By Linda E. Garcia –
There are three primary reasons why a civil rights attorney would rather settle a lawsuit rather than leaving it up to a judge or jury to reach a verdict. The first reason is that litigation in a court room trial can be much costlier, in regards to court and attorney fees. The second reason is litigation can be very slow as it can take years before a verdict is reached, and thirdly, litigation is public. Every document filed in court and every court hearing is publicly available. However, it’s not all cut and dry and a civil rights attorney has the responsibility of developing your case or civil matter to receive the best settlement offer or dispute resolution while also enabling you to receive the maximum value.
. When settling out of court is impossible then you’re only option is to go to file a lawsuit and go to trial. After the lawsuit has been filed with the court, the discovery phase begins. The discovery phase can last for months and is basically the gathering of information by parties, the defendant and the plaintiff, which is used to build their case when it proceeds to trial. During the discovery phase, most civil attorneys will continue to attempt to settle out of court by attesting that they have a stronger case. Settling out of court is far less expensive than a trial and the negative publicity that can result from a civil trial provides motivation for big businesses to settle out of court unless they have an iron clad defense.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics stated, in 1995, that civil juries award punitive damages in only 6 percent of successful lawsuits. If you have a substantial amount of evidence the risk of going to court may be worth it as it may be more beneficial. Sometimes a settlement offer is a lowball offer intended to avoid much higher damages resulting from the defendant losing in court. The best civil law attorneys know whether or not to advise their client to decline an initial settlement offer and go to court. However, when a settlement is placed on the table, the choice of whether or not to accept the offer is ultimately not a decision that a civil attorney makes, it is the client’s. Sometimes a plaintiff will choose to settle out of court just to get on with his life, avoid unfavorable publicity, or because they are out of work as a result of the injury and need a source of income. There can be many issues encompassing a civil case and the best civil attorneys know how to work in the best interest of their clients and bring these issues to light as well as having the resources to properly mount a strong civil case.
The best civil attorneys have investigators, experts and a wealth of resources on hand to find and highlight the strengths of the case. They will also know to find the weaknesses of the other side’s evidence and your evidence and present it in a way that is beneficial to their client. The best civil attorneys won’t gamble your case, but rather make a clear and complete assessment of the risks and have 20/20 foresight on litigation. They will advise their clients accordingly and weigh a complex mix of factors including:
- The strength of the case, which may contain both factual and subjective evidence.
- History of previous awards and court decisions.
- The character of the jurors or judges and the likability of the plaintiff and defendant.
- Amount the lawsuit is worth and whether it’s worth going to trial for in terms of time, costs and emotional stress.
- The ability to obtain judgment and enforce it.
Every case must be analyzed on an individual basis and the best civil attorneys know you have to know everything about a case before making a decision to settle or go to trial.
Learn more about LibertyBell Law Group’s best civil attorneys and how they succeed in resolving disputes, finding creative solutions and winning settlements. A civil law expert from LibertyBell Law Group wrote this article.