Bagen Law Firm | January 2, 2023 | Personal Injury
Injuries are a natural part of life. However, some injuries are entirely preventable and only occur because of another person or party’s negligence or intentional acts. These types of injuries often warrant a personal injury claim seeking compensation for the victim’s damages.
Seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney if you suffered injuries in an accident or incident that wasn’t your fault.
These commonly include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Slip and fall
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
Many other incidents can cause accidental injuries, but the above are some of the most common that lead to personal injury claims.
If someone else caused your injuries, you should always consult with a personal injury attorney about your legal rights and options.
Types of Injuries Sustained in a Personal Injury Incident
When it comes to personal injuries, injury types and severity can range from minor to catastrophic or life-threatening. Some injuries are more common in certain accidents. For instance, brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions, are more common in sports accidents, acts of violence, slip and fall accidents, and car accidents.
Other common types of personal injuries include:
- Birth injuries such as broken collarbones, Erb’s palsy, or cerebral a palsy
- Broken bones, including ankles, legs, arms, wrists, pelvis, and ribs
- Soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, and whiplash
- Bruising contusions, lacerations, and road rash
- Burns of all degrees can leave scarring
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI), including paralysis
- Facial injuries
- Arm, leg, hip, and shoulder injuries
- Emotional and mental injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you believe you have suffered a personal injury, seek medical care as soon as possible. This is crucial to establishing your injury claim. Without documented injuries, you cannot prove them. If you wait too long to see a doctor, it may not only be harmful to your health and well-being but also to recover the compensation you deserve.
Injuries cause many problems in the lives of those who suffer them. How will they pay their medical bills? How will they take care of their living expenses if they can’t go to work and earn a paycheck? Will they recover enough to care for their kids, pets, and family obligations? Will they ever go back to work?
Many questions remain unanswered for months, but one thing is for certain; they deserve compensation for their injuries. This compensation should not only pay for their medical bills and lost wages but make up for their emotional distress, scarring and disfigurement, mental anguish, and humiliation.
While receiving compensation won’t fix their injury or erase whatever incident caused the injuries, it can pay their medical bills, compensate for lost wages, and help them move forward. The best way to ensure they secure maximum recovery for their injuries is to hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who will fight for their rights.
Elements of a Personal Injury Case
Most personal injury cases are rooted in negligence. Therefore, you or your attorney must prove the four elements of negligence in your case.
These elements include:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a legal duty of care. For example, property owners should shovel their sidewalks when it snows, and drivers should stop at a red light.
- Breach of duty: Whether intentionally or not, the at-fault fails to uphold their duty.
- Injury: The breach of duty led to your injuries.
- Damages: Your injuries resulted in compensable damages such as property damage, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you are still determining if you need legal representation for your injury claim, it’s always best to meet with an attorney to get their opinion. The good news is that most personal injury attorneys don’t charge for initial consultations. In addition, most of them work on contingency fees only, meaning they only get paid for their services if and when their clients receive settlements or court awards.
Severe and complicated personal injury cases need legal representation. Some cases, such as class actions, medical malpractice, and toxic torts, require much time, money, and legal experience to win. Not to mention that high-powered defense attorneys skilled in complex and prolonged litigation represent medical professionals and hospitals, so malpractice cases rarely settle out of court.
You should seriously consider working with a personal injury attorney for any type of injury claim.
This is particularly true if:
- Multiple parties share liability for your injuries.
- You become the victim of medical malpractice or toxic exposure.
- Your injuries involved a defective product related to a class action.
- A death, permanent disability, or permanent scarring occurred.
- The victim is a minor under 18
Since most personal injury attorneys will meet with you for free to discuss your potential claim, you have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by meeting with one.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
Personal injury lawyers are licensed professionals who seek monetary recovery for injured individuals and sometimes their families.
Injury attorneys practice civil law and must have an active license in each state where they practice. Your personal injury lawyer has an ethical and legal obligation to protect your interests while settling your injury claim. Not only must they prevent legal errors, but they must also take any necessary and appropriate actions on your behalf.
When you hire an attorney to represent your injury claim, you never have to speak directly with the insurance company, the insurance adjustor, or the at-fault party’s attorney. Here are some of the things personal injury attorneys do that can help you during this process.
Give Useful Legal Advice You Can Understand
A skilled personal injury lawyer will provide you with reliable and straightforward advice based on the specific details of your case. For instance, most attorneys recommend that injured parties not provide a recorded statement to the insurance company, even if the insurance adjuster says it’s required to process your injury claim.
Your lawyer can guide you through the insurance injury claims process and, if necessary, the steps of a lawsuit. They will explain what they need from you to pursue monetary compensation, such as medical bills and records related to your injury.
The insurer isn’t obligated to tell you about your state’s statute of limitations. Still, your lawyer will know and explain that you must settle your claim or file a lawsuit before this strict deadline, or you will give up your right to compensation. Every state has a different statute of limitations.
Sometimes the deadline can vary depending on how the injury occurred or other specifics in the case, such as if the injured party is a minor. You don’t want to guess what statute of limitations applies to your claim; instead, contact a lawyer who will know for sure.
Explain Your Legal Obligations and Rights
Your personal injury lawyer will tell you about the laws that apply to your specific case, how they impact you, and what you can do about them, if anything. Personal injury laws can be more complicated than most people imagine, and you want an experienced attorney to navigate the process and prove your case.
Estimate the Value of Your Injury Claim
Nearly all of the time, if a personal injury attorney accepts your case, it’s probably a good case. An attorney will not work on contingency fees for a case that didn’t have an excellent chance of success. Your lawyer can estimate your claim’s settlement value.
Compensation for severe personal injury cases should include money for future medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of earning potential. Suppose you have catastrophic injuries that will impact your life for years to come.
In that case, your attorney might hire financial and actuarial experts to help support your demand for full compensation. For instance, these types of experts can identify how much a 35-year-old doctor should have earned before retirement age if she had not sustained brain injuries in a motor vehicle accident.
Pinpoint All Responsible Parties
Sometimes, more than one person or party can be responsible for a personal injury or a wrongful death claim. For example, in general, you can hold employers liable for harm their employees cause. If a delivery truck driver hits you, you can hold the driver and their employer. Malpractice cases might involve several parties, such as a surgeon, surgical center, and anesthesiologist, each with separate liability and insurance policies. In addition, a drunk driving car victim might have a valid claim against the bar or other establishment that served the drunk driver.
Find All Sources of Compensation
Personal injury attorneys can identify how much insurance coverage the at-fault party has and find other potential compensation sources that you likely will not discover without legal counsel.
For instance, if a teen driver with divorced parents left you crippled, they might have auto insurance coverage under both parents’ policies. Additionally, the at-fault party may have coverage with an umbrella policy with much higher liability limits. Or, in rare cases, the at-fault party might have significant personal assets from which you can pursue compensation.
Gather Crucial Evidence
Skilled attorneys know what evidence is necessary to prove your claim.
- Contact witnesses to ask for sworn statements
- File the subpoenas required to get surveillance camera footage or cell phone records from the right parties
- Investigate the at-fault party’s arrest or driving history
- Obtain medical records of the at-fault party if necessary
You may not think of these pieces of evidence on your own; even if you did, you might need help finding them.
If your injury claim doesn’t settle out of court, and you and your attorney may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
In that case, your personal injury lawyer will manage the entire discovery phase of litigation, including:
- Document requests
In addition, your attorney may order private investigations into the at-fault party’s prior conduct in other similar situations.
Negotiate Higher Settlements
Experienced personal injury lawyers have spent several years negotiating claims with insurance companies. Their experience often garners the maximum client compensation without going to trial. Hiring a well-versed attorney lets the adjuster know they must offer a fair settlement or risk dealing with a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal injury lawyers are also skilled negotiators who won’t fall for the adjuster’s tactics as their unrepresented, unknowing claimants do. Your lawyer knows how to highlight the strengths of your case. They also have the legal knowledge and experience to push back against any allegations of pre-existing conditions or other excuses the insurance company might have for not paying full and fair compensation for your injuries.
In some cases, there may be multiple injury victims and limited available funds due to insurance policy limits. If this happens in your case, your personal injury lawyer will ensure you receive your fair share.
Advance Legal Expenses
Typically, personal injury lawyers will advance the expense of handling your claim as most personal injury victims simply don’t have these kinds of funds available to them— especially if they are out of work and worried about how they will make ends meet.
When you receive your final settlement or court award, they will then deduct those costs from that. Lawyers specializing in complex litigation like catastrophic workplace injuries, defective product claims, medical malpractice, and class actions usually advance trial preparation costs.
Depending on the specifics of the case, legal expenses might include:
- Medical expert fees
- Accident reconstructions
- Engineering experts
- Travel for depositions
- Document review and related discovery expenses
Did You Recently Suffer a Personal Injury? Speak to a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone you love recently suffered a personal injury, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You can find out if you have a claim worth pursuing, what it might be worth, and your next best steps. Remember that you have a limited time to file an injury claim, so contact a seasoned attorney today.