This Article ” Personal Injury: Everything You Need to Know”, is a guest post written by Naphtal.
Today, we face a variety of personal injury dangers. Whether it is unsafe foods, dog bites, car accidents, or burns and assaults there are numerous risks. On average, there are over 11,000 personal injury accidents every hour.
The truth is, injuries can occur anytime and although some may be accidents, others are caused by negligence. Any injuries caused by negligence have legal implications even if the process can be daunting.
If you have been injured and are unsure how to proceed, this article will help you understand the fundamentals of personal injury. It will further help you hold the right party accountable.
Personal Injury Defined
Personal injury is an element of civil law. Also known as tort law. It allows you to file a civil suit and claim compensation for damages such as wage loss and medical expenses.
Compensation is not limited to existing costs but can also cover future expenses such as assistance with personal care and housekeeping, rehabilitative treatment, equipment, and medication among others.
While the personal injury is mostly associated with bodily harm, it does not exclude pain and suffering, emotional distress, reputational damage, mental distress, and PTSD.
Personal Injury Categories
As earlier described, there are various types of personal injury. In theory, any damage or harm caused by another party’s malice or negligence could be considered personal injury. There are several types of personal injury claims including:
- Road accidents: This is one of the most common personal injury claims. Motorists, truckers bikers, and pedestrians who have suffered as a result of an accident file this claim against the negligent party.
- Slip and fall: This type of claim is usually filed when you sustain an injury as a result of broken tiles, wet floors, or uneven steps. You can file this claim against the party who owns the property where the injury was sustained.
- Consumer product liability: This is a type of claim made when defective products cause medical side effects and other types of damages.
- Premise liability: Where an injury occurs as a result of falling objects or structural issues, you can file a personal injury claim holding the owner responsible for negligence.
Other types of personal injury claims include accidents, defamation, intentional acts, medical malpractice, assault and battery, and any other actions that result in harm to your image or loss of wages, emotional distress, and suffering.
Elements of Personal Injury
When filing a personal injury claim, there are different terms that you will hear recurrently. These include:
- Plaintiff: This term refers to the person who was injured or harmed due to a wrongful or negligent act. The plaintiff usually initiates the claim by filing a lawsuit.
- Defendant: This is the party whose negligent actions caused harm, damage, or injury to the plaintiff. The defendant is usually the party getting sued. In some cases, the defendant may be funded by an insurance company which means that if the claim is successful, insurance will offer a settlement.
- Settlement: Once the plaintiff and the defendant have agreed on compensation, a settlement is made to resolve the claim. Typically, the defendant will agree to pay a certain amount which eliminates the need for the claim to go to trial.
- Liability: This is the legal responsibility of the defendant to compensate the plaintiff. While in some cases liability maybe 100%, a plaintiff may also be partially responsible for an accident or incident. In this case, the defendant is only required to settle a certain amount to cover their share of liability. For instance, if the plaintiff is found 20% at fault, the defendant is only required to pay 80% of the damages.
What Should I Do If I Sustain a Personal Injury?
It is not uncommon for plaintiffs to be disoriented after an accident or incident. However, there are certain actions to take to support your case and others you should avoid as they can severely demerit your claim.
Do Not Admit Fault
While apologizing for an accident is instinctive for most people, even when they are not at fault, it can work against your case. It is critical that you do not apologize, especially if an accident results in injuries.
As a rule, do not admit or apologize for anything that might have caused the accident before you seek legal advice. Apologizing or speaking about any actions on your part that may have caused the accident can hurt your claim.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney Immediately
When you have suffered a personal injury, there is limited time to file your claim. Consulting with an experienced attorney gives you a better chance of getting fair compensation.
Your attorney will advocate for your rights for better compensation as, in most cases, their pay is a percentage of the final settlement. To know more about how much a personal injury attorney charges Read here
A skilled attorney knows how to handle the paperwork, trial procedures, and courtroom strategies. He can gain access to medical professionals and other expert witnesses to ensure your claim is successful.
Do Not Speak to Insurance Without Your Attorney
Insurance companies are businesses that are focused on making profits. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to ensure that they pay out as little as possible to minimize their losses.
In most cases, the adjuster will use your words against you including any apologies you made after the accident.
This is why you should never discuss your case with the insurance company or their representatives without legal counsel.
It is also critical that you do not provide a recorded statement to the insurance company as it can significantly lower your compensation.
Do Not Sign a Release
After an accident, insurance companies will ask you to sign a release which allows them to gather information needed for processing.
The release will usually allow them to obtain background information on you which can be used to build a case against your claim.
Keep Accurate Records
Maintaining accurate records of all your injuries and expenses keeps you vigilant and updated on all your losses. This also allows you to keep track of non-economic expenses such as loss of companionship, pain, and suffering.
A personal attorney can help you assess and assign a monetary value to all of your losses. This allows you to claim fair compensation. Most insurance adjusters hope you will forget this critical step which allows them to offer you less in compensation.
It is critical that you do not attempt to handle any personal injury claim by yourself. The insurance company will try to protect their best interests and in doing so shortchange you.
If you or your loved one have a personal injury claim, get in touch with a personal injury attorney. Do not wait until the statute of limitations has passed to claim maximum compensation.
Also Read : Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Cases
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