Advantages and Disadvantages of Out of Court Settlements

Legal settlements can occur in a variety of ways, sometimes involving a courtroom and other times not. An out of court settlement essentially means the involved parties choose to avoid taking a case to trial. When this happens, both parties, their attorneys, and sometimes a mediator will negotiate a settlement that does not involve a judge or a jury. While preferences of the involved parties are important in making the decision as to whether settling out of court is best, the specifics of a case are also important to keep in mind. An experienced personal injury attorney will also be able to weigh in with recommendations on whether a case would be worth taking to court or not. Many cases are settled out of court once both parties come to a full resolution in their case.

Depending on your situation, an out of court settlement may or may not be the best decision. Listed below are pros and cons of settling your case out of court.

Advantages:

  1. Reduced Stress. The pressure and anxiety that comes with the process of going to trail can often take a serious toll on individuals. Being involved in a situation that involves legal representation can be stressful enough, without even considering the time and energy that can contribute to the final outcome. Settling out of court can often reduce some of that stress.
  2. Less Expenses. Expenses can add up quickly if you choose to take a case to court. When choosing to go to trial, there are often higher are attorney fees, expert witnesses, depositions between both parties, the time that is missed from work in order to be in court and meetings, and also travel expenses. Such expenses can quickly add up, and you might be worse off financially than if you choose to settle out of court.
  3. Predictability. A negative aspect of taking a case to trial is having a jury of strangers examine your case, and ultimately deciding the final outcome. With an experienced attorney, a settlement is more easily predicted and can often give you peace of mind, while working with the other party in finalizing an outcome in which you can be satisfied.
  4. Privacy. Being involved in a court dispute is a very private matter, and many individuals prefer to keep it that way. However, court documents become public record if a case goes to trial. When settling out of court, most of the details involved in the case are kept out of court documents and unavailable to the public.
  5. Finality. A lot of people do not realize that court settlements can be appealed by the other party. However, when settling out of court, the final outcome usually cannot be appealed. Also, if a case it appealed, it will certainly drag the case out even longer, which will lead to more time and legal expenses.

Disadvantages:

  1. Fear of Settling. Sometimes, all desires aren’t always met in out of court settlements. This can often lead to an individual being unsatisfied with the final outcome of negotiations.
  2. Purpose. Every case is different, and many lawsuits are filed for personal reasons. Some cases involve circumstances that deserve public awareness and the challenging of law. If a case is settled out of court, the awareness of the issue can often go unnoticed.

At Jones & Swanson, our attorneys have each client’s best interests in mind and will be transparent with advice given. Our lawyers have many years of experience in both trial cases and out of court settlements and will work with you to not only giving you peace of mind during the process, but will also work valiantly in making sure you achieve the justice that you deserve.

Call our office at (770) 427-5498 for a free consultation to discuss your situation. We are on your side and will work tirelessly for you every step of the way.