Go for the settlement, rather than going to trial – new study finds benefits explains Jana Simard of JusticeNewsFlash.com

New York City, New York (JusticeNewsFlash.com) – A new study, which is to be published in the September issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, has concluded that in the majority of civil law cases, the plaintiffs who decided to bypass a settlement offer and went to trial instead; got less money than if they had taken the offer.

Interestingly, the results found that ‘defendants made the wrong decision by proceeding to trial far less often, in 24 percent of cases, and plaintiffs were wrong in 61 percent of cases. In just 15 percent of cases, both sides were right to go to trial — meaning that the defendant paid less than the plaintiff had wanted but the plaintiff got more than the defendant had offered.’ The study took into account 2,054 cases that went to trial from 2002 to 2005.
The study reports that cases that are considered ‘poor decisions’ to go to trials by the plaintiffs are often cases where contingency fee arrangements are present. Additionally, those considered ‘poor decisions’ by on the defense side, are those where insurance coverage is generally unavailable.

The study also finds that ‘mistakes were made more often in cases in which lawyers are typically paid a share of whatever is won at trial,’ and defendants feel the cost of their decision harsher and more often than the plaintiffs. The question posed is, ‘does the mistake fall on the shoulders of lawyer for giving inadequate advice, or on the clients’ for not taking the lawyers’ advice?’ In surveying trial outcomes over 40 years until 2004, the study finds that these ‘poor decisions’ to go to trial are only becoming more and more frequent. In assessing these findings, it is also becoming more apparent to take the settlement and avoid the trial. Why not if there is more money to gain?

Justice News Flash / News and press release distribution service

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