Personal injury is an area of law based on damages that affect the body. Physical harm is the main predicate for these claims, and injuries can happen in any number of ways – whether in car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice situations, and more. The case will be handled by a personal injury lawyer and will be dealt with in civil court, or ahead of time with a settlement.
Types of Lawsuits
Personal injury claims can encompass many injuries. You may be able to file a product liability claim against a company that sold you a defective product that caused you harm. You could sue an insurance agency if one of their drivers hit you and hurt your back. You could sue the doctor or the hospital in a medical malpractice claim if you were damaged during a stay.
Basis of a Claim
In order to file a lawsuit, you must be aware of the concept of negligence. You will only be able to win your personal injury case if you can prove that the opposing party was negligent in his duties and caused you harm. Negligence can be established as true via the following four points:
- You were owed a duty of care
- The duty of care was breached
- The breach caused an accident
- The accident resulted in physical harm
Each point leads into the next, and if one is not true, you will have a harder time winning compensation. The most important part is the physical harm – if you were not injured in the incident, you would not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. The damages may even be minor, but as long as they are present, you will have grounds to sue.
Valuing a Case
The worth of a personal injury lawsuit is largely determined by the extent of the injuries you received. If your damages were extensive and caused you severe harm, and if they had a profound impact on your daily life and career opportunities, you could receive a sizeable sum.
The insurance agent will weigh your injuries with other factors, such as who was at fault and how much income you would lose as a result of the accident, and come up with a value to present to your attorney. Your attorney will then negotiate a better deal with the agent, reject it, or ask you to accept it if you believe it’s enough.
Types of Compensation
By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you could collect numerous kinds of compensation in civil court. You may be able to receive coverage for your medical expenses from the past and future, lost wages at work from the past and future, property damage, and emotional pain and suffering.
Further, if a loved one passed away because of the accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit, which would enable you to collect compensation for funeral and burial expenses, pre-death medical bills and pain and suffering, and loss of consortium and savings or expected inheritance.
Additionally, punitive damages are a type of monetary compensation meant to punish the individual and prevent him from committing the actions again. These damages are purely monetary and are handed out in situations where the defendant acted in gross negligence or intended to cause harm.
Statute of Limitations
Every personal injury case has a statute of limitations that must be followed. There are many statutes depending on the case, however; for example, you may have three years to file a claim if you were harmed in a hospital, but two years if the damages were the result of a car crash. There are various timetables that our attorneys can tell you about, and the defendant plays a part in them as well. Claims against the government are usually shorter, for instance, while claims against most individuals fall under the two year mark.
There are also exceptions to these statutes; an exception is called a tolling of the statute and results in the deadline being extended to beyond the initial date. The most common causes of suspended deadlines include the plaintiff being underage, the plaintiff being mentally or physically unfit to file a lawsuit, and the defendant leaving the country or the state for a period of time.
Length of Time to Receive Compensation
A personal injury lawsuit can be handled anywhere within a few weeks to a few years, depending on the circumstances of the case. A clear cut lawsuit with an obviously negligent party is more likely to be resolved quickly than one that has a degree of negligence from the plaintiff.
Attorneys will generally try to hurry the cases along as quickly as they can by staying in contact with the insurance agency and negotiating deals. The process may be lengthened if the insurance agent is resistant and refuses to pay anything out.
Some individuals may want to try their hands at representing themselves in personal injury lawsuits. Although it is possible and acceptable to do so, we recommend against it. You must dedicate a large amount of time and energy to the case, and you must be willing to spend your own money to handle many parts of the process. You will also need negotiating experience and knowledge of the law.
It can be daunting to represent yourself, and we advise you to seek legal counsel and hire a personal injury lawyer to take care of your lawsuit for you.
For More Information…
If you have other questions about anything that was not answered here, feel free to call our Los Angeles offices to speak with an expert attorney. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we will gladly answer any concerns you have.
Prospective clients who have cases can also call us for a free case evaluation in which we’ll tell you what we believe we can win for you. If you already have an attorney, you can call us for a free second opinion.
Our personal injury lawyers at Downtown LA Law Group are some of the most talented in the area, and we are here to bring you what you deserve from your lawsuit.