Settlement vs. Verdict: Which Is Better?

courtroom judge holding a gavel, Settlement vs. Verdict Which Is Better

If you are injured by someone else’s actions or negligence, you have the right to file a lawsuit (ideally with the help of an attorney) against the party that caused the injury. Your attorney will review your case and explain what comes next – and it may not be what you expect. If you have ever watched a legal drama movie or show, you may have expectations of big, dramatic statements made by your lawyer to a jury, often drowned out with cheers and cries from the audience.

Beyond the fact that courtrooms in movies and TV shows are heavily dramatized for entertainment, the truth is that most personal injury cases simply do not go to court. Instead, your Duluth personal injury lawyer will likely aim for a settlement on your behalf.

There are many reasons for this approach, and virtually all of them are for the benefit of the client. Perhaps most importantly, a good lawyer will try to get you the money you deserve as quickly as possible. For that reason, going to court is often the last resort.

But if your case does go to court, you will need a highly experienced attorney who knows what it takes to win – especially since you will most likely be trying to get compensation from an insurance company. At Scholle Law, our personal injury attorneys know the tactics insurance companies often use to weasel out of paying what you deserve and are not intimidated by them. Give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Why Settlements Are Usually Preferred

If you get injured, chances are you will see your stack of bills and expenses grow and grow. You may need medical treatment that exceeds your health and/or car insurance limits, and if you are out of work even for a few weeks, regular expenses like the mortgage may become unmanageable. That is why it is so important for us to pay attention to the individual needs of our clients, and for most clients, that means getting paid as soon as possible.

The fastest way to do this is through a settlement. A settlement is the resolution of a dispute before a final court judgment is reached. In other words, it is an agreement that the at-fault party (most often their insurer) will pay a certain amount of money in exchange for the case being closed. You may receive a lump sum or a structured settlement, but either way, there will be money in your pocket. Most settlements are reached before a lawsuit is ever filed, but a settlement can be offered at any time before the judge hands down a verdict — even in the final days of a trial.

In most cases, a settlement will close your case much faster and cheaper than a verdict. Expenses go up due to court filing fees, depositions, court reporters, expert witness fees, etc. With the preparation time and the actual length of the trial, you may be waiting much longer for a verdict than you would for a settlement. In addition, due to the tremendous court system backlog due to COVID-19, it may be years before your case ever makes it to court.

But sometimes, that wait is worth it.

Why Would My Case Result in a Verdict?

As we mentioned, your Atlanta personal injury attorney will likely try to get a fair settlement on your behalf. However, there are a wealth of circumstances that may prove going to court is the best option for your specific case.

One of the most common reasons settlements are not reached is that the other party or their insurance company offers an exceptionally low settlement. They know you are likely in a financial bind, so they may try to get you to take the lowest possible offer. While any sum may seem like a win after you have been injured, your lawyer may recommend declining the settlement and instead going to court.

While settlements are often quicker than court trials, waiting for a verdict can result in a bigger win. Your lawyer will take your case to court and show the jury the solid evidence of why you deserve compensation — way more compensation than what you are being offered in the low ball settlement. However, favorable verdicts are not guaranteed; after all, the jury is made up of people who likely do not know the ins and outs of personal injury law.

Should I Take the Settlement or Wait for a Verdict?

The general rule of thumb is this:

Settlements often yield lower compensation, but faster results

Verdicts often yield higher compensation, but take longer

Of course, this does not apply to every case. Your situation may call for a trial for reasons other than compensation, such as forcing the at-fault party to admit fault. Or, because of all the details surrounding the incident, a settlement may take months to reach.

So, should you take the offered settlement or take the case to court? The answer is that it depends on an evaluation of all the circumstances surrounding your case. You may receive a low settlement offer that your attorney can use to negotiate a higher sum on a complicated case. Or, they may refuse to negotiate for a fair settlement even on a simple case, compelling your attorney to take them to court.

The good news is you do not have to figure out your best option alone. At Scholle Law, we have recovered over $75 million on behalf of our clients, both through settlements and by verdicts. Our attorneys have the trial expertise to get a favorable verdict, and we also know how to effectively negotiate with the at-fault party. With this experience, we can explain all your options to help you determine how you want to proceed.

Give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online for your no-obligation consultation today. Your initial consultation is always free, and there is no fee until we win your case.