Why a Case May Not Be Settled
A case is generally only settled if there is a feasible
possibility That the defendant will lose the case. A case settles because people or companies
with competing interests and viewpoints find a way to agree.
Some people say that the definition of a good settlement is
one in which everyone goes away a little unhappy: the
plaintiff and her lawyer think they did not get quite enough
money; the defendant and his lawyer or insurance company
think they paid a bit too much.
There are many reasons why a case may not be settled, I will
outline some of the basic reasons here, firstly the
plaintiff's lawyer may be too high in his/her evaluation of
the value of the case. Most cases can be valued quite well
by looking at similar cases and assessing the value of your
based on that precedent. Often though the plaintiff's
lawyer is not too high in their evaluation of the value of
the case, but the plaintiff decides to not follow the
recommendation of the lawyer for whatever reasons it may be.
Quite possibly the insurance adjuster could be too low in
his/her evaluation of the case. Even the lawyer for the
defendant may be low in their evaluation of the case, and
make a recommendation to the insurance company. The
necessary information to evaluate the case may not be
provided by the plaintiff's side to the defence. The
plaintiff's side of the case may not respond in a timely
manner to settlement proposals made by the defence.
Either side makes threats and promises it should not have
made and paints itself into a corner which is hard to get
out of and still save face. When either side is slow
to return phone calls or letters it is often a contributing
factor to a case going to court. Or when either side
fails to consider the other side's viewpoint, during
actual settlement discussions, lawyers, adjusters, or
clients fail to listen to each other, fail to recognize that
the opponent's point of view or arguments may be valid.
There may be an honest disagreement about liability, or who
is at fault In some cases there is a valid case for either
argument. Obviously in situations like these its is too
difficult for parties to come to an agreement on a
settlement. Likewise when there is an honest
disagreement about the extent of the injuries or damages.
The governing law is unclear or unsettled, and one side
wants to clear it up or make new law. Cases like these are
often called "unprecedented" and create new trends in legal
procedure, and are also cause for the case going to court.
In certain types of cases, the insured has the right to
consent before there can be a settlement, and refuses to do
so. When one or more of the above reasons are present,
settlement is not impossible, but is difficult or delayed.
The more of these factors that are present, the harder it is
to reach a settlement. It is when these reasons are not
present or are overcome that a settlement is normally
There are many reasons why a case may not be settled but
really only one reason why a case will be settled. A case
will never be settled when the defendant is virtually
assured of winning the case, where as if there is a real
chance that the plaintiff will be awarded more than the
defendant has valued the case at a settlement may be
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