Accidents happen all the time. The accident could be your fault, or it could be someone else’s fault. You can shrug your shoulders and move on after an accident, or you can take proper action.
Negligence is becoming more common in high-profile states like Florida. There was a significant increase in negligence in Marion County in 2022. People not taking proper action is the primary reason for the increase in negligence. The victims should hire a Marion personal injury lawyer and take action to make society a better place for everyone.
Personal injury law allows the victims of negligence to seek justice. Filing a lawsuit against the negligent party is the right way to go if you choose to take proper action.
Insurance companies will compensate my losses, then why should I file a lawsuit? You may have this question on your mind.
To answer this question, first, you need to know about the intentions of the insurance companies.
The intention of the insurance company is to make a profit, not to make you comfortable. So, yes, insurance companies do offer settlements but not fair ones.
Accepting the initial insurance settlement will hurt you more than the accident itself.
The existence of personal injury law protects the victims from being lowballed by insurance companies.
When insurance companies offer a low settlement offer, you do not have to accept it, even though you are tempted to. You might have many bills that require your attention, but accepting the settlement is not the solution.
Instead, file a lawsuit with the help of a lawyer. Through personal injury law, you can make the insurance company make a fair settlement offer that will cover all your losses.
Read further to learn more about personal injury law.
The Plaintiff and the Defendant
In a personal injury lawsuit, there will be two parties, the plaintiff and the defendant.
Plaintiff: The plaintiff is the person who files the lawsuit. In other words, the victim of the accident is the plaintiff in a personal injury case. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff has the responsibility to prove that the defendant acted negligently and caused them damages. Proving negligence with proof is the only way to get compensation.
Defendant: Defendant is the person who acted negligently. They don’t have to prove that they are innocent since, by law, they are innocent until proven guilty. However, they will follow many strategies to reduce the settlement they have to pay out. They will have the help of qualified lawyers.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof means the person who states a fact has to provide proof to back up their word. Without proof, the claim is merely an opinion.
The existence of the burden of proof is to make the decision based on facts and not on opinions.
The burden of proof protects the innocent from being punished.
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff claims that the defendant has injured them. Since the plaintiff is claiming, they have the responsibility to prove their claim.
The plaintiff must provide convincing evidence that will prove that the defendant acted negligently beyond a reasonable doubt.
For example, if the defendant violated traffic rules and caused an accident, the victim of the accident should prove that the defendant violated traffic rules and caused the accident. In addition, the victim should also prove that the accident caused them significant injuries and financial losses.
Four Elements of Personal Injury Law
As clearly established, the plaintiff has to prove the negligence. But what exactly should they prove?
There are four elements of personal injury law. The plaintiff has to prove those four elements for a case to be successful.
The following are the four elements of personal injury law:
- Duty of Care
- Breach of Duty
Duty of Care
The first thing the plaintiff has to prove is the existence of a duty of care. The person you are suing must have owed a duty of care to you. On the road, every driver owes a duty of care to others to keep everyone safe. A property owner owes a duty of care to the residents.
Breach of Duty of Care
After proving the existence of a duty of care, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. Meaning the defendant acted negligently and breached the duty of care. For example, if the defendant was driving under the influence, it is a clear breach of duty of care.
Next up, the plaintiff has to prove that the negligence of the defendant is indeed the cause of the accident. Many factors could be the cause of the accident. You need to prove that the defendant’s negligence is the primary cause of the accident. In addition, you need to prove that the injuries you suffered were due to the accident. You should not claim for injuries that existed before the accident.
Finally, you should prove you actually suffered damages. An accident that didn’t cause any damage will not hold much value in the court. Even lawyers will not be willing to take your case. You need to show that you suffered injuries and financial losses from that particular accident.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the most important thing you need to know about personal injury law. The statute of limitation is a time period within which you must file a claim. If you fail to file a claim before the statute of limitation expires, you can never make a claim.
The statute of limitations changes depending on the state you live in and the type of your case.
This is why it is important to seek medical attention and consult your lawyer after an accident. What you think is a minor injury can impact your life negatively in the long run.
A visit to the doctor will give you a clear idea about the severity of your injuries. You must file a claim if the doctor says your injuries are severe.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
People deal with many types of personal injury cases every day. Some are more common than others. Here are some common types of personal injury cases:
- Auto accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Premises liability
- Dog bites
- Workplace accidents
These are common personal injury cases. You can file a case against someone if you think they were negligent. There was an incident where a lady sued Starbucks for serving coffee too hot.
So, yes, if you think you have a case, speak with a lawyer immediately. No matter how silly you think, your case is.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
By filing a lawsuit, you can recover various types of damages, which you couldn’t if you settle with the insurance company’s offer. This is another reason why you shouldn’t settle with the insurance company.
The three types of damages you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit are:
- Economical Damages
- Non-Economical Damages
- Punitive Damages
Economic damages are the financial losses you incurred from the accident. Any financial loss you incurred from the accident can be reimbursed through personal injury law.
Medical Bills: Healthcare is not cheap in the US. The money you spend on healthcare to treat your injuries can be recovered through personal injury law. This is why you should document all the medical treatments you receive. Medical bills can be used as evidence in court. These medical bills show that you suffered injuries and financial losses.
Property Damages: You can recover any property damage you receive from the accident. For example, if your car got damaged in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can recover the money you spent on fixing your car.
Lost Wages: Sometimes, your injuries will prevent you from going to work. You might have to rest at home to recover fully. The money you would have earned if you hadn’t been hurt could be recovered as lost wages. In addition, you can also get compensated for the loss of ability to earn an income.
Non-economic damages are the mental suffering you go through due to the accident. You can receive compensation for the inconvenience caused by the accident.
Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering are the physical pain you go through due to the accident. The severity of your injury will play a major role in the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.
Loss of Quality of Life: Some accidents can permanently paralyze you, or you could suffer severed limbs. These catastrophic injuries will affect your quality of life. The judge will decide how much compensation you should receive based on the severity of your injury.
The judge will issue punitive damages or exemplary damages as a punishment for the defendant. It is more of a punishment for the defendant than compensation for the plaintiff. It is given to prevent the defendant from such behaviors in the future.
Importance of a Lawyer
Yes, technically, you don’t need a lawyer in a personal injury case. But not having a lawyer can hurt you very badly.
As said, the intention of the insurance company is to make a profit. And to do that, they will take any measures.
Insurance companies are notorious for scamming victims and their clients. They will delay, deny, and defend.
They will have qualified lawyers on their side to defend themselves. You cannot overcome their strategies on your own.
You will need the help of a lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers will be aware of the strategies of insurance companies. They can help you to defeat these strategies and get you fair compensation.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Evidence is the most important piece of a case. Evidence can make or break a case. You need to have proper evidence that proves the negligent act of the defendant and that you suffered losses.A lawyer can collect the evidence you will need to win a case, such as medical bills, police reports, witness statements, photos, and videos of the accident scene.
As we know, any case will require a thorough investigation. A lawyer can conduct an investigation and find proof to win the case. A lawyer will know what to look for at an accident scene.
Negotiating with the Insurance Companies
It is not easy to negotiate with an insurance company and get a fair settlement. Insurance agents are expert negotiators. Luckily, lawyers are also expert negotiators. They can negotiate with the insurance company and get a fair settlement that will satisfy both parties.
Providing Expert Witness
An expert witness is a witness who was not at the scene of an accident but who can provide expert insight into a particular field. For example, a doctor can be used as an expert witness in a medical malpractice case. Lawyers can provide expert witnesses.
Fee Structure of Lawyers
Some people will not file a case thinking that the lawyer fee will be very high. It is not true in personal injury cases.
Personal injury lawyers use the contingency fee model. It means they will not get paid unless they win.
Yes, you don’t have to pay anything if the lawyer didn’t win your case.
In addition, you don’t have to pay the fee out of your pocket. The lawyer will collect a portion of your settlement amount as their fee. So you don’t have to worry about lawyer fees when filing a case.
Negligence is becoming more and more common. Every day, someone is affected by negligence. Some cause minor injuries, and some causes catastrophic injuries.
Negligence should not go unpunished. If the victims don’t take action, the perpetrators will continue to act negligently. They will hurt others. Taking proper action is important to stop people from acting negligently.
Personal injury law is the only right way to go for the victims of negligence. Through personal injury law, the victims can get compensated and punish the perpetrators at the same time.
Personal injury law can make our society a better place for everyone. Next time you encounter negligence, instead of ignoring it, hire a lawyer and take action.