Personal injury law includes any legal disputes that come up when one person suffers damages, and someone else may be legally responsible for that injury. This includes car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, slips and falls, and more. Any time someone is damaged because of another entity’s action or lack thereof, there may be a personal injury claim.
Many people can indeed handle straightforward injury claims on their own. This will save money on legal fees. However, severe cases often benefit from a lawyer’s expertise and experience. Knowing what to ask, what to answer, and what to do can make a huge difference in your case’s settlement amount.
Common personal injury cases include car crashes, product liability, medical malpractice, slip and fall, dog bites, workplace injuries, and more. Basically, anytime you were injured – bodily, monetarily, or emotionally – the case is included in personal injury law.
A personal injury lawyer is someone who provides legally represents individuals who have been injured by someone else’s actions or lack thereof. These laws include negligent acts in addition to intentional acts. The lawyers’ goal is to retrieve compensation for the victims.
The three types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit are compensatory, general, and punitive. Compensatory damages are to compensate the plaintiff for any financial loss and medical bills. General damages include anything non-economic, such as emotional distress, pain, and suffering. Punitive damages are to punish the defendant for the negligence or reckless behavior that caused damage to the plaintiff.
Damages are generally calculated based on the intensity of damages, the circumstances of the incident, and whether the case settles or goes to trial. Below are the factors that are usually considered:
There are two forms of pain and suffering: physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering refer to the pain from the plaintiff’s actual physical injuries. Mental pain and suffering refer to the by-product of those bodily injuries that cause mental and emotional distress. Both of these types of damages are grounds for compensation, depending on the circumstances. These types of damages are somewhat challenging to evaluate and can vary greatly depending on the case.
Many people don’t realize this, but about 95% of injury cases are settled out of court. Settlement recovery is based on three basic components: damages, liability, and the defendant’s ability to pay. If you’re missing any one of these three components, you don’t have a case. The more intense each of these prerequisites is, the more you can expect to receive for your settlement. It’s hard to estimate how much you can receive for your damages as there are so many aspects to personal injury cases and exceptions. However, you can use a settlement calculator to approximate what you can expect to receive.
The largest law firm by the number of attorneys is Baker McKenzie LLP, with 4,720 lawyers and counting. However, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Additionally, when looking for a lawyer, you’ll want to find the best law firm for your SPECIFIC type of personal injury. Medical malpractice is very different than slip and falls.
A personal injury claim is a process in which the plaintiff (injured person) seeks financial recovery from the person/organization that they feel is responsible. The injury claim process begins with a demand letter, where the plaintiff formally requests payment for damages from the defendant. Once this process is over, the two sides can negotiate on a fair compensation. If the two sides can’t agree on a settlement, the case can go to trial.
Here are six quick tips to finding the right personal injury lawyer:
One significant component is peace of mind. Seeking compensation for injuries can be a stressful and exhaustive process. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will save you a lot of time, providing you with the peace of mind to focus on physically and emotionally getting better. Your attorney will take care of the complicated legal matters you don’t want to deal with.
Believe it or not, you don’t always need a personal injury lawyer. Especially when dealing with small, uncomplicated cases, it’s theoretically possible to fight your case on your own. However, when dealing with more complex cases, keep in mind that insurance companies have teams of lawyers and adjusters who evaluate your claim immediately after the accident. It is crucial at least to discuss your case with a reputable attorney, ensuring that you’re giving yourself the best shot at leveling the playing field.
If you lose confidence in your lawyer, consider getting a second opinion, and maybe even consider changing attorneys. You may have been referred to this lawyer by a friend or found the lawyer on the internet. However, it is possible that the relationship is not the right fit, and you need to do what’s best in your situation.
There are eight parts to every personal injury case:
Needless to say, this can take time. An easy way of estimating the time of a personal injury case is by the value of the case. The more the case is worth, the longer it will take. Cases worth under $10,000, often take under nine months. Cases worth over $1,000,000 can easily take three years.
There are approximately 93,000 personal injury lawyers in the United States, about 7% of all attorneys. There are about 1.3 million lawyers across America.
Knowledge and experience are key to a personal injury lawyer’s success. Here are five things that a personal injury lawyer will do for you:
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is not an easy decision to make. It means trusting another person to convey your case better than you can and receive the right amount of compensation from the defending party.
Generally speaking, if the case is uncomplicated and the damages are easily calculated, you shouldn’t need a personal injury lawyer. You can just deal with the insurance company directly and explain to them the injuries incurred and their costs. However, when lost work and extensive medical bills are present, valuation becomes complicated. This is when getting a lawyer involved could be a good idea.
Evidence can disappear, and memories can fade soon after a personal injury incident. When calling a lawyer, you aren’t committing to work with this lawyer or law firm. It’s worth it just to get a baseline professional opinion as soon as possible. Additionally, recognize that there is a statute of limitations in every state requiring that the case be filed within a certain period of time.
Injury lawyers definitely don’t need to be aggressive in order to be successful. There are many styles that lawyers utilize in order to win cases. Some bark at the defendant like a raging dog, but many others are calm, cool, and collected, but have a certain poise to them that exudes understanding and confidence.
Here’s a list of four things that make personal injury lawyers successful:
Since many people hiring a personal injury lawyer don’t have the money to pay upfront, most personal injury lawyers have adopted a contingency-fee approach to payment. This means that if you win, they get paid a percentage of the settlement, and if you lose you don’t need to pay them anything. A lawyer’s fee is usually 33% to 40% of the client’s amount, excluding expenses.
There are a handful of reasons a lawyer won’t take your case. Here is a list of the most common reasons:
A damages cap sets a restriction on the amount of money that a plaintiff can claim for medical malpractice. It can apply to the entire award or just part of it. A damage limitation is intended to restrict juries from granting a compassionate plaintiff disproportionate amounts of compensation and unnecessarily penalizing a negligent medical professional. Caps are also intended to keep the cost of premiums for medical malpractice manageable and discourage physicians from being dismissed from the profession based on a single complaint.
Lawyers generally accept medical malpractice cases on what is called “contingency.” Hence, fees are not paid until the case is won either by settlement or trial. One of the significant benefits of hiring a lawyer to manage the case is that there can be many upfront costs to filing a lawsuit that the lawyer will take on themselves. These costs include filing fees, expert witnesses, mock juries, and more.