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What is the Difference Between a Verdict and a Settlement?


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Feb 08, 2021 in Personal Injury

verdict vs settlementWhen there is a civil dispute between two parties, there are essentially two ways to solve it: an out-of-court settlement or a lawsuit. If both parties can reach an agreement on the value of the claim, it may be possible to reach a settlement. If both parties cannot come to an agreement, the case may be left up to a jury.

If you find yourself involved in a civil dispute over an injury caused by the negligence of another, our South Bend personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you through the process. Our attorneys have experience settling claims outside of court and are prepared to file a lawsuit when necessary.

Reaching a Settlement

Settlements are usually binding agreements in which the liable party agrees to pay a certain amount in monetary compensation while the injured party agrees not to pursue any more legal action.

To reach a settlement, both parties must come to a mutual agreement that both sides find acceptable. Reaching a settlement often takes time with many offers and demands being made, so it is important to have someone on your side who has your best interests in mind. Settlements are often between victims and insurance companies. Sometimes negotiations are done directly with the insurance company, and sometimes a settlement is reached through mediation or arbitration.

Reaching a Verdict

The process in a civil case is like the process for a criminal case. However, in a criminal case, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the accusing party only needs to produce a preponderance of evidence to prove liability.

Before the trial begins, there is a pre-trial discovery period, and a jury is selected. Once these two phases are completed, the trial may begin with opening statements from both parties. This is followed by the presentation of evidence, witness testimony, cross-examination and finally, closing statements from each side.

After closing statements are made, the jury will deliberate to reach a decision, which is called a verdict. The jury determines which party is liable for damages and is responsible for paying.

Which is More Common?

In civil cases, such as vehicle accident claims and other personal injury claims, a resolution is usually achieved through a settlement and not a lawsuit. However, there are times when insurance companies do not want to accept liability and taking the case to court may be the best option for recovering compensation.

Sometimes, insurance companies are more willing to accept liability and offer a settlement after a lawsuit has been filed but the trial has not begun. The attorney you choose to represent you should have enough experience to know when to accept a settlement after a lawsuit has been filed or if it would be better to continue with a trial.

Which is Preferable?

The answer to this question is determined on a case-by-case basis. Settlements are generally more cost-effective and you ensure you receive some amount of compensation. If you go to trial, you risk not receiving anything if the jury rules in favor of the at-fault party. However, there are times when a lawsuit and a jury may be better for your case. Remember, every case is different and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

If you choose an attorney who is prepared for both scenarios, you may be more likely to improve your odds of achieving a favorable outcome.

We Are Prepared to Help

The attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak have the legal knowledge and experience to handle a variety of injury claims. We are aggressive negotiators who are also prepared to go to court if we cannot reach a favorable settlement.

We offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything up front while we work on your claim, so there is no risk to you.

Call today to schedule your free case review: (844) 678-1800