Whether or not your personal injury case goes to trial will depend on factors unique to your insurance claim or lawsuit. While most cases settle out of court, an injury lawyer may file a lawsuit if a fair settlement isn’t possible through negotiations.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury cases arise when an individual suffers physical harm and monetary losses due to another party’s negligent or wrongful actions. Cases can stem from the following:
- Car, truck, and bus accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous products
- Defective drugs and medical devices
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability
- Birth injuries
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
Why do Most Cases Settle Without Going to Court?
Settling without going to trial is usually advantageous for both the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (the party accused of causing the injury – or more likely their insurance company). This is because the process of going to trial is often long and expensive. With a settlement, the injured party generally receives the compensation they need in a more timely fashion.
Other advantages of a settlement include:
- Less risk – Trials are risky because the outcome is up to the judge and jury once a case goes to court. However, with a settlement, parties know the terms before agreeing.
- Less stress – A settlement avoids the time and energy involved in going to trial, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery. Additionally, with a settlement, you do not have months or years of uncertainty hanging over your head. Instead, you receive the agreed-upon amount of compensation within an agreed-upon timeframe.
- More privacy – Trial records are public documents, whereas an insurance settlement can remain private. Settling also allows the defendant to resolve their legal issues without having to plead guilty to an offense, which may not be an option at trial, depending on the nature of the case.
What does It Mean to Settle?
Our attorneys will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company or legal representative to achieve a fair settlement agreement. If it satisfies all sides, the parties sign the settlement, making it binding.
Settlement agreements also release the defendant from any future liability for your injury. Therefore, it is imperative you understand the full scope of your injuries and past and future related expenses before signing.
Why Might Your Case Go to Trial?
Sometimes, parties cannot agree to a settlement. This may happen when:
- The insurance company disputes you have an injury
- The insurance company disputes the value of your claim
- The insurance company alleges you bear responsibility for your injury, or your injury is the fault of a third party and not the defendant
- The insurance company acts in bad faith
- The defendant does not have insurance or is underinsured
If you have no other option but to go to court, in general, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, according to CVP § 214. However, circumstances can shorten the statute of limitations. Our attorneys can tell you if any affect your case.
What Damages Can You Recover With a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury cases generally include two main categories of compensation:
- Economic damages – These damages encompass all of your out-of-pocket injury-related expenses, including past and future medical treatment, lost wages, the loss of your future earning capacity (if applicable), personal property damages, and other miscellaneous costs. An attorney with our firm can help you calculate these losses using your receipts, medical bills, and professional medical opinions regarding your future care needs.
- Non-economic damages – Non-economic compensation provides injury victims with monetary awards for the negative effect of their injuries on their lives. You can pursue these damages for anxiety, depression, loss of mobility or paralysis, physical pain, and loss of enjoyment of life. Because these damages are intangible, insurance agents usually use a formula to determine a fair settlement amount for your pain and suffering. Our lawyers can help you seek fair compensation.
New York Wrongful Death Cases
When an individual suffers a fatal injury due to someone else’s negligence, their representative (executor) can seek awards the deceased could have pursued had they lived, according to EPT § 5-4.1. In this way, wrongful death cases are similar to personal injury cases, but action is taken on behalf of the deceased’s estate and surviving family members.
In general, New York’s wrongful death statute allows two years from the time of your loved one’s death to file a case. Awards may include funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, conscious pain and suffering, and survivors’ lost inheritance.
Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP for Help With Your Personal Injury
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can help you file your insurance claim and negotiate a settlement for your damages. If we cannot reach an agreement, our attorneys can represent you at trial. To learn more, call our offices at (516) 358-6900 for a free consultation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900