Compromise Verdict Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Compromise Verdict, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Compromise Verdict?

It refers to the verdict given by the court out of difference and improper compromises by the jurors due to their differences on certain issues. This may lead to injustice to one of the parties to the lawsuit.

History and Meaning of Compromise Verdict

A compromise verdict occurs when the jury can't reach an agreement on one or more elements of a case and then they come to a verdict by essentially bargaining over those issues. The jurors are supposed to be impartial, but due to the difficulty in reaching a unanimous verdict, they may resort to trading off one issue for another, compromising the integrity of the verdict.

Examples of Compromise Verdict

  1. In a civil lawsuit which alleged racial discrimination against a company, the jury returned a verdict that the company had not discriminated against the plaintiff, despite evidence that suggested otherwise. Some jurors later revealed that they had agreed to a compromise verdict to avoid a hung jury.
  2. In a criminal case where the defendant was charged with first-degree murder, after three days of deliberations, the jury returned with a verdict of second-degree murder, which suggested that they had not been entirely convinced of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but had agreed to compromise.
  3. In a personal injury case, the jury ultimately found the defendant liable for the plaintiff's injuries, but reduced the damages awarded, which led some to believe the verdict was a compromise.

Legal Terms Similar to Compromise Verdict

  1. Hung Jury - If the jury cannot agree on a verdict, the trial judge may declare a mistrial, leading to a new trial before a different jury.
  2. Unanimous Verdict - A verdict where all jurors are in agreement, and the verdict is read accordingly.
  3. Directed Verdict - When, after hearing all the evidence, the judge decides the case can only be decided one way, the judge can order a directed verdict without sending it to the jury.