Personal Injury Overview - Law and Lawyers
When you suffer a personal injury, the consequences can be physical as well as financial. The pain you feel may be compounded by the stress of medical bills you canít pay and income you arenít making since you canít work. The law recognizes that suffering a personal injury can be damaging and, as such, if that injury was caused by someone else, personal injury law allows you to receive compensation. In order to get personal injury compensation, however, you should understand what is involved in making personal injury claims, and you usually should hire a personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims can cover a wide variety of situations. These claims can include:
Other situations may also give rise to personal injury claims as well. In almost any situation where someone else hurt you through their negligent or intentional actions, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim.
If you suffer a personal injury of any nature, you generally have two options to collect damages. You can arrive at an out of court settlement with the person who hurt you (or, most likely, his insurer who will be footing the bill for legal fees and damages) or you can take your claim to court and sue.
For an insurer to offer you a settlement, the insurer will generally has to be reasonably convinced that their insured will be held at least partially responsible under the law. A settlement offer may not be generous. In fact, the insurance company will probably offer you as little as possible with the hope that you accept. Remember, insurers want to protect their own interests and make money. It is usually advisable to check with a personal injury lawyer before accepting a settlement from an insurance company.
Proving Your Claim
To be able to prove a personal injury claim, you need to show that the defendant did something wrong. This involves showing that:
You also need to show the nature and extent of your injury so a jury can decide on damages. Damages may include medical bills, wages lost due to missed work, money to compensate you for pain and suffering, and even money to compensate you for emotional distress. In certain instances, you can even collect damages called punitive damages - designed to punish the defendant for very bad or reckless behavior.
You will want to have as much evidence as you can, both of what the defendant did and how you were affected. This includes:
Any additional evidence you can collect will strengthen your case and make it more likely youíll be awarded a damage settlement that compensates you fully.
Getting an Injury Lawyer
When you suffer a personal injury, one of the first things you should do is get a personal injury lawyer. Your injury lawyer will help you in a number of important ways:
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, most often you do not have to pay any upfront legal fees. Typically fees are handled on a contingent fee basis. This means payment is contingent upon you winning your case, and when you win the lawyer takes a portion of your settlement. Your lawyer will be on your side, driven to help you win and to help you make sure that the financial burden of the personal injury accident is alleviated.