When Should You Settle A Case?

by Fred Abramson on September 23, 2009 · 2 comments

Whether you are a plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit, nearly all cases are settled before trial. The question then becomes, when should you settle a case?

There is no “one size fits all” answer as to when you should start discussing settlement with the other side.   Each case is different and involves using different types of negotiation strategies.  However, early case evaluation can lead to sensible conclusions as to what the appropriate settlement should be.  This can be accomplished even in the early stages of litigation.

Here are some possibilities:

  • If you come to the conclusion that  the other party is reasonable, you may be able to quickly come to a settlement and should start negotiations early, often pre-suit.  Why bother with litigation costs if your adversary is likely to behave rationally? This often occurs if the company that you want to sue is established and the matter is simple.
  • On the other hand, there are times when your case is complex and that discovery is needed to fully evaluate what a proper settlement figure is.  If the company that you want to sue is hiding information, then  it would be prudent to procede to litigation and perhaps start discussing settlement after receiving the necessary documents.

Generally, if you have a rational adversary,  the smaller your case,  the easier it is to settle in the early stages.  


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