Accidents happen all the time. It is inevitable that an accident will occur at some point in your life and that you will sustain a personal injury. In a situation where the injury was preventable or due to someone’s negligence, it may be a good idea to bring about a personal injury lawsuit so that you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, further treatment and any other damages you might have suffered.
Accidents can occur just about anywhere, such as at work or on the road when you are a driver, passenger or even a pedestrian. If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, it’s important to know the details of how to get started and how personal injury cases work.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases are generally brought as civil proceedings. It can be a formal complaint that is filed by an individual against another person or a business or government agency. Typically, the lawsuit in such a case claims that the defendant acted negligently and that the negligence led to the plaintiff’s injury.
An informal settlement is a type of personal injury case that happens more frequently. The matter is resolved through an early settlement between the parties directly involved, sometimes through their insurance companies, such as in a car accident case. Additionally, the plaintiff usually has an accident and injury attorney representing them, while the defendant has their own attorney. Settlement occurs through negotiation, after which a written agreement is drafted that states that both parties agree to forego any additional legal action because they agree on a specific amount of money as compensation.
Statute of Limitations
It’s important to know that there is a specific time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in every state. This period of time is known as the statute of limitations. The injured party has from the date of the incident or when the injury was sustained up until the statute of limitations to file their claim or the court will not hear the case and they will not be able to receive any compensation for their injuries and accompanying damages.
How Damage Amounts are determined in a Personal Injury Case
No matter what kind of accident led to your personal injury, whether it was a car accident, slip or fall or medical malpractice, you will no doubt wonder how much your case is worth. Generally, the extent of your damages can answer that question. In other words, it depends on how much money your injuries have cost you, as well as the physical and emotional or mental toll they have had on you. In some cases, the defendant’s conduct is such that they should be punished, which can lead to punitive damages being awarded to an injured plaintiff.
In any personal injury case, compensation is awarded to the injured plaintiff through money. Either the individual responsible for the accident or their insurer pays the compensation. There can be a settlement between the parties, their insurance companies or between an accident and Personal Injury Lawyer Savannah GA and the defense lawyer. If the compensation comes from an insurance company, it’s important that the plaintiff have his or her attorney negotiate with the insurer. Attorneys have experience in dealing with insurance companies and know all the tactics they employ to make sure they don’t pay out unnecessary claims, so this is the plaintiff’s best chance at getting a higher settlement amount. If that is still not acceptable to the insurance company, the plaintiff can decide to go through a trial to get the compensation they deserve.
In general, damages in a personal injury case are considered “compensatory,” which means they are meant to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was lost during the accident or incident resulting in their injury. Compensatory damages are meant to make the plaintiff “whole” again. The various compensatory damages awarded in these cases include:
- Medical treatment
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Sometimes, there are also punitive damages awarded, usually when the defendant’s conduct is considered extremely careless. This is an additional amount on top of compensatory damages.
How a Plaintiff’s Actions Affect Damages Awarded
Sometimes, the plaintiff is determined to be at least partially at fault for their injury. In that case, the amount of compensation they are awarded is reduced in relation to their percentage of fault for the accident that led to their injuries. For instance, if the plaintiff was driving slightly over the speed limit during the time of the accident and was struck by the defendant after they ran a stop sign, the plaintiff might be considered 10 percent at fault. If the plaintiff was seeking $10,000 in compensation for their injury, the jury would award them $9,000 instead.
Do you think you might have a case against a negligent party? A Personal Injury Lawyer Savannah GA can certainly help you decide. Call Tate Law Group today to talk to our friendly staff.