Personal injury lawsuits may be filed by individuals when a physical or nonphysical injury is caused by another party’s negligence. Accidents and injuries can cause emotional distress, lost wages, and mounting medical bills. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help relieve these burdens by getting you the compensation you may be entitled to.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
A personal injury claim may be filed when someone is harmed (plaintiff) and another party is legally responsible (defendant). If the defendant is found at fault, their insurance company will have to compensate the injured victim.
Personal injury cases begin through proceedings in civil court. During these court sessions, cases are disputed to determine fault. That said, it is most common for personal injury disputes to be settled out of court.
If you were injured by the negligence of another person or corporation, you may be able to file a personal injury claim — and doing so can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
This can occur when medical professionals cause injury due to misdiagnosis, improper treatment, or treating a patient without permission.
This occurs when someone passes away due to another person’s misconduct or negligence.
Car accidents occur for many reasons and can range from devastating pileups to minor fender benders.
These accidents may span several areas of law, including personal injury, product liability, and property rights.
This type of claim may involve commercial trucks, truck drivers, and truck manufacturers, all of whom are held to higher standards than other drivers on the road.
Falls can occur in public places or on someone’s property, and the property owner may be responsible for injuries sustained.
Covering injuries that occur on the job, workers’ comp cases can be confusing and are best handled by a personal injury attorney.
A person who is bitten by an animal may be able to get money from the animal’s owner or another responsible party, such as animal keepers or landlords.
Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
Approximately 1.7 million traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related deaths and hospital visits occur each year from falls, auto accidents, sports, and work-related accidents.
Other, less common types of personal injury claims include:
- Amusement park accidents
- Boating accidents
- Burn injuries
- Bus accidents
- Cell tower accidents
- Child sexual abuse
- Sexual assault
- Train accidents
Should I File a Personal Injury Claim?
When accidents happen and injuries occur, many people are not comfortable with the thought of suing. It’s common for people to think that filing a personal injury claim will be too much work or it won’t be worth it.
However, accidents can be life-changing, ranging from significant inconveniences to catastrophic injuries. Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a way to hold individuals and businesses accountable, making it less likely that they will repeat their negligent behavior. What’s more, it’s a way to receive the financial help you deserve.
Personal injury compensation may be used to cover:
- Past and future medical costs
- Costs associated with hiring home help or caretakers
- Counseling or emotional therapy
- Physical therapy
- Everyday living expenses
- Financial security
- Prescriptions and medicine
- Lost wages due to inability to work
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Accidents can cause people to suffer tremendous hardships that personal injury lawsuits help to ease.
Filing a lawsuit is not always complicated. In fact, claims often follow a standard process that experienced personal injury lawyers smoothly navigate for their clients.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
Meet With an Attorney
If you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you will meet with an attorney in-person or over the phone and discuss the details of what happened to cause the injury.
File the Lawsuit
If you have a valid claim, your lawyer will file the proper documents in court to start your case. These legal papers, called a pleading, outline your claims against the defendant.
Each side will gather information and evidence to establish facts of the case. Your lawyer will be responsible for doing the legwork here, so you can focus on your healing and well-being.
Settlement or Trial
The majority of personal injury cases are resolved out of court through negotiated settlements. If no settlement is reached, a judge or jury examines the evidence in a trial to determine liability.
If you win your case, you may start to receive money from an out-of-court settlement within 90 days. Compensation from a trial usually takes longer to be awarded, which is why most lawyers recommend settlements.
If your case does go to trial and the judge or jury rules in favor of the defendant, you can try to reverse this decision through an appeal.
Personal Injury Settlement Amounts
Personal injury laws vary state-by-state, and awards are heavily dependent on both the type of case and the severity of the injury.
Examples of noteworthy personal injury compensation decisions, as reported by Simmons Hanly Conroy, include:
- $5.1 million verdict: Wrongful death
- $3.8 million recovery: Defective seat belt accident
- $2.9 million success: Highway accident and faulty airbag
- $2.5 million recovery: Catastrophic personal injury
- $2.2 million appeal upheld: Boating accident
- $2 million success: Medical malpractice
Statutes of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
Statutes of limitations are state laws that place a strict time limit on the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations, ranging from as short as one year to six years. In most states, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims begins on the day of the injury.
Because the statute of limitations in some states is so short, it is important to act immediately and reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Lawyers
A personal injury lawyer can help you get financial compensation if you have suffered injuries caused by another party.
Accidents may result in countless phone calls, unexpected bills, and time-consuming follow-ups that can leave you feeling overwhelmed — not to mention, the devastating emotional and physical harm that comes with a personal injury.
Personal injury attorneys can help you hold accountable the person or corporation responsible for your injuries and pursue the well-deserved compensation you may be entitled to. With an experienced lawyer doing the heavy lifting, you can get financial help and peace of mind without the hassle.
Common Questions About Personal Injury Law
Should I consult my local personal injury law firm?
While it may seem easiest and most convenient to call a local law firm, hiring a nationwide personal injury attorney is often the best way to get the most money for an injury.
By choosing a law firm with a national network of personal injury attorneys, clients can benefit from the experience of some of the country’s top lawyers. Additionally, a nationwide firm can file your claim in any state, maximizing your potential compensation.
How can I determine which personal injury attorney to work with?
Questions to consider before hiring a personal injury lawyer include:
- Are you comfortable discussing the personal details of your case with the lawyer?
- Does the lawyer seem genuinely interested in helping to solve your problem?
- How long has the lawyer been practicing law?
- Has the law firm handled cases similar to yours?
- How are the law firm’s fees structured?
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
Personal injury lawyers typically offer free, no-obligation consultations before taking on any case.
Additionally, it is common in most personal injury claims to work on a contingent fee arrangement, which means the lawyer is only paid if the case is successful. If your lawyer wins your case, their fees will come out of the money awarded. Lawyers’ fees are usually a fixed percentage of the total recovery amount.
American Bar Association. (2013). When You Need a Lawyer. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/lawyerfees_contingent/
FindLaw. (2016). Injuries A to Z. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/injuries-a-to-z.html
FindLaw. (2019). When is it a Personal Injury Lawsuit? Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/personal-injury-law-the-basics.html
Goguen, D. NOLO. (n.d.) Time Limits for a Personal Injury Lawsuit: Watch the Statute of Limitations. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/time-limits-personal-injury-lawsuit-watch-the-statute-limitations.html
Lexis Legal News. Mealey’s (2019). California Motorcyclist Hurt In Lane-Change Collision Wins $21.5 Million Jury Award. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/46286/california-motorcyclist-hurt-in-lane-change-collision-wins-21-5-million-jury-award
Lexis Legal News. Mealey’s (2019). Georgia Appeals Court Upholds $2.2 Million Award To Gambling Boat Passenger. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/38086/georgia-appeals-court-upholds-2-2-million-award-to-gambling-boat-passenger
Lexis Legal News. Mealey’s (2020). $17.3 Million Deal Reached In Florida By Driver’s Estate, Pumper Truck Company. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/48328/-17-3-million-deal-reached-in-florida-by-driver-s-estate-pumper-truck-company
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