Personal Injury Law Basics: What Are Your Rights if You’ve Been Injured?

This post was written by Scott Distasio, a personal injury attorney in Tampa, FL. He is a board-certified civil trial lawyer, willing and able to take his cases all the way to the finish line. Follow @scottdistasio on Twitter to read more informed legal advice.

The phrase “personal injury” refers to a variety of injuries that a person may sustain through the actions of someone else. These injuries include physical, financial, and emotional acts of harm. In a personal injury lawsuit, the term plaintiff refers to the person who has suffered the injury, and the defendant refers to the person being sued. While work accidents constitute a common type of injury, you may develop a personal injury outside of work as well.

Vehicle Accident Personal Injury Cases

Car accidents account for a high number of personal injury cases simply because the number of people injured in car accidents every day is so high. An estimated 9 people die every day and an additional 1000 suffer injuries from car accidents. Many of these cases result from a distracted driver, including those who are using cell phones while driving. Distracted and reckless drivers may be held responsible for any injuries that they may cause.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Another very common personal injury case involves slip and fall cases. The law requires anyone owning property to keep their property free of hazards. If you are injured because a property owner failed to keep their premises safe, you may be entitled to a financial settlement. In order to win these types of cases, you must be able to prove that the property owner was liable according to the local premises laws. Taking pictures of the area immediately after a fall greatly improves your chances in a lawsuit.

Workplace Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.8 million workplace injuries in 2017. One of the hardest truths you may learn when you are injured on the job is the fact that your employer is not on your side. While employers are legally obligated to provide their employees with a safe working environment, employees may still be injured in the workplace. Employers typically seek to save money and protect their own company. This priority may interfere with your rights as an injured worker.

Protecting your rights as an injured worker can be difficult, and many workers simply do not know what their rights are when they are injured. While it varies depending on what state you live in, an injured worker typically is entitled to:

  • Claiming workers compensation
  • Seeing your own doctor
  • Returning to your job
  • Seeking disability compensation if you are unable to return to your job
  • Appealing any decision made by your employer, workers’ compensation, or any insurance company
  • Being represented by an attorney during any part of the process

Types of Personal Injuries

Since there are so many different types of personal injury cases, the types of injuries can vary greatly. Examples include broken bones, internal damage, amputation, burns, paralysis, spine damage, and brain damage. The more severe personal injuries typically result in higher lawsuit claims. The claim amount is influenced by medical expenses, time spent away from work, and other factors that increase when injuries are more severe.

Do You Need an Attorney?

Not every personal injury results in the need for an attorney. Ultimately, you will have to make the decision about whether or not you want to pursue legal actions in the form of a lawsuit. If you do pursue a lawsuit, you will not only be fighting a legal battle against the person responsible for causing your injury but their attorneys and insurance companies in many cases.

Other reasons that you may wish to seek legal counsel after a personal injury include any injury that resulted in:

  • Multiple Broken Bones
  • Hospital Stays
  • Death of a Loved One
  • Extensive Medical Bills
  • Long-Term Emotional Trauma
  • Disputes Over Who is to Blame for the Injury