Injuries are inevitable in this life. While the majority of them are simple fixes, some disrupt our day to day living, wellbeing, and careers. Whether it is a minor slip or fall, to a major injury caused by someone else’s negligence, it is beneficial to know some legal basics about injuries and whether or not you are entitled to compensation.
This article will give you a general understanding of how injury law works, what personal injuries are, when to hire an attorney, and what types of reimbursements may be received.
What Qualifies as a Personal Injury?
An accident that causes an individual to become injured is considered an accident for legal purposes. To determine liability in most cases, courts look at whether the negligent party was doing something illegal at the time of the incident or whether they failed to take reasonable measures to prevent harm.
An injury, by definition, is simply harm done to the body. It is damage caused to the body’s tissues or structure which is either done directly through violence or indirectly through some other force. This includes mental injuries as well as physical ones. In legal terms, personal injury can be significant pain and suffering both physical and mental. When this happens there are two primary parties, the victim and the accused, each having their own legal rights that they can invoke for recourse.
The victim is the person who has been wronged and needs compensation for the injury. The accused is the person or entity that has committed an offense against another and must be held accountable for their actions. The word ‘accused’ does not exclusively mean someone who has been arrested but rather anyone whom you have reason to believe is guilty of an act. When taking legal actions, the injured person filing the lawsuit and their team are referenced as the plaintiff, while the person being served is the defendant.
Types of Personal Injury Law
There are several forms of personal injury law. Negligence is the most basic and well-known type, wherein a person’s carelessness and recklessness has caused an injury to another being.This form of personal injury is the most common seen in the court system. It is a civil action, premised on the duty of each individual to act as a reasonable and prudent person would in the same situation. When there is failure to meet this threshold, negligence occurs. This can be done with or without someone’s knowledge. For an instance to be classified as negligence, there must be a duty being owed by one party by another. The duty must be breached which results in damage to the other party, and the damage must be present.
The process of submitting a personal injury claim is simplified in this article. While laws vary from state to state, there are some similarities that apply to everyone. Your first step is filing a notice of claim with the courts which documents the specifics of your injuries with the company or person responsible for causing them. This serves as an official statement that you wish to hold them accountable and they must reply within a particular amount of time.
Whether you decide to represent yourself or hire a qualified personal injury attorney, the most important thing is to make a list of all the details pertaining to the incident. This will help build a better case with more grounds to build on. While this is not the most important thing on your mind directly following your injury, the sooner a list is compiled, the more accurate and detailed it will be.
The list should include information such as insurances used, doctor’s names and any witnesses that were present at the time of the accident. You will want to itemize the cost of medical bills incurred as a result of the accident. This includes all medical treatment for injuries sustained, ambulance fees, follow-up visits to doctors or hospitals, ect. The loss of work wages due to not being able to work are included in this total as well.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
So when does it become necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer? If the injuries sustained during the accident have impacted your life substantially through finances or your ability to work, it might be necessary to seek out compensation with the help of a professional. The financial amount of compensation varies depending on the extent of your injuries; the more severe, the higher the number. By hiring an attorney, you substantially increase your odds at receiving a better reimbursement as if you were to represent yourself.
An attorney will be able to assess your situation and help you decide if it is necessary to pursue legal action against another individual or entity responsible for your injuries. If you need legal assistance, finding a good personal injury lawyer is essential because they are familiar with all aspects of this type of law. It is their job to seek out remediation which helps prevent future accidents from occurring by holding someone accountable for negligence.
What to Expect
When first meeting with an attorney, the information you provide will be used to help build your portfolio. This information will then be filed in your personal injury case. A summons will then be placed on the defendant which serves as a notification of the actions being filed against them. They have to respond within a timely manner or the charges may be determined against them whether they are guilty or not. After being issued, the defendant has a chance to make a counter claim. After this has occurred, it gets moved to the discovery process where both parties will make sworn statements (also known as depositions). If the personal injury lawsuit is not settled during this time, then discovery will end and a settlement conference may be held. Here it will go through mediation or binding arbitration which are processes to determine if the case should settle. If a settlement is not made, it will move on to a trial which may or may not include a jury.
The best personal injury attorneys will be experienced and informed so you do not need to worry about the legality of your case. When hiring an attorney, it is important to discuss how they handle cases with other clients as well as if their legal team has enough resources to ensure success. Hiring a firm or individual that does not have enough experience or staff can lead to delays in crucial parts of your case such as filing deadlines and negotiating with insurance companies.
While navigating the legalities of a lawsuit can seem like a daunting task, having the right team defending you will help simplify your life, streamline the legal process, and ultimately save you money. By hiring a professional, you can feel confident that you are being informed about injury law terminology and that your rights pertaining to your case are being taken seriously.