The reckless actions of individuals can cause serious harm to others. If you’re suffering due to someone else’s negligence, you may have decided to pursue damages.
The right personal injury lawyer greatly increases your chances of receiving the justice you deserve. Start with our guide to find an affordable personal injury lawyer.
Personal Injury Cases
When someone’s actions cause harm or injury to another person, a personal injury or “tort” case may arise. A tort case is considered as such if it meets the following standards:
- The defendant had a legally-binding duty to act in a prescribed way
- A breach of this duty occured
- The plaintiff was injured or harmed as a direct result of this breach of duty
In short, negligence and liability must be established in order to move forward with most personal injury cases. Negligence is defined as a person acting with less care than any other person would in the same instance or not upholding the duties to which they are legally bound.
Rocket Lawyer offers a wealth of legal counseling and education to assist you in determining if you have a viable case. The 1st 2 things you want to do after any type of personal injury is to seek necessary medical treatment and to contact a legal professional.
In personal injury cases, the burden of proof lies with you (the plaintiff). You’ll need to tread carefully, keep good records and provide ample evidence, so a good lawyer is a huge asset.
Services like Lawyer.com take the guesswork out of finding a lawyer. It offers a free lawyer search and unlimited legal consultations with their membership tiers.
These cases don’t always have an element of criminal prosecution, but they do get settled in a court process. A lawyer can help you get you an out-of-court settlement and avoid a long, stressful trial.
When you sit in the driver’s seat and turn on your car, you assume a legal duty to preserve the safety of others to the best of your ability. If another driver’s actions cause damage to you or your property, there’s a good chance you have a solid car accident personal injury case.
Vehicle accident trials are often quick and last only a day or 2. It’s typically the discovery and pre-trial phases that take up the most time. Overall most cases take a few months to a year to come to a close. Any complications or subsequent appeals will drag the process out and can sometimes for several years.
Make sure you keep records of anything pertaining to the accident -- you’ll need it later. That’s why it's important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. You’ll need the accident report, medical records and so forth.
We seek out the help of healthcare professionals at our most vulnerable moments. Suffering further pain or injury at the hands of someone you trusted is incredibly traumatizing. But while doctors are professionally bound to meet a standard of care, breaches of this contract can happen.
Standard of care can be thought of as best practice. It’s judged by whether another physician with the same standard skill set would choose the same course of action in a reasonably similar situation.
Malpractice laws differ by state. If you suspect your doctor didn’t meet the standard of care and caused you harm as a result, Rocket Lawyer can help you determine if the care you received qualifies as negligent in your state.
These cases are intricate and complicated, so they often move slowly. If you’re seeking monetary damages, the ideal outcome is to settle out of court before it goes to trial so you can get back to living your life. Many good malpractice lawyers are adept at garnering settlement during the pre-trial phase.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against a party who is liable for someone’s accidental death. Usually, the deceased person’s loved one files the case, but other people are eligible to file one in certain states.
To qualify as a wrongful death, the following standards must be met:
- The defendant's negligent actions directly caused the death of the deceased
- The passing of the deceased caused the plaintiff direct suffering
- The plaintiff is defined by their state as legally qualified to file a wrongful death suit
Losing someone you love can’t be soothed with monetary compensation, but a payout can help ease the financial burden often caused when someone passes away suddenly. A knowledgeable legal professional will help you work through this difficult case.
Time and documentation are important. You usually only have a limited window of time to bring a wrongful death suit to trial. A variety of factors are taken into account by the court to decide appropriate retribution. It may look at the past and projected income of the deceased or the cost of funeral expenses. For this reason, keeping records and having a lawyer build a solid case is key.
Other Types of Negligence
Other types of negligence may include slip and fall or pedestrian accidents among other things. If you can prove that someone else’s negligence directly led to your personal suffering, a personal injury case may be your answer.
Aside from negligence, other things can fall under personal injury. These include intentionally harmful actions that cause willful harm. In these cases, a wounded party may sue the perpetrator for damages from an action like assault or intentional infliction of emotional distress. These actions may or may not be criminally prosecuted as well.
There’s also strict liability. Here, a wounded party doesn’t have to prove negligence. But it must be proven that whatever caused personal injury is so inherently dangerous its designer or owner is liable for the resulting harm, no matter intent .Dog bite and defective product cases fall under this category.
Do You Need to be Present?
It depends. During the pre-trial phase, your lawyer usually works on your behalf and does the bulk of communicating for you. But if the case goes to trial, you may be called to testify. Talk to your lawyer about what to expect if the case goes to trial.
Start Your Personal Injury Claim Today
A good personal injury lawyer will help you through the process of filing a complaint and work toward your desired outcome. Many will even succeed in persuading a defendant to settle out of court, saving you from reliving your trauma in trial and getting you paid sooner.
The informative legal resources provided by Rocket Lawyer can help you determine if you have a case. Or connect now with a personal injury lawyer today using Lawyer.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the average settlement for personal injury?
A: According to a survey conducted by Nolo.com, $52,900 was the average settlement received in a personal injury case. However, having a lawyer greatly increased the payout. Respondents with lawyers received a whopping $77,600 compared to just $17,600 received by those who chose to go it alone. Many lawyers handling these types of cases only charge you if you win, so it’s definitely worth the investment.
Q: What should I ask for in a personal injury settlement?
A: When coming up with a figure, consider these factors: how much will you spend on medical bills related to the injury overall? How much will you lose in wages in the end? How much of a burden is your suffering? Was there property damage and if so, how much did it cost? Will a certain settlement prevent you from seeking punitive damage?
Once you’ve calculated this amount, ask for more in your initial demand letter. The ultimate payout will be as a result of negotiations between the 2 parties, so you want to have a solid starting point.
Q: What can I expect from a personal injury claim?
A: To begin, you’ll need to file a claim. You should retain a lawyer at this stage. Having assistance from start to finish will greatly increase your likelihood of winning your case. Your lawyer will gather the evidence necessary to prove your claim.
Once you and your lawyer have settled on a calculated amount, you’ll request damages, whether from the other party or their representative, like an insurance company. At this point, the case will either be dismissed, settled, or move forward. An outcome may be reached during pre-trial, or the case will go to trial. Most personal injury cases see a resolution during the pre-trial phase.
If you win, you’ll receive your damages, usually in the form of monetary compensation. You may see some money dedicated from the total for legal fees or other expenses.
There may also be an appeal process if you lose or if the other party refuses the outcome.