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Settlements vs. Verdicts in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Posted on November 10, 2020 in Personal Injury

While researching personal injury claims, you may come across the terms “settlement” and “verdict.” Both of these terms refer to the compensation or financial award an injured victim can collect during an injury claim. However, they refer to two different legal processes. Recognizing which type of award is best to pursue in your case requires assistance from a Las Vegas personal injury attorney.

What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?

A personal injury settlement is the most common outcome of a claim in Nevada. Almost all personal injury cases resolve at the insurance settlement stage. A settlement refers to an agreement between the injured party and the liable party’s insurance company. It is a pre-trial agreement to release the defendant from all further liability for the accident and injury in exchange for the listed amount of insurance benefits.

You do not have to go to court in Nevada to achieve a settlement. You and your lawyer will negotiate with someone called an insurance claims adjuster instead, either in person or via phone calls and letters. The insurance company hires an adjuster to review your case and estimate its worth. Your lawyer will then help you negotiate your settlement award for an amount that accurately makes up for your losses. An injury settlement generally includes payment for an injured victim’s medical bills, property damages and lost wages.

What Is a Personal Injury Verdict?

A verdict refers to a decision made by a jury after hearing both sides of a personal injury case at court. You may recover a judgment award through a jury verdict in Nevada if your case has to go to trial. While this is uncommon, it might be the case if you have a complicated injury claim, such as one involving catastrophic personal injuries or a liability dispute. If your lawyer cannot resolve your case with a settlement with the insurance company, he or she may choose to take the case to trial instead for fair compensation.

During a civil trial, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. This means enough evidence to prove the defendant is more likely than not liable for your injuries. This is a lower standard of proof than in a criminal case. It will be up to you or your attorney to prove that the defendant was negligent and that this caused your losses. If you succeed in fulfilling the burden of proof, a jury will announce a verdict in your favor. This will result in a judgment award granted, which often pays for both economic and noneconomic damages (including pain and suffering).

Pros and Cons of a Settlement/Verdict

Both settlements and verdicts come with benefits and potential drawbacks for the injured party. Most clients prefer settlements, as achieving a settlement comes with a faster and cheaper legal process. You do not need to go through a personal injury trial to achieve a positive settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company. For this reason, settlements are easier to achieve than personal injury verdicts in Nevada.

One potential drawback of a settlement vs. a verdict is less compensation for your injuries and losses. A trial takes longer and is more expensive than reaching an insurance settlement. However, the trial process generally results in greater compensation awarded by a jury than the insurance company would offer during a settlement. You could receive compensation for your emotional distress and physical pain, for example, as well as punitive damages.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Understanding the nuances of a settlement vs. a verdict for your particular personal injury case may require assistance from an attorney. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Claggett & Sykes Law Firm today for a free consultation with one of our lawyers. We can help you understand which legal route is in your best interest.