Accidents happen without much warning and can change your life in an instant. Adults, children, the elderly; everyone is at risk of suffering an injury in an accident. Your child can become seriously hurt in a swimming pool accident. While traveling on a road trip, you can get hit by a truck or another car. Someone’s dog can come up and bite you while you are enjoying a hike in the woods.
Whatever the case, some accidents can cause you to experience serious injuries. When you suffer serious injuries from these accidents, you can seek compensation from the party responsible for your accident in a personal injury claim. For more information, please contact a personal injury lawyer.
When to hire a personal injury lawyer
One of the questions that you may ask is when you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer to help you. Maybe you want to reach out as soon as possible, but your injuries prevent you from doing so. Maybe you want to wait until you have the full knowledge of each damage you want compensation for until you reach out to a lawyer. Perhaps you have the temptation to try to file a claim yourself before you seek legal help.
Generally, the sooner you reach out to a personal injury lawyer, the better for your case. There are several ways that a personal injury lawyer can help your lawsuit when you hire them from the very beginning. Moreover, you never want to begin a claim on your own without legal help. Doing so risks making mistakes or saying the wrong thing that can jeopardize your entire case.
The following are many reasons you should never wait to consult with a personal injury attorney.
Filing the claim by the statute of limitations
A personal injury lawyer can help your lawsuit by filing it within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the period that you have to file a lawsuit against a particular party. If you file past the statute of limitations, the defendant’s lawyer can request that your lawsuit be thrown out.
You also want to file the case while the facts are still fresh. The later you wait to file your lawsuit, the more challenges you might face in obtaining evidence. A personal injury lawyer can ensure that your claim and all of the required paperwork are filed at the appropriate time.
Fighting off insurance adjusters
Another benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is having someone who can fight off the insurance adjusters on your behalf. When you file a claim, you will have to face off with the insurance adjusters for your compensation. Because insurance companies want to avoid paying out as many claims as possible, some will fight dirty and try to poke holes in your case.
One practice that insurance companies take part in is to call victims and request that they release copies of their full medical records to the adjusters. Insurance adjusters know they have no need for your entire medical history but try to trick you at your most vulnerable moment to give up confidential information. They then use your records to identify pre-existing conditions that can minimize your claim.
Your personal injury lawyer can prevent this scenario and others from happening. When insurance adjusters know a lawyer represents you, they tread lightly. They are more hesitant to use certain tactics on you. With a personal injury lawyer in your corner, you can entirely eliminate the communication between you and the insurance adjusters.
Gathering the strongest evidence for you
Your personal injury lawyer can gather the best evidence to support your claim. You may not be familiar with the different types of evidence to present or how to find and obtain it. A personal injury lawyer can use their experience to identify the necessary evidence. Your personal injury lawyer can also reach out to a network of different resources and gather the strongest evidence possible for your case.
Handling negotiations with insurance adjusters
The more involved your personal injury lawyer has been from the beginning, the better they will be at negotiating on your behalf. When it is time to negotiate with insurance adjusters, your personal injury lawyer will know exactly what you are requesting and why you are requesting it. Your lawyer also knows how to counter arguments parties will make against you. Your lawyer will know the right facts to use to better explain why you deserve total compensation for your injuries.
Personal injury accidents
In civil law, you have the opportunity to file a lawsuit against a person or organization that causes you to experience a personal injury in an accident. Such accidents cause harm to another person due to negligence. Negligence must be the cause of the injuries, and injuries must result in damages.
Some examples of common accidents in injury claims include:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Car accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Wrongful death
- Dog bites
- Truck accidents
How do accidents happen?
Whether your accident is a truck crash or a premises liability accident, each accident and personal injury happens due to another person’s negligence. The defendant in a personal injury case must have engaged in a specific negligent act that caused harm to another person.
For example, in a slip and fall claim, the property owner fails to properly maintain their property or establishment. In a traffic crash, a driver is often negligent by speeding or distracted driving and causes the crash.
How is negligence determined?
In a personal injury claim, you can prove negligence by proving:
- Duty of care. The defendant must be legally responsible for providing reasonable care to the plaintiff.
- Breach of duty of care. The defendant’s actions must have violated the duty of care they owed the plaintiff. If a defendant fails to provide reasonable care to the plaintiff, that breaches that duty of care.
- Causation. The defendant’s breach of duty of care must directly cause the plaintiff’s accident.
- Damages. The plaintiff must have suffered damages due to the defendant’s actions.
Common injuries suffered in accidents
The type of injuries from personal injury accidents can vary widely. Some accident victims are fortunate enough to walk away with moderate injuries that heal with treatment and time. Other people are not as fortunate.
Depending on the type of accident and other factors, you can suffer from spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, crushed bones, amputations, and other catastrophic injuries. Whether the injuries you endure from your accident are temporary or permanent, you will have to take advantage of different types of medical services, which are costly.
Damages you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit
There is no such thing as an inexpensive accident. Whether it is the property damage done to your vehicle or the physical injuries you suffer, you will likely incur some damage. Some common damages include medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
The serious nature of your injuries may cause you to rely on medical devices, pain medications, and ongoing medical care. These medical expenses can add up quickly.
Recovering from your injuries may require taking additional time off from work. Taking this time off from work can cause you to lose out on the income you usually earn. You might also not return to the same earning level in the future.
Your accident might be so traumatic that it affects other areas of your life for years. The stress from your accident and injuries can cause you to experience mental disorders like PTSD and anxiety.
Pain and suffering
Depending on the nature of your injuries, you can experience monumental amounts of physical and emotional pain. Your body may never be the same even after receiving medical assistance for your injuries. You can experience acute or continuous pain on and off for the rest of your life.
The defendant’s actions might have caused serious damage to your personal property. This can include damage to your vehicle, electronics, or other valuable items.
Who can be liable in an accident case?
Several parties can be liable for your accident and injuries. The parties that can be liable depend on the type of accident that happened. In a product liability accident, you would hold the defective product manufacturer accountable for your injuries. In a car accident case, you might hold a negligent driver liable for your injuries.
Depending on other factors of your accident, you might hold more than one party accountable for your injuries. For example, if someone caused your injuries while working, their employer might share responsibility.
Steps in a personal injury lawsuit
When you decide to seek compensation for your injuries, this is the route that your case might take. Steps include filing an insurance claim, filing a lawsuit, the discovery stage, settlement, pre-trial motions, and the trial.
Filing an insurance claim
Most people begin by filing an insurance claim with the providers of the liable parties. You might file one or multiple claims, and you want your lawyer to handle this process from the start. Speaking to insurers can be risky, so allow an attorney to handle all communications.
Filing your lawsuit
If you cannot reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you can move on to file a lawsuit. Your lawsuit begins when your lawyer files your official complaint with the courts. Once your claim begins, the defendant has a specific amount of time to respond to your complaint. The defendant also has the chance to countersue you if they want to do so.
The next step in your lawsuit is the discovery stage. This is the step where both lawyers have the opportunity to exchange all of the evidence and information that they plan on using at trial. Both lawyers must present all requested evidence within a reasonable scope. This step is also where you may have to participate in a deposition.
The next step in your lawsuit is the settlement stage. Before the trial can take place, there will be a chance for your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer to negotiate an agreed settlement amount. If you can settle, this is where your lawsuit will end.
Motions are requests that lawyers file with the court to force another party to perform a certain action. During pre-trial motions, your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer have the opportunity to submit evidence or request that certain evidence gets excluded from the trial. Some motions can even request that the judge decide the case based on the evidence filed to that point.
This is the step where both parties have the chance to present their strongest cases in court. Most cases never make it to trial, though some do, so you should prepare for the possibility.
You will have the chance to present all your information and evidence to either a judge or jury. The defendant will then present their side of the case. Both lawyers will make opening and closing statements and ultimately leave the verdict in the hands of the judge or jury. Depending on the trial’s outcome, you will also have the opportunity to file an appeal if you disagree with the court’s decision.
Seek help from the right personal injury attorney
When you seek compensation for your injuries, you want to ensure that your case is in the best hands possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer is the best person to have in your corner. There is not one step of your lawsuit that a personal injury lawyer cannot perform for you.
When another person’s negligence has seriously hurt you, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Instead of leaving your compensation up to luck, leave it in the hands of an attorney who will stop at nothing to help you receive your desired outcome. No one should get away with causing harm to you or your family. Contact an experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer to discuss your case today.