Do you know how to settle a lawsuit? Whether you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit or any other litigation, or are a plaintiff in any litigation, you can do your part to get results by learning about settlement of a lawsuit. As the old saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” This couldn’t be truer in the world of civil litigation.
Lawsuits can drag on for years. When they start going slow, it’s usually because the defendant doesn’t want to take the case.
If the defendant prefers to negotiate the charges and choose his/her own lawyer, this can cause delays and can be expensive. In addition, defendants often prefer to go through the process alone, denying their lawyers access to their cases until they reach a settlement. Many plaintiffs find that having their own attorney helps them build a strong case, gets the case resolved quickly, and allows them to receive the maximum amount due them-which is often much more than the defendant would be able to offer in return for their services.
Another reason to settle a lawsuit early, rather than wait until the case progresses to trial, is that trials often become expensive.
During the course of a lengthy litigation process, not only will the plaintiff have to spend time and money on the litigation process, but there may also be legal fees for the opposing lawyer as well. While the defendant’s attorney is responsible for these costs, they are typically paid from the proceeds of the lawsuit itself. If a settlement was reached before the litigation process began, this could free the plaintiff’s attorney of some of these costs. Therefore, settling the lawsuit earlier rather than waiting to have the case go to trial gives clients a sense of control over the process while it is still fresh.
Another benefit of settling prior to going to trial is that parties can avoid trial-related expenses.
These include attorney’s fees, jury fees, and any other costs incurred by the defense. Often, defendants’ attorneys decide to try a case first to see if they can get the case to trial, and if they lose the case, they incur additional expenses. However, if a settlement negotiation goes through before the case goes to court, the defense may be obligated to pay some or all of these costs.
In addition, many plaintiffs find that settling quickly prevents them from being forced into a long, expensive trial that may drag on for months or even years.
While a trial may provide the most opportunity for the defendant to beat back charges, it may also leave the plaintiff feeling bitterness and having to endure a long trial process. The lengthy nature of a trial also makes it difficult for the plaintiff to go back to work, take care of personal financial obligations such as rent or mortgage, and even obtain necessary legal advice. Further, a trial allows the defendant to avoid serving the appropriate legal notices, which enables them to keep practicing without fear of being assessed late fees.
The majority of instances in which plaintiffs choose to accept a settlement offer are those where the case does not go to trial, resulting in a mutual settlement.
However, there are instances where plaintiffs are forced to go to trial despite their desire to settle. When this occurs, a judge is likely to award the plaintiff damages even if they accept the settlement offer. This is because a plaintiff cannot ask for more than what is needed to satisfy their claim, regardless of whether the case is settled or goes to trial. Because settlements often have a high cost associated with them, lawyers advise their clients to always insist on a trial or other appropriate means of resolving any pending lawsuits.