There are no prizes for coming second. Indeed, coming second usually means being ordered to pay most of the other side’s legal costs, in addition to having to bear all of your own legal costs, and not winning the overall case. Costs in legal cases can range from, at the low end, $20,000, right up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even in some very large cases, millions of dollars. A typical case that runs to a three day hearing, taking perhaps 18 months to run, might cost $80,000. An adverse costs order can be catastrophic.
When a dispute is considered in light of these costs, it becomes fairly obvious very quickly that fighting small disputes worth perhaps $10,000 – $30,000 are not usually worth it, and that it is in everyone’s interests to settle. But if the case involves an argument over hundreds of thousands of dollars, then it may well be worth it, depending on the strength of the case.