A “good” settlement is entirely dependent upon the client’s needs at the time the client decides to settle. In determining whether a settlement is good, a client should ask himself the following: “Am I better off accepting the terms of the potential settlement now, or litigating this matter for a future resolution to be decided by eight strangers?” The client must consider the decision from a monetary and non-monetary perspective while considering their present economic situation. While more money is always better than less money, sooner is also better than later.
The client and not the attorney is the authority for settling or litigating. The attorney can only advise the client of the risks and benefits of settling versus litigating. The ultimate decision remains solely with the client. While the only remedy in civil litigation is money, there are many other considerations that the client should address when choosing to settle, including the time involved, the client’s financial condition and the stress of having to participate in the litigation process.
While the decision to settle is dependent on the needs of the client at the time he or she must make the decision; there are some universal monetary attributes of a “good” settlement. First, are all the medical bills, legal fees and costs capable of being fully paid under the terms of the settlement? Second, are all the potential future medical bills contemplated by the terms of the settlement? Third, will the client’s lost wages or future lost wages be paid by the settlement? If most or all of these damages are paid, and the client receives e-money after all of these damages are paid, then in most instances the decision to settle was a “good” decision.