letter to these officials. Taking these steps will demonstrate to a judge that you attempted to address the situation on your own before bringing it to a courtroom.
4. Find a lawyer with experience in similar cases
Lawyers have different specialties so you definitely want to choose one that has experience specifically in bullying. It is not enough to confirm that the personal injury lawyer has experience with bullying cases; you want to make sure that they are skilled in representing the victim as opposed to the alleged aggressor. Lawyers specializing in cases involving bullying can help victims and their families because they are skilled in getting the attention of companies and schools and pushing them to address the offensive behaviour before opting to settle the matter in court.
5. Know your budget
Some lawyers offer free consultations. Try and take advantage of this option and find one that does. Even if you have no intention of hiring the lawyer offering the consultation, it can prove to be a good starting point and you can at least determine whether you have a valid case. Discussing fees with a potential attorney should be one of your first conversations. It is a waste of time for you to even speak to an attorney who is out of your price rangeso if the fees do not fit your budget, move on. If an attorney impresses you but the fees are too high, attempt to negotiate. You have nothing to lose and if they want your business enough, they may agree to your proposal.