In most people’s minds, when they hear someone is suing for personal injuries, they imagine a judge, a jury, lawyers and testifying in open court. In reality, most people injured in an accident from a personal injury resolve the claim without ever stepping into a courtroom. A pre-litigation settlement is when the injured victim and the insurance company amicably resolve the claim before Court, so no further legal action is necessary.
What is Pre-Litigation Settlement?
A pre-litigation agreement occurs when the parties agree to resolve the personal injury claim without the need and expense of having a jury trial. This benefits the injured victim because the party responsible agrees to pay money damages to the victim without having to go to court. It brings certainty to the matter without having to leave important issues of liability and damages to a jury. It also allows the injured party to receive compensation much earlier in the claims process. Getting paid sooner allows you to be compensated for your damages, medical treatments and other expenses due to injuries from the accident. The insurance company will benefit from pre-litigation settlements also as they will not have to pay for trial expenses, experts, and court costs, which can quickly add up.
Always remember: Never settle too early! Insurance companies may offer quick settlements that diminish the true value of the case. Don’t be penny-wise and dollar foolish. For example, if you settle your claim before you are done treating, you may not be compensated for all your injuries and expenses. And once your case is settled, it is over for good. It can never be re-opened.
Also remember: No settlement is better than a bad settlement. The insurance company’s biggest fear is having to pay higher compensation if the case goes to court. Don’t be afraid to have your experienced personal injury attorney take the case to court. Just because a civil complaint is filed in court does not mean your case will go to trial.
Sometimes, insurance companies need the prospect of a jury in order to wake-up and settle your claim. An experienced attorney will have your claim ready for trial even if it does not go to trial.
Other factors that have insurance companies seeking pre-litigation include:
- When there is no issue as to liability. If the negligent party admits fault or has pleaded guilty, the insurance company knows if the issue is brought to court, they will lose.
- If the injuries sustained are significant. In these cases, the insurance knows if a jury sees your damages, they could face a runaway verdict from a jury that may award astronomical compensation for the victim.
- If the case as “romance.” If the facts of the case or the victim has a back-story that tugs at juror’s emotions, the insurance company knows the jury may sympathize with the injured party and award a large verdict.
Having an attorney is the most critical asset when involved in a personal injury case. In any case that involves significant injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages, an experienced attorney will see that you receive the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies have professionals working for them whose job is to see that the insurance pays as little as possible. If you accept a settlement from them, it is binding, and you have no future possibilities of receiving further compensation.
An experienced attorney will work with you and determine what is fair. We will ensure the final settlement offer is enough to cover all your medical needs and any additional needs that can arise from an injury you’ve suffered in an accident.
What is Discovery and Settlement in a Personal Injury Case?
Many times, a personal injury case is often resolved during pre-litigation or a mutually agreed-upon settlement outside of a courtroom. To reach these settlements, though, you have to be willing to take your case to court and sit face-to-face with the other side at the negotiation table. A willingness to go to court is an essential bargaining tool, and you need an experienced attorney working with you.
If your case is strong, your attorney can use the possibility of going to court to reach a fair settlement with the insurance before a lengthy trial begins. Your attorney can engage experts who can testify as to your injuries, your lost income and even argue liability to show the defendant is responsible for causing your injuries.
Your case’s strength will have to be shown through the discovery phase in which both you and the insurance company will investigate and research the events of the accident and any backgrounds of the involved. Through a set of questions, some irrelevant and intrusive, the insurance company’s attorney will try to get a picture of your background. Having an experienced personal injury attorney working with you will tell you which questions have to be answered and which are unnecessary.
Documents are also presented through discovery, and you may have to authorize the release of certain financial and medical information requested. The insurance company’s demand is not unlimited; they can only request information relevant to the case, so your attorney can challenge any requests. During this process, you want an experienced personal injury working with you to protect your rights and privacy.
What is Arbitration in a Personal Injury Case?
Once the investigation of an accident and personal injury claim has been completed, and both sides have a clear understanding of the events, you can enter into settlement negotiations. These negotiations involve both sides trying to persuade the other to agree on an amount. If the two sides cannot come together on this amount, a neutral third party is brought in to arbitrate the case. Often, this is a respected, retired Judge.
Arbitration is a negotiation process as there is typically a number of issues that need to be settled. The arbitration will allow both sides to present in front of an impartial observer. This observer will have the necessary knowledge and experience to issue a ruling in the settlement, so both sides will see how the case will present in front of a judge. A retired judge who presided over thousands of trials will know the legal issues, as well as how jury’s may feel about issues during trials.
Many personal injury claims do not resolve with a pre-litigation settlement. In this case, you want an experienced attorney working with you to ensure fair compensation. The insurance company has trained professionals working for them to minimize their responsibility. You need an attorney working on your side to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident in NJ, you should contact an attorney familiar with handling these claims. An experienced NJ Injury Lawyer will know how to conduct an investigation and contact the insurance company so you can make a claim for your injuries. My NJ Injury Lawyer Howard P. Lesnik, Esq. offers free strategy sessions to address any issue or questions you may have about your accident claim in NJ.
Please contact NJ Injury Lawyer Howard Lesnik, Esq., immediately if you were involved in a NJ accident. I personally handle NJ personal injury cases on a regular basis. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.