To Litigate or to Settle? That is the Question!

deciding to litigate or settle a civil case

What is litigation?

  • Litigation is an action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute. When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation.
  • The litigant is you: the person who has been injured. Usually, an attorney represents the litigant: the attorney is your lawyer.
  • Litigation is a process of filing a lawsuit in court, exchanging information with the defendant through discovery and then either resolving the case by settling out of court or by presenting the case to a judge or jury to decide.

Litigation vs. Settlement

  • A settlement is when an insurance company or defendant makes an offer of payment to the injured person.
  • When can settlements occur?
    • Settlements can be offered at any time. It could be before a lawsuit has been filed, before a trial has begun, or even during jury deliberation of a trial.
  • Usually, after a settlement offer has been given, there is some negotiation between the two sides before an agreement is reached.
  • After a settlement agreement is reached, there is no need for a trial since both sides are satisfied with the terms of the agreement. The lawsuit is then dropped and litigation is over.

Is litigating better than settling before a lawsuit is filed?

  • Each case is different and you are advised to consult with a seasoned trial lawyer who can counsel you on the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing litigation. It takes a long time to litigate and it cost money, but often you recover more money.

How does litigation get me compensation for my injuries?

Without legal counsel, insurance companies usually do not compensate victims to the extent that they deserve. That is where attorneys can help. Your attorney will first try to get you a fair settlement and if that does not work, litigation comes in. To receive what you deserve, it is sometimes necessary to take your case to court.

Before a lawsuit is filed, the insurance company may not be aware of the extent of your injuries or they may not be getting the full story from their insured. Many people who cause wrecks tell the insurance company it was not their fault or that you were not hurt. Litigating these issues will bring out the extent of your injuries and may show that the defendant was not accurate in what they reported to their insurance carrier.

Should I litigate or settle before suit is filed?

If you have been injured, you should seek the help of an attorney. The attorney can tell you the benefits or risks of litigating. Litigation can be expensive, but if your attorney is advising you to litigate, it means he or she has confidence in your case.

For more information, refer to the contact information below.

Contact Information

Stephen D. Apolinsky, Esquire
Apolinsky & Associates, LLC
Trial Lawyers
150 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 200
Decatur, Georgia 30030

call:             404-377-9191
fax:             404-745-0073


About the Author

Stephen Apolinsky

Stephen D. Apolinsky is a Personal Injury Attorney who specializes in representing individuals and families concerning wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. Stephen is licensed to practice in Georgia, Alabama, and the District of Columbia. With over 33 years of experience representing personal injury victims, Stephen has successfully tried over 80 cases to verdict before judges or juries, and has negotiated over 300 cases to out-of-court settlements. Stephen has been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association.