Injuries are an inevitable part of life. Recently, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported 55.4 million injuries in one year in the United States.
However, if your injuries happened due to another’s wrongdoing, you may be legally entitled to compensation with a personal injury lawsuit.
If you’ve suffered harm, you’re not alone. A personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and pursue fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Continue reading to better understand what a personal injury lawsuit is and what the process entails.
Under the law, there are three types of harm done to an individual: bodily harm, harm to reputation, and property damage.
A personal injury involves harm to an individual’s body. In some cases, it can also include mental and emotional harm. While you cannot file a lawsuit for just any type of injury, if another person harmed you, it can be a personal injury.
Personal injury law exists to help victims recover for the harm caused by another’s actions or failure to act. Personal injury claims are civil lawsuits arising when a person’s actions or omissions cause another person injury. If an individual or entity causes your injuries, a personal injury lawsuit allows you to hold the liable party accountable for their actions while seeking financial recovery for losses.
Certain preventable accidents can result in lawsuits, including:
If you suffered an injury due to another, you may file a personal injury lawsuit. Do not hesitate to discuss your situation with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the incident.
Personal injury incidents can result in a variety of injuries. These injuries can be life-changing and may require medical treatment after the accident and in the future.
Injuries that may result from an accident or incident include:
In the worst cases, an individual’s actions can result in the victim’s death. If the victim passes away, their family can file a wrongful death lawsuit or survival action claim to pursue compensation for the wrong done to their loved one.
Compensation for a personal injury should cover the injury-related losses you’ll face. However, the type of damages you’re eligible to receive will depend on the details of your case. Personal injury damages typically fall into economic, non-economic, and punitive categories.
Economic damages are easy to calculate,
Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate because these losses are intangible and difficult to prove.
Some victims may receive punitive damages. A judge or jury can grant punitive damages in cases where a defendant’s actions go beyond negligence and are intentional, malicious, or egregious. These damages serve to punish and deter – punish the defendant for the actions and deter future actors from engaging in such behavior.
Calculating damages is one of the toughest parts of a personal injury case, especially if you’re unaware of the damages you’re eligible to receive. A personal injury attorney will examine the details of your case to determine how much you deserve and work diligently to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
One of the biggest questions plaintiffs have is, “how much is my case worth?” There is no average settlement amount for personal injury cases—the value of your case depends on many factors.
The details that most affect the value of your personal injury lawsuit include:
Your personal injury attorney or judge can review these and other factors when determining how much your case is truly worth.
The personal injury process often follows similar procedures as other cases. Knowing the steps involved can give you a better idea of what you might expect.
Be sure to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Your attorney will review your situation, ask the right questions, and help create a feasible legal strategy.
Speaking with an attorney will give you peace of mind, answer your most pressing questions, and get you started on your path to financial compensation.
First and foremost, your personal injury attorney will thoroughly examine the details of your case to familiarize themselves with your case. What they do subsequently depends on your case.
Depending on your case, your lawyer may start by sending the defendant’s insurance company a demand letter.
In this letter, they’ll provide certain information, including:
The letter will then propose a figure and make a settlement demand. The insurance company will then respond to the letter. If they do not respond, reject the demand, or refuse to engage in settlement negotiations, your lawyer can file a lawsuit.
If necessary, your lawyer will then file a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, your attorney may forgo the demand letter and go straight to filing a claim.
Initiating the lawsuit requires drafting and filing a complaint with the court detailing the specifics of your case, your losses, and the relief sought.
After filing the required documentation with the court, the opposing party will be served with copies, formally notifying them of the lawsuit.
The opposing party will have some time, usually about 30 days, to file their response with the court. If they fail to respond, your lawyer can pursue a default judgment, giving you the relief you requested in your complaint.
However, in most cases, the opposing party will respond, contesting the claims in the complaint. After the defendant files their response, the case can proceed.
The discovery phase allows both sides to obtain and review evidence while building their case.
The discovery process can include:
Your attorney takes this time to build on the information they already have from reviewing the details of your case. The discovery phase allows your lawyer to gather what they need to build a strong case.
After the discovery phase has concluded and both sides have what they need, your attorney will attempt to engage in settlement negotiations once again.
Pre-trial negotiations are often successful, with about 95 percent of personal injury cases in the United States settling before trial.
A trial can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful for both parties. Therefore, defendants are usually more willing to settle before trial to help avoid the extra cost and time.
Frequently, the defense will agree to settle before going to court because:
Settlement negotiations may require some time and plenty of back and forth, but your lawyer will try to get you the best possible settlement.
While most cases don’t make it to trial, some do.
If your personal injury attorney recommends you proceed to trial, it’s usually because:
Never fear trial, as it can be the best decision for your case. Always ensure you hire a skilled litigator in case your case needs to go to court.
You can fully trust your personal injury attorney to handle your case. However, there are certain steps you can take to help your chances of reaching a successful outcome.
As soon as possible after your accident or injury, get medical attention. If your injuries are severe enough, you may receive aid at the accident scene. Still, you should always follow up with a visit to the emergency room or your primary care physician.
A doctor can conduct a physical examination to determine the extent of your injuries. They’ll then provide recommendations for treatment to help get you on the road to physical recovery.
One of the most important things you can do is complete your medical treatment as prescribed. Many plaintiffs fail to follow through with their treatment, stopping mid-way. Even if you begin to feel better and think you don’t need to continue any further treatment, never stop before your doctor releases you.
Failing to complete medical treatment can make the opposing party question the severity of your injuries or whether you even suffered injuries in the first place. This can hurt your case, resulting in a diminished settlement.
Whenever possible, gather as much evidence as possible.
Strong evidence can include:
Additionally, police reports and medical records can help your case considerably. If you need assistance getting this documentation, which is common, your attorney can help.
The other party’s insurance company is not on your side. After an accident, it is common to have the defendant’s insurer call you requesting a statement. They’ll ask many questions, including how the accident occurred from your perspective.
Insurance companies are always utilizing tactics to help avoid or limit liability, so they don’t have to pay you. They will attempt to use your words against you.
If an insurance company other than yours calls, kindly tell them you cannot speak to them without first consulting your lawyer.
Every case is unique. Therefore, there is no average time you can expect your case to take.
Many factors dictate how long your personal injury case can take to complete, including:
While it can frustrate you, remain patient throughout the process. Your attorney knows what they’re doing—rushing them can result in an unfair settlement.
While you’re free to handle your personal injury case, hiring an attorney frequently yields better results.
Your personal injury lawyer will handle the most critical parts of your case, including:
A personal injury attorney is well—versed in the law and procedures for your case. They have the skills and resources to advocate for your right to fair compensation.
If you suffered injuries at the hands of another, discuss your case with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence with personal injury cases, so the sooner you allow a lawyer to begin working on your case, the better.
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