Personal injury cases are cases where an individual has been injured, usually in an accident, where someone else may be legally responsible. Legal culpability can be determined through court proceedings. However, potential disputes can be resolved through informal settlements.
Two Potential Outcomes of a Personal Injury Case:
Formal Lawsuit: Personal injury cases differ from criminal cases, which are initiated by the government. A personal injury case begins when an individual files a formal “complaint” against another. The individual who is filing the complaint is known as the”plaintiff” and the subject of the complaint is the “defendant”. The defendant can be a person, business corporation or government agency. The complaint would seek to prove that the injury sustained was the direct result of careless actions on the part of the defendant. This is officially referred to as filing a lawsuit.
Informal Settlement: An informal settlement is the most common outcome for a personal injury case. Settlements generally begin as a negotiation that leads to a written agreement. The agreement would stipulate that both sides are willing to relinquish any further legal action and instead will resolve the matter with the payment of financial compensation to the injured person.
Why You Need Proper Legal Representation for a Personal Injury Case
When considering your options for how you will be pursuing your personal injury claim there are many complicated matters that you must consider that are best left to be handled by competent legal counsel. For example, there are time limits for bringing a lawsuit called statutes of limitation which can vary depending on the case. If the time limit applicable to your case is exceeded you could lose the right to make any claim.
Personal injury lawsuits can be filed in the courthouse for the county where the injury occurred. Personal injury lawsuits usually fall under the jurisdiction of these state courts.
An exception to this general rule might be when the two parties (plaintiff and defendant) live in separate states. In such a case, the suit may be properly filed in federal court or it may be moved to a federal U.S. District Court if it was already filed in a state court. It is best to seek the advice of an attorney to determine what would be the best way to file your personal injury lawsuit.
Once you have filed your lawsuit and a personal injury case has begun expertise of legal counsel with knowledge of the practice of personal injury law specifically is crucial. Prior court decisions have proven to be the most common basis for the development of personal injury law. Therefore, often during negotiations or legal proceedings legal counsel will reference previous cases to support their argument. Knowledge of these prior court decisions, called precedent, is essential to presenting your personal injury claim in the best light possible.
For example, if your complaint is the result of your exposure to a hazardous condition on someone’s property where you seek to prove you were hurt because the property owner failed to warn you of the hazard or fix the hazardous condition before you were injured, your attorney would likely “cite” a previous case involving a similar circumstance where the ruling was in the favor of the plaintiff.
If you have recently been injured and you feel that the incident could be the basis for a personal injury case please visit our (contact us) page to find the closest office to you or fill out the Request Free Initial Consultation form to schedule a legal consultation today.