United wants this buried ASAP, even if the actual damages and potential punitive damages are not going to be that high.
If the case went to trial, a bar napkin estimate may be between $10,000 and $50,000 in actual damages (e.g. for injuries to face and 2 broken teeth) and a multiplier of perhaps 5 for punitive damages, leading to a grand total of maybe $50,000 to $250,000, plus likely attorney's fees of tens of thousands of dollars.
But United is desperate to repair its soiled reputation, or at least get this problem out of the public spotlight before its next quarterly earnings report is due .
The media salivates at the thought of airing dirty corporate laundry. The police report that was just released on the incident looked totally like a cover-my-butt report that's instantly contradicted by video evidence. Maybe the process to choose Dr. Dao, the dragged passenger, was really not so "random". And who knows what other idiotic emails United Airlines CEO and Communicator of the Year winner Oscar Munoz had sent?
Best to bury this quickly, even if United has to pay a premium.