Contrary to popular belief, litigation is not just another name for a lawsuit; and is in fact a broad legal concept that describes the proceedings initiated between two opposing parties to defend or enforce a legal right. This includes compensation for injury, breach of contract, and also suing for assets in a divorce. Typically before the actual lawsuit, the pre-suit negotiations, arbitration, facilitation and appeals are all considered a part of the litigation process. Choosing to litigate is not always an easy decision, but it usually begins the moment someone decides to hire a legal professional to represent their interests; to which most attorneys will engage in a variety of “pre-suit” litigation activities.
So what should you do? Litigate or settle?
Defending against litigation may be daunting, largely due to paying for legal defense, which the state could force the loser to pay the fees of the winner (unless you counter sue). For those who do not intend on going to trial, it should be in their best interest to have an attorney-like guide to walk them through the settlement process because if the case proceeds to trial, the case is no longer in their full control, and rather, in the control of the jury and/or the judge. This transition can greatly affect the cost as well, especially when concerning the engagement of expert services (fees outside the attorney fees).
So, whether you plan to litigate or are the litigant, legal counsel is a necessary asset. You should never go into any major settlement or proceeding without legal counsel or consulting with a legal professional that will help with your understanding and organizing immensely.
Now, a settlement on the other hand puts the case back into the grasp of the parties… but at what cost on your end?
Evidently most litigation ends in settlement, so even if you do not intend to go to trial, it should remain in your best interest to have that expert guide through the settlement process. By virtue of experience, many litigation attorneys will be able to find flaws in either your or the other party’s claim, and in turn, help you reach a favorable settlement.
If there is some liability in personal injury, which happens often, the attorney will be able to help with the estimate of that liability, and how that might affect the settlement in court; which is an essential service for defendants, and also may be applicable to the plaintiff if the state has a comparative negligence law.
There are a number of specialist in litigation law today, and many large firms specialize in one specific branch; so if you happen to face this pressing dilemma: “do I litigate or do I settle?”
Our answer is: know who will be there to help you along the way.
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