Date:September 21, 2017
There are a number of different ways to resolve your New Hampshire personal injury case. They include:
In many cases, after discovery is complete, and the insurance adjuster and attorneys from both sides have had an opportunity to review all the evidence, the attorneys can come to an agreement about the value of the case, who is at fault, and what is a reasonable settlement offer. If that occurs in your case, your New Hampshire personal injury attorney at Manning & Zimmerman will contact you to convey the settlement offer. As the injured party, you are able to make a determination about whether or not you will settle for the amount offered. Your attorney’s job is to assist you in making an informed decision. This means they will tell you if they believe you could receive more money at trial, or if your expectations about a certain settlement is unreasonable for your injury. If you agree to settle, the lawyers will notify the court and take care of the necessary paperwork for you.
Trials are available for cases that cannot be resolved by negotiation, or by using one of the many forms of alternative dispute resolution available to the parties. At a trial, the parties both make opening statements, witnesses are examined by both sides, evidence is admitted, and the lawyers make closing arguments. Then the case is given to a judge or jury, who will decide the case. Trials can be stressful for lay people. Trials also run the risk of a lack of finality. This is because, in addition to the uncertainty that comes with letting others determine your fate, if the insurance company doesn’t want to pay the amount awarded or otherwise believe that some injustice occurred during trial, they can appeal the verdict in certain circumstances. This makes an already long wait for resolution even longer.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In New Hampshire, all civil cases must go to some form of alternative dispute resolution. Typically parties either go to a non-binding mediation or a binding arbitration. Alternative dispute resolution proceedings are confidential. Things that are said to attempt to resolve the matter at these hearings cannot be used against the other party if the case does not settle and ultimately goes to trial.
The Effects of an Agreement
If you participate in an alternative dispute resolution to resolve your personal injury case, your New Hampshire personal injury attorney, along with the lawyer for the other side, will execute a written agreement for the court, documenting the terms of the agreement. It has the same strength and is enforceable just as any other written contract would be.
Mediation involves a mediator, who is a neutral third party such as an attorney or retired judge. The job of the mediator is to remain impartial during the proceedings. Mediators attempt to facilitate a discussion between the parties. The goals of mediation include promoting an understanding between the parties, reconciliation, and settlement. However, the mediator is not permitted to substitute his or her judgment for the parties’ own. Alternative dispute resolution proceedings are confidential. Things that are said to attempt to resolve the matter at these hearings cannot be used against the other party if the case does not settle and ultimately goes to trial.
If you participate in an alternative dispute resolution to resolve your personal injury case, your attorney, along with the lawyer for the other side, will execute a written agreement for the court, documenting the terms of the agreement. It has the same strength and is enforceable just as any other written contract would be.
There are two kinds of arbitration: binding arbitration and non-binding arbitration. Regardless of whether the arbitration in binding, both parties will present their position to impartial third parties called arbitrator(s). The arbitrator or arbitrators will issue a specific award. If the parties have agreed to a binding arbitration, the arbitration decision is final and will be enforceable like any other contract. If the decision is not binding, the idea is that the decision will provide a basis upon which the parties can negotiate further.
A summary jury trial is designed for early case evaluation and provides a way to develop realistic settlement negotiation. In a summary jury trial, attorneys for both sides present their position to a panel of six jurors. The parties can agree to more or less jurors if they are so inclined, but typically six jurors are used. After hearing the positions of the parties, the jurors make decisions about what damages might be reasonable, and who is at fault. This is also an advisory opinion, and as such, is not binding on the parties.
If you or a loved one have been injured through no fault of your own, it is essential that you have competent NH injury lawyers representing you from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too. The experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman are ready to represent you immediately. Call (603) 239-2459 today for a free initial consultation, send us an email to info@MZLawNH.com, or reach out to us using the “contact us” or the chat feature on our website.
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