Personal Injury Overview
Every year, millions of people are injured in accidents across the United States. Many of these accidents are the result of other people’s negligence. Fortunately, there are laws designed to protect those who have been harmed due to the action or inaction of another. Legal remedies are designed to provide compensation for injuries and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of the careless or willfully negligent actions of others, you may be entitled to compensation. Richard Meadow and the attorneys at The Meadow Law Firm are available to answer any questions you have about personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases can be filed for a variety of reasons. Each type of case requires a different approach. By partnering with an attorney at Meadow Law Firm, we can help you to understand the best approach to pursue compensation in your personal injury case.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Auto accidents are one of the most common kinds of personal injury claims. Motor vehicle accidents resulting in injury can involve:
- Commercial vehicles
- Electronic scooters and mopeds
In addition, pedestrians and bicyclists who are hit by a vehicle can file a lawsuit for personal injury if the accident was the result of negligence on the part of the driver. Lawsuits can also be filed for accidents that happen because of defective car parts, such as faulty tires or brake systems.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents that occur on someone else’s property can be grounds for a lawsuit. The property owner could bear responsibility if it can be demonstrated that they were negligent in reasonably maintaining their property. Broken or missing handrails, wet floors, and stairs in poor condition can be reasons to seek compensation.
Sometimes, the negligence of others leads to death. These unnecessary tragedies often result in grief for families who are also frightened about their financial futures. A wrongful death lawsuit can provide financial benefits to grief-stricken loved ones. Family members may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased.
Types of Compensation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When an individual files a personal injury lawsuit, there are several kinds of compensation provided under the law. The intention behind financial compensation is to provide injured people and families relief from financial burdens created by their injuries.
In determining a fair amount of economic damages, a personal injury lawyer will include things such as:
- Current and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning ability
- Household expenses when modifications are needed
Victims who have been injured often suffer financial losses that are tied to specific costs incurred because of their injury.
Sometimes, awards are given for non-economic damages that result from an injury. Victims in personal injury cases could expect their attorney to ask for damages from:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship or consortium
These are harder to quantify, but a personal injury lawyer with experience can provide the necessary evidence.
Compensation for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If an accident or injury results in death, there are claims the family can seek for financial relief. In these cases, the surviving family members can seek damages for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical care that was given prior to death
- Loss of the financial contribution of the deceased
- Loss of support from the deceased
- Loss of companionship and consortium
Families can also seek damages for emotional distress.
In cases in which the negligent party’s behavior was particularly reprehensible or egregious, punitive damages can be awarded. These damages are designed not to help the victims as much as to punish the offender and set an example.
The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney
Some victims don’t see value in hiring a lawyer to represent them in their claim for compensation. However, these people often settle for far less money than they might have received if they had used the services of an attorney.
After assessing your case, a lawyer will:
- Determine the severity of your injuries and suffering
- Use previous experience to assess the real value of your claim
- Thoroughly investigate your case
- Interview witnesses
- Obtain documentation, including medical and accident reports
- Utilize medical experts and accident reconstruction specialists
- Review all photos and videos that may exist
Most personal injury and wrongful death cases are settled through negotiations. Despite this fact, an experienced attorney will prepare your case for trial. In this way, they place you in a stronger negotiating position.
Your Role in a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Suit
When involved in a personal injury case, you should:
- Continue your medical treatment
- Speak as little as possible about your case with anyone but your attorney
- Avoid any admission of fault
- Document your health and injury status
- Answer any questions your lawyer has about your case
Your attorney can do their best work when you are doing your part. Responding to questions and document requests in a timely manner helps to keep your case moving forward.
Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Every case is different, but there is a general format that is followed as your case works through the system. Cases often progress through the following stages.
Seek Medical Treatment
After any injury, you should get checked out by a doctor. You should follow any advice or instruction they give, including taking medication and attending therapy or follow-up appointments.
Consult with an Attorney
Even if you think your case is minor, it’s a good idea to talk over the details with a lawyer. A seasoned attorney will be able to assess your case to determine its merit. They will also be able to help estimate the amount of money your case may be worth.
If a lawyer takes your case, they will begin a thorough investigation of details, reports, witness testimonies, photos, and any other evidence. This helps to put you in a strong negotiating position with the defendant.
When your attorney completes their investigation, they will make contact with the defendant. This is sometimes done through the use of a demand letter sent to your insurance company and/or the at-fault party.
Filing a Lawsuit
In the event negotiations do not result in a favorable settlement, a lawsuit will be filed with a court. This does not necessarily mean that negotiations stop altogether, but it can send a signal that you are prepared to recover fair compensation.
This is where both sides share information they find in the course of their investigations into the incident that caused your injury. Your lawyer needs to gather every piece of information available from the other side to maintain a strong position.
If settlements don’t happen during the discovery process, the case will be decided by a judge and/or a jury. During a trial, your lawyer will argue your case using witnesses and evidence gathered during their investigation.
Although most cases settle before a trial, the lawyers at Meadow Law Firm are ready to argue your case in court if necessary.
A Personal Injury Settlement
If your attorney reaches an agreement with the opposing lawyer on the damages you receive, it’s referred to as a settlement. The actual settlement amount depends on all of the factors involved in your case, including:
- The nature and duration of your injury
- The type of accident
- Your employment situation
- Expenses you incurred because of your injuries
When your settlement money is disbursed, it can take some time for you to actually receive it.
Normally, any medical and property repair bills are paid first; then your attorney will receive their percentage of the settlement; court fees and costs will be paid; and finally, you will receive your money.
Statutes of Limitations
In personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, strict statutes of limitations are in place. Essentially, these statutes limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.
The specific statute that applies to your case depends on whether you’re filing a personal injury or wrongful death suit. In some cases, the kind of accident or injury that resulted also affects the amount of time you have to file your case.
Don’t miss your opportunity to seek justice. If you or a loved one has been injured, or a family member died because of negligence, it’s to your advantage to contact an attorney quickly.
How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
Most personal injury lawyers work based on a “contingency fee.” This means they will only get paid if you are awarded damages. This kind of arrangement is ideal for people who do not have the means to pay a lawyer upfront. In addition, it means that the lawyers assume all of the risk in fighting for your case, so they are motivated to win.
Call The Meadow Law Firm if You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one need legal representation for a personal injury or wrongful death claim, call The Meadow Law Firm. We will be happy to discuss your case in a no-obligation consultation to see if we can help you.