Personal injury is defined as injury to a person’s body, mind and/or emotions. The most common types of personal injury claims are auto accidents, workplace accidents and slip and fall accidents. Other types of claims involve medical malpractice, assault/criminal injuries, defective product injuries and home accident claims.
Can You Sue?
The first step in filing a claim is determining whether or not you have a right to sue. If the injury came about as a result of an accident or solely because of your own carelessness, you cannot sue a third party no matter how horrific your injuries are and how much it costs to treat them.
However, if you can prove that one or more third parties were at least partly to blame for your injuries, you can file a lawsuit against the individuals and/or companies or organizations involved.
The Statute of Limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations. This statute will not allow for personal injury lawsuits to be filed after a set date. In many states plaintiffs have a year to file a lawsuit; other states may allow three, six or even ten years for a lawsuit to be filed. A number of states have exceptions to the statute of limitations that will allow for a late lawsuit to be filed if the injury was only discovered years after the accident happened.
Cases involving serious bodily injury tend to receive the highest settlements. However, there are several types of compensation that one can claim. If the injury in question requires you take time off of work to recover or even learn a new trade altogether, you can file for lost earnings; alternatively, a person who owns his or her own business can claim compensation for lost profits. If your injuries prevent you from enjoying a hobby you have engaged in for many years, you can claim compensation for loss of enjoyment in life. Other forms of compensation include pain and suffering, emotional damage and medical costs.
How Compensation Cases are Handled
A lawyer who takes on your case will immediately go to work collection evidence on your behalf. Evidence may include the testimony of eyewitnesses who saw the incident, expert testimony regarding the nature of the accident in question and/or testimony from third parties who can attest to the fact that the defendant has a track record of behaving in a negligent or careless manner.
Your lawyer will also look for evidence against the third party that caused your accident. This evidence may include citations for unsafe work conditions, previous lawsuits filed against the party in question, the defendant’s criminal record (if he or she has one) and more. You will also be asked to see a doctor and receive a full examination. Your doctor’s report regarding the nature and severity of your injuries will have a large bearing on how much compensation you can claim.
Settling vs. Taking the Case to Court
United States Government statistics note that up to 96 percent of all personal injury case are settled rather than taken to trial. Settling a case is often the wisest course of action; trials can drag on for years as one party is bound to appeal the decision no matter what the judge or jury decides. What is more, 90 percent of all cases that do go to trial result in a loss for the plaintiff.
This does not mean that taking a case to trial is always a bad idea. To the contrary, a person who has a solid case should seriously consider a trial over a settlement. On the other hand, you should not automatically consider a trial to be your best option.
Personal injury cases can be complicated. Laws vary from state to state and may also depend on the nature and severity of your injuries. However, one thing that is for sure is that you can get free legal help to determine if a lawsuit is the best course of action in your situation. We offer free legal consultations to each prospective client that will help you know what types of compensation you may be eligible for and how to best claim this compensation. Our legal team is experienced and has a winning track record and you can easily get in touch with us either by phone or by using the contact form on our website.