Personal Injury Basics
The purpose of this post is to discuss the basics of a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit. You might be familiar with personal injury, but this post will describe more details regarding a personal injury claim. Importantly, personal injury claims can be very complicated and their validity is difficult to determine. For that reason, we strongly encourage you to discuss your potential claim with our office. During the consultation, we will discuss the circumstances that led to your injury to determine if you have a viable claim to seek damages. Our firm is committed to securing the greatest possible recovery and we encourage candid conversations. Below you will find more details about personal injury, but please contact us if you have any questions.
First, what is a personal injury claim? You might have a claim if you have suffered injury because someone else made a mistake or did not comply with specific requirements as determined by an agreement. Often personal injury claims arise when you are injured in an automobile accident, when you are injured on another’s property because they did not keep the property safe, when you are made sick because you have been exposed to something dangerous or toxic, and/or when you are injured because another person did not properly perform their job. This list is not exclusive, and you might suffer personal injury in another way. These are just a few examples. If you have personal injury claim, the next step is to determine the best way to recover for your injury. You might be able to settle with the other party. Or, your case might go to trial where the judge or jury could assess fault and damages. Ordinarily, damages are awarded to compensate for your expenses and injury. Damages can also be assessed, in some situations, to punish the other party. These are called punitive damages. Consulting with an attorney is the most beneficial method to determine any damages for which you might be entitled.
So, how should you prepare for your consultation? Most importantly, keep diligent records of everything related to your injury. This includes documenting any time for which you were absent from work, records related to any medical treatment you received because of the injury, payments from your insurance provider (if applicable), and a factual record of the events that caused your injury. If possible, you should also make a police report immediately following the injury-causing event. Make a timeline for yourself. Document each date and the details regarding an action taken because of your injury. If you see a doctor, document the date, the reason for your visit, and the doctor’s identifying information. If you are required to be absent from work, for any length of time, document the days or time that you missed and the amount of wages you would ordinarily earn during that time period. You should also retain any paperwork that you receive related to your injury. Also, if you suffer property damage, in addition to your personal injury, keep accurate and updated records related to this damage. Although property damage may not be directly compensable, it is important to present this information to your attorney.
When should you contact an attorney? It is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible after you have suffered a personal injury. This will permit your attorney to communicate with other parties on your behalf, allowing you the necessary time to recover. These types of injuries are subject to a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations provides a time limit by which a lawsuit must be brought to recover for an injury. Specifically, personal injury lawsuits must be brought against the other party within 2 years from the time of the injury. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner that attorney can begin working on your case to ensure that it is filed within the mandatory time limit. Even if your injury is old, as long as the injury was suffered within the applicable time period, you might have a personal injury claim. If you have suffered an injury in the past 2 years, call us immediately so that we might assess your claim.
Last, what if you are unable to immediately afford an attorney? Due to the complicated nature of personal injury litigation, the ability to afford an attorney may not be something to which you can commit. We understand this and we can work with you to make an arrangement. Often, personal injury claims are taken on a contingency basis. This means that we collect our fee from the amount you are awarded in damages. If you are not awarded anything, then you will not pay an additional fee. Of course, every attorney-client relationship is different. In some situations, you might be required to pay a small retainer fee. We can work with you to make this payment as well. We can reach an agreement that works best for both the attorney and the client. When you are ready to discuss your claim, give us a call.