Getting injured as a victim of someone else’s fault can be confusing and frightening. The aftermath of what happened can cause physical, mental, emotional, and financial impacts on you and your family. Because of this, the law gives you the right to run after the at-fault party by filing a personal injury case and negotiating a fair settlement for your injuries.
However, just like other legal processes nowadays, dealing with personal injury cases require familiarizing yourself with certain aspects to help you navigate the procedure correctly. Also, there are pieces of information you need to understand, so you’d know how to handle the situation.
If you believe your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, below are the things you should know about personal injury cases and settlements.
There Are Several Types Of Personal Injury Cases
People usually associate the term “personal injury” to car accident cases. Although the personal injury law covers injuries arising from car accidents, many situations allow you to file an injury claim with the help of some skilled lawyers, like the ones working in Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C.
The said situations may include:
- Medical Malpractice – It occurs when a healthcare professional, through a negligent act, deviates from the standards of their profession and causes an injury to a patient.
- Premises Liability – It occurs when the injury was caused by an unsafe or defective condition in someone else’s property.
- Animal Attack – When a dog bites someone else, the owner will be liable for the injuries sustained by the person.
- Assault – It occurs when a person inflicts physical harm to another person and causes some injuries. In the legal sense, it might result in civil liability, criminal prosecution, or both.
- Battery – It occurs when someone intentionally causes harmful touching to another person without their consent.
As you can see, these are instances in which a personal injury case can be filed against the responsible party. To get the most out of your claim, you should know which type of personal injury case you’re dealing with. Your knowledge about the matter can help you navigate the situation properly.
You Need To Hire An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
When dealing with a personal injury case, it’s essential to hire a lawyer because they can help you get fair and equitable compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained. Although you can handle the process alone, a legal professional can make sure your rights and interests are protected.
This means that they can offer valuable legal advice about your situation and explain the available legal options to you. They’ll interview you and want to know everything about your injuries and the treatment you have. Then, they’ll get all your medical records to determine how they’ll assist you in building your personal injury case.
While you focus on your physical recovery, your lawyer, on the other side, will put a fight on the critical issues on your behalf. Besides your family, they also understand the hardships you’ve gone through because of the injuries, which is why they’ll not hesitate to handle your personal injury case and get the compensation you deserve.
When hiring for a reliable lawyer, below are things to consider:
- Experience – Make sure the lawyer has valuable experience in handling personal injury cases, like yours.
- Reputation – Look for someone who has an excellent track record in representing clients in injury claims. You can check their website or read some reviews online to know how reputable they are in the industry.
- Communication – Make sure that the lawyer you’re going to hire can communicate with you and in the language you understand. They should also be able to make themselves available when it comes to the progress of your case.
- Confidence – Of course, your prospective lawyer should be confident enough to advocate for you. They should know what they want, and that’s to recover financial compensation for the damages caused by the other party.
You Have To Deal With The Insurance Company
Whether it’s a car accident, medical malpractice, or other types of accidents in the workplace and at home, you must talk to the other party’s insurance company for your claims. Before the case goes to trial, your lawyer will need to negotiate with them by asking for a fair settlement offer.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are also making money. Thus, they’ll attempt to limit their offer to protect the interests of their company. As a result, your lawyer needs to be ready in case they’ll resort to their dirty schemes just to reduce the amount of money you should receive for your injuries.
You Might Have Limited Time To Bring A Personal Injury Case
Another essential thing of which you should take note is that you might have a limited time to run after the party responsible for your injuries. This is commonly called the statute of limitations.
Depending on where you live, you should check your state’s time limits to bring a case to make sure that you can still pursue the case. Once the deadline has expired, you might no longer be able to file your claim and receive compensation from the at-fault party. In most states, you have three years to institute a personal injury claim, or, else, you’ll be barred from doing so. But, in some states, the timeframe might be shorter and longer, depending on the state laws.
The Injuries Might Be More Serious Than They First Appeared
When it comes to a personal injury case, it’s crucial to determine the full extent of your injuries and how they can affect your future. For example, you might have injuries that can cause permanent disabilities. As a result, you might not be able to work and earn some income, do the things you usually do, and restore the life you had before your injuries happened.
However, the extent of your injuries might not be known right after the accident due to complications, secondary infections, unhealed wounds, and unanticipated injuries requiring more extensive treatment.
So, before you intend to accept a settlement offer, make sure that you know how your injuries can impact your quality of life. You should also figure out what kinds of care and treatment are needed in order to recover from your injuries. But, you can only understand these things once you reach your maximum medical improvement. This is the point where the doctor will tell you that nothing, even extensive treatment, can be done to improve your condition.
That said, it’s best not to enter into any settlement agreement before you reach maximum medical improvement. In doing so, you can ensure that all the damages you’ve sustained will be well compensated.
The Total Costs Of Your Personal Injuries Cover Many Other Losses Aside From Out-Of-Pocket Expenses
Most insurance settlements cover out-of-pocket expenses, such as immediate lost wages, medical expenses, and even repairs. Unfortunately, they don’t include the full value of your injuries. Because of this, you need a dedicated personal injury lawyer to provide evidence of many other losses that should be compensated. These might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in life activities
- Mental health treatment for emotional injuries and trauma
- Loss of future earnings
- Emotional or psychological injuries
These are some of the damages that should be taken into consideration when accepting settlement offers. The better you understand the value of everything that should be compensated, the easier it would be to determine whether or not the proposal is just, fair, and equitable.
When The Negotiation Fails, You Can File A Personal Injury Lawsuit In Court
When all the negotiations with the at-fault party and their insurance company didn’t work, you may, then, file a personal injury lawsuit in court. This is where you’ll need to attend several legal proceedings to hear your case until the jury issues a decision.
Here’s how a personal injury lawsuit works:
- Discovery Phase – Before the trial begins, you and the opposing party will obtain more evidence from one another and evaluate the same. This is usually called the discovery stage. Both parties send questions and interview all witnesses and other people involved, including the offended and offending parties. Depending on the intricacy of your case, this phase can take a longer or shorter time to finish.
- Mediation – Once the discovery is completed, the lawyers will begin discussing the settlement. They’ll usually go through the process of mediation, where a neutral third party tries to bring both parties together to resolve the case.
- Trial – When mediation fails, the case will be scheduled for trial, which might take a few days, weeks, months, or years. Under this phase, the lawyers will start presenting their arguments and evidence. Next, the jury will study the facts, determine who’s at fault, and award damages, if necessary. Hence, if you want to recover compensation, hire a lawyer who can handle the trial properly.
Indeed, most personal injury cases and settlements are somehow complicated. Depending on the nature of your case and the extent of your injuries, among many others, getting a fair settlement offer or compensation can be challenging.
Therefore, keep the information mentioned above in mind so you’ll know what to expect when dealing with your own personal injury case.