After suffering a serious injury caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, the law affords remedies for seeking compensation. When you are filing a personal injury claim in New York or New Jersey, it’s important to have a basic understanding of possible outcomes. While your personal injury lawyer can provide a rough estimate regarding the value of your case, there is no sure-fire guarantee that plaintiffs will prevail in the court or reach a settlement negotiation with the defendant.
If you’ve filed a civil action, or are considering suing after a car accident, workplace injury or because of a defective product, read on to learn about the possible outcomes of a personal injury lawsuit.
Your case is settled out of court
Less than 5 percent of personal injury claims reach trial in the United States. While your attorney will approach and prepare your case for the possibility of a jury trial, it is far more likely that a settlement will be reached beforehand.
A personal injury settlement is a binding legal agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant (or the defendant’s insurance company). By agreeing to the terms of the settlement, the plaintiff will not pursue further litigation and the lawsuit is dropped. Because settlement agreements can vary tremendously from case to case, they can include monetary compensation for different losses, including:
- Past, present and future medical bills and treatments
- Lost income if the plaintiff could not work because of the injury
- Diminished capacity to earn if the recovery process affects employment
- Pain and suffering (including emotional distress)
- Costs to repair damaged property, such as a crashed vehicle or motorcycle
Keep in mind that even the strongest of personal cases may end with an out-of-court settlement, which is generally less time-intensive and costly for both the plaintiff and defendant.
Case goes to trial
Insurance companies may offer a low-ball settlement or simply refuse to pay fair and proper reparations for the injury and financial losses sustained. In this scenario, your attorney will be prepared to argue your case at trial before a judge and jury. Even with a skilled attorney representing you, it may take many months before a trial date is set. A settlement can be reached at any point in the litigation process, even after trial starts.
Jurors render their verdict
The jurors will hand down their verdict at the conclusion of the trial, in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant. If the injured party (plaintiff) is successful and wins the case, a damage award will be rendered that compensates for hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. The amount of legal recovery will depend largely on the extent and type of injuries suffered.
However, if the defendant prevails at trial, the plaintiff will not receive a court award, and may be ordered to reimburse the defendant for legal fees, court filing costs, attorney fees and other taxable costs paid by the defendant.
Verdict is appealed
Both parties have the right to appeal a verdict in civil cases where evidence suggests that procedural errors were committed during the trial that unfairly biased the outcome. Most states impose strict deadlines for filing an appeal — usually 30 days after the verdict is entered. An appellate court has the right to remand the case or overturn the judgement if they determine that the law was misapplied by the trial judge or jurors.
Legal Advocacy in New York and New Jersey
Having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney representing you throughout the legal process can significantly increase your chances of getting fair compensation. Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman represent accident victims throughout Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, New Jersey, leveraging more than 35 years of hard-won litigation experience. While there is no crystal ball to predict the outcome of your claim, a talented personal injury lawyer can ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.
To arrange a no-cost consultation with our personal injury attorneys in New Jersey or New York, call us toll-free at (888) 752-5018.
Additional Personal Injury Claim Resources:
- American Bar Association, Personal Injury Claims http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/injury_settle.html
- American Bar Association – Winning the Settlement, http://apps.americanbar.org/litigation/committees/corporate/docs/2010-cle-materials/03-winning-negotiaion/03a-winning-wettlement.pdf