Personal injury lawsuits come in a variety of forms. Usually, these lawsuits are filed against a person or company for negligence that resulted in injury. Because of this, the person or persons seek compensation, medical costs or both against the negligent party.
Any time you are injured, consulting a personal injury lawyer can assist you in determining if you have a case. But before moving forward with any litigation, you should know more about personal injury claims. These are some of the most important things to know.
Settling Out of Court
An important fact to remember is that the majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of court. In some cases, a settlement may be reached if both sides agree via negotiation.
For example, the defendant proposes a monetary payment as a settlement with the intent of settling out of court. You would then decide whether or not to accept that sum as compensation. Instead of pursuing future legal action, all parties accept the settlement through a written agreement.
This is the best case scenario and easiest way to settle without going to trial or going before a judge.
Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim
Once you are injured, do not wait if you can. There is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the defendant in personal injury cases. The time limit is called a statute of limitations. This time period usually starts when you are either injured or when you first realize you are injured. Sometimes, you may not realize you are injured, but when you do, time is of the essence.
However, there isn’t a set time limit across the board. The length of the statute of limitations varies depending on the injury. Sometimes, this time period is just one year.
If you are injured, act quickly if you want to file a claim. You do not want to miss your window and miss out on a potential payout.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Are Not Criminal Lawsuits
A formal personal injury case is between two parties: the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff files the lawsuit against the defendant who may be a person or company.
An important thing to know is that personal injury lawsuits differ from criminal cases. In civil court, one party usually seeks compensation for damages against another. This is general monetary relief through a settlement or litigation. In criminal cases, a judge determines whether or not the defendant will be punished for breaking a law.
Personal injury lawsuits and criminal cases are very different, so keep this in mind.
Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friends
Insurance coverage is used to pay for damages granted to injured parties in most personal injury lawsuits. While the majority of the time, it’s done so through a settlement, insurance companies are not on your side.
An insurance company, like most businesses, has one goal: to make money. So, paying out claims does not come without resistance. Most of the time, an insurance company will work to pay the least amount they can if they pay at all. They will argue that your claim is not as valuable as you think. This is a very important reason to hire a personal injury lawyer to navigate your case.
If You Don’t Get Paid, Your Attorney Doesn’t Either
Outside of personal injury, attorneys often require an upfront payment to represent someone. Generally, in a personal injury lawsuit, this is not the case.
Your attorney’s compensation is contingent on them getting an award in your lawsuit.
Personal injury attorneys often practice on a contingency basis. This means you won’t have to pay in advance for their representation. Their fees will come if they are successful in your lawsuit. If you receive a favorable judgement or settlement you agree upon, your lawyer will receive a share of this. Usually, the percentage is around 33%.
Personal Injury Cases Can Take Time
Time is important in any personal injury lawsuit. However, you must understand that your case may take time to resolve. It’s difficult, especially if you’re unable to work and not receiving a paycheck. It is important that you remain patient.
Sometimes, it takes months of diligent planning to receive a successful outcome. Lawyers may have to gather documents, obtain testimony or other evidence. The more evidence your lawyer gathers to build your case, the better chances you have of receiving a favorable award.