By: Michael Rose
There are risks, rewards, and pitfalls when deciding whether putting your case before a jury is a better choice than settling. Risks are found in the unpredictability of a jury. Rewards can include a jury verdict that exceeds the settlement offer. Pitfalls can include lawyers and clients losing objectivity with their cases and becoming blind to faults. For these reasons, an objective evaluation of the full case is vital before deciding to take the case before a jury.
Cost Benefit Analysis
For example, if a settlement offer is $900,000 and the full value of the case is $1 million, then is the extra $100,000 worth the risk of a jury? Is that amount of money still valuable to the client when post-trial motions and appeals can take approximately two years in some jurisdictions?
If we flip the story so that a $1 million case has a $100,000 settlement offer, it might begin to make more sense to allow a jury to decide. It all boils down to how strong the case is and the client’s risk tolerance. If you believe the chances of winning the case and receiving the full $1 million are over 90%, then this is a good risk for a client. If the chances of winning the same case are 10% or under, it’s a very different story. Next, and you must ask this regardless of the chances of winning, would a $100,000 settlement help the client? Or would the unfavorable chances of a positive jury verdict be in the client’s best interest?
Putting Your Case Before a Jury is Itself a Judgement Call
In short, each situation is different. A jury can be difficult to predict, but a well-educated attorney and client are far more likely to reach a positive outcome.
Michael Rose is the senior partner and lead trial attorney at the law firm of Hach & Rose, LLP. He and his team have the experience necessary to make a decision about the risks and rewards of presenting a case before a jury. If you’re unhappy with a settlement offered to you or are seeking a knowledgeable attorney for your personal injury, construction accident, or wrongful death case, contact one of the attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057.