Client sitting with personal injury attorney

Personal Injury Settlements: Everything You Wanted to Know

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, you may wonder how the settlement process works. The first step is an attorney accepting your case. The second step usually involves negotiation with insurance companies or filing a lawsuit. The third step is the process of getting to a settlement. Our New Jersey personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and explain what to expect.

Will an Attorney Take My Case?

Not every case is a case worth fighting. However, personal injury attorneys are experienced in identifying cases that have the potential to settle and make sense to pursue. Because legal fees in personal injury cases are usually structured as contingency fees, an attorney must feel confident you have a good case to accept it.  

A contingency fee is an arrangement with an attorney where you do not pay anything for legal fees or expenses unless your case results in a settlement or monetary award. In New Jersey, these fees are usually 30% to 33.33% of the amount recovered. If a lawyer accepts your case, you will sign a retainer agreement with their office before anything else happens.

Will My Case Settle?

The next question people wonder is what happens after an attorney takes their case. Will a case settle? The answer is that many cases do settle without the need to go to trial. Unfortunately, an attorney cannot guarantee how much a case will settle for or how long it will take to settle.

The first step in the settlement process is gathering information about your claim, such as the amount of your medical expenses, property damage, and potential long-term financial consequences to you. This will be followed by filing an insurance claim and follow-up discussions and negotiations with the insurance adjuster assigned to your case.

The insurance claim process can take time because some insurance companies will not necessarily agree with the amount you are claiming. They will try to offer less to resolve the matter. The back and forth between your attorney and the insurer can be time-consuming. 

Sometimes, these pre-litigation settlement discussions do not result in an offer your attorney thinks is fair. Under these circumstances, you may need to file a lawsuit and request a jury make a decision. Very often, lawsuits never make it to trial, and after months of information exchange and continued discussions, cases settle.

So, How Much Do I Get Paid From a Settlement?

Once your case settles, you are entitled to the amount of the settlement left over after attorney’s fees, case costs, medical liens, and expenses are paid. These items get deducted from your total compensation, and the rest is typically yours.

Speak With an Attorney

The guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney in settling your case can be invaluable. Our office can help you navigate how to deal with insurance companies and file a lawsuit, if necessary. In New Jersey, you have two years to sue on a claim, with some exceptions. Contact our office today for a free consultation.