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What Motivates a Party to Settle?

As I’ve stated in other posts on this site, understanding what motivates another party to settle or litigate a dispute is an essential key to achieving an optimal outcome through settlement, as well as in assessing litigation as a viable strategy. Generally, there are certain important things you must consider in attempting

First–and this is just the first step–you must have a solid gauge of how strong your case is. If you’re a plaintiff, you must have a good and accurate grasp of your liability arguments and the extent of your damages. If you’re a defendant, you need to know how likely it is the plaintiff will win, and the extent of risk if they do.

Second, you must ask who your opponent is. Are they a large company? An insurance company? A small business? Is your opponent rich? Or perhaps just an average individual? Each of these parties will probably have a different take on how to settle a case and under what terms. For example, because lawyer’s fees to litigate are extremely costly, someone who has less money is going to be far more interested in avoiding incurring such fees. On the other hand, insurance companies are in the business of litigating lawsuits. They deal with hefty lawyer fees all the time–and they can sometimes have very little motivation to settle until the very last minute!

Third, you have to not only assess the strength of your position in the lawsuit–you also have to ponder you opponent’s perception of your position. You may believe your case is the strongest in the world, but if your opponent cannot see it that way, then it won’t make a lick of difference at the mediation table. You have to show enough information to convince your opponent–including their lawyer–that your position is as strong as you believe it is (or perhaps even stronger!). This can be a balancing act, because sometimes you may want to avoid “tipping your hand” if you intend to surprise your opponent with skilled arguments.

The civil litigation lawyers at Asheville Legal have extensive experience making all of the above considerations. Where we believe settlement is the best opportunity for our clients to resolve a matter in a positive way, we always counsel our clients in that direction. Give us a call today if you need help settling a complicated dispute.

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