If you watch a movie or television show where someone files a lawsuit, it will almost always end in court. Why is that? It’s because fictional courtroom scenes are dramatic and exciting. That’s what audiences want to see.
But in our own lives, we don’t want drama. If you’ve filed a lawsuit, it’s because you or someone close to you has been seriously hurt and you’re just trying to piece your life back together. That’s not a lighthearted scenario and you don’t want your future to be determined by the whims of a judge and jury.
That’s why most cases end in a settlement or claim with an insurance company, not a lawsuit. Settling is quicker, it is easier on the client, as opposed to making multiple court appearances, delivering testimony, and living with uncertainty if the case drags on. Going to court is stressful for clients, and there are risks, such as losing the case or receiving less than a proposed settlement.
Every time you fill a jury box with 12 different people, you are risking getting a different result. A settlement removes that uncertainty.
There are also additional legal costs to litigation. It’s possible to receive more in a lawsuit than a proposed settlement, but have the client end up with less after paying for the trial. Even when that is over, there’s the potential for the appeal process and you could be looking at several years of total time.
Going to trial is always a last resort after all other options have been exhausted.
When Do You Go to Trial?
As experienced attorneys, once we have all the facts, we know what a given settlement value is for a case. If we can reach a settlement agreement in that ballpark, we will advise the client to take it. If we know we can get $100,000 for a case and we are offered $90,000, we will most likely advise the client to agree to the deal to avoid the litigation costs and risk of uncertainty.
If we can’t receive something in that fair range, then it’s time to consider a lawsuit. Our experience helps us determine when any risk is worth enduring to make sure our client receives fair compensation.