Attorney Eric D. Puryear

How Preparing for Trial Can Allow a Person to Avoid Trial

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In many cases, a person will wish to avoid having to take their case to trial. Paradoxically, by preparing for trial, a person can often avoid trial – and get the most favorable outcome possible.

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Trials take place when there is a disagreement between the parties to a case as to how the case should be resolved. While that may sounds like a simple truism, it is a fact that is worth thinking about for a moment. In almost every case, proceeding to trial will cost both sides time and money, as well as causing both sides to experience risk. For those reasons, there is an incentive for both parties in a case to want to avoid trial by getting what they want through agreement that they see as favorable. Yet, many cases proceed to trial. Sometimes, it is a stubborn opposing party that prevents a reasonable settlement. Other times, it is a lack of negotiations.

The work that is done to prepare a case for trial involves learning what evidence exists (both favorable and unfavorable) so that one is in the best position possible to prevail at trial. That information comes though a variety fo discovery tools, such as document production, interrogatories, depositions, discussions with witnesses, etc. That same information that could be used at trial also enables an attorney to play out in their mind how such a trial would go, and determine the strength of the case. Using all of that to try and persuade the opposing attorney and their client to settle on terms favorable to the client is a large part of an attorney’s work in many cases.

All too often, people and their attorneys do not do enough before trial to seek a more favorable outcome by agreement. That is unfortunate, as there are a great many cases where a person can get a better outcome through productive negotiations than they would obtain a trial, and do so with less risk and less cost.

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In sum, properly preparing for trial can allow a person to avoid the expense and other negative aspects of trial by putting that person in a position to obtain a favorable settlement. However, there are certainly cases where it is best to proceed to a trial. In those cases, the work that is done to prepare for trial would, of course, still need to be done. That means that in just about every case, properly preparing for trial is a productive and necessary thing.

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