What Classifies as Personal Injury
Personal injury refers to the type of a case in which a person’s body or mind has been injured. This can include injuries because of:
- Car accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Bicycle accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Slip and fall injuries,
- Medical malpractice,
- or any other injury caused by someone else’s negligence or even intentional action.
In 2016, there were 39.5 million physician office visits for unintentional injuries. Unintentional injuries occur every day and can be incredibly dangerous if not cared for properly. In the same year, accident injury became the number 3 cause of death for the first time ever in the United States.
Personal injury cases are filed by the person who was injured in the accident, or by a spouse, child, or parent in a wrongful death lawsuit. The case is filed against the negligent party, and their insurance company, who are both responsible for paying if they lose the case.
Accidents can cause severe injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. The medical debt that one incurs due to an injury (whether mild or severe) can sometimes be overwhelming. Hiring a good lawyer can help you collect the most compensation possible for your injuries.
The Process of a Personal Injury Case
If you’ve never had to file a personal injury lawsuit before, you may be unsure of exactly how the process works. It can be a long process, sometimes taking years on end, especially if the treatment of your injuries takes a long time as well. So it’s good to know what you’re heading into when you decide you want to file a claim.
After your accident occurs, you want to make sure that you receive medical treatment as soon as possible. Delaying your medical treatment can raise red flags in your case, so it’s best to get checked out as soon as you possibly can. If your injuries are severe, it’s likely that you’ll be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. If you aren’t, you should see a doctor right away, or take a trip to the emergency room. Make sure to let your doctor know that your injuries occured because of an accident so they can document it in their notes. Keep a record of your doctor visits so you can keep track of medical expenses incurred due to your injury.
Hiring an Attorney
Hiring the right attorney for your case can save you a lot of headache in the long run. A good attorney will investigate your case, check in on you to make sure you’re following your treatment plan, and eventually settle your case or take it to trial. When making your selection, make sure to look at online reviews, ratings and past results. Further, talk directly with the potential attorney before signing up. Most attorneys will offer a free case evaluation and don’t require payment unless you win your case. Hiring an attorney will benefit you since insurance companies often try to low-ball you when privately settling an injury claim. Don’t settle with an insurance company before speaking to your attorney.
Your attorney will begin their investigation of your case. This will consist of them gathering all evidence necessary, including your medical records and bills, and any statements made to the police, and the police report. They’ll also use any evidence you may have collected, like photos you may have taken at the scene of the accident or any statements or communications you received from witnesses to the accident.
Your lawyer eventually handle settlement negotiations with the at-fault party and their insurance company. Your attorney will make a settlement demand and the insurance company will soon return with their initial offer. A settlement may take time, reaching weeks, months, or in some cases, years. Your attorney won’t want to accept a settlement that is less than you deserve, but they’ll be honest with you about any trial risks and what they believe is the best option for your case.
Lawsuit is Filed
If the other party refuses to meet your settlement expectations, a lawsuit can be filed against them. If a settlement offer is received that meets your expectations, the claim will resolve. A lawsuit is necessary when an appropriate settlement for your damages cannot be reached.
The discovery process allows both parties to investigate the claims they’ve made against one another. This process can last for months to years, but it gives both sides adequate time to gather all evidence needed to move forward.
A mediation can be used to try to settle a lawsuit before it goes to trial. It’s a settlement negotiation with the assistance of a mediator. If a settlement is not achieved at this point, the case can move forward to trial. Ideally, your personal injury attorney will be able to get you the compensation you need during this phase to avoid further lengthy and costly litigation.
If your personal injury case goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide the outcome of your case and the amount of compensation that is owed to you by the opposing party if you do win. That compensation will be based on proving liability and damages an injury victim has sustained. Trial allows both sides to tell their stories and also allows both sides to further question witnesses, and each other. Trials can last anywhere from a day to weeks. If it’s a complicated case, your trial may last even longer.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
There’s a lot that goes into a personal injury case, and it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you along the way. If you or someone you love has been injured in a person injury accident, please contact our aggressive attorneys at Abels & Annes. We have years of experience collecting significant settlements for our clients. You can contact us online or at 312-924-7575.