Personal injury FAQs
The first thing to do is to figure out if you have a case. A personal injury lawyer can usually tell rather quickly if your case is worth pursuing. Usually, they are going to see if there is an insurance policy to cover your claim. If there is not sufficient insurance to cover your claim, the lawyer may still choose to accept your case if it appears that they will be able to collect. Usually, your first consultation with an attorney is free. To help your case bring all your medical records, notes, photographs and any other documentation that may help your case.
Usually, your first consultation is free. If they accept the case many personal injury lawyers will work on "contingency." This means they plan to take their pay from the settlement. On average they will take about a third or more of the settlement amount. The will also charge you fees such as the cost of investigators or expert witnesses and court filing fees. If you have to pay your lawyer an hourly rate, expect to pay several hundred dollars (or more) per hour.
Personal injury is when someone is injured due to another's action. Common personal injury cases involve vehicle accidents, slip and fall cases, medical malpractice, dog bites, libel and slander, defective products, and assault or "intentional torts." (An intentional tort is simply an action that causes harm).
Generally, these cases involve careless or reckless driving. In "no-fault" states compensation may be limited.
Slip and fall
These cases usually are prompted when someone falls and becomes injured on someone's else's property. Often the fall may have been caused by suspected property owner negligence.
If a patient is injured due to suspected mistakes of health care providers, it may be cause for a medical malpractice case.
If a dog is not properly restrained and bites someone that may be a reason to start a personal injury case.
Libel and slander
If someone spreads rumors about you or publishes slander that hurts your person or your business, you may be able to prove personal injury.
Sometimes if a person becomes injured from the result of using a defective product they may be able to sue for compensation for injuries.
Assault or intentional tort
These situations are often also criminal cases. Sometimes the victim may also sue for compensation for injuries.
Often personal injury cases are settled "out of court" when an insurance company and its lawyers make an offer to settle. If the offer is accepted, the case is closed. If the offer is not accepted, the plaintiff may choose to go to court.