Unless you have filed a lawsuit to make a very important point concerning an issue critical to society at large, it is almost always a good idea to settle out of court. Parties to lawsuits are encouraged and urged to settle their differences even from the very beginning of litigation.
The following points should be carefully considered when you are contemplating settling your lawsuit out of court instead of going to trial:
- Amount the lawsuit is worth;
- Length of trial;
- How long it will take to go to trial;
- Possible delays in getting to trial and/or length of trial;
- Your honest assessment of the chances of winning at trial;
- Whether there are similar cases achieving positive or negative results;
- If there could be unfavorable publicity for either side if there is a trial;
- Potential disclosure of trade secrets or other confidential business information;
- Weaknesses in your evidence;
- Weaknesses in other side's evidence;
- The possibility of having to pay the other side's attorney's fees if you lose.
You should also consider several points regarding settlement and the obtaining and enforcing of a judgment:
- Your ability to obtain a judgment;
- You ability to enforce a judgment;
- The other side's ability to pay a judgment if obtained prior to trial and ability to pay after an expensive trial;
- Whether there is a possibility of arriving at a partial settlement;
- The likelihood of the other party also having a desire to settle out of court;
- The minimum that you would accept to settle out of court;
- The possibility of settling out of court for something other than money.
Once you have carefully considered the above, you will have a better idea as to whether you should settle your lawsuit out of court.
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