The world is changing fast and transforming the way we live our lives -- the risks we take, and the way we handle setbacks.
The uncomplicated lifestyles of our grandparents are long gone where disputes and injuries were settled without insurers or lawyers getting involved. Today, personal injuries from an accident will need to be assessed and scrutinized by professionals to determine the damage and compensation.
We’ll discuss the whole issue in two parts. The first part will deal with the concept of what a personal injury is. The second part will tell you what a personal injury lawyer can do for you.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
“The fundamental concept behind personal injury claims”, as stated by the Dolman Law group of accident injury lawyers, “is that some(one) else has caused you damage and you are entitled to compensation for the damages”.
Thankfully, all types of personal injury such as dog bites, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents and even slip and falls have been scrutinized and defined in legal perspectives to help people decide what (if any) compensation should they expect.
Three Basic Elements of Personal Injury Claim
Also called three steps for personal injury claims, these are three step by step clarification of the entire situation confirming you can submit a legal claim.
Duty of Care: Getting injured is enough for you to think of putting in a legitimate claim. You have to show that the other party had a kind of civil, social or institutional duty to care. All sorts of duty, once proved, can be taken within law.
For example, if your son goes to a high school, the school authority has a duty to keep him safe during the time he stays in custody of the school.
The first thing about the personal injury claim is to confirm and prove the duty.
Breach of Duty: Then there is the next step
You need to prove that there was negligence to the duty. The other person or party did not fulfill or perform the duty they owe.
Considering the above example of your son, if one of the loosened blades of the ceiling fan suddenly hits him and causes a serious head injury you can sue the school authority for this.
Cause: The third step.
Here you prove that the breach of duty stated above is the direct reason for your son’s injury. This is the logical threading and completes the ground of your claim.
Major types of Claim:
- Workers Compensation claim
- Motor Vehicle Accident claim
- Public Liability claim
- Medical Negligence claim
- Common Law Assault claim
- Sexual Assault claim
- Total and Permanent Disability (‘TPD’) or Partial Permanent Disability (‘PPD’) claim
- Income Protection (‘IP’) claim
For more detailed information on types of claims, you may want to visit here.
There are roughly two groups of compensatory damages:
- Special compensatory damages
- General compensatory damages
- Special compensatory damages: These are defined to compensate you for your monetary losses such as:
- Medical expenses like hospital stays, emergency room visits, physical therapy, massage therapy, x-rays, surgeries, prescriptions etc.
- Lost income. If you suffer an accident and cannot work because of it, you can claim the wages lost to be compensated by the other party that caused the accident.
Similarly if any accident minimizes your ability to earn to a lower level you can claim the portion of the wages that you could have earned if you were fit as before.
- General Compensatory Damages: These are defined to compensate you for your non-monetary losses. They include:
- Physical pain and suffering are some things that your wage reimbursement won’t cover. Here is a short list breaking down physical pain and suffering. They are:
Type of injury, type of medication prescribed, length of recovery and permanence of the injury.
- Emotional distress. Sometimes you may suffer some sort of mental anguish. Since this cannot be quantified, it’s hard to say how much compensation you might receive.
- Loss of consortium involves all social, emotional and relationship losses. They can be losses of affection, companionship and love, comfort and sexual relationship. This kind of loss is particularly for your spouse and your children.
For more details on calculations of damages in a personal injury case this site has some comprehensive and excellent description.
The time limit states how long you can wait before you claim compensation. The generally accepted time limit is 3 years.
In some cases, according to the court’s decision, the time limit may be extended.
Paying for Legal Action:
Legal action is an expensive proposition. You can avail legal help through conditional fee agreement or you can go for an insurance policy. In case of conditional fee agreement you pay if you win.
We would generally advise you to take out an insurance facility at which your bill will be paid by the other side if you win.
What is the job of a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal lawyers generally advise you what you need to do during any legal proceedings.
Let’s take the case of the personal injury claim we have been referring to. Here your lawyer will examine the whole situation, explain how far you can go and, upon your consent, start the legal proceedings.
His course of action is as follows:
Generally a personal injury lawyer works on condition. They charge if they can win a settlement or jury verdict. That’s why they are very careful not to take any case where they think they will not win. They assess the injury case and consider every detail of your condition and the defendant’s ground.
Then comes the question of going for paperwork.
Right from the cause of the injury through the whole process of your medical treatment to all of your quantifiable losses— everything is calculated and filed. Statements of the witnesses and photos of the accident spot, damaged property and the plaintiff are taken.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Most people do not see the legal sides of a contract which a lawyer does. This capability enables them to review the policy detail and determine the maximum level of compensation a plaintiff can receive.
Sending demand letters
After studying the contract papers carefully the lawyer will send a demand letter describing what steps the insurance company should take in favor of his client. The lawyer’s logical and legal points based on the contract paper and evidence are often undeniable and require adequate response from the insurer..
This step especially calls for a personal lawyer.
Sometimes the insurance company declines to play fair. They seem reluctant to pay the required compensation.
Your personal lawyer will push back against the insurer, by presenting legal arguments and evidence for the plaintiff demanding a fair settlement.
Representing Client at Trials
If the case proceeds to trial, the personal injury lawyer will represent the client in the court to work for the client’s best interest -- maximum compensation.
Summarizing the Idea
The world of personal injury claims are as complicated and painful as the injuries and the healing process.
Technical details of personal injuries are best dealt with by lawyers. If you are injured and think that you have been wrongly treated or offended, a personal injury lawyer will navigate you through the long and complicated legal process to get you the compensation you deserve..