Personal Injury Lawyer
When injury occurs, especially in cases where the accident occurs due to the negligence of another person or company, it is expected that the injured party will receive compensation. The process of achieving adequate compensation can be difficult, especially when the injured party attempts to tackle it alone. Many questions flurry into the mind of someone who has recently been injured; how will I pay for my medical bills, or receive adequate compensation to have them covered? How will I support myself and/or my family, as my finances begin to drain as I am no longer able to work? How am I going to manage this situation, and get back on my feet again?
These can be difficult questions to answer in any injury situation, and may cause the injured party anxiety and stress. Legal help can help answer many of them, and can be the best way for someone to navigate through difficult times. This legal help can come from a personal injury lawyer. The job of a personal injury lawyer is to provide legal assistance and advice, and to help guide people through injuries that have happened as a result of the negligence of another person, company, or any other entity.
How Personal Injury Settlements Work
Personal injury settlements work like this; first, it is important to consult with an attorney, and disclose all occurrences, facts, and circumstances of the event. Once a consultation and evaluation of the case are put into action, an investigation of the case will follow. This includes investigations of:
- Police reports
- The scene of the accident
- Photographs of the scene, damages, and injury
- Testimonies from witnesses
- Medical records and bills
- Employment history
- Earning power
To use vehicular accidents as an example, attorneys may gather data from the vehicle’s black box, which provides data from before the accident. This information, in most cases, can indicate the condition of the vehicle and the road before and during the time of the accident. Video surveillance and ‘dash cam’ video can also be extremely valuable when it is available.
Next, the attorney will put together what is called a demand package. Demand packages include demand letters which outline the liabilities and damages from the case, including, but not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Future needed medical care
If the case does not reach a settlement up front, the attorney may suggest proceeding with filing a lawsuit. Before going to trial, opposing parties will exchange evidence and information between one another. After the lawsuit is filed, a mediator may oversee the process to potentially avoid going to trial. The mediation process is informal, and it gives both parties an opportunity to reach an agreement on the case, otherwise known as a settlement.
Moving forward, if the case is not settled or resolved via motion, the case will proceed into the trial phase. In the trial phase, it is common that a jury will be used to evaluate the facts of the case, determine which party is at fault, and award damages. The losing party has the opportunity to appeal the case upon the conclusion of the trial.
Injuries That Could Affect Your Case
There are various factors that can affect the damages in these cases, and ultimately the monetary recovery for the injured party. When calculating the monetary costs of the accident (the damages), the location of the accident, potential vehicular damages, and medical bills are calculated. Lost wages are more difficult to calculate, as even though time lost on the job can be calculated, it is difficult to calculate potential lost future earning potential, or lost opportunity to earn.
Pain and suffering that occur from the injuries will also have an effect on the case and the monetary compensation. This type of damage can be the most difficult to calculate, as it is a challenge to monetize components such as pain (physical and/or emotional), scarring, disfigurement, physical impairment, and wrongful death.
Other factors to consider when looking at damages include:
- Extent of medical treatment
- Long-term pain management
- Impact of injuries on quality of life
- Extent of the negligent choices made by the person(s) responsible for injury
Personal injury cases involve a lengthy process, and finding solutions and compensation take time, patience, and the right guidance. Injuries may have varying effects on personal injury cases, and it ultimately comes down to the combination of the severity of the injury, along with how the various calculated damages fall together.
What are the Differences Between a Trip and Fall and a Slip and Fall?
When making a case in front of a jury, being honest and specific are of the utmost importance. Even though at times it may seem a bit tedious or too specific, it is completely necessary, and can greatly influence the outcome of a case. Let’s differentiate between a trip and a slip as an example of how important it is to use the correct and specific terminology in legal situations.
A slip is caused by a slick substance on the surface of the floor, thus making it unsafe or hazardous. When someone slips, they typically fall backwards. Severe injuries typically result from a slip and fall, for instance, a hyper-extended leg, damage or tear of the ACL, or damage to other ligaments and tendons.
A trip and fall happens when an object is placed or sticking out of its normal place, or there is an uneven surface. When one trips, they usually fall forward. Thus, injuries from trips usually occur on one’s hands, knees, face, and wrists. Trips occur much more commonly than slips.
Regardless of the case, whether it be a trip or a fall, from a legal standpoint, it is important to keep all medical records from the incident, and be able to recollect as much detail and information as you can.
What is a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death suit can be brought to action when a person, company, or entity is believed to be responsible for wrongfully causing the death of someone.
In order to receive compensation in a case of wrongful death, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions causing the death were done so negligently or recklessly. In addition, surviving family members must prove that they suffered measurable damages as a result of the wrongful death.
What Steps Should I Take if I am in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Motor vehicle accidents are at the top of the list of most common and regularly occurring major accidents. Motor vehicle accidents happen all of the time. Unfortunately, it results in damage to property, injury, and on many occasions, death. Since it is so common, and many people have experienced or, unfortunately, will experience a motor vehicle accident, it is important to break down the steps to take when one of these accidents happens to you.
Immediately following the accident, some important first steps include:
- Staying at the scene
- Don’t turn the incident into a hit-and-run!
- Check on all passengers and drivers involved
- Call the police immediately
- Ensure that a police report is filed
- Also consider noting the name and badge number of the officer(s)
- Exchange information with the other party(s) involved
- When exchanging information, be patient and be cordial
- Do not apologize or take the blame for the incident. In doing so, you may be admitting legal liability
- Talk to witnesses and exchange information
- Contact your insurance company
- Be honest and clear with the facts of the incident
- Keep track of medical treatments
- Keep track of treatments and medications
- Request copies of all medical reports and bills
- Keep track of pain and suffering
- Note how the injuries have impacted your everyday life
- Include missed workdays, everyday activities you can no longer perform, etc.
- Take photos of the scene and any damages
Some additional things to consider would be getting a property damage evaluation and estimate. Get multiple repair estimates and quotes. If you and the insurance company cannot agree on your vehicle’s value, or what the cost of repairs will be, be patient and respectful, and consider hiring an attorney. As noted, be cautious with whom you talk about the incident, and be conscious of your word choice. When talking to the insurance company representing the other party, respectfully request that your lawyer be of assistance, and ask to possibly set up an interview between yourself, your attorney, and the opposing party’s insurance company. If an insurance company offers you a settlement, proceed with caution to ensure you are fairly and fully compensated for injuries and damages. Again, contact your attorney and do not sign any settlement documents without their presence and assistance!
The safest decision to make in these situations is to get in contact with a personal injury lawyer, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, especially when people are injured and there are major damages. Experienced attorneys are the best resource to ensure that you are appropriately compensated for injuries and damages. Attorneys are extremely effective and helpful if you are at fault and need assistance in defending yourself.