When you’ve suffered investment losses due to a sudden market downturn or an asset that fails spectacularly, it is natural to feel like you need time to figure things out. You might hesitate because you feel like it’s your fault – because you didn’t understand the investment well enough, or that you should have been paying more attention.
This is exactly when you should reach out for legal help, however.
It is your advisor or investment broker’s responsibility to communicate risk, explain your investments and make sure that you understand what you are investing in. They are obligated to make recommendations that are a good fit for your portfolio. And while no broker can be held responsible for every dip of a market surviving a pandemic or other financial crisis, they can be responsible for advice that is not appropriate for your circumstances and experience.
If you have experienced significant losses that surprised you, or losses that were more severe than the market overall, it is a good idea to have an attorney experienced in evaluating financial claims advise you as soon as possible for the following reasons:
- Statute of limitations – Most jurisdictions limit the amount of time you have to bring a complaint. The time allowed varies from state to state and by type of claim, but some can be fairly short.
- FINRA Eligibility – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency through which disputes between customers and brokers are most often resolved. FINRA rules also limit the time a plaintiff has to file a claim.
- Loss of Credibility – By waiting to file a complaint, it becomes easier for the defense to de-value your claim or cast doubt on your credibility, even if the complaint is sincere and the defendant caused harm.
- First-come, First-served – A broker that harms many customers might face many claims against them. If those judgements are won, the defendant’s ability to compensate later claims becomes less and less likely as they run out of money or claim bankruptcy to avoid paying creditors.
- Well positioned for Class Action – In the case where a defendant faces a class action lawsuit – a single complaint filed on behalf of a group of people who suffered the same harm – having early action against the defendant can help you better understand whether it is in your best interests to join or opt out of the class.