Posted September 6, 2016 | Personal Injury
When a resident of New Jersey or Pennsylvania is accidentally injured through the reckless, negligent, or intentional acts of another, the injury victim may be entitled to compensation damages for their losses. Depending on the unique details and circumstances of the case, the victim may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, diminished earning capacity, ongoing medical care, pain and suffering, loss of consortium (marriage), loss of enjoyment of life, and other types of harm. However, there are two vastly different paths a case can take: a negotiated settlement agreement or a jury trial where a verdict is awarded. In this article, Philadelphia auto accident attorney Brent Wieand discusses some of the factors to think about when considering a legal strategy for recovering injury compensation.
There are many different circumstances that can give rise to a personal injury case, such as:
Whatever the underlying basis for the claim may be, the injured party’s main task is to prove that the other party acted with negligence (carelessness), recklessness (disregard for known risks), or possibly even malice. If the injured party can prove this by presenting clear and convincing evidence, he or she may be able to get compensated – potentially without ever going to trial.
In fact, most personal injury cases – as many as 96%, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics – do not go to trial. Instead, the overwhelming majority are resolved via negotiations that take place outside of court after the injury victim, called the claimant, makes a personal injury claim. When a claimant files a claim with their own insurance company, it is called a first-party claim. When a claimant files a claim with another person’s insurance company – for example, after sustaining serious car accident injuries – it is called a third-party claim.
A skilled personal injury attorney will negotiate aggressively and persistently after a claim has been filed – a process which begins with the claimant’s demand packet – making every effort to obtain a reasonable settlement offer from the other party. If a settlement agreement can be reached, the claimant is compensated, and it is no longer necessary to go to trial.
In the event that a claim cannot be amicably settled, the case will be tried in court. If a trial does occur, and the plaintiff is victorious, the verdict reached by the jury – the amount of compensation – is called an “award.” (For example, “The jury awarded the plaintiff $100,000.”)
Settling, though far more common, is not necessarily “better” than going to trial. That being said, it is often preferable to settle due to the following reasons:
While they do have some drawbacks, personal injury trials are sometimes necessary and appropriate. A committed personal injury attorney will be willing and able to go to trial if that is what truly serves the client’s best interests in that particular case.
Brent Wieand takes a personal and strategy-oriented approach to every case and claim he handles on behalf of injury victims. He will take the time to sit down and discuss with you, in clear, honest language, all of the important details in your case. He will answer your questions, protect your legal rights, and talk with you about the various paths your legal matter could take as it progresses. If you or a family member got hurt in an accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, call Brent at (800) 481-5206 to talk about your personal injury claim in a free, friendly, and completely confidential legal consultation today.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and is not legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.*