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What is a Personal Injury Claim?

When a person has been injured or harmed by the negligence or intentional acts or omissions of someone else, they have a right to file a personal injury claim. Whether the harm is physical, social, or otherwise, the victim can hire an attorney and file a lawsuit.

In a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant is the person who allegedly caused harm. The plaintiff is the person who has been harmed. The plaintiff’s attorney will serve the defendant with the lawsuit, and the defendant will then hire their own attorney. Depending on the type of personal injury claim, the defendant will work with their insurance company to find a lawyer and in many cases, a settlement can be reached.

In fact, most personal injury claims result in a settlement before going to trial. After the defendant hires an attorney, both parties participate in the fact-finding and discovery stage. During this stage, everyone involved in the case gathers and shares information and evidence to establish the facts of the incident, the cause of the injury and the amount of damages. Following this stage, usually, mediation or settlement discussions are utilized to reach an agreement.

If there is any disagreement about the facts, the cause of the injury or the amount of the damages, the case may go to trial. During the trial, the jury and/or the judge determine how much money the defendant owes the plaintiff as compensation for the damages suffered as a result of the incident. If the plaintiff wins the personal injury claim, the defendant may be required to pay for medical expenses, travel and lodging expenses, lost income and damage to personal property. Personal injury damages also include compensation for pain, suffering, residual impairment, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, emotional distress, lost income and lost earning ability.

Personal injury claims can involve cases where crimes have been alleged. If so, oftentimes the criminal case proceeds first and the information derived from that case is utilized in the civil case. However, the criminal case and the personal injury case will be separate.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims

Many people are unsure whether they’ve been involved in an incident that calls for a personal injury claim. The following list includes many of the most common situations that lead to personal injury claims:

Car Accidents

Every year, roughly 38,000 people die on U.S. roads, and 4.4 million are seriously injured. Many of these car accidents lead to personal injury claims. People injured in car crashes often file personal injury claims against the other driver for breaking traffic laws, drunk driving, texting while driving, distracted or reckless driving or operating unsafe or uninspected vehicles, including trucks. If the other driver involved in the accident was participating in any dangerous activity that led to the crash, whether it was accidental or intentional, you can file a personal injury claim.

Sometimes a car crash results in a personal injury claim filed against the city or state responsible for road conditions. If the accident resulted from unsafe roads or a lack of visible signage, you may be able to win a personal injury lawsuit against the local government responsible for keeping the roads safe. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a car crash, you may be eligible for compensation.

Medical Malpractice

Some studies have estimated that 250,000 people die from medical errors each year. Roughly 10% of patients are harmed in some way during medical care. When you visit a medical provider, you should be able to trust the provider will properly take care of you. When these medical errors occur, you can file a personal injury claim against the provider.

Common medical errors include surgical errors, failure to diagnose a dangerous condition, foreign objects left in the body, prescription drug errors and failures to meet local standards of care. Each of these situations can be very different and also dangerous for the patient and can lead to long-term injury, disability or even death. If you’ve been a victim of any type of medical error, a personal injury lawyer can help you determine what to do next in order to receive compensation.

Slips and Falls

If you’ve been injured in a fall, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the person responsible for the property where you fell. Many slip and fall personal injury claims are difficult to prove, but if you work with an attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases, you may be eligible for compensation.

If the property has safety code violations, has not been properly maintained and inspected, or doesn’t include appropriate warning signs of unlevel ground or slippery areas, the property owners should be responsible for compensating you for your injury.

Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

It’s important to know your loved ones are safe and properly cared for when they move to a long-term facility or nursing home. If that doesn’t happen, you can file a personal injury claim against the nursing home. Many cases of nursing home neglect are a result of understaffing or negligent hiring practices. However, whether unintentionally or not, you can file a claim to be compensated for the neglect of your elderly loved ones.

There are a few types of neglect in nursing homes that qualify for personal injury claims. Medical neglect includes improper administration of medications or other treatments, as well as not reporting signs of illness to doctors and nurses. Social neglect can also occur if the nursing home residents are isolated. Injuries often occur as a result of the facility or provider to follow designated care plans.

Neglect of personal hygiene or basic living needs is also a cause for a personal injury claim. This includes a failure to keep the living areas clean, change the nursing home residents’ clothes or bedding regularly, or provide residents with sufficient and nutritious food.

How to Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney

When picking an attorney, the most important thing is finding one that you feel comfortable with, who understands your situation, and is trustworthy. You want to know your attorney will always fight for your best interests. Communication is important for building trust, so be sure you’re working with someone who keeps you up-to-date on the progression of the case, and who is also responsive when you have questions or concerns.

It’s also important to work with someone who has expertise with your type of claim. Many lawyers advertise that they handle personal injury matters when, in fact, injury cases are not frequently handled. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, working with someone with experience in this specific area will help you win your case. Other attorneys have a few different areas they specialize in. When choosing your attorney, ask about their areas of specialty to see if their experience aligns with your needs.

The lawyers at Worst & Associates has extensive experience evaluating, handling and prosecuting personal injury claims. They are able to effectively help people manage the many aspects of the claim including liability, insurance subrogation claims, comparative fault, causation, and damages. They will work hard to obtain the best possible result for your claim. Reach out to discuss your claim and determine the best course of action for you. Every client and every case is different and entitled to a careful evaluation at the time of intake and through the litigation process.