The National Center for Health Statistics stated that over 30 million people are injured every year badly enough to seek medical attention. Three million of these injuries are from motor vehicle accidents.
In another study, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics says that in 2005, 60% of all civil and tort claims were for personal injury. The bureau estimates that more than 400,000 claims went to court.
The Department of Justice also said the following:
- 52% of claims were a result of motor vehicle accidents
- 15% of claims were related to medical malpractice
- 5% were the result of product liability
- The remaining 28% covered “other” cases
Where Do I Start With Personal Injuries?
Personal injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. If you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s a vehicular, medical, product or accidental injury at home or work.
Accident injury attorneys not only know your rights, they know how to defend you and your interests. They’re experienced in fighting large corporations or government entities with teams of lawyers on staff.
Large corporations often use an insistence on mediation in their response to personal injury claims. Mediation may be a wonderful tool for some disputes. However, it provides little protection to a person who has suffered an injury.
Mediation is a process of give-and-take. Unfortunately, speakers for corporate interests are fed their scripts by a team of lawyers. The victim is caught bewildered by legalese, and they usually get the short end of the settlement stick.
Lesson learned: Mediation doesn’t work well for those who suffered a personal injury and don’t have an experienced lawyer at the table.
What Does Negligence Mean in a Personal Injury Case?
“A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of [complacency] when there is some duty to act”
Legally speaking, the term “negligence” is often used in personal liability cases. It can seem as if it’s the only factor in a personal injury, but that isn’t true.
“Strict Liability” is a growing area of personal injury claims. It’s used most often against manufacturers whose products have caused injuries.
An injured person doesn’t need to show negligence on the part of the manufacturer. They only have to demonstrate that the product was designed or manufactured in a way that made it dangerous to use.
More rarely, “Intentional Wrong” can be used as a basis for a personal injury claim. As an example, say you were at a neighborhood gathering. A neighbor pushes you into the pool for fun, but you hit your head on the pool deck and sustain an injury.
Your injury may have been an accident, but your neighbor did intentionally push you. In the end, the result was certainly not “fun”. The neighbor didn’t intend to make you hit your head, but they pushed you. Their actions could be considered “intentional wrong.”
Do Personal Injury Attorneys Take Advantage of Their Clients?
Personal liability claims can be legally complex. Ads from legal firms often try to pressure you to “Call Now” if you have suffered an injury. These firms claim to help victims get hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In reality, these firms sometimes prefer to use Class Action lawsuits. In these types of cases, the victim is one of a number of other such victim-plaintiffs. all against one defendant.
As another example, a group of hernia-repair surgery patients all suffered complications from their surgeries. This was the result of the poor qualities of the mesh used to affect the repairs on one side.
The legal firm asking for your phone call in many of these cases is not working in your best interests. They want you to pay for their time and expertise.
In the asbestos cases of the 1990s, a trust fund was set aside to pay claims. Unfortunately, by the time many of the class action suits got their day in Court, the money was gone. As a result, some claimants didn’t get a share of the award.
Watch Out For Low-Ball Settlements
Another common legal strategy used by large personal injury firms is a “settlement” in lieu of a verdict and judgment. In this case, your legal firm can talk things over with the other side and “settle” the case for a specific compensation at any time up to judgment.
While this may appear to be easier than months or years of going through an entire Court proceeding, a settlement isn’t always in the victim’s best interest. The decision to settle is always yours, not your lawyer’s. But, a legal team without your best interests in mind may try to convince you that a lower settlement is your best option.
To avoid falling into this trap, you need to ask the lawyer three questions before selecting them:
- What are your chances of winning?
- What will the outcome most likely be?
- How much of a settlement can you expect?
These aren’t written in stone, but they should be within your legal team’s breadth of experience.
How Do I Find the Best Personal Injury Attorney for My Case?
The statute of limitations is the time limit you have to take a claim to court. The rules are different in different states. What’s important is that you don’t want to think an injury is going to heal, only to find that you’re still suffering after the statute of limitations is up. Once that happens, you won’t be able to make a valid claim.
This is why it’s smartest to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.
So, how do you go about finding the right personal injury legal team for you? It may take some work on your part. Fortunately, the internet makes things easier.
First, ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers if they have ever used a personal injury lawyer. If they say “yes,” ask them for their honest opinion about their experience.
You should also use Google, or another search engine. Simply type in “personal injury lawyer” and the name of the city you live in.
Once the results come up, scan them for lawyers that specialize in a practice area related to your injuries. Read the attorney’s reviews, but remember to take them with a grain of salt.
What you’re looking for is an abundance of positive reviews. Be wary of negative reviews that scream, “Stay away from this person!” But, keep in mind that some people are never happy.
Next, narrow your choices down to a few firms and call them for a consultation. Almost all personal injury law firms offer them for free.
The attorney uses the consultation time to hear the specifics of your complaint. They will work to understand your needs, assess possible compensation for your damages, and determine what their fee will be, should they take your case.
Talk to at least three legal firms if possible, and take notes, especially of anything which sounds like a promise. If a lawyer in your first consultation says, “I can get you $500,000,” you might want to write that down and compare it to what other lawyers say.
Don’t be suckered in by claims of big money until you’re fairly certain the claim is true. Lawyers are professionals, and experienced lawyers with your best interests in mind should all have give similar estimates.
What Evidence Do I Need to Prove That My Injuries Were Someone Else’s Fault?
Once you’re in court, you will need to provide evidence of your injuries. This is usually satisfied by medical records.
Sometimes, you might be asked to undergo another medical assessment. You may need to be examined by a Physical Therapist for your ability to function, or perform work.
Evidence that you should have includes:
- Names and contact information of witnesses
- Photographs of the scene
- Descriptions of exactly what happened when you were hurt
All of this information provides your legal team with the foundation they need to build a winning case. Do your best to provide everything they need so they can work for you effectively.
Does the Court “Punish” the Person Responsible for My Injuries?
A personal injury cases are civil, not criminal. The person or company which caused your injury is not held criminally liable, but civilly liable.
In some cases, the circumstances of an injury are outrageous. When this happens, the Court may award what are called “punitive damages”. This is an extra “fine” levied by the judge to make sure that the defendant doesn’t injure anyone else in the same manner. When punitive damages are awarded, the defendant doesn’t go to jail, because the case is only civil.
You Need an Attorney Who Will Effectively Represent Your Injury Claim
The circumstances of a personal injury care are very complex. When you’re searching for a lawyer you need to consider everything carefully.
- What is the extent of your injury?
- What are the immediate effects of your injury?
- Will you have a loss of income, or lose the ability to function to your full capacity?
- How much will your medical care cost?
- Did you have to visit the Emergency Room and, if so, how much will that cost?
- What are the possible long-term effects of your injuries?
Get in touch with a personal injury legal team with your best interests in mind. And do it sooner, rather than later. After all, 30 million people in the US are injured badly enough to seek medical attention each year.
Hire a Charleston, South Carolina Attorney Who Cares About Your Needs
Of the many injuries that occur every year, many are the fault of someone besides the injured party. When you consider all of the factors that go into finding the right attorney, you discover that experience is vital to your case. You need legal representation with a track record of success.
At the Hartman Law Firm, our experience and track record speak for themselves. Frank Hartman has won millions of dollars for the victims of accidents. He knows how to stand up to the insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve.
To schedule your free consultation, call (843) 300-7600. Or, you can message Frank directly with the online contact form, or email him at email@example.com.