What is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any physical or mental injury to a person as a result of someoneʹs negligence or harmful
act. Sometimes personal injury may be referred to as bodily injury. Personal injuries can occur in a wide
variety of ways. The following are some of the most common accidents resulting in personal injury:
• Auto accidents
• Dangerous or Defective Product Injuries (Product Liability)
• Aviation Disasters
• Professional Malpractice
• Workers Compensation
• Wrongful Death
• Toxic Exposure
• Home Accidents
• Dog Bites
What financial compensation can I get in a personal injury claim?
Personal injury victims are entitled to recover money damages for all losses and expenses they incur as a
result of an accident. The damages may include the following:
• Medical bills
• Lost Wages, including overtime, future revenue losses
• Pain & Suffering
• Physical Disability
• Permanent Scars
• Emotional Trauma
• Mental Anguish
• Loss of Enjoyment
• Loss of Love & Affection
• Mental Disability
• Property Damage
• All out of pocket expenses (transportation charges, house cleaning, grass cutting, and others)
How do I know if I have a Personal Injury claim?
To have a personal injury case, you must be able to show that you have been injured. This may be a physical
injury or it may be an emotional injury. In addition, you must be able to show that someone else (the
defendant) is at fault for your injury under a negligence, strict liability or intentional misconduct theory. In
some cases, it may be necessary for you to show that the other party is more at fault for the injury than you
If the accident is partly my fault can I still have a claim?
Even if an accident of injury was partially your fault you still may have a Claim based on the concept of
Comparative Negligence or Contributory Negligence.
The term ʺcontributory negligenceʺ is used to describe the actions of an injured person that may have also
caused that personʹs own injuries. For example, a person who ignores a ʺCaution ‐ Wet Floorʺ sign and slips
and falls in the supermarket may be found to have been careless and at fault for any injuries suffered.
ʺContributory negligenceʺ can prevent a person from collecting any monies to compensate for injuries
suffered, even if that personʹs carelessness was minor.
Some states have done away with the concept of contributory negligence altogether and instead use the
concept of ʺcomparative negligence. The term ʺcomparative negligence: means that the fault of all parties is
compared and the amount of the recovery for damages sustained by the injured victim is reduced by the
percentage of his or her own fault. In this way, each person is held accountable for the amount of damages
that they causedʺ.
If youʹre injured by the negligent action of another, but you contributed to the accident by your failure to
exercise reasonably prudent care, youʹre guilty of contributory negligence. You may also be guilty of a form
of contributory negligence if you voluntarily expose yourself to danger ‐ by riding a roller coaster without
wearing a seat belt, or working with a neighborʹs power saw or other dangerous tool if youʹre inexperienced
or fail to use a safety guard. This is called assumption of risk.
How do I know if I may need and attorney?
If you have been seriously injured or are unsure as to the outcome of your injury, then an experienced
personal injury attorney should always be consulted before you give any statements or sign any papers of
any kind and as soon after your injury as possible.
In a serious injury case, you are better off hiring an attorney as soon as possible. Most firms offer a free
consultation, with no obligation; therefore, you have nothing to lose by consulting an attorney before you
accept the insurance company offer.
There is a statute of limitations that requires you to file suit within a specific period of time, depending upon
the circumstances of your case, or else you will be prohibited from obtaining any compensation for your
injuries. An attorney will be able to help you keep within the statute of limitations.
What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a fee that is used by lawyers in most personal injury cases. It is contingent when the fee
is conditioned upon your attorneyʹs successfully resolution of your case. A contingent fee is paid as a
percentage of your monetary recovery. A contingent fee is what is meant when you hear ʺthere is no fee
unless there we recoveryʺ. The client is generally responsible for the out‐of‐pocket costs of litigation.
Contingency fees are usually one third of what you win from the case.
If I have a personal injury claim do I have to go to court?
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court between opposing lawyers or by the insurance company.
If a case does go to trial you most likely will have to appear so that your testimony can be heard.
How long do I have to make a claim for Personal Injuries?
Every state has certain time limits, called ʺstatutes of limitations,ʺ that govern the period during which you
must file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, for example, you may have as little as one year to file a
lawsuit from an automobile accident. If you miss the statutory deadline for filing a case, your case is thrown
out of court.
What are the Statute of Limitations?
The statutes of limitations are time frames in which you have to file a lawsuit. When the statute of
limitations expires on your case, you simply donʹt have a case anymore. Statutes of limitation differ not only
from state to state, but also in regard to the kinds of lawsuits involved. In some states the statute of
limitations for medical malpractice, suits against governmental agencies, and wrongful death actions is
shorter than that for other types of personal injury cases. In general, however, the statute of limitations for
personal injury cases is from one to three years, and the time begins from the time of the accident. There are
some exceptions and an experienced lawyer can help you with them.
How long will it take to settle my claim?
The time it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. The
more complex the case the longer it may take to settle. Many cases can take anywhere from 3 to 18 months
to settle depending on its complexity.
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