If you were recently involved in an accident, there's a good chance you'll be suffering from significant pain and dealing with substantial medical bills.
You may also be unable to work, leaving you with no income while you nurse your injuries.
Many personal injury victims have questions after sustaining injuries in their accident because most people aren't worried about how personal injury claims work until they are faced with one.
This leaves them not knowing what to do next and the steps they need to take to protect their rights.
Our personal injury guide below will provide detailed answers to some of the most common questions our clients have.
What's A Personal Injury?
A personal injury occurs when one person suffers physical or mental harm due to someone else's negligent actions or inactions.
Personal injury law involves many types of accidents, including but not limited to:
- Truck Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability
- Workplace accidents
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Wrongful death
- Neonatal injuries
- Child abuse
- Toxic torts
- Pharmaceutical negligence
What Should I Do After An Accident?
The first thing you should do after a personal injury accident is to seek medical attention.
Nothing else is important until your health has been addressed.
If you aren't rushed to the emergency room, you should take photos and videos of the accident scene.
You also need to get the contact information of everyone else involved in the accident and any eyewitnesses.
Your insurance company will need this information when deciding how much compensation to give you for your damage.
You also need to keep track of all of your costs after the accident, including your medical bills and property damage.
Be sure not to admit fault or apologize to anyone at the scene of the accident, even if you are just trying to be polite.
Anything that you say immediately after a personal injury accident can be used against you if you choose to pursue a claim later.
How Do I Know If I Have A Case?
It's hard to tell if you have a case, and you don't have to decide on your own.
A personal injury attorney can help you make this decision during a free consultation where you describe your situation in detail.
Your attorney will tell you if you can sue and what you should expect to recover from them based on the unique factors surrounding your case and the laws of your state.
In most situations, if someone acted carelessly under the circumstances and caused your injuries, you will have the right to pursue compensation.
This is sometimes more complicated than it sounds, and each state only allows a certain amount of time to bring a case forward, so it is vital to consult an attorney.
What Damages Can I Receive?
The types of damages you can receive from the responsible insurance company depend on the cause of your personal injuries and the circumstances surrounding your injuries.
You may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost opportunity, loss of the ability to work, and more.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, you are also entitled to damages like funeral costs, medical expenses, loss of companionship, loss of income, and more.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
After being injured in an accident and receiving medical care, most people worry about how they will pay their medical bills.
The answer to this question depends on your case and what happened during your accident.
Your car insurance or health insurance could cover your medical costs,
Or, you might have to rely on the at-fault party's insurance carrier or a personal injury settlement.
No matter who might pay your bills, the first thing you should do after receiving medical care is to speak to a personal injury lawyer.
Most injury attorneys off free initial consultations, so there's no reason not to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your accident.
Are All Personal Injury Claims Based On Negligence?
The vast majority of lawsuits are based on negligence.
A defendant could be deemed negligent and responsible for a plaintiff's injuries if they failed to exercise the standard of care that most people in a similar situation would exercise.
But lawsuits or claims can also be based on an intentional wrong.
An intentional wrong is when someone intentionally harms you. That deliberate act can be used as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.
Lawsuits can also be based on strict liability.
Sometimes a defendant can be held liable for an injury without the plaintiff proving that they acted negligently or intentionally.
In rare situations like this, the plaintiff just needs to prove that the defendant committed the act.
A great example of strict liability is when an unreasonably dangerous product injures someone.
How Much Time Do I Have To File A Lawsuit?
The amount of time you have to file your claim depends on your state's statute of limitations.
You might have to file within a year of your accident, or you might have as many as four years to file.
You need to check your state's laws to make sure that you do not accidentally waive your rights by waiting too long to file.
Sometimes exceptions can be made to the statute of limitations, but this doesn't happen often, so do not assume an exception will be made in your case.
You should always try to pursue your claim as soon as possible while the evidence is fresh.
This will go a long way to help you prove liability and the scope of your damages.
Will I Have To Go To Trial?
Fortunately, most accident cases never make it to trial.
Most cases will reach a settlement before a trial date ever arrives.
Cases that make it to trial often have disputed facts or a contested legal issue.
With cases like these, the court may rule either way.
The quicker and more carefully you build your case, the more likely you and the other at-fault party will reach an appropriate settlement.
If your case happens to go to trial, your attorney can help prepare your personal injury lawsuit.
Should I File A Lawsuit Without an Attorney?
You can file a civil lawsuit without an attorney, but it isn't recommended.
If you bring your case on your own, you will be subject to the same standards as an attorney would be.
You will be required to follow the formalities for your case filing documents.
The rules of discovery, admission of evidence, and civil procedure all apply to you as they would an attorney.
Any mistakes you make could completely unravel your case, even if you think your case is "open and shut."
You can handle your lawsuit on your own and without an attorney. Still, your best bet to recover the compensation you deserve is to work with an experienced attorney.
Contact The Brown Firm
An accident could lead to astronomical medical bills, lost wages, and other financial consequences that could derail your life.
That's why right after you have received medical treatment, you should contact an experienced attorney for personal injury accidents for help with your lawsuit.