When working with a civil litigation lawyer, there is a chance that you'll end up in a situation where you have to decide between suing someone or accepting a settlement. There are pros and cons to each choice, and it's wise to consider what goes along with them.

Doesn't Litigation Already Mean You're Suing?

In the strictest sense, yes, you are already suing, if it has come to litigation. The threat of where litigation might lead, however, is one of the biggest incentives for both parties to consider a settlement.

Why Push On With A Suit?

There are several potential advantages to pressing a suit, even if a settlement offer is on the table. Foremost, suing gives you access to the discovery and deposition processes. By collecting evidence and testimony, you can add layers to a case, and it may be possible to drive a harder bargain and possibly reach a better settlement.

Secondly, an experienced civil litigation lawyer has an obligation to tell you whether they think a settlement is in your best interests. At the same time, they have to inform you of any and all settlement offers. If your attorney is inclined to keep pushing a suit, then you definitely want to take that advice into account, before making a choice.

Thirdly, there are sometimes questions of justice in settling. For example, non-disclosure and non-discussion agreements are often attached to civil settlements. If you feel an extreme wrong has been done and needs to be exposed, you may want to push forward.

Why Settle?

The biggest reason to settle is when it's clear you're approaching the point where you're not likely to get a better judgment in court. Every case that goes to court runs the risk of being dismissed by the judge, seen differently by a jury or given a smaller-than-expected judgment. Sometimes, it's just better to take guaranteed money.

Every case also has a limit in the mind of the presiding judge. Pressing the issue when there's a fair settlement on the table risks raising the ire of the judge. If your attorney feels you're close to that point, they may recommend taking the deal.

Finally, there is the cruel math of time. Especially in a situation where it's costing you money to keep pressing a case, it's sometimes better to just bring the thing to an end, rather than continuing to incur legal expenses.