Every minute in the U.S., an American is injured due to an accident, with one American dying every three minutes due to accidental injury. These numbers include overdose, vehicle crash, and drowning rates.
Such personal injuries are considered preventable, but accidents still happen. Though many lose their lives to accidents every day, still more will become permanently injured and experience changes to their mental and emotional well-being as a result.
Mounting medical costs, lost wages, effects on relationships, and severe physical injuries are just a few of the ways that a personal injury can affect a person.
When that injury results from someone else’s negligence, the injured party may have a right to recover damages from the incident or receive compensation for their loss.
What Is Considered A Personal Injury?
When you think about an injury, you may think only of a physical ailment, but a personal injury is harm to a person’s body, mind, or emotions. In contrast, other types of injuries would be to a person’s property, such as their home, car, or other possessions.
Here is a list of common personal injuries which can lead to claims:
- slips and falls
- broken bones
- bruises and scarring
- head trauma
- physical disability
- pain and suffering
- emotional trauma
- mental anguish
Types Of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases can vary widely and may include several different types of cases.
These cases include:
- Assault and battery
- Bike accident
- Car accident
- Dog bite
- Inadequate Security
- Motorcycle accident
- Rideshare accident
- Sexual assault and battery
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pools accidents
- Truck accident
Knowing if your case is a personal injury case can help you choose how to pursue damages and get compensation for your suffering.
Reasons To File A Personal Injury Claim
If you have suffered an injury, you may feel compelled to file a claim against the opposing party. But is your injury reason enough to file a successful claim and recover lost damages? Knowing when to file a claim and if you even have a claim can be confusing.
You may question if it’s ethical and if you are morally justified in pursuing your claim. In addition to recovering damages for tangible things, like past-due bills from lost wages or medical bills resulting from the accident, filing a personal injury claim achieves the goal of holding the negligent party accountable.
Here are five reasons to file a personal injury claim:
1. Covering Medical Costs
Some personal injuries can lead to multiple doctors appointments, emergency treatment costs, or surgeries. If you suffered mental or emotional anguish, counseling, therapy, and other forms of mental healthcare may also be necessary.
Even with insurance, these expenses can mount quickly and be overwhelming even for the most financially stable individuals. Filing a claim for your injury can cover the medical costs caused by the accident. In some cases, personal injury claims can apply to future medical costs as well.
2. Recovering Other Damages
Sometimes, you may suffer a loss of enjoyment of life or a loss of relationship due to your accident. For example, if you lose the use of your legs due to an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may want compensation for things you will miss out on in life without being able to use your legs.
Though no monetary value can ever be placed on something so important as limb loss, receiving compensation can make at least a monetary amends for such damage.
3. Avoiding Future Accidents
Perhaps one of the most important reasons to file a personal injury claim is to help avoid future, repeat accidents. If a person was driving recklessly and causes an accident, society will want that person held accountable.
Pursuing damages and exposing the person’s fault in the accident will help deter them from engaging in future risky behavior. It can also serve as an example to others.
Holding the at-fault party responsible is important, but it is equally important to hold accountable your insurance company and that of the negligent party’s. Insurance companies must protect their own rights, which means they will always try to settle for the least amount when it comes to compensating accident victims.
Filing a personal injury claim and seeking legal aid in the process ensures you will have help in fighting for the compensation you deserve according to your losses.
5. Effects To Economy
Individuals who are out of work or otherwise financially affected by an accident may be unable to pay for their medical care, housing, and other expenses. This means they may turn to government-funded programs for help.
The more accidents that occur, the more strain can be placed on state-funded programs which aid injured and out-of-work individuals. Filing a personal injury claim can help you get compensated to cover the expenses associated with your injury, which in turn helps foster a healthier working economy.
When To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
There is no set deadline for when to hire a personal injury attorney following an accident. However, it is in your best interest to seek legal aid as soon as possible in order to avoid being without counsel throughout the process.
If you have been in a car accident, you will need to speak to your insurance provider to cover medical bills and recover property damage. Calling a layer immediately after being treated for the accident is a good starting point. Personal injury attorneys can help by connecting with the insurance company to ensure your claims are paid.
For certain claims, it is extremely important to take legal steps in a timely manner. Medical malpractice personal injury claims can be extremely lengthy and require that the doctor be notified within a certain amount of time in some states. For these cases, hiring an attorney and filing as soon as possible can be crucial to the outcome of your claim.
Understanding Personal Injury Laws
Personal injury law hinges on one major factor: proving negligence. If your attorney can prove the at-fault party was negligent, and that your injury resulted from that negligence, then you may be entitled to receive compensation related to the accident.
Negligence Laws Among States
What is considered to be negligent and whether a person can recover damages due to negligence differs among states. In some states, a person cannot recover any damages if they were even one percent at fault, due to the Pure Contributory Negligence Rule. However, only four states and the District of Columbia recognize this rule.
The Pure Comparative Fault Rule holds that the damaged (injured) party can collect damages even if it is 99 percent at fault.
This rule is recognized in the following 13 states:
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Other states recognize either the 50 Percent Bar Rule or the 51 Percent Bar Rule.
In the 50 Percent Bar Rule states, a person cannot recover damages if they are 50 percent or more at fault; if they are 49 percent or less at fault, they can collect damages.
States which follow this rule include:
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
With the 51 Percent Bar Rule, the same idea applies at 51 percent or more at-fault.
States which adopt the 51 Percent Bar Rule include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
With both respective bar rules, parties who are at-fault but still receive damages will receive reduced compensation due to being found at-fault.
Such laws can seem incredibly complex to anyone who is not familiar with the legal world. That’s why it’s important to find an attorney with experience in handling personal injury cases, as they can help you understand the law in your state and what it will mean for your claim.
Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Attorney
To protect your own legal interests, you should never pursue a personal injury claim without hiring an attorney. Before you seek an attorney, you may want to prepare any questions you may have. This can ease the process and help you make an informed decision.
Here are 7 questions to ask before hiring a personal injury attorney:
1. Have you tried personal injury cases before?
Hiring an experienced lawyer can be crucial to the outcome of your claim. Florin|Roebig has more than three decades of experience in defending personal injury cases.
2. What fees do you charge?
Knowing the cost upfront can be an important deciding factor in who you hire. Personal injury lawyers typically receive a percent of recovered damages. It is also necessary to understand if you will be responsible for any case-related costs if you do not recover damages.
3. Will my case go to trial?
While it would be optimal for each case to be resolved with a favorable settlement for both parties, this is often not the case. Your personal injury lawyer should prepare for your case to go to trial and not encourage you to settle right away. When asking about the possibility of a trial for your claim, be sure to ask about your attorney’s success rate for personal injury cases.
4. Who will be assigned to my case?
Some law firms are not transparent from the beginning about who will be handling your individual case. Ask for specific details on attorneys in the firm and request contact information for the lawyer who will oversee your claim in case you have questions.
5. What will be expected of me?
If you are a personal injury victim who wants to be well-informed, let this be known. Ask if you will be allowed to attend depositions and informative meetings. If not, ask how the law firm intends to keep you informed as the case proceeds.
6. Can you provide references?
Before making an ultimate decision, it may be a good idea to speak to a previous client who can provide an overview of their experience in working with the potential attorney.
7. What is my case worth?
While no one can tell you the exact worth of your case, an experienced personal injury attorney should be able to provide a range for reference. They may also be able to determine approximately how much you may possibly recover based on specific details related to your case.
What Types Of Damages Can Be Recovered?
Each person’s incident is unique to them, and each accident can lead to a myriad of injuries. How you are affected can depend on a range of factors. First, your personal injury lawyer must prove negligence on behalf of the at-fault party.
Whether you can recover damages will then depend on your state’s individual law regarding negligence. Damages are awarded based on the type of claim you are trying to pursue. In general, damages are classified as compensatory, punitive, and general.
Types of damages most commonly recovered in a personal injury claim include:
- emotional distress
- pain and suffering
- medical costs
- lost income
- loss of enjoyment
- loss of consortium
Find Legal Help Today For Your Personal Injury Claim
The dedicated attorneys at Florin|Roebig can meet with you to discuss your case, explore the details, and answer any questions you may have. We can discuss the different types of personal injury claims with you and explain which ones you can include on your claim.
Our personal injury attorneys will defend your claim to the highest degree possible, helping you recover damages for your loss and get your life back on track in the process. Call today for a consultation.