Accidents are fairly common occurrences, and in most cases, they are out of our control. However, if someone is injured or killed, or if someone’s property is damaged because of another person’s negligent actions, recklessness, or malicious intent, it’s another issue altogether. This is especially true if the property damage caused or bodily injuries sustained will cost a lot of money.
If someone else is responsible for your injury, they are obligated to cover medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and other damages relating to personal injury accidents. Usually, the responsible party’s insurance company will pay the injured party accordingly.
However, there are many instances wherein the negligent party or their insurance company tries to dodge responsibility. In cases like these, the best course of action is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to initiate a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Your attorney will exhaust all legal means to ensure that you get compensated for everything you’ve gone through.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Not all injuries are eligible for personal injury lawsuits. The main criteria for this type of lawsuit is that the injury or damage to property is caused by someone else and not your own negligence or recklessness. Personal injury lawsuits can arise from the following situations:
Car accidents are a common type of personal injury claim. This is because most accidents are caused by negligence or recklessness, as opposed to elements outside of human control. Motor vehicle accidents usually happen due to the following reasons:
- Reckless driver
- Distracted drivers
- Driving cars that are not road-worthy
- Intoxicated drivers
- Lack of attention
- Disobedience of traffic laws
In many cases, car accidents happen because someone was distracted from talking on their mobile phone or one of the drivers is drunk. This means that in most cases, someone is at fault in a car accident. Even when a car crash happens because of potholes or cracks on the road, the government can be held liable because it is their duty to maintain roads in the city.
If you sought treatment at a hospital for your illness, and your condition worsens because the doctors made a mistake or cut corners during treatment, you can file medical malpractice claims against the doctor and the hospital. Doctors are bound by oath to provide the best medical treatment possible and treat the patient to the best of their abilities. If there is sufficient evidence of neglect on the part of the medical provider, the patient must be compensated for it.
Slips and Falls
A person can get injured from slips and falls. However, not all slips and falls lead to civil actions – in most cases, a person gets injured due to their own negligence. However, if you are inside a business establishment and you slip and hurt your back, you can file a negligence claim via premises liability. When mopping up floors, staff should always place a warning sign to inform patrons that they should be more careful. If it is proven that the floor was slippery because it had been recently mopped, and there was no warning sign in sight, the store owners are liable for your physical injuries.
If you are bitten by a dog owned by someone else, the dog’s owner is liable for your injury. By law, dog owners are responsible for their dogs and should keep their dogs inside their premises. If the dog is aggressive, it must be leashed when strangers are around to avoid personal injury accidents. If it is proven in court that the dog was allowed to roam freely in the streets due to the owner’s neglect, you can seek monetary compensation for medical treatment if the dog attacks you.
In some states, dog owners are liable for the actions of their dogs regardless of whether or not their dog has shown signs of aggression in the past, while other states only hold the owners liable if the dog has a history of aggression.
Personal injury is not only limited to physically hurting someone. You can also file a personal injury lawsuit against someone who has harmed your reputation and dignity as a person. Defamation is the utterance of false statements to hurt someone’s reputation. Defamation victims need to prove that it was the responsible party who released these statements and that these statements harmed them somehow.
Harm from untrue statements can come in the form of further harassment. If someone falsely accused you of being a homewrecker on a public forum, and because of this statement, you start receiving death threats and harassment from other individuals on the Internet, you can file legal action. For celebrities and influencers, defamation suits are usually filed when they lose endorsements or are fired from their job due to false statements.
Other Forms of Physical Harm
If someone commits grave threat, assault, battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and other criminal charges with the intention of harming or killing you, you can file a personal injury charge against them. Most people think that just because these are criminal cases, they can’t file a personal injury claim against their aggressor. However, criminal proceedings are separate from civil actions, so it is possible to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator even after being sentenced.
Filing Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are a victim of a car accident, armed assault, or medical malpractice, the thought of filing a personal injury lawsuit may come to mind. Here are a few tips you should follow to ensure your lawsuit is successful and receive just compensation.
Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
Not all personal injury cases see the inside of a courtroom, and most personal injury settlement negotiations are concluded without the intervention of an attorney. This usually happens when the negligent person accepts their responsibility wholeheartedly, and the responsible party’s insurance company acts in good faith and gives the victim the compensation they deserve.
However, not all situations end amicably. In some cases, the person responsible for the accident will shift the blame on you and won’t cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation. Sometimes, their insurance company will try to devalue or dismiss your claims to protect their client. Most people decide to hire an attorney after their claim for compensation is dismissed unfairly or if the offer is too low.
We recommend hiring legal representation from the get-go. The best time to start thinking about hiring a lawyer is when you get into an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Sometimes, after an accident, the negligent person might appear friendly, agreeable, and willing to negotiate. Still, they can change their minds easily, and verbal agreements are not honored by the law.
By hiring a lawyer from the get-go, you guarantee fair compensation the first time around, and the chances of the situation being turned against you are slim to none. Having a lawyer around will also send the message that you know your rights and you’re not messing around. Usually, the presence of a lawyer alone is enough to make people more cooperative.
Always Call the Proper Authorities
Did you slip and fall while at the mall? Call 911. Are you involved in a car accident? Call 911. Did someone threaten you with a knife? Call 911. No matter what situation you are in, it’s important to alert the authorities. The presence of police officers and paramedics is usually enough to prevent aggression from other parties.
Aside from controlling the situation, law enforcement can also help keep the investigation accurate and objective. Once at the scene, they can interview witnesses, check video surveillance footage, and photographs the scene, which can be used as valuable evidence for your lawsuit. Also, if you are injured, it is best to get treated immediately and have your injuries properly documented through a police report.
Review and Validate Your Case
Although it is the right of every victim to seek compensation for injuries and property damage, legal proceedings are expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, you must first sit down with your lawyer, go over the evidence you have, and determine whether or not you have a solid case.
In many situations, the responsible party’s insurance provider has given you a seemingly inadequate estimate simply because their insurance policies can’t make up for what you need in medical expenses and others. In cases like these, your lawyer may suggest other forms of compensation or other funding options, as filing a personal injury lawsuit won’t give you any further benefits due to insurance coverage limits.
Preparing and building up your case is important compared to simply filing your lawsuit on a whim. Remember that the goal of a lawsuit is to give you the compensation you deserve, so the benefits must outweigh the costs.
Damages You Can Receive From A Personal Injury Lawsuit
As a victim, what damages can be awarded to you if your lawsuit is successful? There are two kinds of monetary damages awarded to victims: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are compensable losses with a definite quantitative value. Some common samples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses – this compensates victims for all occurring and future treatment related to the injury they received. This includes everything from the hospital room and board, professional fees, medication, laboratory tests, and others.
- Lost wages – this compensates victims for all the workdays they’ve missed and all the perceived income they failed to earn because of hospitalization.
- Property damage – if your assets were damaged as part of the incident, you can seek financial compensation to have them repaired.
- Wrongful death – this type of compensation is given if the victim dies. Their surviving family can file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
- Punitive damages – the asking of compensation for punitive damages happens if there is sufficient evidence that the liable party caused the incident intending to harm the victim.
Non-economic damages are losses that can’t be quantified easily. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering – this compensates the victim for any trauma and emotional distress suffered because of the incident
- Loss of consortium – this pertains to a negative effect on the family situation of the victim because of the incident. Spouses can sue for loss of companionship
- Loss of Enjoyment – this compensates the victim for any loss in quality of life because of the incident.
The Law of Comparative Negligence
You can seek the compensation you deserve as a personal injury plaintiff with strong evidence. However, one factor may lessen the compensation you deserve or get your claim thrown out completely. This is the law of comparative negligence, which is a doctrine that is being followed in fault states. Simply put, the law of comparative negligence means that if you contributed to the accident, you are partly at fault as well.
The compensation you receive will be deducted based on the percentage of fault. If it turns out that you were 51% responsible for the incident, your case may get thrown out completely.
Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
Finding yourself a victim of an accident or attack is stressful enough. If you are injured, you need to concentrate on your health, and worrying about your personal injury lawsuit may be counterproductive to your recovery.
Here at the Porter Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers will use their knowledge and experience to protect your rights as a victim, and you receive the compensation you deserve.
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