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Resolution Before Trial: What You Should Know About Settlements

By William Chanfrau, Jr. on February 22, 2016

A lawyer speaking with a coupleThe lawyers of Chanfrau & Chanfrau are dedicated to clients in and around the Daytona Beach area. Our legal team has years of experience fighting for the legal rights of our clients.

Over the last few days on this blog, we've examined the various stages of personal injury lawsuits and what can be expected. Right now, let's consider legal settlements and how those work. You've likely heard the term, so let's cover the basics so you understand what a settlement is and why it may be better to accept a settlement.

Not All Cases Go to Trial

While you might assume that many cases wind up going into a full trial, that's actually not the case. Many cases are instead settled before the trial actually starts. This is known as a legal settlement.

Legal Settlements Defined

In essence, a legal settlement is a resolution of a case before proceeding to trial. When a settlement is reached, the plaintiff will give up their right to pursue further legal action. In exchange, the defendant will provide the plaintiff with a specified amount of money. Though rare, some cases may be settled by having the defendant perform an agreed upon action of some kind.

How Common Are Legal Settlements?

Legal settlements are quite common. In fact, the majority of legal cases often end in a settlement for a whole host of compelling reasons.

Why a Legal Settlement May Be Better Than a Civil Trial

There are a few reasons why taking a settlement may be a better idea than going to trial. They are as follows:

  • The Expense of a Trial – A full trial can be expensive, involving travel expenses, legal fees, consulting expert witnesses, and so forth. By settling your case, you can avoid these major expenses.

  • The Length of a Trial – A trial can take a long time to complete. Some trials can go on for a year or even more. By settling your case, the time factor is reduced a great deal.

  • The Stress of Going Through a Trial – In addition to the long duration of a trial, the stress of the case is worth noting, particularly if you have to testify and be cross-examined.

  • The Potential of Losing Privacy – When a case goes to trial, any court documents become part of the public record. With a settlement, the case details remain private. As part of a settlement, the parties in the case often have confidentiality agreements to ensure that details are only known to those involved.

  • The Unpredictability of the Jury – Juries will ultimately determine your fate, and while you may have a strong case to make, that's no guarantee that a jury will rule in your favor. There's a certainty to a legal settlement by contrast.

What to Consider When Mulling Over a Settlement vs. Trial

Your attorney will go over the various factors in your case with regard to some of the considerations above. We'll offer advice on what your most advantageous choice in the matter may be. If a case may have larger social implications that can benefit others, for instance, it might be worth enduring a trial given the strength of the case and how a legal precedent may help others in need in the future.

Of course, the decision to go to trial or accept a settlement is ultimately the choice of a client, and we will offer as much of our insight with regard to your case and what choice may be most beneficial to you.

Contact the Lawyers of Chanfrau & Chanfrau

For more information about your legal options and what to expect when filing a lawsuit, be sure to contact the lawyers at our law firm today. The lawyers of Chanfrau & Chanfrau will help you in your time of legal need.

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