Every year, thousands of people get injured at home, at work, while on vacation, and even during routine tasks like shopping for groceries. Some accidents are purely due to bad luck, but many are the fault of a negligent third party. When such injuries occur, this opens the door to a personal injury case.
Personal injury has a precise meaning in a legal context. It refers to anything that damages the body or mind. That means a personal injury case is a tort case, where one party sues another due to harm suffered. The plaintiff attempts to prove that the defendant is responsible for the physical or mental harm they experienced.
There are many practical and ethical reasons for filing a personal injury case. Many victims want the negligent party to be held responsible in order to prevent harm from befalling other people due to the same cause. Winning a personal injury lawsuit can also help a victim gain funds for medical bills or other expenses which can be otherwise impossible to repay.
What Kinds Of Injuries Does A Personal Injury Suit Usually Involve?
While the causes of personal injury are too many to list, they tend to fall into a handful of common categories, many of which you will likely recognize.
Slip and fall cases form a common category of personal injury. These typically occur when a victim falls and injures themselves on another person’s property. There is no guarantee that the court will find the owner negligent or responsible for your injuries; to win a slip and fall case, you must prove, with the help of a legal professional in a court of law, that your injury was preventable and was caused by the defendant’s negligence.
Car accident cases are another main category of personal injury cases. If you are injured in an accident and you can prove it was not your fault, you may have grounds for a successful claim. If you win, you can get financial restitution from the other party. Car accident cases often involve drivers who may have been driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol.
Medical malpractice is another form of personal injury case. When someone receives an incorrect diagnosis or treatment from medical professionals, it may lead to bodily harm or emotional distress. Sometimes the injuries they suffer are life-altering and have long-term health and financial consequences.
Other personal injury categories include dog bites, public defamation, assault, work-related injuries, and slander, but these are still merely a few of the many types of injury cases.
Given the complexity and variety of personal injury cases, it is vital that you choose a competent personal injury lawyer. You need an attorney on your side with the practical and legal skills to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your injury was the fault of the defendant.
The Timeline Of A Personal Injury Case
The first step of any personal injury case is to gain legal assistance from a reputable and registered legal firm. They will then begin the task of fact-finding, ensuring that they collect all details relevant to your case. They will need medical information, including proof of medical expenses and evidence of lost wages caused by your injury, as this evidence can help your claim.
The next step is to try to come to a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company. (Most people have vehicle or public liability insurance that protects them against claims.)
Insurers will want to avoid going to court where possible. But negotiations can fail. If they do, then your personal injury attorney will proceed with litigation through official legal channels, making use of expert witness reports and depositions.
How long a personal injury claim takes depends on the type of case you wish to make. Road accident claims tend to take between four and nine months to resolve. For medical negligence claims, the fact-finding part of the process usually takes longer. Thus, the process can run longer than a year. Attorneys complete most cases in under 12 months, but your case may run longer if the circumstances are complicated.
Some Tips For Making A Successful Personal Injury Claim
Here are some tips to make your personal injury claim go as smoothly as possible:
- If possible, take photographs of the location of the incident. You may be able to draw on these to bolster your case in a court of law.
- Take photographs of your injuries. These will help the court, insurance companies, and legal team assess the severity of your injuries at the time of the accident.
- Record all your expenses, including all your medical bills and lost wages following your injury.
- Keep a note of the care that you received in the aftermath of the injury from family and friends.
- Avoid dealing with insurance companies directly. Always communicate through a trained legal professional who understands the law.
- Do not sign any document that you do not understand.