While the term 'personal injury' is most often associated with car accidents in the US, it essentially broadly encompasses injuries caused to individuals, most commonly through negligence. According to the Rottenstein Law Group LLP, scenarios that would fall under the purview of personal injury law – also known as tort law – include everything from defective products and dog bites to defamation and injuries from handling dangerous explosives.
Typically, the injured party (plaintiff) will seek compensation from the party at fault (defendant), which usually takes the form of a money payment called damages. If both parties agree to the terms of the settlement, then the matter is settled out-of-court; however, if the defendant disputes the claim, that is where attorneys get involved. Regardless of whether you are plaintiff or defendant, when a case progresses to this stage, it is always worth hiring a capable attorney to protect your interests.
It might seem like a straightforward matter, but the world is rarely ever so black and white. Since most cases involve negligence, the onus is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant failed to provide the legal duty of care to the plaintiff, thus causing the plaintiff to suffer damages. If you have hired a good personal injury attorney, not only will they be able to prove your case, they will also be able to predict and prepare for affirmative defences that hold the plaintiff partly responsible for their own injury.
Having a legal attorney representing you provides considerable leverage, especially if you are facing a large, impersonal organization instead of a single person. Without the threat of plausible legal action, you may be forced to settle for less than your claim is worth, have your claim buried under bureaucratic red tape for years or simply be outright ignored. However, employing a capable lawyer says that you are serious and were put at real risk, which is more likely to rouse the defendant to action.
In more severe cases such as wrongful death or permanent loss of limb function, it may be difficult for you to properly value the damage caused to your life. Not only can the right personal injury attorney help you calculate elements such as your loss of future earnings and the loss of consortium, they will also assist you in discovering crucial information about the defendant that may not be easy to find out, especially in automobile accidents where they might have multiple types of insurances and policies.
Time is often of the essence as certain types of claims must be filed within a particular timeframe according to the statute of limitations, or your right to sue is rendered void. Therefore, you should try to hire a lawyer as soon as you can to give them the best possible head start. It is also important to find an attorney who specializes in your particular type of case as they will be more familiar with the possible counterarguments they might face and the strategies they should use to advocate for your rights.
If you have determined that your case is serious enough to warrant pursuing damages, then you should aim to give yourself the best possible chance of victory and having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side will go a long way towards that cause. If legal costs become an issue, it is common for personal injury lawyers to accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you only pay them if they win your case – which, of course, would be the ideal ending for everyone involved.
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