How Can My Case Be Resolved Before Reaching Trial?

Not all claims go to trial – in fact, most of them come to successful resolutions during pre-trial motions. At the onset of a lawsuit, an attorney will discuss the plaintiff’s goals for the case. He or she will then give the plaintiff a list of potential legal options, often with going to trial as a last resort. Many claims only make it to the early stages of litigation before the parties come to an agreeable settlement or another resolution. Understanding the possible ways to finish a case before going to the courtroom can help a plaintiff prepare for what might lie ahead on the journey to damage recovery.

Settlement Negotiation

The most common way that parties resolve personal injury claims is in settlement negotiations. Settlements use third-party mediators to help two or more parties compromise or come to an agreement that works for all involved. Using a mediator during settlement negotiations is often effective at resolving disputes. Settlements can happen at any time before or during a trial. A settlement will end or avoid a court date. Settling a case at the earliest opportunity is the best way to save money on a full-blown trial lawsuit. It also prevents the unsuccessful party from having to pay the other party’s court costs after a loss.

Discontinuance or Withdrawal of Response

In some cases, one party decides not to continue with the action against the other party. If the plaintiff pursuing the claim decides to end the action, the courts refer to it as a discontinuance. Similarly, a defendant may decide to withdraw his/her response to the action. A discontinuance or withdrawal can prevent a trial, shorten the length of a trial, reduce the number of defendants, or allow the plaintiff to receive a default judgment at the defendant’s withdrawal. A plaintiff may discontinue a case at any time before filing a notice of trial or after with consent of all other parties. A defendant can withdraw entirely or in part. There are costs with these pre-trial actions.

Summary Judgment Motion

If a plaintiff has proof the defendant’s claims or responses have no merit, he/she may be able to obtain a summary judgment without having to go to trial. In cases where the defendant cannot dispute key facts, the court will summarily end the case. The point of a trial is to dispute two sides of a case to get to the truth. If no one disputes the truth, there is no reason to go to trial. The party with the undisputed facts can file a motion for a summary judgment, in which the court will look at the facts and issue a judgment as appropriate.

Motions to Dismiss

There are several grounds on which the courts may file a motion to dismiss a case. This often occurs at the earliest stages of litigation, prior to the discovery phase of the process. If the defendant believes the complaint is invalid, he/she can file a motion to dismiss. The courts might accept this motion on the grounds of lacking personal jurisdiction, lack of subject matter jurisdiction, improper venue, insufficiency of process, or failure to state a claim that has relief to be granted.

These are all common reasons that a court will end up dismissing a case before it even begins. An experienced attorney can walk you through all possible ways of resolving a case without having to go to trial in Kansas City.