You suffered a personal injury in a New Jersey accident and have decided to accept a settlement for your claims. How will that settlement amount be paid, and how much money will you likely see? The value of your claim includes many factors related to your injury, treatment, and expenses. If your case settles, the check will be sent to your attorney. Read on to learn more.
Is Settlement Common?
Most personal injury claims end in a settlement instead of a trial. Industry estimates are that approximately 95 percent of civil cases are settled before trial. Settlement is typical because accepting a known sum guarantees an award and negates the injured party’s risk of losing entirely at trial.
How Do the Parties Negotiate?
Settlement can occur any time after your injury, up to when a judge or jury issues a verdict. Compromise can be accomplished informally, between the parties, or formally with the help of a third-party mediator.
A New Jersey personal injury attorney can help you value your case for settlement purposes. You and your attorney will collect and organize information about your lost wages, past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and any property damage. Your attorney can evaluate your case based on experience and present a settlement demand to the other side based on that information.
The other side will make a counteroffer, and the parties will go back and forth until they reach an appropriate agreement. Sometimes the parties need a neutral mediator to help them resolve the case.
Preparing and Signing the Settlement Agreement and Release
Once the parties agree on a mutual resolution, they prepare a contract that acts as a settlement agreement and general release of all claims. If you hired an attorney, your attorney would help prepare the agreement to ensure it fully protects you. If you do not have an attorney, the defense attorney or insurance company will write the release, focusing on protecting the defendant. Settlement agreements can be long and complex. We advise you seek counsel from a New Jersey personal injury attorney before signing one.
Once both sides agree on the language and terms of a settlement agreement, they can sign it. Your signature should be notarized. Once you sign, you have accepted and agree to abide by all the terms.
The Settlement Amount Is Paid
After the parties sign a formal settlement agreement, the other side issues the check the agreement describes. An insurance company can generally issue a settlement check within a few weeks of the parties signing the contract. The check may be made out to both you and your attorney, but it will be mailed to your attorney’s office.
If there are third-party liens against your settlement, such as liens from healthcare providers who gave you treatment after the accident, your attorney will negotiate with them to try to reduce the amount of the lien. After negotiations, your attorney will pay them from the settlement money.
The most common institutions that can put a lien on your payment include the following:
- Hospitals or other healthcare professionals
- Your insurance company
- Medicare or Medicaid
- An employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company
- Any prior attorneys you hired to work on your case
- States for child support obligations
The contingency fee agreement you signed with your lawyer will say whether the law firm’s costs come from the settlement amount before or after your lawyer takes their agreed-upon percentage. That percentage will be specified in the contingency fee agreement, as well. We work hard to ensure our clients know what to expect in fees and expenses so there will be no unpleasant surprises for you.
After those items are deducted from the settlement amount, your lawyer will write a check to you for the remainder of the funds. If part of your settlement is meant to compensate you for lost wages, you will owe income tax on that money. The rest of the settlement money should not be taxable, but your attorney will advise you if there are additional factors in your situation.
Can a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney Help Me with My Settlement?
Yes, we can. In fact, in a recent year, we obtained the highest auto accident settlement in Jew Jersey for one of our clients. Our legal team at Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers wants to help you evaluate your case and fight for the compensation you deserve for your injury. We offer a free consultation. Call our New Jersey personal injury lawyers at (973) 364-8300 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.
Related Posts:Written by: Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers Last Updated : March 21, 2023