From the National Law Journal:

A study of court settlements in personal injury lawsuits against businesses estimated companies could save an average total of $114,000 per claim or $670,000 for severe injuries by promptly settling cases instead of fighting them in court.

The study, which was published this month in the Columbia Business Law Review, also projected $32,000 in savings from lower legal expenses, or about $211,000 for cases involving severe injuries.

Well, duh. Frankly, I am amazed by how vigorously most insurance companies will defend a certain set of cases.

If you’re talking about a case with several million dollars in damages, the insurer (and possibly the defendant, since their coverage may be exceeded) has a substantial interest in probing the case, particularly the extent of damages, to determine how much the case is actually worth.

But those cases are, on the whole, few and far between. Far more common are cases ranging between $200,000 and $500,000 in damages with the insured her is more than happy to pay an equivalent or greater amount to the defense attorney to, well, I don’t know. Scare off future attorneys? Keep the money in their reserves to earn interest? I cannot count the number of cases I’ve seen where, right from the beginning, it was clear that the defendant would be found liable for some number between $200,000 and $500,000, and yet we marched all the way to trial before actually receiving an offer at all, much less an appropriate value.

Intuitively, that doesn’t make sense, not least because, as a trial firm, we have no problem preparing and trying cases to verdict, so on the eve of trial we are less likely to settle.

Apparently it doesn’t make empirical sense either.