personal injury law basics

personal injury law basics
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Are you suffering from an injury caused by someone else’s questionable behavior? You may have the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit that could cover your medical bills, compensate for the time you’ve missed from work, and help put your life back on track.

To find out, learn the basics of personal injury law.

On What Grounds Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

You can file a personal injury lawsuit for many reasons. Most people are more likely to file a personal injury lawsuit as the result of an automobile accident than for any other reason. However, there are often lawsuits from slip and fall injuries.

An example is a case where a supermarket fails to keep the floor of its produce section safe and dry. As a result, a shopper slips on a wet spot and breaks her hip.

Attacks from animals such as when someone’s vicious dog bites a mail carrier are also common reasons for filing a personal injury lawsuit. When personal injury lawsuits gain national attention, it’s usually because someone is suing a billion-dollar company over an injury caused by the company’s product.

Medical malpractice cases are a type of personal injury lawsuit. A medical practitioner’s carelessness can cause severe and permanent disability. A lack of proper care at a nursing home or retirement facility can also spur a lawsuit.

What Sort of Compensation Will I Receive?

It’s not your fault that you were injured, so why shouldn’t you receive compensation for the important things that the injury caused you to miss?

Typically, a lawsuit will seek compensation related to the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of your joy for life
  • Lost income

What Do I Have to Prove?

To win a personal injury lawsuit, you want to prove the following four things.

  • The defendant had a duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent you from suffering your injury.  
  • The defendant failed in his duty to prevent your injury by performing his duties in a way contrary to what would be expected of a reasonable and responsible person.
  • The defendant’s misconduct is directly responsible for your injury.
  • Your injury negatively impacted your life and caused professional and personal losses.

Proving matters legally can be challenging. That’s why you want to find a personal injury lawyer with a proven track record of presenting indisputable evidence that supports each of the points mentioned above,

How Large of an Award Will I Receive?

Each personal injury lawsuit is different.  It’s difficult to say how large the award or settlement will be by basing your estimate on previous cases.  However, there are some common factors that can influence the amount of Selma.

The degree of injury

The worse the injury appears typically, the larger the settlement. For example, someone who is left in a wheelchair for the rest of his life is likely to receive a much larger settlement than someone who sustained a knee sprain that lasted only a few weeks. 

An injury that leaves someone in a wheelchair for life is not only severe, but it’s also permanent.  Settlements tend to be larger in cases where the injured party is expected to experience ongoing trauma. Particularly traumatic injuries include but are not limited to the loss of the use of a limb, the loss of one of the primary senses, and a disfiguring injury.

The Injury’s Impact on Daily Living

The jury will also consider how much the injury interferes with a person’s day-to-day life.  If a person has trouble completing normal activities such as taking a shower, getting dressed, and doing housework, the settlement is generally going to be larger

How Much Treatment Does the Injury Require?

Settlements tend to be larger when the patient’s recovery requires a long time along with the help of several medical specialists.  You may prefer health care providers who are outside the medical profession mainstream. However, you should be aware of how juries view the matter. Juries look more favorably upon plaintiffs who receive evaluations and treatment from familiar types of western doctors.

This does not mean that you cannot consult alternative medical practitioners, but you should rely upon the reports of traditional doctors when filing your claim and presenting your case in court.

Increase Your Chances of Winning Your Lawsuit

Naturally, you don’t want to lose your lawsuit. Take the following steps, and you’ll be well on your way toward a win.

Get Medical Attention as Quickly as Possible

You should always get an immediate medical evaluation after injuries or accidents even if you do not think your injuries are serious. Sometimes the damage does not become apparent until much later.  However, if you have waited days or weeks before getting medical attention, the insurance company will question whether your claim of personal suffering is legitimate.

Therefore, if you have a car accident or you slip and fall at the grocery store, never state to anyone that you are fine. That statement could later cause problems.  Simply say that you feel that you need to receive an evaluation at the hospital.

Be Careful of What You Say to the Insurance Company

A claims adjuster from the insurance company of the defendant will want to talk with you about the accident. He will try to appear sympathetic even empathetic. The more charming he is, the more you are likely to forget that he is not on your side but on the side of the defendant whom you’re suing.

Don’t make the mistake of adopting an overly casual tone during the conversation. Keep it professional. Give him only the undisputed facts and figures of the case. Any extra information you give about yourself or the circumstances surrounding the accident could be twisted and used against you.

Keep Good Records

If you want to receive proper compensation, you must save all the records related to your case. For example, your file should include all medical bills and prescription pills.

Don’t forget the gasoline receipts or transportation receipts related to your trips to the doctor, the hospital, and your physical therapists.  You also want to keep track of any paperwork from your employer that would show how many days and how much in wages you’ve lost as a result of your injury.

Find an Experienced Attorney Who Knows More Than Just the Personal Injury Basics

It’s difficult to win a personal injury lawsuit when you serve as your own legal counsel.  The insurance company will have a team of lawyers with years of experience destroying the testimony of people like you. It’s a smart move to have even more experienced attorneys on your side. They have seen all the tricks the insurance companies use. They know how to win.

An attorney will be able to establish the credibility of your case.  He knows what expert testimony he needs to lend weight to your lawsuit. If you want to win your case, you don’t want to serve as your own legal counsel. You want to engage the best personal injury attorney available so that you can begin taking the first step toward receiving the financial compensation you deserve.

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