Updated July 22, 2022

What Is the Difference Between a Verdict and a Settlement?

Getting injured in an unexpected accident can completely alter your daily life. In addition to your physical injuries, you may also experience frustration, worry, and fear. This is why if you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, that person should be held accountable. 

You are entitled to compensation to cover these unexpected expenses and the hardships you are experiencing as a result of the accident. But, where do you even start? 

There are two avenues in which you could get the compensation that you deserve: settlement or verdict. On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know to answer the two main questions, “What is a verdict?” and “What is a settlement?”

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, contact your attorney at Wilson Kehoe Winingham right away. We will review the information about your injury and situation, and determine if it is best to pursue a settlement or take your case to trial. 

What Is a Verdict?

A verdict is a decision reached by a jury in a courtroom. The jury decides whether a defendant is at fault or not at fault for the  allegations outlined in the case. 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 the trial.

What Does Verdict Mean?

As a personal injury law firm, we are often asked the question “What is the final verdict meaning?” The actual verdict is the final decision made about the compensation you will receive. It is the decision made after a trial— as opposed to during the litigation  process, which ends in a settlement. 

According to Cornell Law School, the actual definition of verdict in law is the jury’s conclusion based on the facts presented in a case. Additionally,  a verdict can be the judge’s final decision in a bench trial. 

What Is a Settlement?

A settlement is a contractual agreement made between two disputing parties. A settlement does not involve outside input or decision-making from a judge or jury. 

In an ideal situation, a settlement would be reached before the case goes to trial. However, settlements can also be reached during a trial. In those situations, the ongoing trial would then conclude because a resolution was reached outside of court.

What Does Settlement Mean?

According to Cornell Law School, the legal definition of a settlement is an agreement that concludes a dispute, usually in private. 

When Can a Case Be Settled?

A case is settled when both parties agree upon a contract, but there is so much more to settlements than a signature. Reaching a settlement takes cooperation and agreement from both parties. One of the most difficult parts is deciding upon an outcome that is supposed to be sufficient for an entire lifetime, depending on the age and injury of the person pursuing compensation. 

Your personal injury attorney’s role during the settlement process is to give you advice. In the end, it is your decision if you accept or reject the amount and settle out of court. 

Watch WKW’s “How Do You Determine a Fair Settlement?” video for more factors to consider when negotiating a fair settlement amount. 

Settlement vs. Verdict

Choosing between whether to pursue a settlement or take your case to trial takes expertise on your attorney’s part. There are strong benefits and challenges to both. 

Usually, the monetary compensation won ina  lawsuit that has gone to trial  is higher than a settlement; however, the costs and fees are also higher. The risk is also higher because the verdict may not be in your favor and you may not receive any compensation whatsoever. 

The risk of losing any potential compensation is why it’s essential to have an experienced attorney—like the ones at WKW—by your side. We have the knowledge and resources available to take your case to trial if we believe that will provide the best possible outcome. 

Settlements can be agreed upon even during the trial process. But if a verdict is reached before a settlement is agreed upon and it is not in your—the plaintiff’s—favor, you lose it all. Talk to your WKW attorney about choosing between a settlement vs. trial. We can determine the best course of action to get you the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve. 

Deciding Between a Settlement and a Verdict

If you find yourself in the position where you have been injured by another party’s negligence, one of the questions you will be faced with is “Should I aim for settlement or trial?” To answer this question, you have to weigh your options of what is best for your particular case. Your attorney will advise you as to what the best course of action may be, but you have the final say. 

For a basic rundown, consider the following. A settlement:

  • Is faster than a trial
  • Is usually less expensive than a trial 
  • Does not take as much effort to defend a case (but don’t let this dissuade you—your personal injury attorney at WKW can and will represent you)
  • You can choose between a structured or lump sum settlement

These can all be good reasons for deciding on a settlement, but there is a correct time and place for a trial too. The negligent party may continue to lowball you—meaning offering below the reasonable amount or not accepting your justified amount. 

Instead of settling for less than you deserve, you may want to continue to pursue a trial. This will be expensive and time-consuming, but it may pay off in the end. 

Types of Lawsuit Settlements

One of the main types of lawsuits that end up turning into settlements is car accident settlements. Of course, you can always go through the car accident settlement process

You can reach a car accident settlement before trial, which includes collecting evidence, sending a demand letter, and then pursuing a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, then the claim moves to a trial where the result is determined by the verdict. 

View WKW’s car accident case results for examples of how WKW has successfully won compensation for our clients injured in car accidents. 

Do you want to learn more about choosing between settlements, trials, or even pursuing a settlement during trial? Watch WKW’s video about going to court for a car accident claim for more information.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. We can help you get the compensation you deserve, whether by helping you negotiate a settlement or fighting for your rights in court.

Call 317.886.1924 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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