Personal Injury Lawsuit: Who and When Someone Can File

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Sadly, in a split second, your life may change forever. Not only does sustaining severe injuries negatively impact your life, but it also affects your loved ones. Fortunately, the law gives you the chance to get justice for yourself and your family through what we call “personal injury lawsuits.” Although this kind of lawsuit requires patience and resources, you can rest assured that your family will be compensated for such an ordeal. Thus, if you want to file a personal injury lawsuit, you need to know the ins and outs of these lawsuits, including who can file them and when they can be filed. By checking out the next few points, you will know exactly what to do to make sure that justice gets served.

What Is a Personal Injury?

A personal injury constitutes any type of injury you sustain due to another person’s negligence, whether that person is a stranger, a healthcare professional, or even your boss if you do not have workers’ compensation. Generally, if you prove that your injuries, or a loved one’s wounds, are a result of negligence, you can get compensated for your lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering. However, before you file a personal injury lawsuit, make sure that you understand the cases that fall under the category of personal injuries, which include:

  • Slip and fall accidents: They happen due to the negligence of the owner of the premises where the accident takes place.
  • Medical malpractice: Injuries related to medical malpractice result from the negligence of healthcare professionals. For example, if a doctor prescribes the wrong medicine or does not order enough tests to discover an underlying illness, putting their patient’s life at risk, this can be the grounds of a personal injury lawsuit against them.
  • Faulty products: You can sue manufacturing companies if you can prove that their faulty products led to your injuries.
  • Dog bites: Any dog owner is liable if their dog ends up biting another person and causing grave injuries, especially if the owner has been aware of its aggressiveness and has not taken any precautions to ensure other people’s safety.
  • Wrongful death: This is a special kind of personal injury lawsuit because it deals with injuries that lead to the death of a loved one. It is worth mentioning that any of the other above cases can lead to wrongful death.

Who Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Let’s start with the worst-case scenario; when a person dies because of their injuries, which resulted from negligence, their close family members can benefit from the compensation a wrongful death claim can provide. However, not all close family members are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The seasoned Indianapolis attorneys at point out that only the representative of the deceased person’s estate can file the lawsuit, whether that person is a close family member or an attorney. The compensation, on the other hand, is given to the deceased’s close family members, including their spouse, children, and parents. It is worth mentioning that grandparents and siblings do not usually benefit from the compensation. 

Other Personal Injury Lawsuits

In contrast to wrongful death lawsuits, standard personal injury claims are often filed by the injured party, represented by their attorney. Of course, having an attorney is not a requirement, but it can facilitate the process and ensure that you get your full rights. Nonetheless, it is not impossible to file a personal injury claim if you are not the one who sustained the injury. For instance, if your spouse gets injured, you might be able to file what we call a “loss of consortium” claim. This claim can help you get compensated for the loss of your spouse’s companionship. 

Yet, there are a lot of considerations involved if you are thinking about filing a loss of consortium claim as the injured party’s partner. If your lawsuit goes to court and you get a divorce before it is settled, this will have adverse effects on the amount of compensation you may get. Additionally, every aspect of your marriage will be used in court, so you must be ready to have everything out in the public if you want to win the case. Moreover, children are also entitled to file a loss of consortium claim if they can present evidence that their parent’s level of care and affection has changed due to their injuries. Luckily, the loss of consortium claims filed by the injured party’s children do not fall under much scrutiny, so the chances of compensation here are higher.

When Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Now that you know more about personal injury claims and who can file them, you might be wondering if there is a time limit for filing your claim. Well, there is a concept that we call the “statute of limitations,” which governs the timeframe that you have to initiate your case. In most states, the statute of limitations is only two years from the date of the incident that led to the injury. So, the clock starts ticking right away, meaning that you need to act fast and report the incident, find an attorney to represent you, and collect enough evidence. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions to the rigid rules of the statute of limitations.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

Some injuries, like brain injuries, are harder to spot and may take years to manifest. So, the law has the “discovery rule,” which dictates that the statute of limitations starts only when you discover your injuries. The same applies to wrongful death cases; if you did not think that a loved one’s death was due to negligence and then discovered this lately, you can still file your lawsuit. Minors as well get an advantage. For example, if you sustain injuries as a minor, you get two years from the date you turn 18 to file your claim. Thus, this means you can still sue the other party when you are 20.

Personal injury cases can be messy and exhausting, but as long as you are aware of their many aspects, you can guarantee that you get fair compensation for your trouble. So, you should read more about the different types of personal injuries, who can file a personal injury lawsuit and the statute of limitations of your respective state. Also, don’t forget to enlist the help of an expert to represent you in court to increase your chances of winning the lawsuit.

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