A case may take many years due to a lengthy procedure of studying the facts and researching the law associated with the dispute. Remember that the submission of initial papers is made several months before the start of the trial. During these months, both parties are given sufficient time to consider settling the dispute outside the court.
Knowing the right opportunity to settle a case entails knowing why the lawsuit is filed in the first place. Sometimes, a party filing a case only wants compensation for the damages done to them. If this is the case, the defendant may settle the case to save himself from the financial and mental stress of going through a trial.
Below are some of the ways on how to settle a case:
1. Face-To-Face Negotiation. Having both parties have a sit-down meeting to come up with a solution is one of the traditional approaches to settle a lawsuit. However, this might be a problem if the people involved are not rational enough to handle a face-to-face negotiation.
If both parties decide to have this kind of negotiation, it is best to consult an attorney to draft the documents to ensure that there are no ambiguities in the agreement. A witness is also necessary especially during the signing of documents.
2. Arbitration. This method is typically used for legal cases such as those involving money. Arbitration can cost from $500-$1000 which seem a little bit expensive but still cheaper than going into court.
During arbitration, an arbiter is necessary to decide the case. He has to follow the law; otherwise, a judge can overturn his decision. Both parties may bring a lawyer to provide them with legal advice.
There are two types of arbitration: nonbinding and high-low arbitration. If either of the parties involved does not agree to the decision of the arbiter, then it is nonbinding. High-low arbitration, on the other hand, is creating upper and lower monetary limits unknown to the arbiter.
3. Mediation. Some courts require mediation first before a lawsuit can be filed. They do this to lessen the cases filed in their courts. Mediation is also done when face-to-face negotiation is not successful.
A mediator is needed for both parties to agree. This third-party mediator essentially provides advice and offer possible options so that the people involved can come up with a solution.
If both parties come up with an agreement, a mediation agreement should be drafted. This is done to make sure everything is legally documented and can be implemented by the court. This mediation agreement should contain the signature of each party and the mediator.
Mediators can be individuals who undergo specialized training in a specific area, or a volunteer who have an outstanding background in the field or lawyers themselves. Location and the type of mediator involved are factors affecting the cost of meditation. This is probably why mediation charges may range from no monetary expenses at all to about $300 per hour.
Before filing a lawsuit, make sure that all options for settling a case have been exhausted to save you money on court dealings.