Pros and Cons of Settlements Versus Trials

First and foremost, Hankey Law Firm is willing to fight for you and your case. Usually, every case has strengths and weaknesses and not all clients are going to be best served by going to trial. We will be upfront and honest with you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and let you know how we need to proceed.

Do you know what your best option is when it comes to settlements versus trials? If you have almost any kind of case, chances are, you will most likely end up with a settlement as opposed to a jury trial. However, while a jury trial is rarely in the cards for cases other than criminal defense cases, it can be beneficial to know the pros and cons of each possible outcome.

In some circumstances, you may know immediately that you would like to reach an agreeable settlement, however, in other cases, you may wish to take it to a trial. Understanding the differences between ways of approaching various kinds of cases can help you have a better idea of how yours might proceed. Let’s take a look at the options and see what the pros and cons of settlements versus trials are.


Settlements, as mentioned previously, are the more likely outcome of almost every kind of case. The exception to this is criminal defense cases, which statistically see more trials than other cases. Reaching a settlement simply means that an agreement or resolution has been achieved outside of the courtroom. This resolution may include a payment that has been determined to be a fair amount of compensation for whatever damages have occurred or, in the context of family law, it may be a resolution of custody, visitation and support issues.


In settlements, you are aware of exactly what it is you are agreeing to, such as how much compensation is being agreed upon, or what kind of changes are being made in custody and visitation cases.

Settlements are often resolved significantly faster than trials.

This option also results in much faster processing of your payment or receiving of the compensation for any damages that are owed. Most of the time, this can be finalized as soon as a week or a month after settlement.

By reaching a settlement, you are avoiding excessive attorney fees and other costs that occur when you pursue a trial.

You may experience less mental and emotional stress if you choose a settlement over a trial.

You can also retain more personal privacy in settlements.

The biggest advantage to settlement is that you get to decide what you can and cannot live with whereas in a trial, everything is left to the decision of a judge or jury.


The compensation amount decided upon may be different than what a jury would deem appropriate and there is no guarantee this difference would be in your favor. You may have to agree to some visitation times that you did not want to agree to or make other concessions that you did not initially wish to make.

In settlements, defendants do not typically admit any fault, and no formal apologies are dealt. (It is important to note that depending on if you are the plaintiff or the defendant, this may be either a pro or a con.) Sometimes there are very important details that need to be heard by the judge and the only way to do that is through a hearing or trial.


The other option with any kind of legal case is to take it to a trial. This requires a court date where the opposing parties meet to make their cases and a judge, attorneys, witnesses, and sometimes a jury all work together to determine fault and consequences. Once decided, there is rarely any opportunity to dispute the decision unless you appeal the verdict.


In trials, the jury may decide upon a compensation amount than what would have been determined in a settlement. This may or may not be in your favor.

Trials also typically result in admittance of fault and can lead to more meaningful and long-lasting closure for those involved. (It is important to note that depending on if you are the plaintiff or the defendant, this may be either a pro or a con.)


With trials, there is often more than what meets the eye. There are lots of aspects to be considered, and any one of them can potentially change the outcome of the case. This uncertainty about timing and verdict and everything else can cause a lot of mental stress for all of the parties involved.

Trials can last up to years, with no peace until a verdict is finally reached.

Trials are also demanding in amounts of legal fees that are required to cover attorneys and litigation expenses.

Depending on what your goal is for whatever your case may be, you may decide to go with the common choice of a settlement, or you may decide to pursue a trial. Whatever your decision is, proper representation is essential. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, Hankey Law Firm will take your side and represent you accurately and favorably. If you have more questions regarding the pros and cons of settlements versus trials, or you would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today!