For victims of car accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, broken contracts, etc., a study to be released in the September issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies says that it’s better to settle than to go to trial.
Co-author of the study, Randall L. Kiser says: “The lesson for plaintiffs is, in the vast majority of cases, they are perceiving the defendant’s offer to be half a loaf when in fact it is an entire loaf or more.” The study, based upon a review of 2,054 cases that went to trial between 2002 and 2005, claims that plaintiffs were wrong to go to trial in 61 percent of cases, while defendants were wrong to go to trial in just 24 percent of the studies. The study found that most of the plaintiffs who passed up a settlement offer and elected to go to trial ended up receiving less money than if they had accepted the offer. On average, getting it wrong cost plaintiffs $43,000. Interestingly, the stud noted that while defendants get it wrong less often, when they do it is much more costly: an average of $1.1 million.
The study is discussed in the business section of the August 8, 2008 New York Times.