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Understanding Personal Injury Claims: A Guide for Accident Victims

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

You never expect to be the victim of a terrible accident. Not only are such events physically injurious but they also leave mental scars that may take longer to heal, if ever. A good understanding of the personal injury claim process will help you know whether or not you can pursue legal action to get justice.

For example, contacting attorneys in Fort Smith, AR, would be a good step. You want to ensure that you have such professionals on your side when engaging in such legal battles. Whether it’s a car accident or an event due to someone’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence when there are ways to get legal redress. This is a comprehensive guide on how to do that.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

This is the legal process through which a victim can obtain justice for any injuries suffered. In decades past, the main kind of personal injury cases involved car accidents. This is still what comes to many people’s minds whenever they think of this term.

However, the scope of what constitutes personal injury is now vast enough to include any event that causes an individual significant emotional pain or distress. An archetypal example involves a worker that gets injured on the job.

Depending on the circumstances, such a worker can bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer for not providing a safe enough work environment. Of course, it’s not usually as simple as that. That’s why it’s important to retain the services of a seasoned personal injury lawyer when pursuing such cases.

Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim?

The law stipulates that anyone that has suffered a traumatic event may be eligible to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator. As mentioned earlier, the lawsuit doesn’t always have to involve a case where the victim suffered physical injuries only. Emotional turmoil can also be grounds for such lawsuits.

However, you may not know whether or not you have enough legal grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. That’s why having an experienced personal injury lawyer to advise you from the get-go is crucial. It ensures that you have a solid case before taking any legal action.

In addition to injured adults, parents can also file personal injury lawsuits on behalf of their underage children. Similarly, other legal guardians can also file such claims on behalf of their charges. A good example would be someone who is considered mentally incapacitated under the law. In such cases, their legal guardian can file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf.

Common Types of Personal Injury Claims

Road accidents account for a significant percentage of personal injury claims each year. Such accidents include motor vehicle collisions, motorbike accidents, truck accidents, and any other types of incidents involving automobiles where someone sustains injuries.

In addition to the above, other types of situations that can open the door for personal injury claims include;

  1. Medical malpractice: This can include negligence or misdiagnosis

  2. Work-related injuries: This could be due to the employer’s negligence or fatigue due to working under unsafe conditions

  3. Social security disability issues

In all such cases, the plaintiff will need to prove that the accused party is responsible for the incident that ultimately led to their pain and suffering.

Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim

Many victims balk at the idea of filing a personal injury claim. In addition to the inevitable stress of such a legal battle, many also don’t relish the idea of having to convince a bunch of strangers that the accused should be held liable. This is because personal injury claims require a certain level of proof. Bringing forth such a suit against any party requires irrefutable evidence that can stand up to scrutiny. In many cases, this is easier said than done.

The key things that need to be proven in a typical personal injury lawsuit include;

  • Negligence

  • A breach of duty

  • How such a breach of duty or negligence led to the victim’s unpleasant situation

  • How the resultant situation has negatively impacted the victim’s life or certain aspects of it

Of course, the accused party will also have legal counsel to counter any arguments your personal injury lawyer brings forth. That’s why strong evidence is essential in such cases. Even in seemingly straightforward cases, it’s inadvisable to try and handle it on your own. Always seek the representation of a personal injury lawyer who practices in that particular jurisdiction. This ensures that you don’t jeopardize your personal injury claim due to ineptitude.

Statute of Limitations

Every jurisdiction has set a time limit during which victims can file personal injury claims. This time period begins from the moment the alleged accident occurred. In some rare situations, exceptions can be made to prolong this duration. This timeframe is known as the statute of limitations. Victims must file any personal injury claims within this period or forfeit any chance at justice regardless of the injuries suffered. Unless you’re active in legal circles, you’ll likely be unaware of such details as the statute of limitations.

That’s why it’s essential to hire a personal injury attorney as soon as you think you have a valid claim. In addition to getting much-needed legal advice right off the bat, hiring such an attorney early on also ensures that they have enough time to gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case.

For example, gathering the necessary evidence in a medical malpractice case may require interviewing other people in the medical profession, hiring expert witnesses, etc. Doing all these things properly may take months. If you spring a personal injury case on a lawyer when you have only a few weeks left on the statute of limitations, it may become nearly impossible to mount any meaningful legal challenge.

What to Expect

If you’ve hired an experienced personal injury attorney, they’ll review your case and give you an educated guess about the likelihood of winning. While nothing is guaranteed in personal injury cases, your lawyer will lay out the likely scenarios involved when you take your case to court. This helps to manage expectations and avoid disappointments.

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