State vs federal court for a personal injury claim - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Did you know that when you file a lawsuit for personal injury claims, your case could end up in federal court?

Typically, it’s the opposing party (the defendant) that tries to switch the venue from state to federal court. They might do this for one of several reasons.

Why do lawyers try to move personal injury lawsuits from state to federal court?

Several factors are at play when lawyers ask judges to move their cases from state to federal court. These include:

  • Federal courts have a reputation for being “friendlier” for defendants — Forum shopping is a common practice for lawyers who want the best possible deal for their clients. Some defense lawyers believe that their clients will have a better shot in federal court than in state court, that judges and juries on the federal bench are “more forgiving” than a state court.
  • Trying to avoid a large jury award — Some states have damages caps, or limits to how much money a jury can award a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. There are some counties in the United States with a tendency to have very high jury awards. In locales with those reputations, lawyers will push to move the case to federal court because the jury is pooled from a much bigger geographical area.
  • Federal court rules — Some lawyers, particularly ones who mostly deal with large corporations and multi-state cases, are more familiar with federal court and the different set of rules that accompany it. Those lawyers will push to move cases to federal court because they are better versed in that arena, but they also do it because it could throw the plaintiff’s attorney off if he or she is accustomed to practicing in state court and the rules that go along with it.
  • Faster resolution — It’s been said that federal court cases are resolved more quickly than civil cases in state court. For lawyers, that saves time and money, and it could be one reason why they are working to have cases moved to federal court.

There’s no easy answer on whether to file your personal injury lawsuit in federal court or state court. That’s why it’s so important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can best determine which venue will get you the most money.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today.

 

Should Your Car Accident Claim Include Pain and Suffering- Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

You might have heard the term “pain and suffering” in association with lawsuits, but what is it — and is it prudent to go for pain and suffering in your car accident claim?

Pain and suffering is a legal word that describes a wide range of injuries you might have suffered if you were in a car accident. That’s not just physical pain. It could also include emotional and mental trauma, like losing sleep, depression, worry, inconvenience and loss of quality of life.

Pain and suffering is included in the “non-economic” side of damages, i.e., it’s not easily seen on paper in the form of medical bills, lost income, the cost to fix your car or buy a new one, and other things like that.

Pain and suffering isn’t an easy thing to calculate. How do you put a number on emotional distress, anxiety and fear? Although there’s no written statute on how exactly it is determined, there are ways that it can be factored in, and with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney you should receive a fair amount of money for your pain.

What factors are considered in pain and suffering?

Here are some of the things insurance adjusters, lawyers and judges look at when calculating pain and suffering:

  • How severe were your injuries?
  • How much physical pain and overall discomfort are typically associated with your injuries?
  • How have your injuries affected your life? Are you unable to play sports? Are you unable to be a good partner in your relationship? Does your injury prevent you from your hobbies?
  • How long will it take you to completely heal from your injuries?
  • Are you on pain medication for the long-term, or are you required to have long-term physical therapy?

What methods do adjusters and lawyers use to determine pain and suffering?

There are two popular methods that lawyers and insurance adjusters use to calculate a starting point for pain and suffering:

  • Per-diem – they set a dollar amount for each and every day you lived in pain
  • Multiplier – this is a number based on your economic damages — a multiple of your medical bills and lost income.

How do you negotiate a higher amount of pain and suffering?

Getting the most for your injuries, as well as your pain and suffering, is a job best left up to an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she is able to better gauge the severity of your injuries and the potential monetary value of your pain and suffering.

These monetary awards can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. There’s a lot at stake.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today.

settlement agreements Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

You’ve finally come to the end of the long and drawn out litigation process, and it’s time to settle your claim once and for all.

The way that most cases are ended is not with a jury or a judge, but with a settlement agreement.

Although it sounds simple, it’s usually not. A settlement agreement is a critical and powerful piece of your case.

When should you use a settlement and release agreement?

You should pull out a settlement and release agreement when:

  • The defendant wants to settle outside of the courtroom.
  • The plaintiff in a lawsuit wants to state the terms in which he or she would settle out of court and end the lawsuit.

What should be included in a settlement and release agreement?

Settlement and release agreements should typically include the following:

  • The names and addresses of the parties involved – both the plaintiff and the defendant
  • A brief summary of the dispute and the nature of the claim
  • A statement describing in detail what the plaintiff is getting in exchange for ending the lawsuit or claim. A release is typically only valid if the plaintiff or person filing the claim is receiving something in return for ending the dispute or giving up the right to file a lawsuit. Usually, the “something” is money, and if so, you should state the amount of money. If it is not money, state what it is.
  • A sentence explaining that the release will end all current and any future litigation that could arise from this claim. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  • A clause that binds all people who might want to file a claim (like the plaintiff’s spouse or daughter) to the settlement, thus giving up their rights to file a lawsuit as well.
  • The date when the release is signed by both parties.
  • The signatures of all parties involved. This would seem obvious, but it’s important. Technically, only the person who’s releasing the lawsuit needs to sign it, but it’s a better move for all parties involved to sign the document.  
  • Have witnesses present when the agreement is signed. That’s not mandatory, but if you believe the person could come back and later say that he or she never signed the document, then it’s a smart idea to bring a witness or two with you when you are signing the document.

Depending on the nature of your claim, a judge or another officer of the court might have to sign off on the settlement agreement.

This is why it’s so important to hire an experienced attorney to handle your case from start to finish. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.