Why Do Many Injured Plaintiffs Settle?
Jul 24, 2018 - Personal Injury
Negotiated settlement compromises are extremely common in the personal injury context, in both Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country. Though traditional wisdom once pegged the amount of settled cases at 95 percent of the total, data-driven studies have noted that the settlement rate most likely hovers between 66.9 and 87.2 percent, depending on the disputed claims at issue.
Settlement may seem an odd choice to those injury plaintiffs who are unfamiliar with the litigation process. After all, they are agreeing to abandon the claims at-issue and accept a negotiated deal — typically less than the amount that they could have potentially secured had they succeeded at trial.
So, why is settlement such a popular choice? There are a number of great reasons. Let’s break them down.
Trial Litigation is Not Ideal for Many Plaintiffs
Even if you have a strong, actionable claim for damages, trial litigation may not actually be the ideal choice. Litigation can be quite costly from a time/effort, emotional, and financial perspective. It can also cause problems with your work or business schedule. It’s not easy to balance your legal duties with the normalcy of your everyday life (family, friends, work, etc.).
Further, trial litigation is not private. In fact, if you bring a claim against the defendant for damages, your trial will be open to the public — you may be subject to media scrutiny, and your reputation could be damaged, depending on the circumstances of your case. Settlement allows you to avoid the “hassle” and privacy concerns associated with standard trial litigation.
Settlement Compromises Minimize the Uncertainty of Litigation
Perhaps most importantly, however, negotiating a settlement gives you full control over compensation. There is uncertainty that accompanies all litigation — no matter how airtight you may believe your case to be, there is always a chance that the court does not find the defendant liable, or that the jury awards you significantly less damages than you believe that you’re entitled to recover.
How does settlement help reduce uncertainty?
Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, and you make a claim for damages totaling $200,000. Now, perhaps the defendant has admitted their liability. The only uncertainty left is damages. The jury may not agree that all your medical expenses were “necessary” or that your future wage loss claim is accurate. Perhaps the jury awards you only $100,000. You might have been able to do better had you settled the claim.
During settlement negotiations, the defendant is concerned that they will be held liable for the full amount of claimed damages at trial, while you might be concerned that the jury will award you less than what you are actually entitled to recover. Thus, settlement negotiations allow you to make a compromise that minimizes the uncertainty for both parties. In the above example, you might have been able to convince the defendant to compromise for $150,000 — less than your maximum potential, but more than the “floor.”
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Easton Personal Injury Lawyer
The attorneys here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC have represented injured plaintiffs throughout Pennsylvania since 1985. Our approach to litigation is unique — we are thorough advocates, and as such, we prepare for the possibility of trial from an early stage. This gives us a significant competitive advantage during negotiations, and in the event that settlement negotiations fail, we are well-equipped to successfully litigate the claim in court and secure a favorable verdict on behalf of our client.
This approach has brought us a lot of success over the years. We have an extensive track record of favorable verdicts and settlements.
We pride ourselves on being a client-centered firm. If you have any questions or concerns about your case, call in or email us — we are available 24/7 to assist you. Interested in speaking with an experienced Easton personal injury lawyer? Call (610) 258-9493 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.