When To Settle (And Not To Settle) A Lawsuit

When To Settle (And Not To Settle) A Lawsuit

September 7, 2020 Off By Glespynorson

When Will This Be Over?

This is one of the most common questions attorneys have to answer because simply put, court cases can take forever. They cost money, time, energy, and constant worry about the outcome because even after all that, it could all go south. What if you can just settle out of court instead?

About 95 percent of all cases settle out of court because it’s a lot cheaper than going to court. Whether it’s a divorce case, a tort case, or a contract dispute, some people don’t know when to settle a lawsuit out of court and leave their fate to an unpredictable jury.

Does this mean that settling is more beneficial, and you should also do it? Let’s explore all the pros and cons of settling before trial, and how to know when to settle, and when not to.

When To Settle A Lawsuit Out Of Court

A well-executed settlement could be one of the best outcomes for any case. When you settle a case out of court, the conflict ends immediately, instead of being dragged for months or years in a courtroom.

Even better, you are guaranteed to get the money promised. When you choose to litigate, you may go through the lengthy, and costly process, but still end up with an unfavorable outcome.

If you don’t receive payment after a settlement, then you can pursue the case in court. The next question you may ask is “How long after a settlement do I get paid?” On average, it could take anywhere between one and six weeks depending on various factors.

When Is The Best Time To Settle A Lawsuit?

There are several infection points on when to settle a case out of court. Let’s look at all the options, and all the possible outcomes to determine the best time to settle.

Immediately After The Accident/Incident/Malpractice

This is possibly the worst time you can settle a case out of court. At this point, most insurance companies do not offer anything close to what the plaintiff deserves. Avoid settling your case at this juncture because you will get pennies on the dollar.

After You Submit A Demand Package To The Insurance Company

Some malpractice cases settle at this stage, but they are rare. Most personal injury cases settle here. The decision to settle at this point will highly depend on the settlement amount, and the facts involved in the case.

After Filing The Lawsuit

After you file the lawsuit in court, you get another opportunity to settle your case. This is when the insurance company will start to realize how serious you are about suing them especially if you have a professional attorney fighting for you. At this point, you’ll receive a much higher settlement than you did before.

During The Pre-Trial Phase

Before the trial, you are required to attend one more pre-trial conference. This is a kind of mediation and an opportunity for everyone to sit and discuss a settlement, and see whether they can come to an agreement. This is hands down one of the best times to agree to a settlement, although you still have to consider your options and factors of the case.

The Courthouse Steps

You wouldn’t believe the number of cases that settle on the day of the trial. A lot of people have settled at this point because the leverage for settlement is highest when the case goes to trial.


There is always a chance that you can get a settlement even after a verdict. If the insurance company or the defendant feels that there is a risk of verdict reversal if you go for an appeal, they may offer you a settlement to avoid going to court again.

Factors To Consider When Deciding When To Settle A Lawsuit

The most important factor you should consider is the valuer of your case. Deciding when to settle a lawsuit highly depends on how much you could potentially get if you went through trial. Your attorney should be able to help you calculate the value of the case depending on injuries, and damages sustained.

They will also advise you on compensatory damages, such as pain, suffering, and lost wages. If you can estimate the potential award amount, and consider the settlement amount on offer, you should be able to tell whether going to trial is worth it.

How Do You Identify A Good Settlement Offer?

In general, if the offer is anything close to the value of your case, it would be a good idea to take it. Some people believe that a good settlement is when both parties are unhappy, because one coughed up more money than they wanted, and the other received less than expected.

Besides, it will highly depend on the facts of the case because if you have solid evidence that the defendant is at fault, the jury may award you so much more than the settlement. The problem is that you could end up with less money, even when you go to court.

You see, a trial can take months, if not years, and the expenses associated with it can shoot to the roof. The attorney fees and these expenses will all come out of the money award to you.

Now, even if you receive twice as much money as the settlement offer after the trial, paying for all these fees and expenses could leave you with less than the settlement offer. For this reason, you need to discuss all possible outcomes with your attorney and decide whether pursuing the case further is worth it.

What Are The Pros Of Settling A Case?

There are several advantages of settling a case out of court like the fact that a settlement is guaranteed, unlike a trial. You are also likely to receive the settlement money a lot faster, and the stress and anxiety associated with the case will be over and done with. The fact that you won’t have to go through a grueling court case is also a significant benefit.

What Are The Cons Of Settling A Case Out Of Trial?

Chances are, you might get potentially lower compensation than you could get from a jury. Also, a settlement out of court will not get you compensation for punitive damages or the psychological closure that comes with getting justice in a courtroom.

Hire The Best Attorney You Can Find

Now that you have a better understanding of when to settle a lawsuit out of court, the most essential thing to do is hire professional legal counsel. A lawyer will be in a better position to know when to settle a lawsuit out of court, and when not to settle a lawsuit.

Regardless of what you decide, we have more articles on our website that will guide you on your path, and help you make informed decisions. Please explore our blog section today!