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A Guide to Personal Injury Claims

Know the permissible damages that can be claimed, the common types of court cases on personal injuries, their outcomes, and why you should hire a personal accident lawyer

What is the Personal Injury Act, what are claims under tort law, and what you need to know about the personal injury act claims

As you can surmise, it the act that deals with personal injury, and that injury can be bodily harm, as well as mental harm or anguish or injuries, including damage to one’s reputation.

Personal Accident Lawyer

It comes as a part of the tort law, which has been formed to give relief to a recipient of an injury, mental or physical, due to the offending party’s (individual or organization) action, lack of action, or fault. If the party at fault agrees to their mistake/fault, or if the same is proved in the court against a lawsuit, the suffering individual will be entitled to compensation for the damages cause, and the future damages caused as well (for example, loss of salary), in terms of dollars. There may be punitive damage claims as well, as well as for complete recovery of all legal costs.

In our country, these lawsuits occupy a vast majority of all the lawsuits and cases, which has made a complete ecosystem of personal accident and injury attorney firms and lawyers. The tort claims cases checks that injuries or damages have happened, due to in intention or negligence of a person or firm, before the cases are accepted for hearing.

You might be interested to know the number of cases that are filed in this section, and the outcome judgements of the same. Scroll below to have an insight on the statistics of personal injury lawsuits, and also search the database of judgements delivered by different honourable judges in different US courts, in this matter.

Personal injury cases and lawsuits can become complex, involve a lot of legal formalities, and can drag over a period of time as well. It is advised to take help of a personal injury lawyer once you have a fair idea of your case and the kind of judgements that have been delivered as per injury acts before. These injury attorneys specialize on these tort laws and acts, and help you to shoulder most of your burden of the lawsuit.

But before that, let’s check the kind of injuries, or events, that qualify for the personal injury act claims:

Negligence, and the four corollaries or features of negligence that must accompany it, for a claim to be valid under the injury act to file lawsuits:

Duty of Care: It is the onus, or obligation of one person to the other, that has been breached. For example, if you are taking a joy ride at a fair, then it is the duty and obligation of the joy ride operator, to keep his machines in proper condition, and operate the machine in the proper manner, so that you are not put in danger while taking the ride. A failure of duty of care is the first aspect that is looked into.

Breach of Duty: A person in charge would be entrusted with a set of duties, whether in a normal operation, or in emergency. The person should diligently carry out his duty. For example, if an airplane hits a rough turbulence, the captain is expected to do everything under his means to steer the airplane to safety, not to jump of it with a parachute. This aspect is also carefully looked into.

Cause in fact: The above two factors must be responsible for the event that has cause you the injury. If there are other events that have been the result of the damage, then the personal injury claim cannot be held valid. For example, assume a cab driver who has been negligent in maintaining his car as per standards. However, a different car hits his car at the side, while he was waiting at a signal, causing you personal injury. Now, you cannot file a lawsuit against your driver for this. You can always consider filing against the other driver though.

Harm: The above three factors must result in damage for you to make the claim. In the first example, say, if the operator was negligent in all aspects, and you came out of the ride not knowing anything, unscathed, and enjoying a proper ride, then you cannot do a personal injury claim, just because he was negligent.

Other scenarios where personal injury claims are accepted, though they are not under negligence clause:

Strict Liability:

Here, the accused may have caused harm to the plaintiff, though he is not directly negligent to the event. Consider buying a sealed bottle of water from a store, which you consumed and fell sick, as there were deadly germs present in the water. Here, the manufacturer may not have been negligent, as his factory w\may be following all standards, and the error may not be in other bottles as well, but still, he would be liable to pay you for your damages, as it would be considered under the clause of strict liability.

Intentional Tort Laws

If someone have made you suffer intentionally, and have caused you mental or physical harm, and then whether or not there is negligence, the offence would be tried under intentional tort laws, which will entitle you to a claim, commensurate to your damage, along with punitive amounts in some cases. A common example of this is workplace sexual harassment, and common physical assaults.

Time is the key!

Please note that you cannot wait indefinitely to file your personal injury lawsuit, in fact, the earlier you file the case, the stronger it becomes. Moreover, each US state has their own laws on the time period to file a lawsuit under personal injury and tort act. If you overshoot the time to file, you lose your right to file the case. In case of accidents too, there are strict time periods, under which you will have to report the same. There are quite a few court formalities as well. If you are considering filing a lawsuit for your personal injuries suffered due to someone’s negligence, then talk to a personal injury lawyer today

What should one do immediately after suffering a personal injury:

After suffering a serious personal injury, it's crucial to consult with a qualified legal and medical professional for specific advice tailored to your situation. Here are some general guidelines:

Seek immediate medical attention:

If your injury is severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Your health and well-being should be your top priority.

Report the incident:

If the injury occurred due to someone else's negligence (e.g., a car accident, slip and fall, or workplace incident), report it to the appropriate authorities, such as the police, your employer, or the property owner.

Document the scene:

If possible and safe to do so, take photos and notes of the accident scene, your injuries, and any contributing factors (e.g., hazards, damaged property).

Obtain contact information:

Collect contact information from any witnesses, as their statements may be valuable in the future.

Follow medical advice:

Adhere to your healthcare provider's instructions for treatment and recovery. Keep all medical records and bills related to your injury.

Consult with an attorney:

If you believe your injury resulted from someone else's negligence, consult with a personal injury attorney. They can help you understand your legal rights and potential avenues for compensation.

Notify insurance companies:

If applicable, inform your insurance company of the injury and any potential claims. Be cautious when discussing details with insurance adjusters, as they may attempt to minimize their liability.

Preserve evidence:

Keep any evidence related to the injury, such as medical records, accident reports, and photographs. This will be important if you pursue a legal claim.

Follow up on medical treatment:

Continue with any recommended medical treatments and therapies to aid your recovery. Keep a record of all expenses related to your injury.

Understand your legal rights:

Work closely with your attorney to understand your rights and potential compensation options, whether through negotiations, settlements, or a lawsuit.

Keep a journal:

Document your pain, suffering, and any limitations resulting from the injury. This can help support your case and provide insight into your ongoing medical and emotional challenges.

The specific actions you should take will depend on the nature and circumstances of your injury. Seeking advice from qualified professionals, including medical doctors and personal injury lawyers, is essential to protect your rights and well-being

Some statistics on personal injury lawsuit claims, in the US court, to put you in perspective, on the judgements on the act:

Most tort and personal injury claims are settled outside court, making it difficult for meaningful statistics to be analysed. Nevertheless, the median award in tort trials concluded in 2002-2003 was $201,000, while the following categories made up for the bill:

52% of the cases result from motor vehicle accidents at the roads, medical malpractice was responsible for 15% of the cases, while product liability damage claims constituted 5%. The rest of 28% of the claims were related to personal injuries of various order.

Road accidents seems to be the biggest culprit, and this have given rise to a specialized, auto accident lawyers, or car accident attorneys, and you can check the details before availing the service of a car accident lawyer, here.

Types of personal injuries under the act, on which lawsuits can be filed:

Automobile accidents, defective product resulting in accidents , Workplace accidents, direct assault, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, infliction of emotional distress intentionally, acts resulting in defamation, acts resulting in wrongful arrest, wrongful detention, or even imprisonment, privacy invasion, and malicious prosecution. These may result in loss of reputation or defamation, physical pain and suffering, both present and future, physical impairment, reduced quality of life, mental health issues, mild or severe depression, loss of companionship, care and love, disfigurement, etc.

Kind of damage claim compensation that the plaintiff can expect:

Reimbursement of medical expenses, lost salaries/income, and even future income reimbursement. Along with this, the plaintiff may also get money in compensation for the pain and suffering he has gone through, he legal expenses, the mental anguish and distress he has suffered, reimbursement of travel expenses and even costs towards everyday household assistance as per Jury.

The most common claims made under personal injury acts:

Car accidents, rather car and motorcycle accidents combined, claims tops the list, and if you are interested to know more about car accident claims and auto accident lawyers, visit this article and guide on the same. You can also search for motorcycle lawyer, automobile accident lawyers, auto injury lawyers, accident claims lawyers or accident attorney as the case maybe directly, but going through the article and guide on auto accidents, (link given above) will help you to take an informed decision, including the list of important papers, to support your claim. Fatal car accident lawyers also work in this domain.

Medical Malpractice damage claims result from a negligent doctor, other healthcare practitioner’s negligence, or even hospital process negligence, that have resulted in a physical or mental harm. They are quite complicated, and hence are almost always handled by a medical malpractice claim lawyers and attorneys. Medical malpractice lawyers are widely searched in the internet, and there are lawyer and attorney firms, who have specialized and work only on these kinds of lawsuits, as they generally involve large compensation amounts, and require special and high precision skills to fight such cases.

Accidents and injuries resulting from slip and fall

Slip and fall may seem simple for you, but they take major proportions in older age, sometimes resulting in permanent disability, significant brain injury, and permanent loss of quality of life. If the fall was due to negligence of some individual/authority in a private or public property, it is valid for a lawsuit. It is of little wonder that slip and fall lawyers are getting busier by the day.

Assault

It is never negligence, but is always intentional, and it is on the rise. You can blame it on the tougher social life and economic conditions. Any injuries cause due to assault, can be taken for compensation at the courts.

Defective product

It is becoming common now a days. Any injuries suffered due to defective product, falling under product liability, can be effectively compensated at the courts, or, frequently, out of courts as well.

Dog bites

If someone is bitten by a dog, it is taken to be the owner’s negligence, and the bitten one can get compensation at the courts from the owner of the dog

Wrongful death

A death occurring due to someone’s negligence can be filed to the court for compensation, by their immediate family. Even death by falling down stairs, which were wet, but unmarked by the owner of the house, can be treated as negligence. In such cases, the victim’s close relations would be looking for a wrongful death attorney, who would organize the case in the legal parlance, and file to get the best compensation possible for the loss. The lawyers are same or similar to those who specialise in accidents at place of work or construction industry injuries claim.

Accidents at the place of work

If there are unsafe working conditions, equipments that malfunction, or even insufficient training, which results in personal harm of any sort, then the sufferer of the injury can take the workplace authority to court, and claim his compensation. These cases too, are best handled by lawyers. You should search for “work related injury attorney” to reach such lawyers. Work related injury lawyers handle such cases with precision and help you to reach at a better bargaining position with the offender.

Construction Industry Injuries

It is a very demanding industry, with heavy machinery and strict timelines. The nature of work is frequently hazardous as well. It is no wonder that this industry sees quite a few accidents, out of which plenty of them has the element of negligence in them. It is very very difficult for the owner of a construction site work to keep it free from all dangers, nevertheless, he should take every possible effort to keep it hazard free, else he would be paying relentless claims to all construction industry lawsuit claims.

Premises liability personal injury

This is a bit dicey and is subject to interpretation. It happens when a person, say A, has sustained injuries at a property owned by another person, say B. The property was not maintained properly, or was hazardous, due to negligence of B. In this case, it is possible for A to get compensation claim from B, by filing a premises liability lawsuit.

Why you should hire a personal accident lawyer or attorney to file your case:

Though the process of filing a claim is pretty simple in courts, and one can file it without the need of any legal advice, you miss out on the vast experience that a personal accident lawyer has, and which will be reflected in the forms you fill up, taking care of every word, and framing of the sentences in legal parlance, to get you the maximum benefits. They also become familiar with you and your case, which proves beneficial in the later stage of the cases, in the typically long courtroom trials that these tort cases see. There is a bigger benefit however, due to time, expenses and reputation issues, most (over 90%) of the cases are sorted out-of-court, privately, after filing, and the case closed. This out of court settlement would be handled by your personal injury attorney, who is experienced in such settlements, and will get the maximum benefit out for you. Frequently, apart from filing expenses, you will not have to pay directly to your lawyer; he will get his pre agreed percentage of commission, from the settlement amount. Lawyers are also a must for long term disability claim suits.

What are the qualities to Look for, when hiring a Personal Accident Claim Lawyer:

When hiring a personal injury lawyer, it's important to choose an attorney who has the qualities and characteristics that can help ensure a successful outcome for your case. Here are some key qualities to look for when hiring a personal injury lawyer:

Experience in Personal Injury Law: Choose a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and has a track record of handling cases similar to yours. Experience in this area is crucial because personal injury law can be complex and varies from case to case.

Expertise and Knowledge: A good personal injury lawyer should have a deep understanding of the relevant laws, regulations, and legal procedures related to personal injury cases. They should be up-to-date with the latest developments in personal injury law.

Strong Communication Skills: Effective communication is vital. Your attorney should be a good listener, be able to clearly explain legal concepts, and keep you informed about the progress of your case.

Investigative Skills: A personal injury lawyer should have strong investigative skills to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case on your behalf. They should be detail-oriented and thorough.

Negotiation Skills: Many personal injury cases are settled out of court through negotiation. Your attorney should be a skilled negotiator who can advocate for your best interests and secure a fair settlement.

Trial Experience: While most personal injury cases are settled before going to trial, you should choose a lawyer with trial experience in case your case needs to be litigated. A lawyer who is comfortable in a courtroom can be a valuable asset.

Accessibility and Responsiveness: Your attorney should be accessible and responsive to your needs. They should promptly return your calls and emails and keep you updated on the progress of your case.

Empathy and Compassion: A personal injury attorney should be empathetic and compassionate, understanding the physical, emotional, and financial toll an injury can take on you and your family.

Resources: Look for a law firm with the resources necessary to handle your case effectively. This includes access to medical experts, investigators, and other professionals who can strengthen your case.

Good Reputation: Research the attorney's reputation and read reviews from previous clients. A positive reputation and a history of successful cases can be a strong indicator of competence.

Fee Structure: Understand the lawyer's fee structure before hiring them. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Ensure that the fee arrangement is clear and fair.

Local Knowledge: A lawyer with knowledge of the local legal community and familiarity with local judges and court procedures can be an advantage in your case.

When searching for a personal injury lawyer, consider meeting with multiple attorneys to assess their qualifications, approach, and personality to find the best fit for your specific case and needs. It's important to feel comfortable with and trust your attorney, as you'll be working closely with them to navigate the legal process and seek compensation for your injuries.

How do you find a good personal injury lawyer:

Finding a good personal injury lawyer is crucial if you've been injured due to someone else's negligence and you want to seek compensation. Here are some steps to help you find the best personal injury lawyer for your case:

Ask for Recommendations:
Start by asking friends, family members, colleagues, or acquaintances if they have had a positive experience with a personal injury lawyer. Personal referrals can be valuable.

Check Online Directories:
Websites like Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, and FindLaw provide directories of lawyers. You can search for personal injury attorneys in your area and read reviews and ratings.

Bar Association Referrals:
Contact your local or state bar association for referrals. They often have referral services that can connect you with qualified attorneys in your area.

Consult with Other Attorneys:
If you know or have worked with an attorney in another field, ask them for a referral. Lawyers often have professional networks and can recommend colleagues with expertise in personal injury law.

Online Research:
Research potential lawyers online. Visit their websites to learn about their areas of specialization, experience, and case history. Look for client testimonials and case results.

Initial Consultations:
Schedule initial consultations with several attorneys to discuss your case. Many personal injury lawyers offer free or low-cost initial consultations. This is an opportunity to assess their knowledge, experience, and communication style.

Ask Questions:
Prepare a list of questions to ask during your consultations. Inquire about their experience with cases similar to yours, their success rate, their fee structure, and their approach to handling cases.

Assess Communication:
Pay attention to how well the attorney listens to your concerns and communicates with you. Choose a lawyer who is responsive and keeps you informed about the progress of your case.

Check Credentials:
Verify the lawyer's credentials, including their education, licensing, and any disciplinary history. You can usually find this information on the state bar association's website.

Consider Reputation:
Research the lawyer's reputation within the legal community. An attorney who is well-respected by peers and judges may have an advantage in negotiations or court.

Review Fee Arrangements:

Understand the lawyer's fee structure. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Ensure you're clear on the percentage they will take if you win.

Check for Conflict of Interest:
Ensure that the attorney does not have any conflicts of interest that could affect their ability to represent you effectively.

Trust Your Instincts:
Choose a lawyer you feel comfortable working with. Trust your instincts about whether you can establish a good attorney-client relationship.

Ask for References:
Don't hesitate to ask for references from past clients. Talking to former clients can provide valuable insights into the lawyer's performance and results.

Review the Retainer Agreement:
Before hiring an attorney, carefully review the retainer agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of your working relationship.

You can search for a personal accident lawyer in your area or the best personal accident attorneys in your area from the Google search box below. Remember to mention your area in the search. For example, if you are in California, looking for an auto accident lawyer, search for California auto accident lawyer.

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