When to settle out of court is a dilemma most parties will have to consider as they navigate our civil courts. There are risks and rewards on both sides of the argument, and it’s not always easy to tell the best path.
In the following article, we’ll be focusing on the signs a settlement might benefit you. First, however, let’s examine the function of a settlement.
How a Settlement Works
A settlement is when both plaintiff and defendant agree to terms, usually monetary, to spare the expense and time of a full-scale trial. If you’re the defendant, it can be advantageous to take a settlement if you fear that not doing so will result in a much larger judgment.
However, it’s the plaintiff who will ultimately be faced with the question of whether to even consider settlement. To do so, they will need an offer from the defendant that shows a willingness to settle.
There may be some negotiation ahead of the trial date (often seen in divorce cases). Once a settlement is agreed to, the plaintiff can either wait until payment is received or enter into a structured settlement loan and pre-settlement loans if they anticipate a settlement that hasn’t reached a final agreement. With that said, here are five good reasons to take a settlement.
1. When Stress Takes a Toll
Lawsuits can be incredibly stressful due to the wait times, the culling together of paperwork, probing questions from attorneys. If wondering when to settle a lawsuit, ask yourself if the potential rewards are worth the stress of taking part in all of that.
2. When the Settlement Amount Meets Your Needs
You also may wonder when to settle a court case if there’s a clear goal in mind. That means the monetary offer meets your needs and not your wants. This obviously is a best-case scenario where the defendant either offers the same or more than you were hoping for or you have an acceptable range their offer falls somewhere within.
3. When You Do Not Wish to Put the Defendant Through a Trial
Not every lawsuit is driven by malice. Sometimes you may just not wish to put the defendant through a trial (think children in a divorce or your spouse in an amicable divorce). If you’re in that situation, knowing when to take a settlement is necessary.
4. When You Wish to Keep the Particulars Private
Another factor for when to settle is when you value the privacy of your case. This would make the terms of the settlement private to ensure no sensitive information is leaked to the public or the press.
5. When You Want to Expedite
Sometimes you just want to settle out of court to get it over with and move on with your life. In this case, the acknowledgment of negligence or wrongdoing might mean more to you than the money.
Knowing When to Settle Out of Court Will Protect Your Interests
Settlements are not for everyone. Sometimes your cause is so just and assured that the trial usurps any risks. By knowing when to settle out of court, you can do a better risk assessment of which path is the right one for you.
Best of luck as you weigh your decision. For more law-related questions and answers, check out some of our additional posts!