When Should You Settle a Lawsuit? - Tressler Associates
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When Should You Settle a Lawsuit?

You’ve spent months and months of your life preparing for your lawsuit. Whether it be against a former employer, a loved one, or even a stranger, it’s a long time to spend fighting someone for damages, and odds are, you’ll spend a lot more time until it’s over. At least you will until the defendant offers you a settlement to settle your lawsuit.

Settlement is when the defendant admits to some or all of the plaintiff’s claims and offers some kind of payment to avoid or end your litigation. Litigation is the name for the court process where legal teams make their arguments before a judge. Litigation is timely and costly for both sides, especially the losing side.

For this reason, it’s often cheaper for the defendant to offer a significant though smaller settlement amount to keep the case from going into litigation. They can also offer it during litigation to end it, but it takes a specific process to do so.

It’s not always in the plaintiff’s best interest to enter litigation, and there are situations when it’s better to settle a lawsuit. The settlement and litigation attorney at Tressler & Associates can explain.

In What Kind of Case Can You Settle a Lawsuit?

Lawsuits are filed only in civil cases, so you would settle in a criminal case. Plea deals are similar in concept but have several differences. Only specific government entities can file criminal charges against people and entities, and people can’t legally pay money to end a criminal investigation.

What’s the End Goal of Settling a Lawsuit?

When one American citizen or legal resident files a lawsuit, they are filing in civil court, and the suit becomes a civil case. In civil cases, the defendant cannot go to jail as a direct result of the case. Technically, they can be held in contempt of court if found to have committed a crime while on the stand or during litigation, but the judge will not send someone to jail or prison because they have lost a civil case.

In civil cases, the defendant can only pay or give the plaintiff property they owe them, property of monetary value, or money. It’s most common for the defendant to offer settlements with money or high monetary values. If you win your litigation or are offered a settlement, money is what you can expect.

Is it Better to Settle a Lawsuit Than to Litigate?

Whether or not it’s better to settle your lawsuit is up to your personal state of mind and your finances. If you cannot afford to fund a lawsuit through litigation, that would be an instance where it makes logical sense to settle. There are several common situations where litigation may be too taxing on your mind and heart, regardless of your financial situation. For this reason, there are several common instances where you should strongly consider a settlement over litigation.

When You Should Consider Settling Your Lawsuit

  • When your lawsuit is against someone close to you. In most civil cases, the defendant will try to defame the plaintiff to degrade their standing. This can be emotionally and mentally taxing when it’s your employer or even a stranger. When the lawsuit is against a loved one, it can be even worse. They know you better than most and will be able to supply their legal team with secrets and personal details that will emotionally break you down. For many people, a quality settlement and not having to go through this experience is worth missing on the larger financial awards of winning litigation.
  • When you can’t afford litigation. If you can’t afford to pay your attorney throughout litigation, win or lose, you should accept the settlement. Depending on the situation, you can’t assume an attorney will continue working for the promise of payment if you win.
  • When the potential earnings from litigation aren’t significant enough. Sometimes what you’re suing for is barely more than what you would get from the settlement. While you may be suing for $25,000, after all the legal fees and the time sunk into litigation, a settlement between $13,000 and $18,000 would have been better.
  • When your time is worth more than the money. Time is the currency no one can get more of. Once it’s spent, it’s gone, and many people do not want to spend years in litigation for the chance of more money. You can turn a lawsuit settlement into something larger than what you’re suing for, so it’s not necessarily worth the time that goes into litigation.
  • When you don’t know that you can win. No one ever truly knows for sure if they will, but sometimes you have such a strong case and are supported by precedent, so logic dictates that you should expect to win. If you proceed with litigation with a strong case, litigation will likely last shorter than normal. But if you don’t know that you can win, or that you’re likely to lose, the slim chance of victory should make you question whether or not to settle.

Contact Tressler & Associates for Help

If you’re about to file a lawsuit against a business partner, a loved one, or even a stranger to get compensation, consider the attorney at Tressler & Associates. Our attorney has experience with settlement and litigation in real estate law, corporate law, entrepreneurial law, and estate planning. This means we have a wide range of experiences and abilities.

So, if you need to file a lawsuit against a property seller, a previous employer, a would-be investor, or a wrongful inheritor, we’re the law firm for you. Contact us today for help building a case, and deciding whether to settle or litigate.