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Settlement vs. Verdict? 5 Important Factors to Consider for a Personal Injury Case

Personal injury attorneys are often asked why they should settle their case instead of going to trial and taking a verdict. The general answer is that a settlement is always the better option over taking a verdict. However, a settlement is not always possible which requires taking a jury verdict.   

A settlement is usually paid by the defendant’s insurance company that is contractually responsible for defending the case and paying any award. The insurance company will only be responsible for the policy limits of the insurance taken out by the defendant.   

The major benefit of settling the personal injury case is there will be no further gambling on whether you will receive an award. A settlement is a guaranteed win, meaning there will be no appeals, no defense verdict, and no chance of losing.   

As most personal injury attorneys understand, going to trial has significant risks, and the biggest one is losing and getting nothing. If an offer to settle was made, another risk of proceeding to trial is getting a verdict lower than the amount offered by the defendant to settle the case.   

Even if a personal injury case is won at trial, there is a chance the trial judge will dismiss the case and override the decision of the jury. The trial judge has legal discretion to do this depending upon the facts and law. Even if the trial judge does not dismiss the case after a verdict, there is a chance that an appellate court will dismiss the case if the defendant appeals.   

Also, if the verdict is deemed too high in light of the injuries, either the trial judge or the appellate court can lower the jury verdict award. However, a settlement removes all of these potential risks. 

The other advantage of a settlement is there will be no further waiting. Waiting for a trial date can take years. With a settlement you will have your money within about 21 days from completion of the signed settlement documents, as required by statutory law CPLR 5003-a. When the settlement is with a municipality, the defendant is entitled to three months to pay. 

When should you take a verdict instead? When there is no settlement offer made or appears unfair.  Then, you have no choice but to take a verdict. There is no gambling since nothing of significance is offered.  But if there is a settlement offer made, the following factors will be considered: 

1. What is the amount of insurance coverage?

If there is only $50,000 available insurance coveragethen that is all the insurance company will pay even if your injuries are worth five times more. 

2. Any significant assets of the defendant?

If the value of the personal injury case is much higher than the available insurance coverage, it may be warranted to investigate whether the defendant has personal assets to satisfy the balance of the available insurance coverage. Unfortunately, a defendant having significant assets is usually the rare exception. 

3. What is the value of the injuries?

There is no book about what the value for pain and suffering is for each body part. Instead, experience in evaluating cases based upon past trials and settlements, as well as reviewing decisions in other similar cases provides the guidance for personal injury attorneys to place an appropriate value of a case.      

4. What is the likelihood of winning?

A hit in the rear for a car accident will usually mean a high chance of winning. A construction worker falling off a ladder or scaffold that collapsed also has a high chance of winning. On the other hand, slip and fall accidents are usually more difficult to prove. BBNR are skilled personal injury attorneys who understand the likelihood of winning a case from decades of experience. 

5. What is the potential fault of the plaintiff?

Even if the jury decides the defendant was at fault, a jury can also decide that the injured plaintiff was some percentage at fault for the accident. If the jury finds the plaintiff was 50% at fault, then the damages award will be reduced by fifty percent. 

If you were injured in an accident, call BBNR, Personal Injury Attorneys who have been helping injured accident victims for over 40 years. There is no fee unless we win, and the consultation is free. Call us now at 212-808-0448.

Select A Practice Area

Construction Accident

$1,700,000

$1.7 million verdict in New York County against the driver of a delivery truck who struck a man as he was crossing the street within the crosswalk in Manhattan.

Motor Vehicle Accident

$3,600,000

$3.6 Million settlement in New York Supreme Court for a Spanish speaking construction worker who fell off a 6 foot ladder and landed onto metal and wooden debris. The worker required lumbar spinal surgery for his injuries and needed surgeries to both knees from the fall. The worker could not return to work and suffered depression from his injuries resulting in a suicide attempt.

Construction Accident

$3,200,000

$3.2 million verdict in Queens Supreme Court for an undocumented Polish speaking construction worker who fell 12 feet during a demolition project. The worker fractured a vertebrae and herniated several discs in his spine requiring surgery. The plaintiff was unable to return back to work due to his injuries.

Motor Vehicle Accident

$1,500,000

$1.5 million verdict in Supreme Court Kings County for a woman struck by a car that jumped the curb and hit the pedestrian while standing on the sidewalk across from Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Slip And Fall Accident

$1,900,000

$1.9 million verdict in New York Supreme Court for a bank manager who slipped and fell on a wet floor, resulting in spinal injuries. The building owner knew about a recurring leak inside the basement cafeteria but failed to correct the problem.

Construction Accident

$2,000,000

$2 million settlement in Queens Supreme Court for Polish construction worker who fell 2 stories from a bucket. The worker’s supervisor told the construction worker to ride the material bucket down to use the bathroom because it would save time. The worker fractured his pelvis in several places requiring surgery and was unable to return to work.

Medical Malpractice

$4,500,000

Defense counsel offers 11 cents to settle before trial and the jury renders a verdict of $4.5 million dollars for a medical malpractice victim and his wife. The action was commenced in New York Supreme Court for a patient who suffered massive internal bleeding during a lower back surgery when the surgeon negligently cut an artery and failed to promptly treat the condition, causing a loss of oxygen and injury to the brain. The anesthesiologist failed to properly monitor the patient’s vitals during the surgery and alert the surgeon of the drop in blood pressure.

Assault

$1,250,000

$1.25 million settlement in New York Supreme Court against building owner for negligent security that caused two women to be assaulted while leaving work. A masked man entered their elevator from a floor that was supposed to be closed off for construction. The assailant used a metal pipe to attack the two women. The two women split the settlement monies.

Construction Accident

$1,500,000

$1.5 Million settlement in New York Supreme Court for a construction worker who was struck by a piece of concrete that fell on his head and back. Workers above were chipping concrete despite knowing that people were working directly below them. The plaintiff required surgery on his neck but made a good recovery.

Medical Malpractice

$3,900,000

$3.9 million settlement in Supreme Court Kings County for a Brooklyn man who suffered a stroke shortly following an eye surgery. The patient was given medical clearance for local anesthesia but instead was placed under general anesthesia for 7 hours. The patient’s blood pressure was not well controlled resulting in a 30 minute hypertensive emergency near the end of the operation. The patient died after 7 years of living in different nursing homes.

CLIENT REVIEWS

    I did not think myself that we will win this difficult matter and become victorious, especially after being rejected by numerous other attorneys…but your professionalism Brett, dedication and determination, not to mention a huge heart, was how we prevailed

ALEKSANDER J.

    When I brought my situation to a local attorney he directed me to Brett Nomberg, and I’m so glad he did. Someone always was able to give me a status of what was going on. Your team made my wife and I realize we were dealing with a truly professional firm and at the same time, sympathetic to our needs. Great job. Excellent Customer Service.

GREG M.

    I want to thank you for all the help and support that was given to my parents by you and your colleagues. Your firm’s time, effort and dedication, is without question second to none and this led to a successful settlement

PAT R.

    We can’t thank you enough for the wonderful representation you provided and for believing in our case. It was very vindicating to have a judge and jury decide in our favor.

JANE AND TOM D.

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