According to the National Safety Council, an American is hurt every second. That’s an alarming statistic, especially when you consider how many accidents can be avoided.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, or by a slip and fall, or something else, you may deserve to be compensated. By filing a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to monetary compensation.
But how do you know if you have a personal injury case? And what’s the likely outcome if you do?
Keep reading to learn the answers to important personal injury questions that every injured person should know.
What Is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is when someone’s negligence causes harm to a person or persons.
Anytime someone’s negligence or harmful action results in a physical or mental injury to someone else, it is a personal injury. Insurance companies often interchange the term “bodily injury” with personal injury.
Are Auto Accidents the Only Kind of Personal Injury?
The short answer is no. Many different types of accidents can result in a personal injury, including auto or motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, medical negligence, workplace injuries and accidents, premises liability, pharmaceutical negligence, child abuse, birth and neonatal injuries and more.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
First and foremost, make sure you are safe and do everything you can to get well. See your doctor and follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery.
The other thing to remember is to be careful who you talk to. The at-fault driver, their lawyer and their insurance company may wish to talk to you. When they do, remember the phrase “what you say can and will be used against you.”
Instead, refer anyone who speaks to you on the other driver’s behalf to your own attorney.
If you don’t have an attorney, we recommend that you call a personal injury attorney. A reputable law firm will not charge you for an initial consultation. At the very least, speaking with an attorney will let you know where you stand and what your rights are.
How Will I Pay My Medical Bills?
One of the biggest concerns for those suffering a personal injury is paying their medical bills. There are several different answers to this problem, but they depend on your case, state law, and the type of insurance coverage in your policy.
You may be covered under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage or your Medical Payments Coverage (MPC). Depending on the accident, your health insurance or Worker’s Compensation may provide coverage. You may also be covered by the insurance of the at-fault driver.
If you pursue an injury settlement, the insurance company covering your medical bills is likely entitled to reimbursement from the settlement funds of your personal injury claim. If you do not have insurance and are unable to pay for medical services, a personal injury attorney may refer you to doctors and medical facilities that will agree to be reimbursed later from the settlement.
We recommend speaking with your insurance company for answers to your questions. You can also speak with a personal injury lawyer for more options.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury, known as a “tort” in legalese, must meet three criteria to file a tort claim.
- The at-fault party must have a duty to do something or not do something.
- The at-fault party must breach that duty
- You must suffer damages which are a result of the at-fault party’s action.
Again, the negligent at-fault party could be another driver, doctor, employer and so on.
If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you have a case, speak with a personal injury attorney and schedule an initial consultation.
What If I Don’t Want to File a Lawsuit?
Many people are understandably resistant to pursue lawsuits. Fortunately, when it comes to personal injuries, most claims do not lead to a trial. In fact, 95% of all personal injury claims result in a fair settlement pre-trial.
Once you recover from your injuries, the insurance company will receive a claim from your attorney. Most of the time, your attorney will negotiate on your behalf with the adjuster to determine a fair monetary settlement for your injuries.
How Much Will My Case Be Worth?
A number of factors will determine the settlement amount you may receive. So if an attorney gives you a dollar amount during your initial consultation, take it with a grain of salt.
They may be trying to sell you with unrealistic expectations. Or, they may be attempting to convince you to settle for less than your case is really worth just to settle it fast.
It’s fool hearty to determine the worth of your case before investigating it. Your attorney must investigate the extent of your injuries, your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, future expenses and more.
How Much Will It Cost to Pursue a Personal Injury Case?
Case-related expenses can be cost from $10,000 to $100,000. Often times the cost can even surpass those numbers. For that reason, it’s wise to work with a law firm that will cover these expenses when you need it.
With more reputable law firms, you will not owe any fees unless you receive a favorable verdict or settlement. In other words, there is no risk to you. You will not owe anything if your case does not end favorably for you.
Final Thoughts: What Every Injured Person Should Know
Every injured person should know what their rights are. If someone’s negligence resulted in your injury, you may be entitled to monetary recovery.
Should you file a personal injury claim? That’s an individual decision for everyone but it doesn’t hurt to at least speak with an attorney to learn more about the process and to discover your rights. It will be easier to make a decision once you have all the facts.
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