In what will come as no shock what so ever to seasoned settlement and legal professionals todays New York Times reported that recent studies indicate it is clearly better for plaintiffs to settle their dispute or litigation then it is to take it to trial. This will come as zero suprise to my friend Jan Schlichtmann who has been preaching for years about the destructive and expensive toll that litigation takes on clients and attorneys and who has been outlining his theory as to the best way to proceed using alternatives to litigation.
You can get a glimpse of his most recent speech to the Florida Justice Association by clicking on this video or visiting LB Network to view all of the videos of this talk.
As the co-author of the study says in summary:
“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,” said Randall L. Kiser, a co-author of the study and principal analyst at DecisionSet, a consulting firm that advises clients on litigation decisions.
The study, which was a test of cases over 2004 to 2005 confirms what most of us know, which is that most clients vastly over estimate the monetary worth of their case and do not understand the risk of going to trial.
The implications of this study, which should be kept on most structured settlement brokers desks for use in a difficult negotiation, are that structured settlements can often be the bridge between what the case is fairly valued at in settlement and what the plaintiff perceives as their needs or value going forward. To be able to illustrate via a structured settlement that pays out over 25 to 40 years what the future payments total up too and how they meet the clients needs, you can often allow the plaintiff to get "off the big number" and focus on their true needs for the money.
Make sure you get a copy of this study when it comes out, i'll be sure to post it here. It's a good reminder that structured settlement professionals have an important role to play in educating plaintiffs as to the risks of trial, the value of settlement and our ability to leverage and magnify this settlement.