Basics of a Personal Injury Case

Have you been out of work for some time and are watching your medical bills pile up after an accident?  Has this accident changed your way of life?     If you can answer yes to the preceeding questions then it’s time to contact a personal injury attorney to take a look at your situation and see if there is some compensation that is due you as a result of your injuries.  Now, why would you want to to do this?  Well, it’s not to get a big pile of cash at someone else’s expense.  It’s all about getting enough money to cover your medical expenses and help you to return to a normal life.  

What is personal injury anyhow?

Personal injury refers to a situation when a person or persons are injured due the the negligence of another.  A good example is an auto accident where a motorist causes the accident and as a result injuries another person who is a pedestrian or is riding in the other vehicle.  The motorist was operating the vehicle in a dangerous fashion and caused the accident due to their negligence toward safety.  Another typical personal injury case is one where a manufacturer produces a product that is dangerous to consumers.  Cases such as this can include the use a lead paint or asbestos.Unfortunately, injuries resulting from the negligence of others are common and therefore there are many laws which protect individuals who become injured, and help them receive compensation for the injuries they suffer to cover damages and bills they incur as a result.

personal injury

Malpractice and wrongful death

Malpractice and wrongful death cases, because they involve the actions of a professional, are both legitimate bases for personal injury claims. If a person dies or is harmed due to the negligent actions on the part of a doctor, then there would be a justified personal injury claim since the medical professional did not follow the required standard procedures to treat the patient.  While the most common malpractice suits are for medical malpractice, not profession is protected from this type of claim.  Every professional is required to follow specific rules and regulations that govern their actions to insure that these professionals perform their job correctly. This insures that individuals do not act with total disregard for their actions.

Financial Limits

With personal injury cases there are financial limits.  The percentage of fault, the extent of the injuries, and the location of the event are all factors which impact the financial limits of the case.  There are many cases where there is a portion of the blame or fault attributable to more than one party who is involved in the accident.  For example, let’s assume there is a case of an auto accident involving three different vehicles and the drivers of two of the vehicles were found to be negligent and the case of the accident.  The limit of fault would be apportioned to each driver in this case based upon the perceived amount of negligence.

Cost of an Attorney

With many personal injury lawyers, there is a "no win, no fee" contingency arrangement whereby if they do not win, then you do not have to pay your attorney.  However, you should note that this is generally where the other party is covered by insurance.  If the other party is not covered by insurance, then the lawyer may not take your case on this basis since a large settlement may be unlikely.  The no win, no fee contingency arrangement is generally made on a percentage basis that can run from 15 percent to one-third of the settlement, depending on the length and size of the settlement that may be forthcoming.  Most attorneys will discuss the financial arrangement when you meet with them initially regarding your case.

Malpractice Versus Negligence

Malpractice means so many different things to different people, that the term when used in a legal setting really needs to be expanded upon for the sake of clarity.

Malpractice Caps

Caps on medical malpractice punitive damages prevent payouts above certain levels for pain and suffering (usually several hundred thousand dollars). For obvious reasons, plaintiffs’ attorneys do not like the idea of capping the damages. 

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