What Is the Difference Between a Verdict and Settlement?

There are some big differences between verdicts and settlements in a personal injury case. A settlement is a voluntary and binding agreement between parties to resolve a case. A verdict is a judgment from a court or jury determining the damages in a personal injury case. Both are effective ways to win compensation for your injuries with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

The Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers can help explain the differences between a verdict and a settlement. We help you pursue the right option in your case to win the compensation you deserve. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about your case.

Verdicts in Personal Injury Cases

A verdict is a decision or legal judgment in a court proceeding. Verdicts occur from a jury trial or bench trial. A jury trial occurs in civil personal injury actions where a panel of jurors decides whether you are entitled to financial compensation. It requires you and your personal injury attorney to file a personal injury action in court and take the case to trial. The jury will:

  • Listen to the evidence and arguments presented at trial
  • Determine if the defendant caused the accident or your injuries
  • Determine liability, if any
  • Evaluate your damages and award the compensation they believe is appropriate

Juries are made up of ordinary people called in to serve as jurors. They are your peers and are disinterested third parties who weigh the evidence and determine what compensation you are owed. Their decision is a jury verdict that may award you monetary damages.

A legal verdict may also come from a bench trial. A bench trial occurs when the judge is the finder of fact rather than the jury. The judge decides the case after listening to all of the evidence in the trial. In a bench trial, no jury is ever empaneled. Whatever compensation the judge awards, that is the verdict in your case.

Settlements in Personal Injury Cases

A settlement is a legally binding agreement between the parties to resolve the case for a particular amount of money. Settlements are widespread in personal injury cases. In many cases, there is little question that the defendant is at fault, but the dispute revolves around the amount of compensation the defendant must pay.

A legal settlement is a negotiated agreement. Settlement negotiations occur when the parties submit competing offers and counteroffers about what will resolve the case. For example, in a serious truck accident case, you and your attorney may first seek $450,000 in damages. The defendant may counter with $50,000 instead. After several rounds of negotiations and further investigation into the case, you all finally agree on $350,000 to resolve the case. This agreed-upon financial compensation is called a settlement.

A settlement is a form of binding contract between the two parties. It is usually put in writing in a settlement agreement and may include details such as, but not limited to:

  • The amount of compensation the defendant will pay to resolve the case
  • Who will pay the compensation
  • How the compensation will be paid, such as in a lump sum or payments
  • Non-disclosure or confidentiality provisions
  • A dismissal of the lawsuit with no right to refile

Which Is Better: A Verdict or a Settlement?

Verdicts and settlements both have their pros and cons. A settlement gives you more control over the amount of compensation you receive. With the help of a highly experienced negotiator, such as a personal injury attorney, you can demonstrate the extent of your injuries and other damages to convince the defendant to settle. A settlement eliminates the need to go to trial, which can be stressful and time-consuming. A settlement may result in a lesser award than a jury verdict, but it eliminates the risk that you could receive even less than the settlement agreement amount.

A verdict requires a trial. Trials are stressful and may take a long time. They are also riskier because you do not know whether you could win more compensation than in a settlement or less. You may even lose at trial. Juries can be unpredictable.

Your personal injury attorney can advise you on the best course of action. Every case is different, and either a settlement or verdict could win you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney About Your Case

Speak to a Texas and Louisiana personal injury attorney about your injuries. The experienced Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers can help you pursue compensation in your case and determine whether a settlement or verdict is the best path forward for your case.

Contact us today for an initial consultation of your case. We look forward to speaking with you.

Morris & Dewett provides this information to the public for general education and interest. The firm does not represent clients in every topic discussed in answers to frequent questions. The information is curated and produced based on questions commonly asked or search terms commonly used. Every effort is made to provide accurate information. Do not make any decision solely based on the information provided, please seek relevant counsel for each topic area. Consult an attorney before making any legal decision, consult a doctor before making any medical decision, and consult a financial advisor before making any fiscal decision. Information provided is not legal advice. If you have any legal needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are pleased to assist you.

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