What is the first thing you do if you’re hurt in a car accident? Who do you call? You’re spouse, or a lawyer? Lots of attorneys advertise that they can get you big dollars in settlements, but what kind of service will you get? Since most of us don’t live next door to a personal injury attorney, who do you call? How do you know if you have a case or not?
First of all, to win a personal injury case against someone, you have to be able to prove both 1) that the other person was liable for their actions & 2) you have suffered damages from their actions & your injuries. You need to get some advice from a professional attorney if you feel that this is the case. But how do you find one? There are two great places to start. First go to Google and do some searches for Personal Injury Attorneys in your city. This will give you dozens of qualified lawyers to help you with your case. Second, you can go to lawyers.com. This is a great site that allows you to find attorneys in your specific city, and looking for the area you want. Plus you can do your research on them right away and check on their credentials from their website. See if they are advertising that they have won any money for their clients in the past. This should give you a great starting point to go from.
Most types of personal injury cases that are filed fall under the automobile accident category. That is the most common type of claim. But if you are in a fault state, to win an injury case against the other person, you need to establish that the other person was negligent in the accident. The standard to prove is whether the other party failed to exercise reasonable care or not. Whether you know this or not, all drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care when they get behind the wheel of a car. If the other driver did not exercise reasonable care & breached that responsibility, then the law states that you can sue for your loss. In states where they have passed no-fault laws, the standard is different, so make sure you consult with an attorney who is in your area.
Strict Liability is another basis for a personal injury claim. It is a growing area of tort law and is gaining importance. If a product is defective and you are injured by that product, you can sue the manufacturer or designer as they are strictly liable for any damages or loss caused by their product. Negligence is a different basis, but you do need to prove that the design of the product or its manufacturing process caused it to be dangerous when used normally.
If someone hits you in the face or body, you could also file a personal injury case against them but under the basis of Intentional Wrongs. These types of cases aren’t filed as much, but it can happen. Or if you are accused of shoplifting from a store, and the store security wrongfully detains you for a period, you can file a wrongful imprisonment suit against them. They could also have criminal charges filed against them, but the state would have to file them on your behalf, rather than you filing a criminal complaint against them.
You have to be able to prove that you suffered damages also. Did you lose any time at work? Did you suffer any physical injuries from the accident? Are the nature of your damages large, or did you suffer to a great extent? The law states that you can file suit for your pain and suffering. But just getting hurt does not automatically qualify you to collect a lot of money. You still need to prove this to a judge or jury in court, and the court will decide what your compensation is for your losses. Likely, it wont get to court & your attorneys will come to a settlement.
What is the statue of limitations for that type of case? Every state is different & the time limits you have to file a case are different for the kind of cases you are filing. You have a specific amount of time to file a personal injury case, so you need to know what that is. For example, you might have only one year to file an auto accident case. Once that time is has passed, your case can be thrown out of court.
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