Personal Injury Cases
Did you know that around 95% of personal injury cases are settled pretrial? That’s because most personal injury cases never go to trial. Most are settled out of court, often through mediation. However, these cases were backed by the help of strong legal representation.
If you’re involved in a personal injury case, you must know what kind of compensation you can expect. Keep reading to learn all about what you need to know about personal injury cases and what to expect from yours.
What Are Personal Injury Cases
Automobile personal injury cases typically involve claims for compensation arising from injuries or deaths resulting from car accidents. Automotive injuries can range from whiplash to paralysis. These claims are likely to be based on negligence. If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be experiencing a range of symptoms, including pain, disability, and emotional distress. If you suffered damages, you are entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses.
An experienced personal injury attorney with knowledge of auto-related injuries can help you understand and navigate the sometimes challenging legal process and recover the compensation you deserve. Personal injury cases can include any type of injury:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological torment
To file a personal injury case, you must show that the other party was at fault and that their negligence directly or indirectly led to your injuries. If you are successful in your injury case, you may be awarded damages for your injuries. Damages can include such things as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The Elements in a Personal Injury Case
By its very nature, a personal injury case arises when someone is injured due to another person’s negligent or intentional actions. The injured victim then has the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to recover damages.
Four criteria must be satisfied for a personal injury claim to proceed. If all four elements are verified and the jury agrees, the plaintiff will likely receive just compensation for the injuries. The following are the four components: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Let’s take a closer look at each:
- Duty – The first move in any personal injury case is to establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Simply stated, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was responsible for acting in a certain way to prevent foreseeable harm.
- Breach of Duty – Once you establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the plaintiff must clearly show that the defendant failed to uphold that duty. This is known as a breach of duty.
- Causation – Next, it must be shown that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. This is known as causation.
- Damages – Finally, the plaintiff must show that they did in fact suffer some damages due to the defendant’s negligence. This can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
What to Consider in a Personal Injury Case
There are many different aspects to personal injury cases, some involving intentional harm, while others are a result of pure negligent behavior. Some cases will share similarities, but ultimately every situation is circumstantial. Here are some of the most common factors in personal injury cases.
If the defendant’s actions did indeed fall below the standard of care, they may be considered negligent. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must clearly show that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and that the breach directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This is known as a civil case. Unlike a “criminal case,” civil suits do not involve intentionally motivated actions to harm another individual.
If a defective product injured you, you might be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. To succeed in a product liability case, you must show that the product is defective in its design or manufacture, that you were using it as intended, and that the defect directly caused your injuries. For example, in an auto accident, a manufacturer who produced faulty brakes or another flawed car part could be found liable for damages.
The Statute of Limitations
It is essential to note that there is a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, for filing a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations laws are different from state to state, but it is generally two years in the state of California. So, if you fail to properly file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you are relinquishing your rights. Also, it will be very unlikely the courts allow you to file a claim at a later time.
What to Expect
Now that you understand the fundamentals of personal injury cases, what can you expect from yours? That answer depends on numerous unique factors, including the severity of your injuries, the strength of your case, and more. Your personal injury case will likely go through the following stages:
- Investigation Stage – The first stage of your personal injury case is the investigation stage. This is when your attorney will gather evidence to support your claim. This evidence can include medical records, witness statements, photos, and more.
- Demand Stage – After your lawyer has gathered enough evidence to clearly establish and support your claim, they will send a demand letter to the defendant. This letter will outline your injuries and damages and demands compensation.
- Negotiation Stage – If the defendant doesn’t agree to pay the amount you have demanded, your case will enter the negotiation stage. During this stage, your attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to try to reach a settlement agreement.
- Trial Stage – If you and the defendant’s insurance company cannot reach a settlement agreement, your case will go to trial. Both parties will have the opportunity to make their case and present their evidence before a judge or jury.
- Appeal Stage – If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your trial, you can file an appeal. This will send your case to a higher court for review.
Personal injury cases can be complicated. But understanding the basics will help you know what to expect from your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions.
Free Consultation to Address Your Personal Injury Case
In any personal injury case, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. If you have been injured in an accident, please contact our Costa Mesa law offices for a free consultation. We will be able to navigate the legal process and know how to get you the compensation you deserve.