About Personal Injury Law
The laws that govern the field of personal injury will vary from state to state. These may be set based off state and/or federal legislation as well as case law, which is established based on the outcome of former cases. Because this is such a broad subject and may vary depending on the jurisdiction, it can be difficult to know what factors may be involved in
proving liability, determining the worth of a claim, seeking
financial compensation and filing a claim within the necessary time constraints. Ideally, you should consult with an attorney to determine how the personal injury laws in your area may affect your claim. However, we have included some basic information on these matters that we hope you will find helpful.
Grounds for Personal Injury Claims
In general, there are three different "grounds" upon which a personal injury lawsuit may be filed. The most common is negligence, which involves unintentional yet negligent conduct on the part of another person or company. The other two are intentional conduct (acts of intentional wrongdoing) and strict liability (where a party can be held accountable regardless of particular intent or negligence).
The majority of personal injury cases will involve dealing with an insurance company or companies, as insurance policies typically pay the settlements or verdicts in personal injury lawsuits. A good example may be an auto accident. If another driver causes an accident that leaves you injured, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your injuries. The other driver's insurance provider would be responsible for paying your claim. In some cases, you may even have to deal with your own insurance company. This can be difficult in its own way, and having an attorney to help you can make a difference as you seek a fair outcome.
Liability in a Personal Injury Claim
If you were injured, one of the main questions on your mind may be: who is accountable? You will need to determine who should be held legally responsible for your injuries. In some cases, this may seem fairly straightforward, such as a dog owner whose dog attacked you. In others, there may be multiple parties to blame or the cause of the accident may not be immediately clear. A thorough investigation can shed light on this important matter.
Statute of Limitations
Each state will have its own statute of limitations regarding personal injury claims. This may be further broken down into categories, such as medical malpractice claims and wrongful death claims. In California, for example, a personal injury claim must be filed within 2 years of the date of the incident. A medical malpractice claim must be filed within 3 years of the date of injury or when the injured party should have reasonably known of the injury or malpractice.
Seeing a Doctor
Seeking medical attention is crucial in the event of any type of accident, even if you feel you are not seriously injured. You may have suffered some form of physical trauma that may take hours, days or even weeks to present, and seeking medical care can save you a good deal of pain in the future. There are also issues to consider in seeking medical care, regarding what type of medical expenses may be covered and whether you can seek compensation for future medical treatment.
Settlement vs. Trial
An overwhelming majority of personal injury claims are resolved through negotiated settlements as opposed to trials in civil court. Whether your case may go to trial will depend largely upon the approach your personal injury attorney takes as well as the circumstances surrounding your case and whether the responsible party is willing to work with you to reach a fair resolution.
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury may be defined as any type of physical or emotional injury that is caused by another's conduct. An example may be a broken hip caused by a slip and fall accident at a department store, where the store manager failed to have a spill in an aisle cleaned up in a timely manner.
Why hire an attorney?
Personal injury laws are complex. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with. You may find it nearly impossible to receive a fair settlement when you handle your claim on your own, and the outcome of your claim may directly impact your ability to rebuild your life and face a more secure financial future. For these reasons, it is important to hire an attorney who can properly protect your rights while helping you seek the financial compensation you should be entitled to receive.
As a person who has been injured due to another's conduct, you have specific legal rights. You have the right to hire an attorney. You have the right to refuse to give a statement to the other party's insurance company regarding the cause of the accident. You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party that caused your injuries. Learning about these and your other rights can help you make the right choices about your case.
Interested in learning more about personal injury laws in your state? Find an injury attorneyin your area.