Understanding What Personal Injury Is
Personal injury lawsuits are something we hear about and yet many people don’t understand what they are. Today we are exploring the definition and the process for a personal injury case.
It’s A Lot More Than You Think
A personal injury case is best defined as a case in which an individual was physically harmed and it is alleged to be the fault of another through negligence. This means that if you are hit by a drunk driver, slip on a wet floor in a store, or break your leg after falling off a trampoline at the neighbor’s house, you could have a personal injury claim.
There are also two types of cases. Informal cases are where you meet with legal teams from both sides to come to an agreement without the help of a judge. A formal case is when you go before a judge to argue each side and allow the judge to make a ruling on the case.
Let The Professionals Handle It
Let’s be honest here, any business or person is going to look out for their own best interests. That fast food joint is going to want to pay you a little bit (that may sound like a lot to you) to keep the case out of the courts. While informal cases are wonderful when all sides are being treated fairly, an attorney is going to make sure that it happens. They know the law and your rights and it is in your best interest to hire one.
The important thing to remember is that you must hire the lawyer in the area where the accident occurred. Personal injury law firms in New York can only assist you with incidences in New York. This is because lawyers must be licensed to practice in the state they practice in. If you were hit by the drunk driver in New Jersey, you will need a New Jersey personal injury lawyer.
The Process Matters
Not only does the case have a process, that process can mean everything to successfully winning your claim. Here is the average rundown of a personal injury case:
- Accident occurs
- You seek medical attention
- You consult an attorney
- The attorney investigates your claims and reviews medical records
- Make the choice to file an insurance claim or demand a settlement
- Lawsuit is filed if you demand a settlement
- Discovery- each side investigates claims and defenses of the other parties
- Mediation and/or arbitration with the other party
This is typical if your court case goes to trial. It could end with an insurance claim or during mediation. It sounds simple enough but it can take a long time to finalize the entire ordeal. Between meetings and making court hearing dates, it is going to be a bit of time before you see a resolution.
It’s Not Inexpensive
The cost of a lawsuit is why a lot of people will try to do it themselves. Don’t make this mistake! Firstly, many personal injury lawyers won’t take your case unless they are sure they can win it. This means you won’t have to pay anything until there is settlement money. If the lawyer takes your case, you need to think about all of the court costs and the fee of the lawyer that you will need to account for. Regardless of the settlement money coming through (which doesn’t always happen as quickly as you’d like it to be), we encourage working legal fees into your household budget. You could dip into your emergency savings but just be sure to replenish that when you do see the settlement money.
Personal injury cases are quite frequent and popular in the legal system. When you understand the process and have the right people helping you, we are sure you will make the best decision for your situation.