Although mistakes happen, it is difficult to ignore the pain and suffering that is often caused by accidents. If you or your loved one gets involved in an accident, you have a right to launch a personal injury lawsuit and claim for damages.
What are personal injury lawsuits?
Personal injury lawsuits are cases filed when a person suffers injury from an accident caused by another person – either intentionally or by mistake.
In most cases, the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident will cater to the medical bills of the injured person and any other expenses associated with the injury. It is upon the injured person through his or her lawyer to prove that indeed the injury was caused by the defendant.
Personal injury cases are normally formalized by personal injury lawyers through civil court proceedings. The court will want to determine all legally at-fault parties through a court ruling.
However, a personal injury court proceeding can be avoided if the defendant and the plaintiff decide to resolve the matter out of court.
To be able to successfully file and get compensation, you need to understand how personal injury laws work. The first thing would probably be hiring an experienced . This is because personal injury laws can be complex and vary from state to state.
A successful personal injury case is where you receive a fair share settlement amount. This will depend on a number of factors such as the type of personal injury lawyer you hire, the evidence presented among other factors.
There are usually two outcomes in the first stages of a personal injury case:
- Formal lawsuits: Personal injury cases are different from criminal cases that are normally launched by the state or federal government. They are launched by an individual (Plaintiff) against another person, business, or government entity – claiming that their careless or irresponsible actions caused resulted caused their injury or suffering.
- Informal settlements: Most personal injury cases get resolved through informal settlements between the injured person that the one who caused the injury or accident. The two parties negotiate and agree not to take action against each other.
Statute of limitations in personal injury lawsuits
Anyone who would like to file a personal injury case has a certain period under which the law allows him or her to file the cases. This is what is referred to as a statute of limitations. Every state has its own personal injury statute of limitations.
Some states provide two years or three years within which a plaintiff can file a case. As long as you have started the process of filing the lawsuit, there is no specific timeframe as to when the case should last until you get compensated.
How insurance companies decide on the settlement:
As soon as the accident takes place, the victim is supposed to notify the insurance company about the same. The insurance company will then send an insurance adjuster to validate the personal injury claims.
The insurance representative will conduct some investigation to verify if the personal injury claims are true or not. Besides, the claims presented must be within the insurance clauses and coverages.
The work of the insurance adjuster is to determine if the accident was as a result of an accident, stage-managed or self-inflicted.
The insurance company will definitely take a look at the police report, documentation, hospital; records, and any other information related to the accident. At this juncture, it is important to know that personal injury cases are handled differently in each state.
Is it possible to file a personal injury lawsuit for any type of injury?
In simple words, a proper personal injury lawsuit is filed by a person or group of people who are injured or become ill or even die because of an accident or negligence.
Here are some of the most common incidents that can lead to personal injury lawsuits:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Car accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Medical malpractice
The burden of proof is upon the plaintiff. He or she has to prove to the judges that indeed, the defendant acted carelessly or irresponsibly which led to the accident. This sometimes called for seasoned personal injury attorneys to present a strong case.
Things that can be covered by personal injury settlements
There are a number of things that an insurance adjuster will consider when determining a settlement amount. They include the following:
- Loss of income or wages due to the inability to work
- All documented expenses such as property damage, medical bills, and legal fees associated with the accident
- Permanent physical disability
- Emotional damage
- Pain and suffering
Insurance adjusters are usually employed by insurance companies. Their major role is to come up with the exact amount of claims made to the insurance company. The fact that they are working with the insurance company means that they will always put the interest of the insurer first.
This means they will try as much as possible to keep the settlement fees low. That’s the reason why many people end up getting a lower settlement amount compared to what they expected. It is good to hire an experienced lawyer who can help you get a fair settlement amount.
However, since the insurance adjuster will want to keep the case out of court, he or she will be open to negotiations.
If the insurance company tries to force you to take a lower settlement, you still have a right to go to court. But the problem is that most people aren’t aware that they can negotiate the settlement given by the insurance company.
Common reasons why people lose personal injury cases
As mentioned earlier, a successful personal injury case is the one that culminates in a fair settlement. The success of a personal injury lawsuit depends on a lot of things.
If you launch a lawsuit without properly understanding what you are doing, then the chances of losing that case are very high.
Here are the reasons why most cases fail:
1. Not hiring an attorney
Personal injury laws can sometimes be complicated. It requires someone who has experience in dealing with such cases.
Representing yourself or hiring an unqualified person is only a recipe for losing the case. Carry out some research and identify a personal injury lawyer with a history of winning his or her personal injury cases.
2. Contributory negligence
While you may be a victim of a personal injury accident, you may also be a contributing factor to the same accident. If the court determines that you were among the parties at-fault for the accident, you will likely receive little settlement or nothing at all.
3. Lack of documentation
Proper documentation is crucial for the success of any personal injury case. You need to prove to the insurance company and the court that the accident actually happened. You will also have to tell how it happened and who is responsible for it.
Other documents such as photographs of the accident scene, police reports, medical records, and payment receipts are all important pieces of evidence.
It is important to be sure of all the facts about your personal injury case before filing it. Exaggeration or misinterpretation of fact s can prove to be detrimental to the case.
Personal injury lawsuits are common around the country. Sometimes accidents happened and cause injury, pain, and suffering to the victims.
It is up to the injured person to launch a lawsuit to claim compensation. Clearly understanding how personal injury laws work in your state is crucial for the success of the case.