An accident can happen in the blink of an eye; no matter how careful you are, other people’s actions or negligence can cause injuries that can leave you suffering the consequences for months, years or even for a lifetime.
If you or someone close to you was injured in an auto accident, a slip-and-fall accident, was injured because a product didn’t work as intended or otherwise suffered injuries because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you may be pursuing litigation through the Bergen Civil Division of the New Jersey Superior Court with the assistance of an NJ Personal Injury attorney.
Let’s explore the settlement process and discuss scenarios in which it may make sense to consult with an attorney. If you decide to hire a personal injury attorney, Bergen County has no shortage of lawyers, so you can choose an attorney who will effectively represent your interests.
Settling a Personal Injury Case in Bergen County
In order to settle a personal injury matter, you need to know what kind of compensation you are asking for.
First, you will need to have documentation of your medical expenses. Sometimes, these can be difficult to quantify in the early days and weeks after an accident when the other party may be anxious to settle.
If the injury kept you from being able to work or go about your normal activities, you may also want to fight compensation that recognizes that, but you will need to be able to quantify those damages as well.
New Jersey law provides for “comparative negligence.” In practice, this means that the other party may assert that you were more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, denying responsibility completely. In these cases, you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle.
New Jersey law allows victims of personal injuries to seek compensation for pain and suffering. However, trying to go head-to-head with the party who was responsible for your injury, or with their insurance company or attorney, can be a daunting task.
The Role of the Insurance Company
In many cases, particularly those involving car or other motor vehicle accidents, an insurance company will be interested in settling the matter.
Many victims of a personal injury accident make the mistake of agreeing to accept an insurance company’s initial offer to pay their medical expenses and property damage. It’s understandable; after all, becoming injured can be a traumatic experience. There’s a natural inclination to want to put the accident behind you as quickly as possible so you can move on with your life.
However, insurance companies are not looking out for victims’ best interests; they’re focusing on their own bottom lines. The insurance company’s goal is to settle the claim as fast as it possibly can while limiting their exposure and costs.
When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Makes Sense
If the only damage from an accident was property damage, then settling directly with the insurance company or the party responsible for the accident usually makes sense.
However, any time there are injuries involved, victims or their families should consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to determine whether or not it makes sense to pursue a civil case in Bergen County. If it makes sense to do so, a skilled attorney can help represent your needs and interests at a time when you may still be recovering from your injuries and may not be at your best.
Personal injury attorneys are used to standing up to insurance companies and lawyers for the other side, who may try to limit their own liability by asserting comparative negligence.
A good attorney will also be adept at negotiating on your behalf and will be able to help you assemble all relevant evidence and documentation – a task that can seem monumental and overwhelming on your own.
Finally, if you are not already familiar with court processes and systems, understanding what is required at each step and following the formalities can be daunting. When you hire a personal injury attorney, Bergen County and NJ court processes will likely seem relatively straightforward and easy because your attorney is handling all of the procedural work for you.
How to Choose a Personal Injury Attorney in Bergen County
If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you in a personal injury matter, it is important to choose an attorney who regularly practices personal injury law in Bergen County, NJ.
Ideally, the attorney and his or her firm will have experience litigating and settling cases with circumstances similar to yours.
You want an attorney who is dedicated to fighting for your rights, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about how a prospective attorney would defend you. You should also find out how attorney’s fees and court costs would be handled. Most personal injury attorneys in New Jersey take cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you don’t pay attorney’s fees unless they successfully negotiate a settlement or win your case in court.
If you suffered an injury because of someone else’s actions or negligence, discussing your case with a personal injury attorney in Bergen County should be one of the first steps you take as you evaluate your options for recovery.