Being involved in an accident or watching a loved one go through pain due to an accident can be traumatizing. However, suppose the accident resulted from another’s negligence. In that case, it is ideal to file a lawsuit to get the needed compensation to cover medical expenses and any other form of loss that you may sustain.
Personal injury lawsuits help to provide some form of closure for accident victims and help to offset the financial implications of such accidents. Therefore, those who experience pain and suffering from their injuries sustained in an accident should consult a seasoned personal injury attorney who will walk them through obtaining compensation.
What are Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Personal injury cases are lawsuits filed by one party against another that they believe is liable for the injuries they suffered. A personal injury case allows accident victims to receive compensation from the “at fault” party. Once the compensation amount has been determined, the liable party’s insurance company will pay the injured party.
In some situations, multiple persons may be liable for the injury suffered by the victim. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, both the medical personnel and the hospital may be responsible for damages. When you decide to seek compensation for a personal injury, the attorney may advise that you settle in court or out of court.
If the victim decides to opt for an out-of-court settlement; the attorney will go through negotiation and mediation. The attorneys of both parties and the insurance companies will negotiate and come to an agreed amount, which is formally documented and paid out. Many attorneys often advise for out-of-court settlements; however, where this fails, your attorney may opt for filing a lawsuit.
Grounds for Filing Personal Injury Lawsuit
There are several grounds on which an individual can file a personal injury lawsuit, and they include:
- Situation of negligence: Negligence is usually the most common ground for filing a personal injury lawsuit. If an individual fails to exercise caution or a certain level of care towards another, thereby leading to injury or losses, they can become culpable for such losses.
- Intentional wrong: This results from any deliberate action the defendant carries out towards the plaintiff that led to the injury.
- Strict liability does not consider the defendant’s intention or whether they acted negligently. For instance, where a defective product causes injury, the product’s manufacturer will be held liable even if they had good intentions.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
There are various types of personal injury cases. Individuals can file a lawsuit and seek compensation for injuries sustained due to any of the following:
1. Slip and Falls
Slips and falls are among the most typical personal injury cases. Owners of properties have a legal obligation to ensure that their properties are safe for individuals on the property. Suppose people sustain an injury on a property and the cause is traceable to the negligence of the owner of the property.
In that case, the landlord can be held liable and required to pay compensation to the victim. Where the property in question is a rental property, the extent of the landlord’s liability may be determined by the contract terms, which specify the owner’s legal duties. This means that the landlord may not be liable for every slip and fall.
2. Car Accidents
Most road accidents occur due to negligence on the part of a road user. Car accident cases make up a large percentage of all personal injury cases recorded in the United States. Where accidents occur because of a driver’s carelessness, the driver will be required to pay compensation to the victim.
However, there are exceptions when the accident occurs in a “no-fault” state. In no-fault states, the insurance company pays off the driver’s financial liabilities except where the insurance does not cover the injury.
3. Slander and Libel
Unlike other personal injury cases where the defendant is liable for another’s injury, slander and libel cases hold the defendant responsible for damages to another’s reputation due to false-negative statements made against the victim. For a case of slander and libel to hold water, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered financial losses due to untrue statements attributed to the defendant.
4. Battery and Assault
This type of personal injury does not have elements of negligence or carelessness. Instead, it charges the defendant for intentionally attacking and inflicting physical harm on another in most cases. Most times, assault and battery personal injury cases are also accompanied by filing a criminal lawsuit against the defendant.
5. Medical Malpractice
Healthcare providers face the risk of facing a personal injury lawsuit in instances where their negligence results in the injury or death of their patient. Once it has been established that the patient’s injury was caused by treatment that was below the standard care, the medical practitioner or practice can be held liable for such injuries.
6. Dog Bites
Dog owners are financially culpable for injuries caused by their dogs. The extent of responsibility, however, is particular to different states. For instance, in some states, the “one-bite” rule applies. Under the “one-bite” rule, the dog owner is liable if the dog has shown signs of aggression in the past, but the owner failed to take any action to remedy that.
Damages that You are Entitled to From a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When a person files a lawsuit for injuries sustained due to negligence, they will be entitled to any or all of the following damages:
- General damages: These damages compensate the victim for emotional suffering and pain. Emotional suffering is usually referred to as non-economic damages because their monetary value can only be estimated and not accurately determined. Where the victim suffers severe trauma, the court will most likely award a higher amount to them as compensation.
- Economic damages: These are damages that have monetary value, such as medical expenses, lost wages and property damage.
- Punitive damages: The court awards this damage to the defendant as a form of punishment for their carelessness.
What Determines the Success of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The success of your personal injury lawsuit can be affected by several factors, including:
1. Legal Representation
The attorney handling your case can make or break your chances of getting due compensation. It is, therefore, crucial to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle the case.
2. Evidence Available
Most personal injury cases will need the victim to prove that the injury was due to the defendant’s negligence. Therefore, any evidence that would help prove that is important. It is important to contact law enforcement agents immediately after suffering the injury and possibly get the statement of eyewitnesses.
Additionally, get a medical examination and keep the receipts of all medical expenses. These documents will be required to determine the compensation amount.
3. The Extent of Injuries
The extent of the injury you suffered will affect your claim. Where the injuries sustained by the plaintiff are severe, the claim amount will be higher than where minor injuries were sustained.
If you sustained injuries due to another’s negligence, you can file a claim and receive compensation. However, personal injury cases demand prompt action in the right direction, so it is ideal to work with a competent personal injury lawyer.
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