A lawsuit is stressful in many ways, and it is often tempting to settle as soon as possible just to put an end to the stress. On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes there is so much emotional involvement in the lawsuit that you’re reluctant to settle at all. To ensure you’re making the right decision at the right time, here are several things to consider.
Emotion aside, what’s the bottom line?
Is this lawsuit being driven by emotions rather than the best interests of your business? Are you ignoring the “bottom line” numbers because of anger, fear, or other emotions? If a simple apology or change in business practice is going to be better for your business in the long run than a lawsuit, you owe it to yourself to think it through. Take a hard look at the economics of your lawsuit, and also consider how much of your time it’s taking up and how much stress it’s creating.
How much will a trial cost?
The sooner a case settles, the lower your legal expenses will be. A trial may involve court costs, expert witnesses, and time lost from work. If the likely financial outcome is clear from the beginning, it often makes sense to settle earlier. Even when legal costs aren’t a concern, a reasonable settlement offer can still save all parties a great deal of time and stress.
Can you tolerate the unpredictability of a trial?
Even if the case looks to be open and shut, surprising things can happen in trial. A key witness may be shown to be unreliable, or a story may prove to be inconsistent when looked at carefully. The jury is another wildcard, and can make a trial into a real financial gamble. An out-of-court settlement gives both parties some control over the payout.
What are the public-relations repercussions of trial?
If there’s some aspect of the lawsuit that you’d prefer not to make public, settling out-of-court may be the best option. A trial environment often encourages both parties to make each other look as bad as possible, and unless a judge orders otherwise, any evidence presented in a trial will be available for anyone to read.
There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding whether it’s advantageous to take a lawsuit to trial. If you’re facing this situation, please contact us today to discuss your options!