Don’t all cases go to trial?
Most cases, in fact, the vast majority of cases, settle. The American Judges Association puts that number as high as 97% of cases reach a pre-trial settlement. The reality is that at some point, often right before trial or even while a jury is being selected, cases settle.
There are a number of factors that contribute to settlement, and it isn’t always how severe the injury is.
Sometimes a clear case of liability or a matter with a serious injury settles right away. Most often, the parties want some “discovery” before settlement. Discovery or disclosure is part of the case when the parties exchange evidence and show the other side the value of their case. In fact, there are few surprises by the time a case proceeds to trial.
Factors that increase the likelihood of settlement include:
- Publicity and Public Opinion - Often in cases with strong public opinion behind them will settle early as all of the parties begin to realize that the case could have farther-reaching implications than simply the settlement. This is called “trying your case in the court of public opinon” which can backfire against your client.
- Cost - As trial approaches, costs can increase exponentially. Hiring witnesses, unwilling witnesses, and unsavory fact patterns are all factors that can encourage settlement.
- Unpredictability - As with any case, being in control of the outcome is more important than taking the risk of having a Judge or Jury decide. Both options are unpredictable and usually surprising.
- High Risk - Some cases appear to be clear cut on both sides and both sides feel very confident that if they proceed to trial they will win the windfall. This is a high-risk strategy. If both sides feel they have a slam dunk, it might be time to negotiate a settlement.
These are just a few of the reasons cases are likely to settle. Having a litigation attorney evaluate your case might give a more clear picture of the soundness of the evidence or the likelihood of outcome once the matter is before a jury.
Jason Linden is a litigator and a trial attorney with years of unparalleled experience. Most importantly, he enjoys trying cases, which makes him confident and that confidence in his case and in you, his client, is sure to impact the jury at the time of trial. With a proven track record of wins and favorable settlements, Jason Linden is the personal injury attorney you’ll want in your corner.