Calculating the Settlement in a Long Island Car Accident Case
In a Long Island car accident case, the role of the jury is to decide the verdict, not the settlement. The verdict is determined based on evidence like medical records, doctor’s testimony, and the plaintiff’s testimony. In addition to the guidance that the attorneys give the jury during the course of the trial, the plaintiff’s attorney will always ask for a specific amount in a settlement.
Sometimes, a case is settled during the course of a trial and sometimes, that settlement is based on how the jury reacts during the course of the trial. To best understand how the settlement value is calculated in your Long Island car accident case, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Mood of the Jury
When calculating the settlement in a Long Island car accident case, a client’s attorney might feel as though the jury is not acting supportive. In this case, they may take a settlement that they may not have taken otherwise.
On the other hand, if the jury is acting very supportive during the course of the trial, there may be a settlement during the course of the trial in favor of the client. This occurs when the jury is in support of the client, and an attorney can capitalize on that and take the settlement.
Role of Negligence
Negligence on the part of the injured person can affect the settlement amount. New York is a comparative negligence state, which means that the settlement amount reflects the amount of negligence on the client’s part.
For example, if a client is in a car accident and claims that the other vehicle went into their lane, hit the client’s vehicle, and the client was injured, it may be a case in which a jury could come to a 50/50 apportionment of liability.
If a person thinks their case is otherwise worth $100,000, now that there is a question of who is at fault, the person might claim that they may settle for $50,000 because if the case goes to trial, the jury may assign that 50% liability anyway. In a comparative state like New York and on Long Island, comparative negligence is almost always taken into consideration when calculating the settlement amount.
Benefit of an Attorney
In Nassau County and Suffolk County, which are considered conservative counties, lawyers who frequently practice there know that their client should expect to calculate a conservative settlement amount in their Long Island car accident case.
As an example, a case that might be worth $50,000 in a more liberal county may not be the same value a person would receive in a more conservative county, like in Nassau County or Suffolk County.
Attorneys who are regularly practicing know this to be true, so hiring an attorney 300 miles north may not be a smart idea, because that attorney may not have an understanding of the value in each county. Consulting with a local attorney is crucial in effectively calculating the settlement amount in an individual’s Long Island car accident case.
Points of Note
When a client is being offered a settlement, there are a few things that they must understand. These include that first and foremost, the person does not have to take the settlement and can instead proceed to trial.
Also, a client must understand that when they settle, that is the end of the case. If a year from now, the person has surgery to the part of the body that was injured during the accident, the person cannot come back and sue for those injuries. Therefore, it is always important that the client understands the ramification of taking the settlement if new injuries may present themselves.
A client must also account for the risk of going to a trial with a jury, and the fact that the trial costs money. This money will be deducted from the jury’s verdict. Sometimes, it can cost $25,000-$30,000 to try a case.
Finally, an individual must understand what the other vehicle’s insurance policy limits are when considering a settlement. For example, if the insurance policy limit on the other vehicle is $100,000 and there is an offer to settle for $90,000, a client must understand that the most they can get from the insurance company is another $10,000. It may not be worth it to go to trial over that additional $10,000. There are many variables to consider when deciding how to calculate the settlement amount in a Long Island car accident case.