If you have been injured in an accident in New York, you must understand all the options available to recover damages to cover your expenses. While the law does allow accident victims the right to take their personal injury case to a court trial, in reality, a vast majority of such cases get settled out of court.
When the medical bills are mounting and there is no income because the injured person cannot go to work, it can be tempting to grab the first offer that comes from the insurance company of the party at fault for the accident. However, that does not mean that it is always the best option. In order to make the right decision that ensures you maximum compensation, you must discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York.
What Makes the Personal Injury Claim Process Complicated in New York City?
To the injured person, there can be no refuting the fact that they were injured because of the negligence of the other driver. However, proving this can get quite complex, and even if the case does not go to court, it can take a long time to get settled.
In most instances, it is difficult to find irrefutable evidence of the fault of the driver who caused the crash. Sometimes, more than one driver may share the fault. Proving that the injuries you sustained were sole because of the accident can also get tricky if you already suffer from a related health condition.
When it comes to minor injuries, the process is far simpler than in the case of severe injuries. The greater the damage in the accident, the larger is the compensation amount you claim, and with so much money on the line, insurance companies and defense attorneys will dig deep into every tiny aspect of the case to do their very best to reduce the payout they have to make. Stalling is one of the most common strategies that they use to wear down the plaintiff, in the hope that in desperation, you will agree to any settlement they propose.
Yet another factor you need to consider is that some injuries appear very simple to start with, but grow more complicated over time. With that said, actually, it makes sense to wait for a while to understand the full nature of your injury and understand the entire extent of expenditure you are likely to incur on a comprehensive medical treatment plan. If you agree to a settlement early in the process, the amount of compensation you receive could be far below your actual expenses.
What are the Advantages of Personal Injury Settlement in New York?
When you decide to go for a settlement in your personal injury case instead of moving to a court trial, there are some definite advantages in a majority of cases. However, your NYC personal injury lawyer would be able to provide you with the right legal advice, depending on the facts of your case.
The resolution is quicker than through a trial
Settlement negotiations take quite some time because the attorneys of both sides will do a thorough preparation as if they are going to court. Despite this, when you compare the timelines of a settlement with that of a trial in court, settlement is far quicker than a trial.
You know the settlement amount
When you take your case to court, it is the jury or the judge who decides how much you will be awarded in the settlement. While you stand to gain if they award you more than you expected, it is equally likely that your case may get dismissed, leaving you with nothing. In some cases, the amount you receive in damages may be far lesser than what you would have got in a settlement.
You receive the payout faster
When the award is declared after a court trial, there is always the possibility that the case will have to pass through the appeals process. This means a further delay and it can take ages for you to receive the payout. However, if you open the door for a settlement out-of-court, you are likely to receive your check within a month of the settlement.
Attorney fees are lower
The amount of work and time as well as the resources involved in a court trial are far greater than in a settlement. Obviously, the legal fee will be higher for a case that goes to court. In contrast to this, settlements cost far lesser and so, there is more money left over to cover your expenses.
Settlements are not as stressful
When you go to court, there is a lot of uncertainty around how the case will evolve. Things can change around quite suddenly and the entire process can get quite stressful. In comparison, the process of a settlement is far less stressful and if you have a seasoned New York City personal injury attorney handling your negotiation, you need not feel burdened by anxiety about recovering compensation.
Settlements don’t compromise your privacy
A court trial is not a private process and you may find that you are forced to reveal things that you would rather keep confidential. When you go for a settlement process, your medical history and other details do not become a matter of public record and this ensures that information stays private.
How Does the Personal Injury Claim Settlement Process Work?
When you engage a lawyer to handle your NY personal injury case, they will first determine what damages you are entitled to receive. Once they get a clear picture of this, they will create a settlement demand packet that will be delivered to the attorney or the insurance company of the party at fault for your accident.
Your attorney will discuss with you and come up with a figure for what is the absolute minimum amount that you feel you can accept. This is confidential between you and the attorney, and will not be shared with the other side. It is important to have this discussion so that you know whether to accept or reject any counter offer proposed by the defendant.
When the defense attorney makes a counteroffer, your attorney will adjust your request to a level that’s a little lower than the original ask. Both sides understand that this process of an initial offer will be followed by a lot of negotiation and repeated counteroffers.
There is no definite guideline that can be specified for when to accept an offer of settlement. Every injury claim is different and that’s why it is critical that you have a competent personal injury attorney who is an expert at negotiation and has the judgment and experience to decide when to accept a figure proposed by the defendant.
Although your intention is to recover the maximum possible amount, you must make sure that the figure is not below that which you and your attorney had previously agreed upon as the absolute minimum.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim in New York?
How long it takes for a case to settle out of court depends on how willing the other side is to make a reasonable offer. Although the settlement process is definitely faster than a court trial, even this may drag on for very long if your case is complicated.
Cases in which injuries are obviously serious or when the other party’s fault is indisputable get settled faster than cases that don’t meet these criteria. If the defendant’s insurance company believes that you are exaggerating your expenditure or the injuries, they will drag the settlement process to wear you down and get you to accept a lesser amount.
Even if it takes longer to settle, you must never accept an offer that does not cover all your expenses. Sometimes, all it takes to get the maximum compensation is the ability to hold on with patience through the negotiation process.
How to Maximize Your Settlement Amount?
The first thing you need to do to win maximum compensation is to get an accurate idea of the sum you require to cover your economic and non-economic damages. An expert attorney can help you determine this with the help of opinions from the top medical and financial experts they know.
The stronger you build your case with all the necessary evidence and testimony, the more likely it is that the other side will realize they cannot get away with a low settlement offer. Prepare your case as if you are going to trial and this could convince the other side that you are willing to do it, and they will come up with a more reasonable offer.
Our New York Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help Settle Your Claim
The personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have worked with thousands of clients and won them settlements that truly compensate for their losses. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in New York, get in touch with us today for a free initial case review. To discuss the specifics of your case, call our personal injury law firm at 1-800-660-2264 for a case review with an experienced lawyer, or fill out this online form and we will get back to you promptly.
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