It’s just a fact of life that people suffer injuries on a daily basis, and more often than not through no fault of their own. When bodily harm is caused by a negligent or willfully violent third party, the victim may be entitled to compensation, which can be awarded through a personal injury lawsuit.
Unfortunately, many people fail to act when they may be entitled to compensation for the harm they’ve suffered. They may not realize that they have a chance of getting compensation in the first place or recognize the resources available to them. Others might envision a lengthy and complex legal process. Especially after a severe injury, those affected may have priorities other than legal prospects and delay pursuing a case until it’s too late.
But there are options for those seeking compensation for their injuries. Here are some of the basics of a personal injury case.
Types of Injury that May Lead to Personal Injury Claims
There is a vast scope of incidents that can lead to claims. This is another of the reasons why people do not claim: they are unsure if their situation could merit legal recourse. Yet, no matter how unique your situation may seem, if you have suffered because of someone else’s error or negligence, you likely have a case. Simply take a look at the handful of common causes for personal injury claims below:
- Medical negligence or malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Dangerous or defective products and premises
- Car or motorcycle accidents
- Workplace safety violations
- Criminal injuries
These are just a few of the causes that merit personal injury claims. Even cases that don’t seem to have an identifiable responsible party may still allow you to receive compensation.
For example, mesothelioma is a non-curable cancer often caused by unsafe work practices that were commonly utilized in the 1970s, but it can take decades to surface. Victims who develop mesothelioma later in life may not pursue a claim because the employer responsible is no longer in business; however, specific trusts have been set up to award compensation to claimants who are mesothelioma victims, meaning that these cases have grounds and resources despite the possibility of there being no party to currently hold accountable.
If you are unsure whether your injury could have grounds for a personal injury case, it’s best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you.
Below, we will answer some of the common questions you may have about making a personal injury claim.
What steps should I take after I suffer an injury?
If you have suffered an injury, you should immediately seek medical attention. Other steps you should take include:
- Photograph your injuries.
- Document what happened. (It’s best to write down your memory of the incident as soon as possible after it happens so the details are still fresh in your mind.)
- Document all doctor’s visits, medications, and other medical help you receive. (It’s vital that you fully follow all your doctor’s orders.)
- If possible, gather witnesses’ contact information and statements as soon as possible after the incident.
You should not speak to another party’s insurance agency without first consulting with your attorney.
How long do I have to make a claim?
Many people do not realize that there is actually a time limit on filing personal injury cases. In California, you must begin your claim within two years of the accident, but this time frame varies from state to state (for example, New York has a limit of three years).
If you have sustained an injury that has occurred over time, which is usually the case with workplace accidents, then the amount of time you have to file will begin from the date of your diagnosis.
Will I have to go to court?
Filing a lawsuit is not necessarily the same thing as “going to court”; there are several paths that can be taken to resolve a legal dispute out of court, including mediation and arbitration.
There is always the possibility of a claim progressing to court case when a personal injury lawsuit is filed. However, it is incredibly unlikely. In fact, only a very small percent of personal injury cases end up going to trial; most are settled out of court with the help of a personal injury attorney.
How much compensation will I receive?
Every case is different, so estimating is difficult when it comes to compensation. Nonetheless, the amount you receive may cover medical and property expenses, incidental costs caused by the accident, and possibly even future expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other related issues.
The best time to call an attorney is as soon as possible after your injury. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to aid you by advising you on your case’s grounds and helping you immediately begin preparing to make your claim.