Everything you needs to know about Personal Injury Lawyer
Any injury caused to the body or mind in legal terms is called personal injury. The term generally is used for tort laws, laws that deal with civil wrongdoings. A personal injury case arises when an individual suffers injuries or harm due to another individual who may be legally responsible for the injuries. Let’s break down the types of personal injury law.
Different types of personal injury
What kind of injuries or accidents fall under a personal injury lawsuit? There are various cases; below are the details of a few common reasons for personal injury cases.
● Car Accident Cases
Maximum personal injury cases are car accident cases. Generally, these accidents are caused when a person is not following driving rules or is negligent, leading to an accident. An accident can occur between two or more automobiles.
A few reasons for accidents are speeding, distracted drivers, tailgating (following too closely). If the injuries are severe, then immediately connect with a car accident lawyer to explore your legal options.
● Truck Accident Cases
Trucks are the most preferred way to move goods across the country. In our daily lives, too, we come across several types of trucks within the city. An accident with a truck can be fatal due to its size and shape.
A few reasons for accidents are the overloading of trucks and driver fatigue. A truck accident lawyer is experienced in dealing with freight companies. They can get you the much-deserved damages and help get your life back to normal.
● Bicycle Accident Cases
In a crowded city like New York, motorcycles and bicycles are quick to travel around the city. However, in accidents, bikes are more vulnerable to injuries as they are exposed to direct impact.
Failed to yield the right-of-way, reduced visibility, and speeding are a few reasons for accidents. If you have been in an accident or know someone in an accident, then contact an NYC bicycle accident lawyer to understand the next steps you need to take.
● Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners must maintain and keep their buildings and grounds safe. An accident that occurs on someone’s property can become a personal injury lawsuit. Spillage of liquid, cracks in sidewalks, absence of warning signs, broken staircases, and poorly lit sidewalks or premises are a few reasons for slip or fall. Connect with a slip and fall accident lawyer to help you prove the owner’s negligence and get the damages.
● Workplace Accidents
Falls on construction sites, scaffolding accidents, work-related stress, or injuries are the most common workplace-related personal injury claims. The accident can happen due to a variety of reasons like but not limited to,
o Weak support structure or framework at construction sites
o Improper equipment at the workplace
o Debris and rubble
o Wall or Floor holes
o Uncovered or unprotected electrical wires
The statute of limitations defines a time limit to file the claim. If you doubt your workplace injury, immediately get in touch with a personal injury lawyer to start your worker’s compensation process.
● Pedestrian Accidents
New York City has improved pedestrian safety over the years; however, there are still accidents happening. Getting hit by a car due to distracted driving or speeding are a few reasons for pedestrian accidents. Whether you are walking, jogging, or running, you are at risk of getting in an accident.
If you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit, then it’s your part to prove the driver’s fault in the accident. The best personal injury lawyers assume all the responsibilities, from investigation to negotiation. Get in touch with a pedestrian accident lawyer to guide you in your legal journey.
Steps involved in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Not all personal injury lawsuits are the same. Each state has its own rules; however, a few steps are common to most personal injury lawsuits. Let’s look at the critical stages in detail.
● Filling a complaint and Issuing a Summon
A personal injury lawsuit begins with filing a complaint. Depending on your state, it will vary in which court you file the complaint and the fee for filing the complaint.
The complaint includes the parties involved, the “prayer for relief” section where the plaintiff (complainant) explains the accident’s details, and what is expected from the court. This section can also include the expected damages or settlement.
After filing the complaint, the plaintiff should notify the defendant about the lawsuit by filing a “Summons” with the court. Summons, along with the complaint, is delivered to the defendant. This step is called “service of process,” with every state having specific rules for this process.
It’s vital that the defendant is served as per the state rules. Else, the lawsuit can be dismissed based on the insufficient process leading to re-filing the lawsuit and increasing the lawsuit’s cost.
After receiving the summons, the defendant must respond to the complaint in a time-bound manner. It is typically 21 to 45 days; however, it may vary depending on the court. The response is called an answer. It addresses all the sections of the complaint either by accepting or denying the accusations. The defendant can mention why they are not liable for damages and can also counterclaim against the plaintiff, which they need to respond.
The process of gathering evidence and collecting all the facts is called Discovery. There are five ways of requesting information from the other party.
o Interrogatories. Interrogatories are answering specific questions from the other party under oath and in writing.
o Requests for production. It’s asking the other party to provide relevant document copies that they have with them.
o Requests for admission. A party may ask to accept or deny any material fact.
o Depositions. A deposition is conducted face-to-face under oath, asking questions to the other party or witness. The personal injury lawyer asks the questions. A court reporter records the testimony.
Motions are pre-trial requests filed by the involved parties asking the judge to make a particular ruling for a specific reason. There are several motions. A “dispositive motion” means resolving the case and a “non-dispositive motion” is an incidental question.
A few common motions used are as below:
o Motion for summary judgment – Based on evidence but no arguments, the attorney can file a motion for summary judgment. It’s about winning the case based on the law and then moving to a settlement conversation.
o Motion to compel – Sometimes Discovery for the case takes time, and you need information or records from the other party. If the other party doesn’t comply with the request, your lawyer can file a motion to compel.
o Motion for default judgment – If the defendant party fails to answer the complaint, you or your lawyer can file a motion for default judgment and request compensation.
● Pre-trial negotiations
Before trials, there are three ways to solve the case.
o Settlement. After Discovery, the lawyers initiate settlement discussion. Offers and counteroffers will be made. Lawyers can either meet in person or have a phone call to discuss the settlement.
o Mediation. If the lawyers disagree on a settlement, then a neutral third-party called a mediator is engaged. The mediator discusses the merits of the cases separately and assists both parties in agreeing on a settlement.
o Arbitration: It’s a process where both parties present their evidence and arguments to a neutral party called an arbitrator. Arbitrator’s final decision is called an “award.” Usually, an appeal against an arbitration award is not done; however, a party may appeal to a court to change or invalidate (vacate) an arbitration award.
In a civil trial, a jury goes through the evidence and arguments to decide if the defendant is accountable and is liable for monetary damages. It involves opening statements, witness testimony, cross-examination, and a closing statement. After this, the jury decides on a verdict.
● Collecting the judgment
If the jury decides the defendant is liable for damages, then the defendant becomes the debtor. If the debtor doesn’t follow the court order, you may need to conduct a post-judgment discovery to find the debtor’s income sources and assets. You can also place a lien on their real estate.
Any party can appeal the decision if they disagree with the trial results. The appellate court will go through the details and review the proceedings of the trial court. After the review, the court can either sustain the verdict, reverse the judgment, or order another trial.
What does a Personal Injury Lawyer do?
A personal injury lawyer helps you recover monetary compensation for the injuries caused to you, whether mind or body, by another individual. This compensation is meant to pay for medical bills, recoup lost wages from your job, and the suffering caused by accident.
Personal injury attorneys specialize in civil lawsuits or tort law, which covers litigation for wrongdoings or negligence. A personal injury lawyer’s main job is to get their client’s maximum settlement and hold others accountable for their negligence.
People often think hiring a lawyer is costly, and self-representation will work for them. However, without any legal knowledge and experience, representing oneself might damage your chances of getting a settlement. Hiring a lawyer will benefit you in more than one way.
● Educating you on your rights and the legal process
A lawyer will explain the entire process of a personal injury lawsuit—a statute of limitations, the process of filing the claim, your rights, and expected timelines.
● Professional advice on the merits of your case
Lawyers have the right knowledge and experience to judge whether you should file a claim in the first place. Minor injuries don’t need legal action. For severe injuries, lawyers can estimate your case’s value to help you decide your next steps.
The investigation stage is the most crucial part of your lawsuit. Evidence helps in making the right argument, which may lead to judgment in your favor. The initial phase of gathering evidence and witness information is time-sensitive.
Taking witness statements, camera footage, and pictures from the accident scene, police reports, and medical reports are vital to your cases. Any lapse or recklessness can prove costly.
Invariably, when insurance companies are involved, things can get complicated. Insurance companies do their due diligence before talking settlement. The insurance company will contact your lawyer for all discussions and communications.
Personal injury lawyers have a thorough understanding and experience of how to deal with insurance companies. Along with other involved stakeholders, your lawyer will negotiate to get the highest settlement for your cases.
If there is no settlement during litigation or mediation, the case goes to trial. Lawyers are competent and confident to prepare and present your case to the jury. An attorney will help you in conveying your message to the jury.
When you need a personal injury lawyer?
Not every case requires a lawyer. If there is no serious injury and has a reasonable settlement, then no lawyer is necessary. Some critical times to hire a personal injury lawyer include when:
● The claim is denied – When the insurance company refuses the claim even though the other party is at fault.
● Multiple parties increase the case’s complexity, and it can quickly spiral out of your control—usually, multi-car accidents or construction site accidents involving numerous contractors.
● A settlement is offered
– It is best to consult a licensed personal injury lawyer to discuss the compensation offered. Lawyers can help you understand your case’s merits and help decide whether to go ahead with the settlement or file a lawsuit.
If you have been in an accident and are injured, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. Your Insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible. Speak to a licensed lawyer at 1-800-HURT-511 now. We do not charge you any money unless we win. Doing or saying the wrong thing could cost you thousands of dollars. You don’t need to go through the process alone; we can help you.