Why Do Lawyers Want to Settle Out of Court?

Why Do Lawyers Want to Settle Out of Court?

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Nov 2, 2022

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

When you file a lawsuit, there are three potential outcomes: you go to trial, you withdraw your claim, or you settle out of court. Out of those possibilities, settling out of court is by far the most common. In fact, the Department of Justice reports that 97% of all personal injury claims settle out of court.

But why is this the case? In many lawsuits, attorney recommendations play a major role. Below, we will explore some of the key factors affecting why lawyers settle out of court more often than not. If, however, you would prefer to speak with an experienced trial attorney first, please contact Schwarztapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 for a free case evaluation, consultation, and more!

What Is Settling Out of Court?

Settling out of court means reaching an arrangement with another party with whom you’re involved in a legal dispute. For instance, say that you and another New York State driver are involved in an auto accident.

You sue the other driver because they were driving negligently, such as texting while driving. Instead of going to court, however, you and the other driver meet up, determine a legal agreement where their insurance company agrees to pay for your medical bills and related expenses, and everyone goes home satisfied.

Settling out of court means that you don’t need a verdict from a judge or jury. Instead, you and the other party come up with a mutually agreeable arrangement instead. Settling out of court can involve an informal meeting or a more formal process like mediation or arbitration.

As noted above, most personal injury claims settle out of court in one way or another.

Benefits of Settling Out of Court

In truth, most attorneys will recommend settling out of court when it is a viable option. Moreover, when you serve another person or party lawsuit documents, their attorneys may respond with a settlement offer, such as a monetary award, an agreement to accept liability and medical expenses, or something else.

Settling out of court is often attractive to the parties involved, as well as their lawyers, for several reasons.

Settlement Is More Predictable

Settling out of court as a process is more predictable than going to court, regardless of circumstances and/or details. As well, even if the evidence is in your favor, a trial could result in a different legal outcome than you had imagined.

Lawyers favor predictability, which is why they spend so much time planning out their cases. Unpredictability, on the other hand, is something few lawyers seek out, as it is often bad for them and their clients. For instance, imagine showing up to a court trial for a personal injury lawsuit only to lose the case and not receive the settlement you need to pay for your medical bills.

A settlement, by contrast, is fairly predictable as a practice, and your attorney should be able to judge how the discussion(s) will go before you ever set foot in a meeting room. Predictability is great for you, too, because it increases the chance that you will leave the proceedings feeling satisfied.

To learn more now, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online!

Settlement Results in a Guaranteed Agreement/Award

By the same token, the predictability of a settlement means that you’ll receive a guaranteed award, per your agreement, that suits your purposes. Say, for instance, that you’re seeking damages for injuries caused by a negligent party. If you settle out of court, you’ll likely receive some damages, even if those damages may not be as much as you originally wished.

On the other hand, you could receive no damages if you go to court. The stakes are higher overall. It’s true, too, that you could receive more damages than you would by settling, but many attorneys will warn against assuming you’ll get what you’re after, should you take a lawsuit to a court trial.

Settlement Is Faster and Cheaper for Everyone

Practically speaking, settling out of court is significantly faster and more cost-effective as a process than going to trial. Note: This is often true for everyone involved, not just you and your attorneys.

Even if they are relatively simple, court trials usually take several months to resolve from start to finish. Not only does this take extra time, but it also costs you more money in legal fees.

Even if your lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis (like Schwarztapfel Lawyers), you’ll pay more for your legal professionals if your dispute takes longer overall. You don’t have to pay us anything unless we recover damages during your case, so contact us at 1-516-342-2200 now for a free consultation.

Few people want to spend months or years of their lives thinking about a legal dispute that could be solved much more quickly. This is especially true of defendants, who oftentimes want to put the matter behind them at the earliest opportunity.

Thus, when it’s good for their clients and in the interest of general efficiency (e.g., scheduling),, many lawyers will push for settling out of court.

Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers for a free consultation by dialing 1-516-342-2200 now!

Guilt Doesn’t Matter

Settling out of court has another advantage: Guilt really doesn’t matter. This is beneficial if you are the defendant in a personal injury or another lawsuit.

The other party doesn’t have to prove your guilt or negligence. You and the other party just need to come to a legal agreement you can both accept, even if it doesn’t make either of you perfectly happy.

Since guilt doesn’t matter, attorneys have a much more straightforward job of hashing out legal agreement details, negotiating with each other, and ensuring everyone walks away at least somewhat satisfied.

Lower Bar for Evidence

Like arbitration or mediation meetings, settlement meetings are not full court trials. This means they also have a lower bar for evidence, so you can present evidence to both sides to state your case and make a claim that may not be accepted in a court trial.

In some circumstances, this can make convincing the other party of your point of view easier.

Less Stress

Another benefit of settling out of court is that the process usually results in less stress for clients. Attorneys oftentimes prioritize whatever path will be least stressful for their clients. Great lawyers will do everything in their power to make sure you are comfortable and confident going into any legal process.

They can do a better job of that if they convince the other side to settle out of court with an arrangement that works for your needs.

Better Results for Clients

Generally, settling out of court yields better results for clients than going to trial. To this end, think about the benefits mentioned above: settling is faster, cheaper, results in less stress, and can help you get on with your life much more quickly than otherwise.

For attorneys, this is a win-win situation. They can do what’s best for their clients, especially since they don’t have to charge them more money (e.g., for court fees). No worthwhile attorney wants to gouge their clients — they want what’s best for them, no matter the time it takes or the form of resolution.

Is It Wise To Go To Trial?

Not all cases can be settled out of court and certain situations do warrant going to trial, the reasons for which may be tactical in nature or due to legal necessity.

Suppose you need a certain amount of damages to pay for your medical bills after you suffer severe injuries due to another party’s negligence. The negligent or at-fault party offers you a settlement, but it is far too low for your liking, let alone the stability of your bank account.

In that case, your attorney might recommend that you take the negligent party to court even though it will cost more time and money. If the other party or their insurance company doesn’t want to behave fairly or offer you what you are entitled to, a court trial may be the only legal way for you to get the compensation you are entitled to.

In other cases, you might want to go to trial for personal reasons, like to prove a point. For instance, if a medical professional is negligent, you might want the entire public to be aware of the proceedings so everyone knows the truth about that medical professional.

Of course, if you have overwhelming evidence in your favor and your attorney believes you can secure a good monetary award from it, they may recommend you go to trial anyway. Overall, though, good attorneys should offer recommendations based on the unique circumstances and factors of your lawsuit or legal case.

Every case is different. You should never trust an attorney that guarantees a settlement amount or victory if you go to trial, nor should you believe an attorney who says they always settle out of court.

For more on this and related topics, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-516-342-2200! Your consultation will be free and the advice provided to you may save you many miles of headache, heartache, and financial strain down the road.

Do All Lawyers Recommend Settling Out of Court?

No, but oftentimes they do. Whether or not your lawyers recommend settling out of court will depend on the factors affecting your case, their experience, and how confident they are in being able to provide sufficient evidence to convince a judge or jury of your version of events.

As such, if your legal team recommends settling out of court, it’s generally a good idea to take their advice.

Contact Schwarztapfel Lawyers Today

As you can see, there are many good reasons why lawyers will want to settle out of court when settlement is an option. As a process, it’s faster, cheaper, and usually better for a lawyer’s clients than going through a long and potentially losing trial. If, however, your attorney believes that going to court is the better choice, they may very well have a point.

When you hire Schwarztapfel Lawyers for your personal injury lawsuit, you’ll benefit from our 150+ years of combined knowledge and experience. Whether we settle out of court or help you take your case to trial, we can help you get the damages you are entitled to.

Call us now at 1-516-342-2200 for a free consultation, case evaluation, and more!

Sources:

Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Bureau of Justice Statistics | U.S. Department of Justice

arbitration | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

Five Ways to Keep Disputes Out of Court | Harvard Business Review

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