A Personal Injury Claim
Personal injuries can range from a simple fall to a life-changing accident. Either way, they negatively impact your work, family, and life. When a personal injury happens at the fault of someone else, you may need to file a personal injury claim to get the justice you deserve.
A personal injury claim is a case you file to enforce legal rights and gain compensation when you become a victim of an accident or a social wrong. Certain details go along with a personal injury case. These details can help you better understand the process you are stepping into.
Time Limits For Asserting Claims
Certain states have various timelines associated with filing a claim called statutory limitations. In Texas, this limit is within two years of an incident. The time limit varies across state lines. Because of these limits, it is vital that a victim acts quickly on a case to avoid missing out on compensation due to timeliness.
Who is Responsible?
Another element that personal injury lawsuits take into consideration is the idea of liability. While you may have been injured on the job or in an accident, a jury must decide if any part of the incident was your fault or anyone else’s fault. In fact, if you sue a person or company that you believe caused you injury or harm, that person or company can add any other person or company that THEY believe is at fault to the lawsuit.
If you are found to be at fault at all, you may lose out on some compensation. In some cases, even partial fault can cause you to become ineligible for any kind of compensation. Liability is another important factor to think about when entering a personal injury claim.
Through a personal injury case, an attorney will guide their clients towards receiving compensation for their losses. Losses cover anything from loss of income and the inability to work to medical bills and emotional distress.
In addition to assisting plaintiffs in receiving their rightful compensation, a personal injury lawyer will also protect their clients from becoming victims of insurance companies or even the legal system. While these entities can easily outwit a plaintiff, a well-educated attorney knows the ins and outs of their structures.
Your attorney will handle your entire case from its start to its finish. Throughout the process of the case, they will investigate the claim, gather evidence, form their legal theories, and perform various levels of legal research.
During an accident lawsuit, there are a few vital steps that the plaintiff must take in order to receive rightful compensation.
What is the Process?
Pre Lawsuit and Post Lawsuit
We handle personal injury claims from beginning through litigation, if necessary. They are handled differently pre lawsuit and post lawsuit, as described below.
Before filing a lawsuit, we gather the necessary information such as medical records, any lost wages, and possible necessary future medical. Many people do not realize that if their health insurance company pays for medical care as a result of the incident, that health insurance company is going to want their money back out of any settlement or judgment. We will try and negotiate with that insurance company to reduce the amount that they take.
Additionally, you should understand that if you settle, you will never again be able to make a claim as a result of those injuries–even if there are complications down the road. So you and your doctor must make sure that you understand all of the health ramifications going forward.
If your claim can’t be fairly resolved without filing a lawsuit, it will be necessary to file suit to continue to pursue a claim. This lawsuit will take place either within the county where the accident happened or where the defendant resides.
Once a lawsuit is filed, both sides engage in what we call “discovery.” Discovery is where both sides exchange written questions and requests for documents, seeking to get information and to prove their cases. You will need to be committed to assisting that process and providing information to assist in your case. This process may feel rather intrusive, but it is a part of the litigation process in every case. For example, if you are claiming emotional distress damages, the other side will dig into your emotional history, such as counseling, therapy, prescriptions for anti-depressants, etc. Your lawyer will fight against excessive intrusion but you should be prepared for intrusive questions.
How Much is a Personal Injury Case Worth?
Most people would love nothing more than to avoid a lawsuit, so if you find that you have suffered injury or personal harm due to the negligence of someone else, you may be stuck on the “is it worth it?” of it all.
Determining the worth of your personal injury case comes down to the value of the damages done. Of course, the damages done varies widely from case to case, so each instance has to be viewed as a separate, new case.
Here are some of the damages taken into consideration for a personal injury case:
- Medical treatment – a plaintiff took on significant injuries that required medical attention, and this a medical bill.
- Income Loss – due to the injuries sustained, a plaintiff cannot work for a significant amount of time and therefore, is not making a paycheck.
- Property Loss – the negligence of the offender caused you to lose or damage a vehicle, clothing, or other items.
- Pain and Suffering – your case resulted in significant pain or serious discomfort.
- Emotional Distress – the impact of personal injury led to fear, anxiety, sleep loss, depression, or other emotional damage.
- Loss of Enjoyment – injuries caused by the accident prevent you from enjoying hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities.
- Loss of Consortium – the incident that occurred led to an impact on the relationship between you and your spouse or you and your children.
At the same time, your own participation in the situation can affect the amount of compensation you receive. This comes down to a few things. This first is comparative negligence. If you are partially at fault at all in a case that caused your injuries, your compensation will surely reflect that. Contributory negligence is another decree followed by some states that prevent you from receiving any compensation at all if you are determined partially responsible.
You can also lessen your chances at compensation if you fail to mitigate the damages. For example, if you get into a car accident but fail to get the necessary medical treatment right away, thus leading to more serious conditions, your damage reward could be significantly lowered. Every case is different and will generate a different outcome.
A contingency fee basically means that you only have to pay your attorney if you win the lawsuit. This kind of agreement prevents you from taking the risk of paying out of pocket only to have it not work out in your favor.
Most lawyers will charge 33.3% for a case settled without filing a lawsuit and 40% for a case where a lawsuit was filed. If you win the case, your attorney will receive that previously agreed-upon percentage of the settlement you were given, and the rest goes to you.
For example, if your lawsuit awards you $10,000, your lawyer would receive $3,330 of that while you pocket the rest.
However, you still have to consider other costs.
When it comes to legal issues, fees and costs are two separate things. The fees are what your attorney will charge you, but the costs have to do with any expenses paid by a law firm throughout their actions in your case. This includes investigations, negotiations, and obtaining additional witnesses or paperwork. While the law firm of Hutchison & Foreman, PLLC will generally pay the costs as they are incurred, those costs will be recovered separately from the attorney fees upon a settlement or judgment.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Hutchison & Foreman, PLLC, 817-336-5533