Personal Injury Claims: What You Should Know

//Personal Injury Claims: What You Should Know

Personal injury claims are some of the most common types of lawsuits. People who have suffered damages because of the negligence of someone else may turn to personal injury tort law for relief. But what are the particulars of personal injury claims and what do you need to know before you file a lawsuit?

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

Before we get into the details of defining a personal injury claim we should ask “What is the definition of personal injury?” Personal injury is the legal definition of an injury that is inflicted upon the body, mind, or emotions of a person not property. In the framework of the law a personal injury claim is a lawsuit that seeks recourse or compensation for a personal injury suffered by the claimant due to the defendant’s negligence. Personal injury claims only refer to injuries suffered by someone physically, mentally, or emotionally. Personal injury claims do not refer to the death of a loved one or damage done to property.

What Are Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?

Common types of personal injury claims could include pedestrian accidents, automobile collisions, medical malpractice claims, and slip and fall lawsuits. In all personal injury liability claims, you must have suffered some type of personal damage, which is why personal injury attorneys rely on legal practice management software like Smokeball to stay organized. Smokeball personal injury law software ir built specifically for personal injury law attorneys who need case details, court dates, damages and discovery documents organized and accessible at any time.

What Is Considered in Physical Injury Law?

When you’re filing a personal injury claim against someone there are a few things you must prove:

  • You must prove that someone is at fault. Whether you’re filing a lawsuit or filing a claim with an insurance company, you will need to provide a convincing argument that the subject of your claim is at fault for your personal injury due to their negligence.   For example, if you slipped and fell on water in a café, it probably would be reasonable to claim that the owner was at fault if they failed to place “wet floor” signs.  On the other hand, it might be more difficult to prove that the café was a fault for your personal injury if they did place “wet floor” signs and you were running right before you slipped.
  • You must prove that you were owed a duty of care. When filing your personal damages claim, you must prove that the person you’re suing owed you duty of care. Duty of care means that the person owed you a reasonable effort to keep you safe from harm. For example, someone driving a vehicle owes you a duty to drive at a reasonable speed, obey traffic laws, and to not drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If they failed to show a duty of care and you were harmed in a car accident because of their negligence, this would be your central argument in your personal injury claim.
  • You must prove a breach of duty. To file a successful personal injury claim, once you prove that a person or entity owed you a duty of care, you must then prove that they breached that duty.  As mentioned in the above example, a motorist who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be considered in breach of their duty of care.
  • You must prove that you suffered damages. Personal injury tort law requires claimants to prove that they suffered real damages as a result of the personal injury.

What You Need to Know about Personal Damages Claims

When filing a personal injury claim you need to understand how personal damages are assessed. Here are a few types of damages that you might seek compensation for in your personal injury claim:

  • Loss of income. If the personal injury prevented you from working, you might be compensated for loss of income. This could also be true if you whether you missed days of work or if you loss the capacity to work at all.
  • Medical expenses. If your personal injury required medical treatment, you personal damages claim could seek compensation for the medical expenses.
  • Emotional distress. If you suffered severe emotional distress because of the personal injury, you could be compensated for that suffering.
  • Loss of enjoyment. If you loss the capacity to do the things you love such as exercise or hobbies, you might seek compensation in your personal injury claim.

How much you are compensated in a personal injury claim will depend on the extent of damage you suffered, your ability to prove your claim, and your actions at the time of the accident.   For example, if you contributed (even in a small way) to the accident that caused your personal injury, your compensation could be decreased.

Will the “guilty” party be punished?

It’s important to understand that a personal injury claim is a civil matter.  Defendants in a lawsuit only face “punishment” in criminal proceedings. This means that even if the defendant in your case is found to be responsible for your personal injury, they won’t face a fine or jail time. However, they will still be required to pay any damages awarded to you.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?

Depending on in which state you’re filing your personal injury claim, you may have as little as 1 year or as much as 6 years before the statute of limitations runs out. In any case, it’s important that you move quickly to file your personal injury claim as soon as you can.  The sooner you file your claim, the easier it will be to collect evidence and talk to witnesses.

What to Do after a Personal Injury

When you suffer a personal injury the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Delaying your trip to the doctor could impact your personal injury claim especially if symptoms do not show until later. Seeking medical attention will make it easier for doctors to diagnose injuries that may not have obvious symptoms. Next, you should get the contact information of any witnesses. In the case of certain accidents, getting the contact information of witnesses immediately is important as it may be impossible to find them at a later date. Finally, you should contact your attorney so that they can strategize on what action to take and quickly to take it so that your personal injury claim is filed before the statute of limitations runs out.

If you’ve suffered a personal injury, be sure to find out what you can do to get the compensation you deserve.

By |January 20th, 2019|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.

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