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Chapter 4: Verdicts and Settlements

Virginia Lawyers Weekly provides a unique and valuable service for litigators who want to know how much their cases might be worth for trial or settlement – our weekly Verdicts & Settlements report feature.

Lawyers send in V&S Reports to provide information on recently tried or settled lawsuits. The section also covers cases handled through mediation and arbitration.

A V&S Report provides information on the subject matter of the case, the legal issues involved, the jurisdiction and judge involved, the experts used and the facts. The submitting lawyer will also provide the amount of any verdict or settlement. This provides useful information for you to compare your own cases with similar fact patterns and to determine a possible value for trial or settlement purposes.

Submitting a Verdict & Settlement Report

Virginia Lawyers Weekly encourages you to send us reports of your case settlements and verdicts.

We cover all Virginia cases of interest, regardless of the monetary amount or winning side. We are not just looking for big dollar recoveries or defense wins in major cases. Sometimes the smaller cases present the more novel issues and instructive lessons.

In addition, we are not seeking only personal injury or tort recoveries – we want to present verdicts and settlements as varied as the practice of law itself. We invite you to report any case of note, whether it is domestic relations, criminal law or workers’ compensation.

An online V&S Report form is available under the Verdicts & Settlements tab on the main navigation bar. Select ‘Submit a V&S Report’, and on the form, fill out all applicable fields, including a summary of your case, and hit the submit button at the bottom.

To be published, a report must:

  • Include the name of the case, the court name and docket number.
  • Include the date of the verdict or settlement, the name of the judge, the amount of the verdict or settlement, and, if it is a defense verdict, the plaintiff’s last pretrial demand. This information cannot be withheld from publication.
  • Include the names of the lawyers for all of the parties.
  • Provide a description of the case that contains facts of the case, interesting arguments made, novel legal approaches, etc.
  • List contact information of the lawyer submitting the report.

If parties agreed to a confidential settlement, the publication may, in appropriate cases, withhold the names of the parties from the published version – but the information must be provided to us initially. If the parties’ names are to be withheld as part of a confidential settlement, we will need to have the dollar amount of the settlement for publication.

If you have any accompanying photos, we encourage you to email them to [email protected].

Be aware that material sent to VLW is subject to editing for style, grammar, length, and, where appropriate, content. When filling out a form, here are some considerations:

  • Be conscious of spelling and grammar, and try to submit your summaries as error-free as possible. This includes incorporating complete sentences, correct use of punctuation and capitalization and overall consistency.
  • Keep your summary somewhat brief, but give a thorough description that includes the who, what, when, where and why of your case. Highlight any unique or noteworthy legal issues such as interesting procedural twists, back-and-forth between counsel, pre-trial rulings, insurance coverage or discovery issues.
  • Avoid complicated jargon, such as medical terms not widely known to those outside of the profession.
  • Don’t forget to save a backup copy of your report before submitting. This helps if we need to contact you with any questions or problems.
  • Be patient, especially if submitting your report by mail or fax. The quantity of V&S reports we receive usually exceeds the amount of space available in the paper in a given week. It may take a few weeks for your V&S Report to be published.

Verdicts & Settlements as a research tool

Perhaps you want to track down a particular report you remember reading in the paper, or you’d like to examine how cases similar to yours have fared in the court system in years past.

When researching V&S Reports, our Verdicts & Settlements database is your best tool.

To begin your search, click the “Search Verdicts & Settlements” link. To perform a basic search, type your search terms into the Case Descriptions Keyword field and select the method for sorting your results.

Or, select the “advanced search” option to filter your results by various criteria, including date, case value, jurisdiction, type of case or any combination thereof. For example, you can generate a list of auto accidents in Norfolk involving brain injuries that produced verdicts over $1M. You can also learn more about a particular judge, mediator, expert or opposing counsel.

We also publish an annual compilation of million dollar verdicts. This feature can be found under the Special Features tab, titled “Virginia’s Largest Verdicts.”

Although you will notice that each V&S report is assigned a unique reference number (i.e., 08-T-023), there are no corresponding documents available for order. To find more information on any of these cases, run a full VLW Archives search. If we have not digested the case in our opinions section or featured it in a news article, other options would be to contact the court or attorney for further detail.

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