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What is Personal Injury?

what is personal injury

Personal injury usually refers to an injury inflicted on another person due to negligence, strict liability, or intentional wrongs. In most personal injury claims, the cause of the injury is due to negligence. If you as the plaintiff are able to prove that the defendant was liable for the damages done to you, you will be awarded compensation for your loss.

What Does a Typical Personal Injury Case Look Like?

A typical personal injury case usually involves automobile accidents. If you were injured from a car accident by another driver, you can file a claim for their negligence while driving. Negligence while driving, in this case, means that the driver did not drive with reasonable care. If you got into an accident because the other driver was not driving with reasonable care, you can make a claim to be compensated for your loss.

While negligence is the main cause in a personal injury case, it is also the basis for liability in most other personal injury cases, such as in medical malpractice cases.

Other Bases for Personal Injury Besides Negligence

Other bases for personal injury besides negligence include Strict Liability and Intentional Wrongs:

  • Strict Liability is a more common basis for personal injury of the two. It holds manufacturers strictly liable for any injuries that come from defective products. If you were injured from a defective product, you do not have to establish the negligence of the manufacturer. Instead, you would need to prove that the product in question was manufactured in a way that made it dangerous when you used it as intended.
  • Intentional Wrongs can also be the basis for a personal injury claim, but it is rarer than Strict Liability. For example, if someone punches you in the shoulder on purpose, even as a joke, the person can be liable for battery. Other bases include assault, battery, false imprisonment, fraud, trespass, and defamation.

What Happens When You File a Lawsuit

When you file a lawsuit for a personal injury claim, you become the plaintiff and the person who injured you becomes the defendant. In most cases, both parties hire lawyers for personal injury cases and start gathering facts to support their argument. This is done through exchanging documents, written questions (interrogatories), and/or depositions, where the defendant or the plaintiff answers questions under oath. We call this process discovery.

After discovery, many cases get settled before going onto the trial. Usually, it becomes clear which party will come out victorious. To avoid spending more time and energy into preparing for trial, both parties will agree to a settlement. If both sides believe that they may be able to win, the case will go to trial.

What is Settling a Case?

When you file for a lawsuit and settle the case, it means that the defendant has offered an amount of money to you and that you accept the money. In return, you will agree to relieve the defendants of any further liability by signing a release.

It can be difficult to know if accepting the settlement offer will be the right decision for you. Speaking to your personal injury attorney can help you decide if you should accept the offer. If you arrive at a decision that the offer is not enough, you will be moving forward with the trial. You should discuss with your attorney before making the decision to see if it will be likely that you win the lawsuit.

What Do I Get If I Win My Case?

If you win a personal injury case, the judge or jury will award you money (damages) for your injuries. The awarded money can include compensation for expenses caused by your injuries such as medical bills and loss of wages. The compensation can also include damages for physical pain and suffering or disability that resulted from the injury.

Is There a Punishment to the Person Who Caused My Injury?

No, punishment is only ordered for criminal cases. Cases involving personal injury are considered civil cases. Punishment such as jail time or fines is only given out for criminal sentences.

How Long Do I Have to File the Lawsuit?

Every state has its own time limit for filing a lawsuit called the “statutes of limitations.” This means that once it has passed the statutes of limitations, you will not be able to file a lawsuit for your personal injury claim. For example, in certain states, you will only have up to one year from the date of a car accident to file the case. The court will decline your case if you do decide to file after the statutes of limitations have passed.

How do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Claim?

Discussing your possible personal injury case with a personal injury attorney can help you find out if you might have a strong case. If your claim sounds weak, your attorney will say you will most likely lose the case and end up losing time and money put into the case.

Find out now if you have a strong claim for a personal injury case by calling the Macleay Law firm. With over 25 years of experience with the law, we are ready to fight for your rights.

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