How do personal injury lawsuits work in New Jersey?
Personal injury claims in New Jersey can vary and each case is unique. It is recommended that you consult with a proven personal injury lawyer in NJ in order to totally understand the process of your particular claim. An experienced attorney can help outline and explain the process from start to finish as well as help navigate each step along the way in order to make sure you get the best result possible.
Outlined below is a quick overview of how personal injury lawsuits work in NJ:
- Consulting with an injury attorney
- The attorney investigates your case
- Forming a prognosis of your injuries
- Determining a compensation amount
- Submitting a demand letter
- Negotiating a settlement
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit
- Going to trial
Consulting With An Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in The State Of New Jersey and feel the accident that caused your injuries was not entirely your fault, it is highly recommended that you speak with a personal injury attorney. Most personal injury attorneys in the area offer free consultations, so hearing about your options from an expert will not cost you anything and can be extremely helpful. During your consultation, the attorney will listen to the details of how your injury occurred and can recommend different options regarding moving forward in order to get the best possible outcome for you and your family.
The Attorney Investigates Your Case
Once you retain an attorney, they can begin working on your case. Some of the things the attorney will be looking into typically include:
- Investigating all the details about your accident
- Interviewing any witnesses
- Examining police reports (if any)
- Obtaining medical reports, hospital bills, etc.
- Researching similar cases, outcomes and verdicts
- Identifying all liable parties
- Assembling expert witnesses who may be used to give opinions and/or expert testimony
Forming A Prognosis Of Your Injuries
If you are still undergoing medical evaluation or ongoing medical treatment, a formal prognosis of your injuries will need to be made. If they haven’t already, doctors will need to describe the extent of your current injuries as well as give a future prognosis regarding your ability to recover from such injuries.
Determining A Compensation Amount
Once your attorney has all the facts of your case and an official prognosis has been made, you and your attorney can discuss what your personal injury is worth. At this point in the process, your lawyer will discuss with you what may be an appropriate amount to request in your demand letter based on his or her experience in dealing with injury cases as well as what other similar cases have settled for.
Submitting A Demand Letter
Once you and your attorney have agreed upon an appropriate compensation amount, it is time to submit a demand letter. The demand letter is sent to all parties named in the injury claim who are deemed either fully or partially liable for your injuries and can include individuals, businesses, and/or insurance companies. It will include a thorough outline of all the details of your case, facts, evidence, the nature and extent of your injuries and current medical status as well as the proposed compensation amount you and your attorney have agreed upon.
Submitting a demand letter is often critical. Some people make a mistake in thinking that they can submit a statement of their injuries to an insurance company to obtain a settlement offer before seeking out an attorney. However, it is often the demand letter itself that will impress upon the liable party(ies) the seriousness of your case. Working with an injury attorney from the very beginning can greatly increase your chances for a favorable settlement amount.
Negotiating A Settlement
Once the demand letter has been reviewed, the liable party(ies) will respond in one of three ways to your request for compensation:
- Accept the offer
- Decline the offer
- Make a counter offer
You and your attorney will discuss the details of the response to your demand package. Naturally, if the offer was accepted by the opposing party, your attorney will move towards securing payment as outlined in the demand package, usually in the form of an escrow account until the claim is fully settled.
If a counter offer was made, your attorney can weigh in as to his / her opinion regarding whether or not the counter offer is fair, but ultimately the decision is yours to make. Having the best personal injury attorney provide advice and counsel in these instances is important because he or she will usually never accept the first offer that’s been submitted and can leverage their experience in dealing with negotiations in order to get you the best result.
If a settlement negotiation cannot be made, or if the offer was initially declined, you and your attorney will need to discuss options regarding filing a formal lawsuit.
Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit In New Jersey
About 90% of personal injury claims are settled successfully outside of court. However, if your case cannot be settled, you will need to bring forth a formal lawsuit should you decide to continue to pursue compensation. Even once a formal lawsuit has been filed by your attorney, you may still be able to reach an agreement with the liable party at a certain point during the discovery and mediation phase.
During the discovery phase, both the representatives from both parties will obtain further evidence from each other. During this process, all evidence must be laid out and brought to light.
Either before or during the discovery phase, there is often a mediation process wherein both parties will appear in front of a neutral mediator in order to further pursue potential negotiation. It is important to note that these are not formal courtroom proceedings and the mediator is usually a current or former judge with ample experience dealing with injury cases and is completely unbiased in the case.
Going To Trial
If at this point in the process a settlement has still not been reached, you and your attorney will need to go to trial. If you have decided to hire one of the personal injury lawyers at Hoffman DiMuzio, rest assured that from start to finish, you’ll be in the hands of experts that are willing to fight tooth and nail to get you the justice that you deserve. Our injury attorneys have extensive experience and have been proudly fighting for South Jersey for over forty years!
Should you have any additional questions about a possible injury claim or would like to speak with an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact the Hoffman DiMuzio Personal Injury Team by calling 856-637-3000 today. The call and consultation are both free and you won’t be charged a single cent unless your case is resolved successfully.