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When resolving a Personal Injury case, it can often be beneficial to the plaintiff to accept a "pre-litigation settlement". This means that the injured party accepts an offered dollar amount from the defendant in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. Claims like product liability, injuries on public property, medical malpractice claims, and workplace injuries frequently get settled before ever seeing the light of a courtroom. Settling out of court can be of benefit for both the plaintiff as well as the defendant. 

Motivators for the Victim

Advantages of a pre-litigation settlement for the victim include a more timely payout, less money spent on legal fees, and not having to endure a lengthy trial process. Sometimes a trial process can take months, even years, to be resolved. During this time, lawyers need to be paid and the cost of medical bills can add up quickly in the case of a serious injury. Additionally, construction accidents and workplace injuries can leave the victim unable to work. A timely pre-litigation settlement can be of great benefit to the injured party under these circumstances.

Motivators for the Negligent Party

The primary motivator for the defendant to settle a personal injury claim is the risk or a larger court-ordered payout. For example when the issue of fault is beyond dispute, it is beneficial to settle the claim before a trial begins. Insurance companies in particular tend to prefer a safer bet, if the potential for a large damages payment exists these entities more often than not will settle the claim before a jury issues a verdict. Another motivator is the high cost associated with retaining corporate lawyers. The cost associated with retaining their counsel through an extended trial often does not outweigh the benefit of a smaller more immediate settlement.

Beginning the Settlement Process

The most crucial step to take when beginning the settlement process is retaining effective, experienced counsel. For any case with more than several thousand dollars at stake, the importance of working with knowledgeable litigators cannot be overstated. Most often the negligent party will have a team of lawyers ready to negotiate the smallest settlement possible, and once you agree to a deal they offer there is no going back. If it turns out that your medical costs and damages you received are greater than the settlement you received, you will not be able to sue a second time. This is why it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced law firm to fight for your best interests from the get-go.

Continuing the Process

The next step in the process is providing your attorney with any and all documents related to your Morris County NJ personal injury case. These can include medical bills, police reports, and photographs or videos taken of your accident and where it occurred, names and contact info for any witnesses to your accident, and any insurance policies that may be relevant. Your lawyer will study these documents and determine the best course of action moving forward. Generally it is best to wait until you have recovered from your injuries before taking further action. This is so that the full costs of your accident are clear.

After these steps are taken, your lawyer will send a formal letter to the negligent party, informing them of your case as well as offering an initial settlement amount. Often their counsel will request background documents, but not all of them will be relevant to the case, and can even be a violation of your privacy. This is another step where having an attorney experienced in this process can be of great benefit as they will know which documents can legally be requested of you.

Settling Your Morris County NJ Personal Injury Case

While settling your case pre-trial can provide many benefits, it is always important that your lawyer is willing to take your case to court. It is not always possible to settle your case favorably without a court ruling, and often the mere threat of a trial-ready lawyer can tip the scales in your favor.

At the Morris NJ law offices of Smith & Doran, our seasoned attorneys represent victims and families in personal injury lawsuits involving injuries on public property, recreational accidents, workplace injuries, product liability, premises liability, and auto accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else's negligence, contact our offices in Morristown today to receive a cost-free consultation.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
60 Washington Street, Suite 302
Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-532-2661
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