Are you considering contacting an attorney about an injury you’ve sustained in an accident? Whether you were hurt while coasting down the highway or hard at work on the job, there are some key things to know about injury claims. Before you make any type of agreement with a lawyer or insurance company, read the following.
1. An injury does not automatically guarantee a successful claim.
Of course, you must be able to pinpoint a defendant in your potential case. This alone can stop any intention of filing a claim in its tracks. You might be uncertain of someone else’s role in the events, or you may be unable to demonstrate that their negligence caused the injury.
In order to be negligent, the other party must have had a duty to prevent the incident. For example, if a store shelf falls and you hastily run around the corner into another shopper’s cart, injuring your leg, that other shopper is not a viable defendant. The store, on the other hand, had a duty to your safety and failed to maintain that when the shelf fell.
2. Going to trial isn’t as likely as you may think.
You may be nervous when first contacting a personal injury lawyer. After all, you’ve been through, the prospect of sitting through a trial may sound as appealing as getting injured all over again. However, many personal injury cases never make it to trial. Settling out of court is much more common, and involves your attorney negotiating the proper settlement following mediation.
3. Your role in the injury doesn’t mean you have no claim.
Not every claim involves one injured party and one party to blame. In fact, in a lot of cases, the plaintiff (you) is partially responsible for sustaining the injury. But this doesn’t automatically cancel out any negligence on the other party’s behalf. It will vary from state to state, but there’s a decent chance that you still have a claim.
It may be decided that the other party’s at fault for a certain “percentage” of the injury, and your settlement may be handed out accordingly. Let’s say you move for $100,000 in damages, but it’s determined that your personal negligence makes up 15% of this. Your maximum settlement will then total $85,000.
4. Patience required.
For those whose lives have been severely interrupted by their injury, this last point may be hard to swallow. While you may have a relatively small window of time to file your claim (often two or three years from the time of the injury), these cases aren’t always settled soon after starting. If your case goes to trial, it could be a substantial period of time before everything is resolved. However, with the right attorney, you should have a ballpark idea of what to expect.
How has your injury disrupted your life? Whether it’s reduced mobility, reduced capacity to earn, or simply a mountain of medical bills, you should look into filing a personal injury claim right away. Start speaking to law firms today and choose the one with the right experience to represent you.