When you’re hurt in an accident, it can cause physical, emotional, and financial devastation in your life. Under state law, you can seek compensation for damages and injuries, but the process of filing personal injury claims can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you’re in the process of physically recovering from your injuries.
One resource who can provide help in these situations is a personal injury attorney.
Personal injury attorneys provide representation to someone who’s hurt in an accident. Their focus is on what’s called tort law. Tort law includes negligence and intentional acts, and the primary goal of a personal injury attorney is to provide compensation for victims of accidents.
Beyond these basics, the following are seven things that are helpful for everyone to know about personal injury.
1. There Are Many Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases most frequently involve the negligent acts of other people.
Car and motorcycle accidents are an example of this, as are truck accidents. Sometimes, but less commonly, personal injury attorneys will handle transportation accidents like bike accidents, boating, and pedestrian or mass transportation accidents.
Personal injury law can encompass premises liability, such as slip and fall accidents, animal bites, and attacks.
Nursing home abuse and neglect and situations involving construction accidents can occur.
A medical malpractice case is one more example of a personal injury case.
2. File a Report Immediately
One of the big pieces of advice personal injury attorneys will frequently share with people is that if they’re hurt in an accident or another injury, they should file a report as soon as possible with the appropriate individuals or entities. When you have a written, official report of an accident or injury, it can help you significantly if you need to file a personal injury claim.
If you’re hurt, the best thing to do is call 911 for help. If you’re hurt on a certain type of property, like a construction site, report it to the contractor, property owner, or employer.
3. You Should See a Doctor
If you are hurt, you should try to get medical care immediately after, even if you initially think your injuries are mild. Some injuries, particularly when they relate to the brain, can be tough to diagnose.
You might also be in a state of shock, or your adrenaline could be running high immediately following an accident, masking your pain.
When you get immediate medical care, you’re protecting your health and creating a better opportunity to protect your legal rights following an accident.
If you delay your medical care, it could end up hurting your case because the other party could say you didn’t seek immediate treatment since the accident didn’t cause your injuries.
When you go to a doctor or seek health care, you can have documentation from a medical professional, and you should report even the most minor of symptoms to them.
Plus, you may be able to recover damages that will cover the cost of medical bills and your lost wages stemming from your injuries.
4. There Are Time Limits to File Claims
Every state has a statute of limitations to filing a personal injury claim. If you don’t file within this window of time, you could end up losing your right to recover compensation, no matter the severity or impact of the damages or your injuries.
The deadline is usually around two years, but it can vary depending on the state and the type of personal injury case.
If the situation is a case that involves the government as a possible defendant, you have even less time within which to file a claim.
That’s why the best rule of thumb is to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after you’re involved in an accident or injured.
5. Many Types of Damages Are Available
The types of damages that may be available in your case can be economical or non-economic.
Damages that are frequently seen in personal injury cases include the cost of medical treatment and care, physical pain and suffering, and mental and emotional distress and trauma.
You could be able to recover damages for the loss of enjoyment or quality of life, a decrease in future earning potential due to impairment, and lost wages, benefits, and salaries.
The value of any personal injury claim will depend on how severe your injuries are, and other factors, which is why keeping up with documentation to show your physical injuries and financial losses are so critical.
6. Many Cases Settle
You may be hesitant to file a personal injury claim, even if you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence. One reason for your hesitance could be a fear of going to trial.
With personal injury cases, the vast majority are settled out of court. They’re usually settled through negotiation with the insurance provider’s representation or mediation.
Up to 95% of all accident negotiations are settled out of court. Settlements work in everyone’s favor because they’re fast, easy, and fair.
In an ideal situation, a settlement will cover medical bills and the cost of vehicle repairs, long-term health care, pain and suffering, lost wages, and financial impacts on your family members, particularly dependents.
Most people receive more compensation in pre-trial settlement than what’s typically seen in cases that do go to trial.
Up to 90% of the time, injured people lose if they go to court, highlighting the value of a lawyer who can negotiate a settlement.
7. Personal Injury Cases Take Time
Finally, even though a settlement is faster than going to trial, both scenarios can take some time and patience.
It can take months for negotiations to bring a case to the point of settlement. It can take years if a case goes to trial.
Overall if you’re hurt in an accident of any kind, your best course of action is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand whether you have a case and, if so, what to expect.