U.S. tort law is heavily loaded against defendants.

In the U.S., if a defendant loses a suit they pay damages and they pay the plaintiff’s legal fees. If the defendant settles, they pay settlement and the plaintiff’s legal fees. If a defendant wins, the plaintiff does not pay the defendant’s legal costs.

High legal fees, high court costs and high awards in the U.S. all act as an inducement toward lawsuit settlement to limit risk.

 

More than 80% of defendants in U.S. Civil lawsuits will never see “justice” in the form of a jury trial. With some judges, more than 95% of their cases are settled, not tried.

Evaluating your judge and coming to grips with these statistics are of critical importance to defendant clients in establishing reasonable lawsuit goals, and the tactics to support those goals. In other words, since “justice” is an improbable outcome, it is often better for defendant clients to settle early and for as small an amount as can be negotiated rather than to continue to fight against highly unfavorable odds.