If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in Portland, you know that this civil complaint may result in a monetary award for the damages you suffered. You may have heard settlement and verdict used interchangeably in this context; while these terms are similar, they refer to two different agreements.
A settlement is an out-of-court agreement that two parties reach prior to entering the trial, while a verdict is a court-issued decision or judgment. Understanding the difference between these two outcomes is important to know what is best for your future claim.
Most personal injury cases settle outside of the courtroom, either before the attorney files the lawsuit or before the case reaches trial. A settlement can provide several benefits to your case, including the following.
However, settlements do carry certain risks. You may receive an insufficient offer, and if you choose to accept it, you can struggle with paying for important expenses such as medical care or property repairs in the future. Hiring a Portland personal injury attorney to represent your case can help you avoid this pitfall; he or she can determine when it is in your best interest to accept a settlement offer and the minimum amount you should accept.
If your case cannot settle outside of court, you will enter trial and receive a verdict at the conclusion of your case. You may receive a higher amount through a verdict than through a settlement agreement, and since a trial is on public record, you can speak freely about your settlement and your experience. While a verdict may provide several benefits, there are risks involved as well.
The court will have the authority to determine whether you are eligible for a settlement based on the theory of negligence and will use the evidence provided to determine the exact value of your award. Another risk is the possibility of comparative negligence. In some cases, the court may determine you share liability for the accident and reduce your award amount by the percentage you share.
Oregon follows a modified comparative negligence law, which states that you cannot recover any compensation if you share more than 50% of the liability. If the at-fault party makes a compelling claim against you, It can be difficult to prove liability under these strict rules. With the right attorney, however, you can defend yourself against accusations of liability and establish a compelling case for your compensation.
Navigating the personal injury process can be difficult after a recent injury. You deserve rest, recovery, and just compensation — and the personal injury lawyers at Tillmann Law can help. We represent Oregon residents in multiple types of personal injury claims, including car accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice.
If you need aggressive representation to achieve the compensation you deserve, our firm has the resources, experience, and knowledge to advocate for your best interests each step of the way. We serve all Portland neighborhoods and all throughout Multnomah County.