One of the top questions clients ask attorneys is whether (and when) they should settle their case, or if they’d get a better outcome from going to trial. As always, the facts depend on your individual circumstances. Most cases settle before they go to trial. As long as the opposing party is willing to give you a fair amount of damages for the harm they caused, there is nothing wrong with settling. If your attorney believes he or she can get a much better deal by going to trial, however, it will behoove you to follow their advice.
What is a Settlement?
A settlement is a formal legal case resolution before the case goes to trial. You can agree to a settlement at any time during the pre-trial proceedings. Your attorney will submit a demand letter to the defense. This should contain the legal argument for damages, the amount of damages requested and documentation to support the demand. The defense attorney will respond to the demand letter, often with a counteroffer. At this point, both sides can negotiate a settlement that works for each party.
If no agreement can be reached, the case will proceed to trial. This often happens when the defense lowballs their counteroffer or believes they shouldn’t have to pay damages at all.
Advantages and Drawbacks to Settling
- It’s a faster way to resolve the case. Trial is stressful, especially if you’ve had a traumatic experience. It can be emotionally and physically draining for plaintiffs. Settling is a faster, easier way to resolve your dispute.
- You won’t be able to sue later. Once you settle, you sign a release of liability. That means that even if you discover new facts or medical complications, you can’t go back to court to demand more.
- You may receive a lower amount of damages. Settlements may be less money than you’d get if you proceeded to trial, especially if you’re a sympathetic plaintiff. Your attorney will guide you as to whether it’s a good idea to accept their offer or risk a trial.
- You can negotiate a better settlement. When you go to trial, you’re limited to the damages the judge and jury decide upon. On the other hand, when you settle a case, you’re free to accept the offer or try to negotiate a higher sum.
Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to determine whether you should settle your case or proceed to trial. They’ll also walk you through all the potential consequences of each decision.
Contact an Ohio Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured thanks to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, I can help. When you call my office, I’ll listen to the facts of your case and talk to you about your legal options. I can help you recover compensation for everything from lost wages to medical malpractice. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call 877.944.4373 today.