At some point in your life, you’ve probably seen an advertisement for a personal injury firm.
Maybe it was a billboard, mailer, or a tv commercial where the narrator informs you that if you’ve been in an accident, you could be entitled to compensation.
Although personal injury information is everywhere, it can still be daunting to get started in the process of filing a claim.
In addition to feeling overwhelmed, the combination of lost wages and the threat of mounting medical bills can cause even more emotional and psychological turmoil, exacerbating an already difficult time in your life.
So if you want an easy-to-understand crash course on personal injury law without having to go to law school, you’ve come to the right place.
By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of:
Typically, a personal injury case is when an injured person (the plaintiff) brings a claim against the party responsible for their injuries (the defendant).
Examples Of Personal Injury Cases:
While personal injury law covers a broad range of claims, not all are the basis for a lawsuit. It’s also important to remember that personal injury goes past physical damage, which means you can receive money for non-physical pain associated with an accident. We’ll touch on that more in a bit.
When determining blame for your injury, who is at fault depends on the case details and state laws. The court can find an individual, organization, city, municipality, government agency, or others responsible for your pain.
There are four conditions you must prove if you are to win your injury case:
If you aren’t sure what each of these means, we’re going to put them into a story to make them easier to grasp.
Let’s say there has been a slip and fall injury at Ned’s Neighborhood Grocery Store.
While perusing the drink aisle in search of iced tea that pairs perfectly with his BBQ chips, Trevor slipped on a puddle of apple juice, fell, and hit his head on the edge of the shelf.
Kate, a fellow shopper, was next to him and witnessed his tumble but didn’t offer to help him up.
Later that day, Trevor paid a visit to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a concussion from hitting his head. His injuries caused him to miss the remaining three days of work that week, which resulted in him losing $850 in wages.
To determine duty of care, first, consider the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. Then, evaluate the circumstances surrounding the incident.
In the above example, Ned, the owner of Ned’s Neighborhood Grocery Store, owes Trevor a duty of care. After all, Trevor fell at his store, and store owners must provide a safe place for their shoppers to shop.
This relationship satisfies our first element, the duty of care.
By the way, remember Kate, the shopper who stood by and did nothing after Trevor’s fall? She does not have a duty of care since she is a fellow shopper and not the store owner. This means Trevor cannot sue Kate for his fall because the plaintiff must prove all four elements to win their case!
Now that we know Ned owes Trevor a duty of care, let’s turn our attention to whether or not there was a breach of duty of care.
Assume that Ned had noticed the spilled apple juice on his way to the stockroom but chose not to have it mopped up or put up wet floor signs.
By failing to provide a safe establishment for shoppers and not alerting them to the potential hazard, Ned has breached his duty as a shopkeeper, which satisfies the second element.
When we think of damages, physical damage to us or our property often comes to mind.
In our example, Trevor suffered a concussion and missed three workdays. His damages include the $850 in lost work plus the medical bills related to his trauma, for a total of $1350.
As we alluded to before, there’s also the intangible kind of damage that is not physical, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. Head injuries could also have long lasting impacts. Trevor could claim he’s experiencing this kind of pain ever since his fall.
The plaintiff’s injuries must directly result from the defendant’s actions or inaction, also known as causation.
If it weren’t for Ned’s slippery floor, Trevor would not have fallen and, therefore, would not have sustained a concussion that caused him to lose money from missing work and incurring medical fees.
Although the condition of direct result is pretty apparent in Trevor’s case, it’s not always this way.
Trevor will be able to bring a claim against Ned (and Ned’s insurance company) for his damages because:
The laws vary dramatically on a state-by-state basis, which can make it difficult to know if you have a claim, and if so, how much you’re entitled to as compensation.
Here are some hypothetical scenarios for an auto accident to demonstrate how these differences can affect your payout.
Let’s say you sustained injuries in a car accident, and it was the other driver’s fault. In this case, you would typically have the right to a claim.
But what happens if it was your fault, or if you were both at fault?
Well, it depends on which state you were in.
Some states allow recovery under comparative negligence, meaning you are entitled to compensation even if the accident was your fault, while others have contributory negligence laws that will leave you with nothing.
There are also a dozen no-fault states where your insurance will still cover your damages up to a certain amount regardless of whether you were at fault for an accident.
Your award can range from zero to millions of dollars. There have even been awards in the billions.
But before you get ahead of yourself, keep in mind that you likely won’t receive fair compensation without an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. They’ll understand just what it takes to build an airtight claim to meet all four elements, gather evidence, and deal with insurance adjusters.
The size of settlements, awards, or payouts can vary widely, and compensation can depend on a whole slew of factors, including:
Remember that when you bring a lawsuit against a party responsible for your injuries, they aren’t showing up alone.
They’ll be with their defense attorney, whose singular focus is to get the case thrown out and leave you with nothing. And if that weren’t bad enough, you’re also facing insurance companies that profit by limiting risk and minimizing their liability. Many of them are international behemoths with armies of insurance adjusters, attorneys, and analysts to protect their interests from personal injury victims.
If you’re going solo, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle because you’ll have to prove all four conditions to receive compensation for your injuries.
On the other hand, the defense only has to demonstrate your case doesn’t meet one of the four requirements. If they succeed, they’ll get the claims dismissed, and you’ll walk away empty-handed.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer who practices in your state can be a game-changer. They’ll know the law inside and out and will help you build an airtight claim, gather evidence, and deal with insurance adjusters.
Finding a capable personal injury attorney is crucial and will maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve after an accident.
Waiting won’t serve you.
We know you have a busy life, so we make it easy to file a claim in just 3 minutes rather than having to pick up a phone or meet a lawyer in person. We’ll be able to give you an answer on your claim and will keep you posted each step of the way.
If you win your case, we’ll send you your money via direct deposit, so you have access to your money immediately. It sure beats waiting for a check to arrive in the mail.
By filing a claim right now with Injury.com, you can:
Why wait any longer to get what you deserve?
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