Personal injury lawyers handle a variety of cases, ranging from car accidents to medical malpractice to slips and falls.
In most cases, these lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case.
In this post, we’ll cover the main things personal injury attorneys can help you with, but first:
What Is Personal Injury?
Personal injury is defined as an injury to the body, mind or emotions. This can be caused by an accident, negligence or intentional harm.
So, if you’ve been in a car accident and are suffering from whiplash, you would file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. If you slipped and fell at a restaurant because they didn’t clean up a spill, you could file a personal injury claim against the restaurant.
In cases of mental and emotional harm, it can be more difficult to file a personal injury claim. In these instances, you would need to prove that the other party caused you harm on purpose.
Common Cases Personal Injury Attorneys Take
There are many different types of personal injury cases, but some are more common than others. Here are a few examples:
Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims in the United States.
If you’ve been in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against that driver.
It’s important to note that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover damages as long as the other driver was also at fault.
If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the doctor or hospital that treated you.
Medical malpractice can include any type of mistake or error that a medical professional makes while treating a patient.
For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses a patient’s illness, prescribed the wrong medication or failed to provide adequate treatment, the doctor may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
To succeed in a medical malpractice claim, you will need to show that the doctor or medical professional acted negligently and that this negligence resulted in your injuries.
If you’ve been injured while on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job.
Benefits can include medical bills expenses, income replacement and death benefits.
In most cases, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer in order to receive benefits.
Personal injury lawyers can help you with this process and can also represent you if your claim is denied.
Product Liability Cases
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Product liability claims are often complex, and it’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.
To win a product liability case, you will need to show that the product was defective and that the defect caused your injury.
Wrongful Death Cases
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Examples of wrongful death include manslaughter as a result of drunk driving, construction site accidents, or medical malpractice.
A wrongful death claim can be filed by the surviving spouse, child or parents of the deceased.
Compensation in a wrongful death case can include funeral expenses, lost wages and loss of companionship.
Main Elements of Personal Injury Cases
There are four main elements to a negligence case: duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages.
- The duty of care is the legal obligation to avoid causing injury or harm. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to other motorists on the road.
- A breach of duty occurs when the actions of a person fall below the legal standard of care. For example, a driver who speeds or runs a red light is breaching their duty of care.
- Causation means that the breach of duty must have caused the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, a speeding driver who rear-ends another car is causing the injuries of the driver and passengers in the other car.
- Damages are the physical, emotional or financial injuries that the plaintiff has suffered. For example, a plaintiff may have suffered broken bones, whiplash or psychological trauma as a result of the defendant’s actions.
How To Prove Personal Injuries
As with all court-based proceedings, there is a burden of proof in personal injury lawsuits.
The plaintiff must show that the defendant is liable, or at fault, for the injuries suffered. This is usually done by presenting evidence that the defendant breached their duty of care.
For example, if a driver ran a red light and hit another car, they would be considered liable for the resulting accident and any injuries suffered by the occupants of the other car.
If you have suffered injury from a defective product, you would need to prove that the product was indeed defective and came with no warnings or instructions on how to safely use it.
If you have suffered mental and emotional damages, you can prove these by presenting evidence of the lasting effects the incident has had on your life. In these cases, testimony from a therapist or similar professional can be very helpful in proving the severity of your damages.
Proving that someone else is liable for your injuries can be a complex and difficult task, which is why it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your personal injury case.
A personal injury lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case and help you determine who may be liable. They will also be able to advise you on what type of damages you may be able to recover.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact a personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case.
What To Expect With a Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury attorneys generally work on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay up front, but the lawyer keeps a percentage of the settlement if you win.
As your personal injury attorney works on your case, they will keep you updated on the status of your case and what they are doing to help you get the best possible outcome.
The attorney-client relationship with your attorney here is the same as in other types of law—he or she will keep your information safe, and they will be transparent and honest with the details of your case.