Settling vs. Going to Trial

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In most lawsuits, plaintiffs and lawyers at some point will have to sit together to make a decision on whether to settle with the opposing party, or take the case to trial.

In most lawsuits, plaintiffs and lawyers at some point will have to sit together to make a decision on whether to settle with the opposing party, or take the case to trial. It isn’t an easy decision to make, and there are pros and cons to each option.

Some research has indicated that settling is much better than going to trial. According to the results of a new study that poured through civil lawsuit settlements, in many cases, persons who decided not to settle and went to trial, ended up making the wrong decision, and getting less than they would have if they had settled.

More than 92% of cases on an average are settled. In such cases, it is almost impossible to tell whether these cases would have done much better if they had gone to trial.

The study focused on more than 2,000 cases that went from the settlement stage to trial, between 2002 and 2005. In approximately 61% of the cases, the decision to go to trial was wrong, and the plaintiff ended up with lower damages. In just 24% of the cases, the plaintiffs received higher damages by going to trial.

There are definitely great advantages to settling. For one, you’ll get paid much quicker, and settling can also make it much cheaper. Litigation can be extremely expensive. Further, in a settlement, you have the option of protecting your privacy. Settling can end the long drawn out process of a lawsuit.

However, as part of the settlement, you may have to accept that the other party did not admit any wrongdoing or guilt in the matter. This is often something that many plaintiffs cannot digest.

In a trial, you have a chance of ending up with potentially huge damages. The risk is that you cannot really predict how a jury is going to rule.

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