In the state of California, a settlement is the end of a legal dispute before it reaches the conclusion of a trial. It is a common misconception that cases have to be settled before a trial begins. The reality is that a case can be settled at virtually any point in the legal process.
In most instances, a trial is a lengthy and expensive process. People file suit because they feel as if they are owed something for some reason. In many cases, it is because they have been injured by another. Plaintiffs main decide to settle a case to avoid a lengthy case and receive necessary funds sooner. Defendants may choose to settle a case for the same reasons plaintiffs do: to avoid a lengthy and expensive trial.
Cases may be settled in a variety of ways. Typically, one attorney approaches the other after having deemed that they have enough information to suggest a settlement offer. This may be the plaintiff’s attorney who is hoping to secure their client’s award more quickly, or it may be the defendant’s attorney who is attempting to save their client money.
No matter the reason or cause for the settlement, it must be approved by a judge before it is made official. If a judge believes that the settlement is not fair to one or both parties, the judge may order two sides back to the table. In some instances, the judge may determine that a settlement is not fair and order the sides to move forward with a trial.