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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > Settlement vs. Verdict in Personal Injury Cases: Which Is Better?

Settlement vs. Verdict in Personal Injury Cases: Which Is Better?


If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim. However, before you jump in, you should understand the two main ways that these types of cases are resolved: through a settlement or by a verdict at trial.

Our Cobb County personal injury lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers can help you decide between settling your claim and going to trial. We can help you evaluate all relevant factors to make an informed decision.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim Settlement?

A settlement is an agreement between the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (the person, company, or entity responsible for the injury) or the defendant’s insurance company in which the defendant/insurer agrees to pay the plaintiff a certain amount of money to settle the case.

This amount is typically negotiated by the two parties and is often significantly less than what the plaintiff would receive if they were to win a verdict at trial. However, accepting a settlement means that the plaintiff gives up the right to pursue further legal action against the defendant in relation to that specific injury.

What Is a Verdict in Personal Injury Cases?

If a personal injury case goes to trial, the outcome is determined by a judge or jury. This process can be lengthy and expensive, but it may result in a higher compensation award than what the plaintiff would receive in a settlement. Furthermore, a verdict sets a legal precedent that may benefit other plaintiffs and restrict defendants in similar cases in the future.

Note: In Georgia, filing a claim after two years from the date of injury has expired will most likely result in the dismissal of your case (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33).

The Pros of Settling a Personal Injury Claim vs. Waiting for a Verdict

Pros of settling a personal injury claim are:

  • It’s often faster, as settlements can be reached relatively quickly without the need for a drawn-out trial
  • It’s often less expensive, as reaching a settlement typically involves fewer legal fees and other costs
  • It’s less risky, as there is a degree of certainty around the outcome and the amount that will be awarded to the plaintiff
  • It may offer more privacy, as the details of the settlement agreement are typically not made public
  • It typically avoids the stress and emotional strain of a trial, which can be particularly important for those who have suffered trauma

Pros of going to trial and waiting for a verdict:

  • Potentially higher compensation, as juries may award punitive damages and other amounts that are not typically included in settlements
  • The case can set a legal precedent that may aid others who have suffered similar injuries
  • The plaintiff has the chance to tell their story to a jury, which can be important both emotionally and to establish the validity of the injury
  • The defendant may be more likely to settle for a higher amount during the course of a trial, rather than risk losing a large verdict
  • There is a chance that the plaintiff may win the case entirely, resulting in a full compensation award

Consider speaking with a lawyer to determine which option is better for you.

Get Knowledgeable Help from a Lawyer

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether a settlement or a verdict is better in personal injury cases, as the decision ultimately depends on the unique factors of each case. Whether you choose to accept a settlement or fight for a verdict, getting legal representation is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers provide legal counsel to clients throughout Georgia, including in Cobb County, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, and Fulton County, as well as Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Atlanta, Johns Creek, and Dunwoody. Receive a free consultation by calling 770-685-6400.

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