Personal injury lawyers seem to be everywhere in sight. On TV, the news, ads, or you may hear of one through word of mouth. But, what exactly are personal injury lawyers? Specifically, what is “personal injury”? When an accident occurs, it usually means that someone was harmed by another person(s) and/or party. A personal injury can happen in motor vehicle accidents, work-related accidents, premises (or slipping) accidents, assault claims, and even product deficiency (product liability). Not all lawyers handle every single aspect of “personal injury” but some cases are more common than others. However, whenever someone else is held liable because of neglect, as most personal injury cases are, a qualified personal injury lawyer can always help with next steps.
Now, however serious a personal injury case may be, it is not immediately a criminal one. A person who causes an injury may face criminal charges and a civil personal injury lawsuit. An example of a personal injury case that can also be a crime is driving while intoxicated. Personal injury cases are handled in a civil court. The victim who suffers a personal injury, termed “the plaintiff”, files a legal complaint against another person, a business, corporation, or government agency, who is legally defined as “the defendant”. One claims that the other acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that may have caused them injury.
This starts the process of simply filing a lawsuit. But not every case goes to court. In fact, most of them are settled earlier before that. Both sides, and their respective lawyers, undergo a process of negotiation that sees an estimate be drawn up based on the circumstances of the accident. The sum that the plaintiff is compensated (or not) at the end of a settlement all depends on the competence of their attorney.
So, when is the best time to contact a personal injury law firm if you think you’ve had an accident? The answer is as fast as possible. There is an important filing deadline called the Statute of Limitations. This gives the [soon-to-be] plaintiff a relatively small amount of time to report their injuries and file a claim before it is too late. The deadline differs with each state, so make sure to find out what the timeline is for the area in which you live in. Don’t wait until something happens. Do the research early on so if you, your friend, or a loved one, is involved in any accident, you can respond adequately.