What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do For You?
An injury can be a minor bump in the road, or it can completely derail your plans. You may have to deal with repeat medical appointments, therapy and pain. On top of this, you may struggle financially if the injury makes working impossible. In some cases, you may be able to get financial compensation from the person responsible for your injury. Hiring a personal injury lawyer allows you to regain some of what you lost by pursuing the at-fault party.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
When you get hurt because of someone else’s actions, either intentional or otherwise, you may have the right to seek financial compensation. Personal injury law is a civil court action and involves compensation from the responsible person’s insurer. A personal injury can be physical or emotional, and it must have drastically changed the course of your life, even temporarily. While some injuries may sideline you for a few weeks or months, others may find you unable to return to your previous activity level or job. In these extreme cases, you may require lifetime medical and financial compensation.
Personal Injury Case Types
Personal injury law covers any harm done to the body or mind through someone else’s negligence. There are some typical case types an injury lawyer handles.
The most common personal injury cases involve car crashes. When vehicles collide, the damage to the body can range from minor to catastrophic. The more serious the accident, the more severe the damage to the body. Cases that fall under this category include:
- Multi-car pileups
- Drunk drivers
When an impaired driver causes an accident, a personal injury case is the only way to recover compensation. While they may face criminal charges for the DUI, that case will not net you a financial award.
Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel take an oath not to harm patients. However, in some instances, their actions or inactions directly contradict this promise. Medical malpractice claims fall under the purview of personal injury law because they involve negligence on the part of the provider. Some medical malpractice cases revolve around a practitioner’s medical mistake and others around inaction. For example, a doctor may take action and treat a medical diagnosis that turns out to be incorrect. In another situation, the doctor may not perform the proper testing to find a diagnosis at all, thereby taking no action. Both of these fall under negligence in a medical malpractice case. Other cases under medical malpractice include:
- A hospital with unsanitary conditions that cause infection
- A nurse who administers the wrong dose of medication
- A doctor who discharges a patient without sufficient treatment
- A medical team that mishandles a birth resulting in injury to the baby
Slip and Fall
Entering another person’s property should not end with you seeing stars. If the ground presents a danger that the property owner knew existed and you wind up taking a tumble, it may rise to a personal injury. A slip and fall or a trip and fall means that the conditions present made it likely that someone would get hurt. When a business owner knows the floor is slick and either fails to display signage warning of the condition or does not clean it up, a person may wind up with serious injuries. Outdoor areas, like raised sidewalks, also fall under this case type. An injury lawyer can help you determine fault and get you the compensation you deserve
The most severe accident causes untimely and unexpected death. This can be instantaneous, as in the case of a semi-truck crash, or it may come as the result of injuries sustained in an incident. Either way, a wrongful death action proceeds much like a personal injury suit, except the victim’s family files the lawsuit. If a life is cut short due to the negligence of another, a wrongful death suit gives the family a chance to recoup financial support they lost when their loved one died.
What a Lawsuit Looks Like
When it is time to get assistance dealing with the financial losses caused by your injury, hiring a personal injury lawsuit may be the best course of action. Understanding some basics about the process may expedite your decision.
Grounds for Bringing Action
Before you can file a personal injury action, you must be able to prove the responsible party was negligent. If you cannot prove that the person who caused your injury is legally liable, you will not get a case filed. Negligence means that the person acted or failed to act when the circumstances dictated it. For a car crash, perhaps the negligent behavior was running a red light. In medical malpractice, it would be the failure to order testing dictated by the patient’s symptoms. Negligence hinges on the responsible person knowing the proper course of action and failing to take it.
Statute of Limitations
There is a timeframe for filing a personal injury lawsuit, and each state can set its own. The period usually starts tolling from the time you knew or should have known that the at-fault party caused your injury. This means you may have headaches for a year before a doctor relates them back to the driver who ran a red light and struck your vehicle. Your time to file a lawsuit would start at that revelation through the state-appropriate expiration of eligibility.
The ultimate goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to either get the responsible party’s insurance company to settle your case or a judge to rule in your favor. In either case, damages are the financial compensation from the guilty person to the injured one. Damages fall into four categories:
- Compensatory damages
- Special damages
- Punitive damages
Compensatory or actual damages restore the money you lost due to the injury. Examples include lost wages and medical bills. Special damages help you deal with pain and suffering. Punitive damages are only allowed by a judge’s order and meant to punish the guilty person.
Work With an Experienced Local Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury law can be tricky to navigate, especially when it comes to proving the guilty person’s negligence. When you are dealing with a life-altering injury, you want a personal injury lawyer who knows how to traverse the system. Please submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!