Plaintiffs in civil suits: Better to settle than fight

by • September 1, 2008 • UncategorizedComments Off on Plaintiffs in civil suits: Better to settle than fight1317

© 2008 The Medical-Legal News

A study published in the September issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies found that heading into court, as opposed to settling, is more often a strategic mistake made by plaintiffs than by defendants, according to an article in The New York Times, Aug. 8, 2008.
The report found that bad decisions by plaintiffs to go to trial are most often associated with contingency-fee cases, while on the defense side, bad decisions are more likely found in cases where insurance coverage is missing.
Randall L. Kiser is a co-author of the study and is an analyst at DecisionSet, a firm that advises clients on lawsuit decisions, according to the article.
Defendants lost only 24% of cases when they snubbed settlements and went to court, while plaintiffs lost 61% of cases when they refused a settlement and pressed on. The study looked at 2,054 cases and noted that about 85% of all cases settle.
Litigators often say “good” cases settle, at least from a plaintiff point of view, and this study concurs.
The study also found that wrong decisions to go to trial have become more frequent.
The article noted some possible reasons for the “fight on” miscalculations: 1) plaintiff attorneys may be eager to collect contingency fees; 2) financial incentives to persist may exist for either side; or 3) attorneys may not be informing their clients well — or clients may not be listening.

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