Personal injury lawsuits are cases that arise when an individual suffers an injury, and they can legally hold someone responsible. In most cases, the responsible party will have to pay the injured party a settlement for their pain, medical bills, suffering, lost wages, and more. Personal injury law is vast and complicated, so here are some highlights.
The Grounds of Tort Cases
If you suffered physical or material damages from someone else, you might have a personal injury case and grounds for a claim and subsequent settlement. However, such cases are not as clear as one might think. Before anything else, discuss more with an Augusta personal injury attorney to understand your situation, the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, and the options you could explore to get compensation. Here are some basics you should know.
- Negligence. It is at the root of the highest number of personal injury cases. A negligence claim is based on a person’s duty of care towards someone else and the proven breach of that duty. For instance, a doctor has a duty of care to a patient, but the patient receives the wrong treatment due to negligence. Broadly speaking, this is a case of medical negligence/malpractice. Most negligence cases encompass motor vehicle accident claims, premises liability lawsuits, birth injury cases, etc.
- Intentional wrongs. Frequently, intentional torts are trespass to chattels, trespass to land, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery. In addition, intentional wrongdoing cases refer to individuals or entities that purposely engaged in conduct that caused injury or damage to the plaintiff.
- Strict liability. Under these grounds, the responsible parties are held liable for someone’s injury without proof of negligence or direct fault. An example is a manufacturer held accountable for a defective product that harmed one or more plaintiffs.
Who Can Be Sued?
In personal injury lawsuits based on the negligence doctrine, the most likely parties to be sued are medical practitioners, grocery stores, trucking companies, motorists, etc. In strict liability cases, a plaintiff can sue animal owners, product manufacturers, or entities engaged in abnormally dangerous activities.
Statute of Limitations
The injured party has a time limit to file a lawsuit, commonly known as the statute of limitations. The period starts the moment the plaintiff suffers the injury. Within the stipulated time, the plaintiff has to find representation that has an excellent attorney-client relationship and lodge a lawsuit for compensatory damages. Get a personal injury attorney from your state to acquire good representation and maximize your winning chances.
State law establishes the statute of limitations, and it may be different for each type of injury. An example is the Texas statute that sets most personal injury cases at two years. However, the statute of limitations may be extended in some circumstances (asbestos-related injuries or silica-related injuries).
Rules That Control Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases derive their rules from treaties drafted by legal scholars and court decisions. The majority of the states have summarized the two into written statutes. However, court decisions are the primary source of rules on practical personal injury cases.
The Settlement Process
The majority of injury claims are settled out of court. The settlement process kicks off with filing the necessary paperwork in the state of injury occurrence. Next, the attorney representing the injured party will strike a deal with an insurance carrier to decide on a compensation package that is acceptable to both parties. After reaching an agreement, the party responsible provides provisions that bar any future moves touching the case.
If the negotiations falter, the injured party can opt for a trial. If a trial occurs, both sides will make arguments for their case before the court, which will deliver a verdict. In addition, the courts use measures like adding attorney’s fees to the settlement to deter the responsible parties from skipping negotiations.
If the injured party lodges a successful claim, they will land a money award for their injuries. The award is given to reimburse the plaintiff for the damage they suffered. Here are some of the compensatory damages that the plaintiff can receive:
- Lost wages
- Household assistance
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Travel expenses
- Emotional and mental distress
What Else Should You Know About Personal Injury Compensation?
Injuries are generally immediate and serious. Most immediate bodily injuries are covered by personal injury law: a broken leg in a premises liability case, whiplash from a car collision, a dog bite, a head injury in a pedestrian accident, etc.
Plaintiffs should be aware that sometimes they might be completely or partially liable for their injuries. In some states, the liability is shared by the two parties involved in an accident. For example, when two bikers collide while acting negligently, the one that suffers injury cannot collect compensation if found liable.
Personal injury cases need a deep understanding of the laws, processes, and facts. If you have grounds for filing a claim, seek experienced personal injury attorneys to help you with your issue.