Every year, unintentional injuries account for 39.5 million physician visits and 24.5 million emergency room visits.
Have you recently experienced an injury because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence? Are you thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit so you can receive compensation for your injuries?
If you’re confused about how to file this type of lawsuit or what it entails, keep reading. Explained below are 6 important considerations to keep in mind during the filing process.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury case is a legal dispute between two parties. If one person experiences harm due to an accident or injury, and there’s a chance that the other person could be held legally responsible for that harm, the injured person may file a lawsuit.
If the other party is found to be responsible, their insurance company will be required to pay a settlement to cover the injured party’s medical bills and ongoing medical expenses.
Many different situations may warrant a personal injury lawsuit, including the following:
- Car accidents
- Slips and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Assault and battery
Libel and slander-related cases also fall under the personal injury umbrella. Even though these issues do not cause physical harm, they can injure a person’s reputation and future job prospects.
Things to Remember When Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits
Okay, you’ve got a good working personal injury law definition. Let’s move on and talk about some factors to consider when filing this kind of lawsuit:
1. Filing Is a Multi-Step Process
There are several steps that you’ll need to through if you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. Yes, every case is different. However, when you file one, you’ll typically go through these basic steps:
- Hiring an attorney
- Filing a complaint
- Serving the complaint to the defendant (this is the person you’re trying to prove is responsible for your injuries)
- Defendant hires an attorney
- Pre-trial and discovery (this stage involves several informal meetings between attorneys to talk about the case and gather information)
- Trial phase
Most of the time, the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit ends in a settlement. Keep in mind, too, that you don’t always have to through all of the phases mentioned above. For example, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney might come to a settlement agreement before the case goes to trial.
2. It’s Best to Hire a Lawyer
As you may have noticed above, hiring an attorney is usually the first step to take when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
If you hire an attorney, you’ll likely get more money than you would if you tried to handle the case on your own. An attorney can also simplify the filing process and help you to avoid missing deadlines or making mistakes that get your case thrown out.
When looking for a personal injury attorney, try to find someone who specializes in cases like yours. Search for a car accident lawyer, for example, or a dog bite attorney.
Make sure your attorney is local, too. If they’re local, they’ll have a better grasp of the rules and regulations in your area. This may help to increase your settlement amount.
3. Timing Matters
Remember, timing matters if you’re planning on filing a personal injury lawsuit. In most places, you have a limited amount of time (this is known as the statute of limitations) that you can file if you want to potentially receive a settlement and be compensated for your injuries.
This is why it’s important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after you’ve been injured. They will know what the statute of limitations is in your area and will ensure you meet all the necessary filing requirements.
4. It Can Take a While to Agree on a Settlement
Keep in mind that it can take a while before you reach a settlement agreement and wrap up your personal injury lawsuits. It will likely be several months after your injury, after several different trials and meetings, before you finally receive a settlement.
This information isn’t meant to deter you from filing a lawsuit if you believe you’re entitled to compensation. The goal is just to help you be realistic and ensure you’re prepared for a long battle before everything gets solved.
Don’t forget, too, that your initial settlement offer might not be as high as you’d like or deserve. You and your attorney may have to go back and forth a few times to reach a number that is sufficient and makes up for the losses you’ve experienced because of your injuries.
5. You Can Be Compensated for More Than Just Medical Bills
Even if you didn’t spend a lot of time in the hospital, it is likely still worth it for you to pursue a lawsuit.
Most likely, your settlement won’t cover just your medical bills and ongoing healthcare (physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.). It will also help to make up for the amount of time you had to take off of work while recovering.
Your attorney may factor in other things, too, such as promotions you’ve missed out on or the pain and suffering you experienced after getting hurt and while recovering.
6. You Don’t Have to Pay an Attorney Upfront
Don’t let a lack of funds stop you from filing a lawsuit.
When you reach out to a personal injury lawyer for more information, they’ll likely inform you that they work on a contingency basis. This means you don’t have to pay for their services until after you’ve won your case and received a settlement. They’ll take a percentage of the settlement to cover their fees, and the rest will be left for you.
Are You Ready to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Now that you know more about what a personal injury lawsuit is, as well as the factors you need to consider when filing one, are you ready to move forward? Do you feel more confident about your chances of getting compensated fairly for your injuries?
Keep the information outlined above in mind and you’ll have no trouble navigating the world of personal injury lawsuits.
Want to learn more about handling a personal injury lawsuit or another legal matter? Check out some of our other legal articles today for additional advice.