A personal injury is described as a physical injury that occurs to the body or the emotional state, rather than damage that is done to reputation or property. Personal injuries can be catastrophic and devastating and can lead to issues years and even decades down the road. Because of this, the victims of a personal injury may be entitled to compensation from the person who caused the injury, if it was done through carelessness or negligence.
Liability and Negligence
These are two terms you will hear commonly if you are filing a personal injury case. Liability is used to identify the person who is legally responsible for something. This could be a pharmacy that dispensed the wrong dose of a medication or a corporation that made a faulty product that injured consumers.
Negligence is the failure to properly care for something. This can be something as simple as letting water accumulate and freeze on a business walkway to not securing an animal properly.
What Are Common Personal Injury Cases?
One of the most common type of personal injury cases stem from motor vehicle accidents. The person injured can be a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, cyclist or even a pedestrian. If the accident was caused by another party, any of these people may be able to file with a personal injury lawyer. These accidents are often caused by the following:
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Illegal lane changes
- Reckless driving
- Drunk driving
Even the smallest injuries should be treated after a motor vehicle accident, because some problems are not prevalent for days or even weeks after the accident. Getting treatment immediately ensures that you have adequate documentation if you decide to file a lawsuit, although there is likely a statute of limitations on how long you can wait.
Construction injuries are also common. These can be on-the-job injuries or injuries to visitors of the site. Those in charge of the site are responsible for maintenance, safety, signage and providing the proper equipment to anyone on the site. Even falling off a ladder or scaffolding can lead to serious injury, and according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to one-third of the injuries in the construction industry are caused by slip and falls.
Similar to construction injuries, workplace accidents are common in personal injury cases. Workplace injuries can come from repetitive movement done over a period of time, or something as simple as a company not providing the right safety equipment in a hazardous environment. Workplace injuries at times fall under the workers’ compensation umbrella, which relies on insurance that all employers must carry. A good personal injury attorney can help determine where your injury falls on the spectrum.
Another common type of personal injury is medical negligence. This occurs when any type of medical personnel makes a mistake that leads to an injury. These may involve:
- Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Prescription errors
- Birthing injuries
Animal bites can also be considered a personal injury. In certain cases, the owner of the animal may be responsible for the incident. State law determines where fault lies and what the specific requirements are to find fault, but anyone bit by an animal may be eligible for compensation.
Should You Hire An Injury Lawyer?
If you have been injured in any type of accident, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help handle your legal case. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that they can maximize the compensation you may receive during negotiation or trial.
Objective and Professional
An attorney has the experience and knowledge to look at your case objectively and determine if there is way to prove fault. Emotional trauma often goes along with the physical pain that comes from an injury, and to make an objective decision about filing a lawsuit, an attorney can look at the situation logically and from a legal perspective. This can save you time and energy when it comes time to consider a lawsuit.
Negotiation and Trial
Many personal injury cases end in a settlement from the at-fault party. Their insurance company may determine that they the smartest move is to offer you a settlement if it is obvious that their policyholder is at fault. At times, insurance companies may offer a smaller amount than you deserve because they do not believe you know the law well enough to understand what you are entitled to. An attorney can help negotiate through this process to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve.
If the at-fault party refuses to settle, your case may go to trial. In this case, you want an attorney who can compile evidence and aggressively advocate for your rights in court. A good attorney knows when it is time to negotiate and when it is time to push for more money for your injury.
Thorough and Detail-Oriented
There are so many details that must be kept together when you are filing a civil case. While you are seeking medical care and trying to heal from your injury, an attorney can be putting your case together. This involves gathering witness statements, recreating accident reports and negotiating with the insurance company. Details are important and an attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to find every detail that will work in your favor.
Familiarity with the Justice System
The legal system is complex and confusing, on both the civil and criminal sides. When you have been injured, you want an attorney who is familiar with the system and knows how to navigate it seamlessly. The less stress involved in your case, the more focus you can put on healing.
What Should You Do After an Injury?
It does not matter how minor the injury is, or how it is caused. The first step should always be seeking medical help. Brain injuries and soft tissue injuries may not show up for weeks after your accident and catching them early may keep you healthy. A qualified medical professional should thoroughly examine you after an accident, both for documentation purposes and to prevent additional injury.
Keep a record of your expenses. Your attorney can help you with this, but if you receive compensation, it could include any of the following things:
- Medical equipment, prescriptions and doctor visits
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Punitive damages
- Loss of companionship
Your compensation amount will depend on the type of injury, the severity of the injury and if you can prove that someone was negligent and at-fault for your injury. An attorney will work with you to start an investigation into the injury. They may include doctors, accident reconstruction specialists and other professionals to help prove that your injury could have been avoided.
Once you have received medical attention, it is time to choose an attorney, no matter how minor you feel the accident or injury was. While you are working with your attorney, they will instruct you how to behave, where to be and what you need to provide for your case.
Choosing a good attorney is extremely important after an injury and can make a huge difference in the compensation you get from the negligent party. If you have been injured and want access to an attorney who has been successful at winning large cases with years of experience in the courtroom, contact us at Cellino Law today.