A personal injury refers to any damage or injury to your body, mind, or emotion. If someone’s negligence or recklessness causes it, you have grounds to file a personal injury claim.
However, there are a lot of considerations you need to take before coming to the courts. You might wonder how much is your personal injury case worth or if the compensation you’ll get is worth all the trouble. To figure this out, it helps to understand the following concepts regarding personal injury claims.
What constitutes a personal injury?
As opposed to property injury, personal injury refers to any harm inflicted on you due to another person’s acts or omissions. It is not limited to physical harm, as the law also recognizes damage and injury to a person’s mental and emotional state due to another person’s actions.
Personal injuries come from a variety of circumstances. Courts usually consider the following circumstances for this kind of claim:
- Work-related accidents
- Slip and fall injuries, also known as trip and fall or tripping injuries
- Road traffic accidents
- Product liability issues
It may also include injuries from substandard medical and dental care. However, these cases usually fall under medical malpractice claims due to the presence of the practitioner’s duty of care toward the patients.
How personal injury lawsuit costs are identified
Hiring a lawyer to handle your personal injury case doesn’t come with a fixed price. However, cases settled quickly without the need for extended proceedings or more investigations cost less. Similarly, if there’s a need to bring in additional experts or more witnesses, there will be other expenses from your end.
Usually, attorneys and legal firms handle all professional costs involved as they do their job. From expert witnesses, court costs, and even their trial preparation expenses. When the claim gets settled, litigation costs are deducted from the proceeds. This is known as a contingency agreement.
However, should you and your personal injury lawyer agree on a contingency fee, it must be clearly stated whether it would be deducted from the final compensation amount before or after the fee percentage computations.
On the other hand, compensation can be settled through insurance coverage instead of going through the entire lawsuit procedure. If the other party’s claim is enough for all the damages, both parties can agree and settle the claim. If the coverage isn’t enough or if they’re uninsured, you can either agree on a settlement amount or go ahead with a lawsuit.
Factors that affect lawsuit costs
By understanding the legal aspects of a personal injury case, you can better prepare and work with your lawyer. You can also better recognize the factors that affect the cost of the claim should you decide to proceed with it.
1. Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is a specific law that sets the maximum time after an event where legal proceedings may be pursued or initiated. This is the deadline for filing a claim. If the statute of limitations for a particular claim has passed, you may lose the right to file.
Statutory limitation windows vary from state to state. The statute usually lasts for two to three years, depending on where you live. Maine and North Dakota, for example, allow personal injury claims for up to six years after the event has occurred.
This is an essential factor in establishing the viability of a personal injury claim. Proving liability is crucial because it spells whether the defendant is liable for the injury they are accused of. In some instances, jury members decide that the plaintiff is partially or entirely at fault for the damage in question.
After liability has been assessed and established, the compensation for the aggrieved party is then determined. Note that if liability is found on your behalf, the compensation awarded to you will be reduced proportionately with reference to your liability. Furthermore, there are states where the injured party being liable for more than half of the incident is automatically disqualified from receiving any compensation.
3. Burden of proof
The burden of proof, more technically known as the preponderance of the evidence, is the plaintiff’s requirement to convince the jury that the elements for a valid personal injury are satisfied. This responsibility falls in the hands of the one claiming personal injury. It includes testimonies and pieces of evidence.
To make sure you succeed in your personal injury claim, it is crucial to find a competent lawyer with relevant experience handling cases of this nature. Contact a reputable lawyer and seek legal consultation so they can walk you through the process of filing personal injury claims.