My understanding is that a bench trial is one in which there is no jury because the judge is allowed to be a finder of fact as well as a finder of law.

In a particular tort case, the facts are fairly cut and dried, including the defendant's guilt and the main issues appear to the be the level of the defendant's liability.

My further understanding is that most tort plaintiffs prefer a jury trial because that's how one gets large sympathetic awards such as the McDonald's hot water award. The judge in the case appears to be a "defendants' judge," who is scrupulous regarding the finding of fact, but leans toward leniency in imposing liability/penalty. Still, the plaintiff is more concerned about time and expense.

Is the plaintiff correct in assuming that asking for a bench trial would indeed save time and money? How does this work?

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