Things to Think About: Settling The Case
Talk to your lawyer about his or her assessment of the case. Consider the following points.
- Amount he or she thinks the case is worth in a range of dollar amounts
- Verdicts and settlements in similar cases
- Chances of winning at trial
- Civil trials are open to the public; unfavorable publicity
- Amount of personal information that could be revealed at trial
- Possible disclosure of business information or trade secrets
- When the case is likely to be called for trial
- Practical difficulties in trying the case
- Weaknesses in your evidence
- Weaknesses in your opponent’s evidence
- The amount of the defendant’s insurance coverage
- The defendant’s own monetary resources
- The defendant’s lawyer’s negotiation tactics (your lawyer may have negotiated with the lawyer before, or has talked to other lawyers to get an idea of what to expect)
- The extent to which your opponent is likely to play hardball
- If you are the plaintiff, ask how much of the settlement proceeds will be applied to your lawyer’s fee and your expenses.
- If you are the plaintiff, ask how the settlement payments will affect your federal and state income taxes.
- Talk about what you’re willing to concede in order to get the case settled.
- Discuss the minimum amount you will accept, or the maximum you will pay.
- Consider the possibility of a partial settlement, that is, settling the easy issues first while you continue to negotiate the knotty issues.
- If you are the plaintiff, consider accepting a remedy other than money.
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