Each personal injury claim is unique in its own way, but the end goal is essentially the same. No matter what the circumstances, you have become injured and are facing any combination of expenses that are piling up while suffering from the pain of your injuries. Medical bills, lost wages, and property damage are the three main areas for which you deserve compensation. In such a situation, you have the right to seek legal counsel from an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney. The attorney you choose will evaluate your case to determine one of two avenues to help claim what is rightfully yours.

The two ways to handle a personal injury claim are to settle out of court by filing a personal injury claim, or go to trial by filing a lawsuit. Settling is the preferred method as up to 92% of personal injury claims are handled this way; however, at times these negotiations move to the courtroom. It is important to understand the difference before reviewing the pros and cons of settling outside of court.

What is a claim compared to a lawsuit?

A personal injury claim stands between you and the at-fault party's insurance company. To file such a claim you must follow the proper procedure, with which your attorney can help. He or she is an invaluable resource in filing a claim correctly, as well as negotiating aggressively with the insurance companies to ensure a fair settlement. If a fair settlement is reached at the end of negotiations, there is no need to go to court.

A lawsuit is filed after tough negotiations are stagnant. Taking a claim to court gets expensive fairly quickly, and it is usually not worth the investment of resources. If your case goes to trial, a jury decides who is at fault and how much compensation you deserve. There is always a chance that the jury does not find fault with the at-fault party, leaving you with $0; although there is also the chance that a jury will award you with a sum much larger than that of a settlement.

Pros of Settling

Resolving a case outside of court is usually a safe bet with a skilled personal injury attorney on your side.

  • By negotiating with the insurance adjuster, you have some control over what you will receive. A jury's decision is typically difficult to predict. Most parties prefer to work out a solution they can both agree on than leave it up to a jury to decide.
  • Claims settled outside of court are resolved much faster than they would be if they go to court. Most settlement checks arrive within a week to 30 days after negotiations end. The sooner the money is in your hands, the sooner your bills can get paid, helping you to avoid incurring debt.
  • By avoiding the courtroom, attorney fees and litigation costs are significantly reduced. Going to court gets extremely expensive. Trials involve multiple attorneys getting paid by the hour, expert witnesses, extensive depositions, travel, and time. It can take years to resolve a case.
  • You get to keep your matters private. Court documents become public record unless the judge orders the records sealed.
  • The losing party can appeal a court judgment, but a settlement cannot usually be appealed.

Cons of Settling

In cases of extreme negligence and severe injury, a settlement can be disappointing. Oftentimes, a settlement fails to compensate the injured party as well as a sum awarded by a jury. Since how a jury swings is difficult to predict, weighing the risks of going to court can be agonizing. There simply is no guarantee that you will win anything at all.

There are no punitive damages awarded by a settlement. Punitive damages are pain and suffering damages that are intended to punish the defendant so that the party will avoid such negligence in the future.

To make the most out of a tough situation, consult with Attorney James Vasquez. Specializing in personal injury affairs in New Jersey, he has handled hundreds of cases from car accident to medical malpractice. Working on a contingency basis, you do not pay him until he gets YOU paid! Call (862) 247-8711 for a free legal consultation.