Settle? Or Litigate??
If you find yourself in a controversy with no solution in sight, a court fight is one option. When one party is refusing to settle, then litigation may be the only remedy.
Litigation is not always the best solution, however, especially if a fair agreement can possibly be reached. Which begs the question…
When is it Better to Settle?
- It is better to settle when a trial will cost you more money than you can gain from it. For example, if it will take $15,000.00 of your hard-earned money to win $5,000.00 in damages, that is simply not good math! You are throwing good money after bad. In such a case, a settlement will avoid the fees of litigation and is the more solid choice, (at least economically). That pound of flesh will just have to wait.
- It is better to settle if your legal costs cannot be justified, or recouped. In the American system of jurisprudence, each sides pays their own attorney fees and it is rare to get an award covering legal fees unless that is specifically provided for in a contract or other written agreement. Again, if you are paying an attorney when that money can go towards a settlement, then you need to know when and where to draw the line. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, if your total costs to litigate exceed what you will possibly recover, or have to pay out in damages, then a settlement is the way to go. An experienced, pragmatic attorney will help guide the way.
- “Courts are like casinos.” It is better to settle your case if the outcome is unpredictable, and you can’t afford to lose it. Yes, there may be a real chance that you could win and take home a pot of gold, but what if you don’t win? You could be out thousands and thousands in court fees, attorney fees and much more. (cue sad trombone…)
- It is better to settle if the claim is against someone close to you. When both parties agree that the relationship is important, reaching a settlement is often the best choice. Sadly, I see warring family members all too often in my practice. To the extent possible, settle and salvage your family. End the conflict with lessons learned.
Starting a lawsuit, or defending one, is a big decision and can be a considerable investment. If you need to file a complaint, or have found yourself on the receiving end of one, give me a call. I can help!