The overwhelming majority of personal injury cases do not end up in court. Instead, these cases are settled between the injured party—also known as the plaintiff—and the defendant’s insurance company. The defendant is the party wholly or partially responsible for the circumstances leading to the injury.
If you were injured in an accident, the defendant’s insurance company may contact you with a monetary settlement offer. It is important to remember, however, that insurance companies are not in business to make large settlements and often want to pay the injured party as little as possible.
Before receiving a settlement in a Burlington County injury case, it may be wise for you to consult with an experienced lawyer. A Burlington County personal injury attorney who could examine the offer to make sure it covers your needs.
Reaching a Settlement in Burlington County
At the beginning of the settlement negotiation process, the plaintiff—or the attorney working on their behalf—sends extensive information to the defendant’s insurance company, along with a letter of demand. This letter outlines why the party represented by the insurance company was responsible for the circumstances causing the injury, as well as the medical conditions the plaintiff is currently experiencing as a result and the types and cost of all required medical care.
The demand letter usually also specifies any wages or income lost because of the injury and their total value. Medical care and lost wages are considered economic damages, but non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, PTSD, and other impairments directly related to the injury may be included as well. The letter closes with a demand for the lump monetary sum necessary to settle the claim.
Receiving a Settlement
Determining fair compensation in a personal injury case is almost always a complex affair. Recent settlements for similar injuries can give a basic frame of reference, but again, each case is different. If the plaintiff was partly at fault for the accident, for example, it can affect the final settlement amount.
A Burlington County attorney may discuss a “bottom line” acceptable settlement amount with the potential client. If the insurance company agrees to this acceptable amount, the case is then settled. However, if the insurance company refuses to budge and will not offer a reasonable amount, going to civil court may be necessary to receive the requested compensation.
All personal injury cases are unique. In some instances, liability for a personal injury extends beyond an individual defendant. For example, if a person is harmed because of a defective product, the manufacturer and company selling the product may be held liable. These situations usually involve several insurance companies, but one company is generally the primary insurer for a particular claim.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
While it is possible for an injured party to negotiate the settlement process without the aid of an attorney, it is generally not advisable. Dealing with an insurance company in a personal injury case is complicated, and doing so without legal representation could lead to a plaintiff being forced to accept an unsatisfactory settlement.
If you have any questions or concerns about receiving a settlement in a Burlington County injury case, you may benefit from the services of a Burlington County personal injury lawyer.