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What’s the difference between a verdict and a settlement?

February 1, 2017

The difference between a verdict and a settlement is whether a legal dispute is resolved in a court room during a jury trial, or outside of a courtroom between plaintiff, defendant, and their attorneys.

A verdict is a decision reached by a jury in a court room. The jury decides whether a defendant is “guilty” or “not guilty” of the allegations outlined in the suit. The jury reaches its decision without direct input from either the plaintiff or the defendant; they determine the outcome based on evidence, testimonies, and other events that unfold during trial.

A settlement is a contractual agreement made between two disputing parties. They do not involve outside input or decision-making from a judge or a jury. In an ideal situation, a settlement would be reached before the case goes to trial. However, settlements can be reached in the midst of one. In such circumstances, the ongoing trial would then conclude because a resolution was found outside of court.

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