Have you been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault? Can you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries and damages? This comprehensive guide explains everything you need about personal injury claims – how they work, what damages you can recover, how to find a personal injury attorney and more.
A personal injury claim allows someone injured by another person or company’s negligence to seek compensation through an insurance settlement or lawsuit. Personal injury claims encompass many types of accidents and injuries, including car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, dangerous products, and more.
Suppose you have been harmed by someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, medical costs, and other damages through a personal injury claim. Read on to learn how the personal injury claim process works from start to finish.
The statute of limitations sets a legal time limit for filing personal injury claims after an accident. This deadline ranges from 1-6 years, depending on your state and claim type. For instance, most states impose a 3-year limit to file car accident claims, while libel and slander claims have a 1-year limit.
It’s important to consult a personal injury lawyer and file your claim before statute of limitations expires. Not meeting the deadline may strip you of the right to seek compensation. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can identify the specific filing deadline for your case. Consult an attorney promptly so the statute of limitations does not bar your claim.
Insurance companies use different tactics to minimize the payout on personal injury claims. They may dispute liability, deny accident-related injuries, or argue that pre-existing conditions are to blame. Adjusters typically make very low opening offers, then increase them slowly during negotiations.
For example, on a claim worth $100,000 based on medical bills and lost wages, an insurer may first offer just $20,000. They’ll then gradually raise it to $40,000, $60,000, and so on – still well below what the claim is truly worth. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer levels the playing field during settlement negotiations.
An experienced personal injury attorney can make all the difference in your injury claim. An attorney will handle complicated legal procedures, communicate with insurance companies, gather evidence to prove liability, negotiate fair compensation, and take your case to trial if needed.
With proper legal representation, you can avoid being taken advantage of by insurance companies and receiving less compensation than you deserve. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis so that you won’t pay any upfront fees for their services.
Personal injury law encompasses many types of accidents and injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct. Some examples include:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability cases – slip and falls, dog bites, unsafe property
- Medical malpractice – surgical errors, misdiagnosis, childbirth injuries
- Defective and dangerous products – drugs, medical devices, consumer goods
- Wrongful death
- Workplace injuries
No matter how injured, an experienced attorney can evaluate your case for free and help you understand your options. Each case is unique, so discussing your situation with a lawyer is important.
The amount of compensation you may be entitled to for your personal injury claim can vary depending on several factors. Some factors that impact a case’s value include:
- Type and severity of injury – Permanent disabilities or scarring tend to increase value. Minor soft tissue injuries may have less value.
- Required medical treatment – Extended hospitalization, multiple surgeries, and ongoing care increase value.
- Lost income and future lost earning capacity – Inability to return to work due to disability factors.
- Pain and suffering – More severe, lasting pain warrants higher damages.
- At-fault party’s insurance policy limits – Compensation is often limited by what the policy covers.
An experienced attorney can examine your injuries, bills, lost income, and other damages to provide a case evaluation and estimate what your claim may be worth.
If successful with your claim, you may be able to recover compensation for various types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses: Bills for hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, medication, and more.
- Lost income: Wages lost due to missing work during recovery.
- Loss of future earning capacity: If disabilities prevent you from returning to work.
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages: Extra damages to punish gross negligence.
- Wrongful death damages: In the event a family member was killed.
An attorney can seek full and fair compensation based on the unique circumstances of your case.
If an insurance settlement can’t be successfully negotiated, your attorney may recommend taking your case to court and filing a personal injury lawsuit. Here is the general process:
- The lawsuit is filed in court, stating how the defendant was negligent and owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The defendant is served with a summons and given a chance to respond.
- Discovery phase – Evidence is gathered, documents exchanged, and depositions taken.
- Expert witnesses may be used to provide opinions on things like accident reconstruction or medical prognosis.
- Settlement negotiations continue leading up to the trial.
- If no settlement is reached, the case proceeds to a trial by judge or jury.
- The jury awards damages, or a settlement is negotiated after a verdict is reached.
While most cases settle before trial, your attorney must be prepared to take your case to court if needed to seek the maximum compensation.
Q: What are the three main types of damages in personal injury cases?
A. The three main types of damages in personal injury cases are economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages cover quantifiable losses like medical expenses, lost income, and loss of future earnings. Non-economic damages cover subjective losses like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Punitive damages punish and deter egregious behavior.
A: There are three types of personal injury damages that you may be able to recover: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
A: The value of your case depends on various factors. It is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate the specific details of your case and provide you with an informed opinion. During a free consultation, an attorney can review the evidence weaknesses, assess the strengths of your claim, and give you a better understanding of whether pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is in your best interest.
A: Many personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations where they will review the details of your case and provide an initial assessment of its potential value. You can contact a personal injury attorney directly or fill out an online contact form on their website to get a free case evaluation. During the evaluation, you can ask any questions you may have and learn more about the legal options available to you.
Q: What is tort reform, and how does it impact injury victims?
A: Tort reform refers to laws passed in some states limiting the amount of damages injury victims can recover in lawsuits, especially non-economic damages. This makes it harder for victims to receive full compensation and reduces incentives for companies to maintain safe practices.
- Personal injury claims allow you to seek compensation if injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.
- Damages may include medical bills, pain, lost income and suffering, and other losses.
- Speak to an attorney before the statute of limitations expires on your claim.
- An experienced lawyer can help maximize your compensation through settlement negotiations or lawsuits.
- The value of each injury case depends on the specific circumstances.
- Be sure to get in touch with a personal injury law firm for a free consultation on your case.